Why is Instagram used so often

13 tips for beginners to use Instagram for more reach!

This picture app ?! "Everyone uploads their photographed food to Instagram anyway!" Really? But really not. The topics are broad, you just have to find the right community for yourself there, or build one yourself. As with any social network, this takes time and cannot be done on the side. But it's worth it - because ...

Instagram users are ...

  • more active,
  • more receptive,
  • more personal,
  • more recommendable and
  • more positive

than the users on Facebook. Sure, not every company has its own Instagram account, not everyone has the time and inclination to constantly produce photos. Then focus on another social network.

EXTRA: Better networking: 7 tips for the perfect Xing profile!

For everyone else, I've summarized my 13 personal tips. 13 things that I would have liked to have known from the start and that will help anyone who wonders:How do I build a community on Instagram? I know both sides: the private and the professional.

1. Private or public profile?

On Instagram you can choose whether you want to make your profile public or private. You can also change it at any time. Private means: Only people whom you confirm as contact will see your pictures. Public means: Everyone can see your pictures. My experience: I hardly ever follow private profilesbecause I can't even see what kind of pictures this person is posting.

  • Do I like the pictures?
  • Do I like the topics this person posts pictures about?
  • Do I even care about the profile?

Private profiles are therefore only suitable if you have private (Children's) pictures or you generally only want to have selected friends as followers. The motto is: public profile! For companies anyway.

2. Topics: One or more?

Proven to work single-topic accounts better than a "cabbage-and-beet account". Such specialized profiles often also have a rapid growth in followers.

Some examples of hot topics

  • Interior / Scandinavian Interior
  • DIY
  • fitness
  • (Vegan) food
  • Quotes
  • Gardening
  • Fashion
  • Selfies
  • to travel
  • motivation

But also profiles for the Career and business topics can be discovered on Instagram. For example, specifically on the topic "Marketing Tips for Instagram":

3. Instagram pictures

Which filter should you use? Clearly: preferably NONE. The days of Instagram filtering are definitely over. It is better to edit the images using the "Functions" button, for example

  • Brightness,
  • Image detail,
  • Contrast and
  • Sharpness

to optimize. In general, the Images all in the same style being held. Your profile will appear coherent and potential followers will subconsciously recognize that all pictures of you are here. Even if you take part in challenges (more on this below), make sure that you choose an image for the repost that fits your profile well in terms of style. If a picture bad, out of focus or underexposed is, don't post it. Even a few bad pictures give the impression that someone is just posting snapshots here quickly. And the majority do not want to see such loveless pictures.

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4. The language: English or German?

There is no right or wrong here. If you post the articles in English,

  • one excludes fewer people.
  • the target group becomes larger.
  • you often get more likes.
  • you get more comments from all over the world.

So if you only post pictures of you not regionally restricted topic, you can also gain significantly more followers here. Because who follows someone whose posts you can't read?

Reach international & regional followers - just how?

On the other hand, if you also want to push your own blog posts with the Instagram profile or you post sayings as a picture, then these are most likely in German, a post in English or English hashtags makes little sense here. Of course you can toopost bilingualunless the pictures show anything in German. That can work well too. Just test it and see what works better.

5. Hashtags: Tips & Mistakes

You can currently Use a maximum of 30 hashtags per image. Of course, all big brands and everyone with a follower community beyond 5,000 can shout as they want, but especially at the beginning, you should also take advantage of these 30 hashtags (if you can think of 30 meaningful hashtags).This should be given when posting, not afterwardsas the images appear chronologically. In the past, it was possible to catapult a two-week-old picture back to the top of a hashtag search result list by setting a hashtag later. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible and the photos simply appear chronologically - old pictures remain old and thus further back.

Be sure to ask yourself, "How often is a hashtag used?"

The quality of the hashtags is also important: Search in advance which hashtags are used most frequently. Personal hashtags like

  • "Tested and found good" or
  • "Today is stupid"

entertain the followers, but you have to be aware that nobody will find you through it. However, there are also accounts that live from exactly this "quirk" and whose followers are only there to read the funny and creative hashtags. If you post pictures on different topics, you can Use hashtags to create personal galleries. Of course, the hashtag has to be as unique as possible. For example, I assign the hashtag

when I post pictures of delicious homemade food or the hashtag #piezemalt when I post drawings, sketch notes or sketch note recipes. Therefore, test the uniqueness of your hashtag beforehand, otherwise pictures will appear in your gallery that are not yours at all.

6. Linking to other social networks: useful or not?

When your picture is ready for publication, you can post it on other social networks at the same time. Extremely practical when the post makes sense. When you share your followers with "Dear Instas" address or yours Post longer than 140 characters is, he actually has no place on Twitter. If you use hashtags, publishing them on Facebook at the same time doesn't make much sense either. Therefore, always think for a moment before randomly sharing a picture on all channels. You also take away your followers' incentive to follow you on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. Who wants to be “followed” by the same images on all channels?

7. Frequency & timing

Both of these depend heavily on your followers.

One post a month is definitely not enough. 10 posts a day is definitely too much.

At the beginning, 1-2 posts a day are recommended, usually at the same time. Research when your followers are online on Instagram. If you have a mixed audience from the USA and Germany, of course you have to take this into account and find a compromise. Since the images are displayed chronologically by time of publication, posts will most likely be lost when it's bedtime in the United States.

Find out when it's worth posting pictures!

If you always post at the same time (e.g. always in the morning) your followers get used to it and sometimes wait for the next picture. In my case, I get the most response from morning and evening posts. During the day everyone is in at work and therefore not on Instagram. However, if your target group consists of self-employed people or mothers, for example, they are often out and about on Instagram during the day. So there is no one-size-fits-all recipe.

8. Commenting, liking, answering and following: What is it worth?

Everything is actually worth it - but some more and some less. Likes are hardly noticed by profiles beyond 1000 followers. So don't waste the time liking pictures and hoping for feedback. If you want to earn money as a blogger with your reach or as a company to reach a broad audience, at the end of the day only your followers (and cleverly chosen hashtags) count.

Be remembered through comments? This is how it works:

Commenting, on the other hand, is usually worthwhile. Find profiles with 500-2000 followers and comment under their pictures. If the comments

  • kind,
  • personal and
  • are interested,

a conversation develops quickly or the other person at least looks at your profile. If that is visually convincing, you will have a new follower very quickly. You should also respond to comments, preferably to every single one (as long as possible).

Discussions on other profiles are also great:

  • Discuss with
  • mark other people and
  • so answer this.

This is the natural way to make friends, and friends often become followers. You can also follow interesting people yourself. Like some pictures there that you really like and leave a comment. So you stand out more and the other person realizes that you are seriously interested in the profile and it not only liked because one hopes the other will "like it back".

By the way: you don't have to follow everyone who follows you!

I only follow profiles that fully convince me and keep cleaning up my list. If someone doesn't post anything or the pictures get significantly worse and I don't have a deeper connection to this follower, he / she will be thrown off my list again. That may sound mean, but this is the only way I can make sure that I can still follow the others and see most of the pictures and can comment or react to them. If I followed everyone who follows me, I would have a very ugly timeline and, in the end, Instagram should be fun too. After all, we don't want one thing: to see Instagram just as another advertising channel. Users notice this very quickly. So the motto is:

Get involved, be active, take part in Insta life!

9. Subject of picture theft: Watermark - yes or no?

There are always incidents of stolen pictures. Whole accounts sometimes only consist of external images that are simply used without being asked, usually without informing the author or identifying the author. To prevent this from happening to you, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Write on your profile page that all pictures are your own and that you own the copyright. A reference to the imprint of your site is also always good. If you want to give others the opportunity to share your pictures, write in your profile

Please give credit with @username„.

This way you will know when someone posts a picture of you, because you have been tagged. If all of this is too “trusting” for you, you can too Label images with a watermark and write your username in the picture (there are free apps for this). However, one should then keep in mind that this often spoils beautiful pictures and you also seem more like an “official” or “commercial” Instagrammer. And honestly, that's what nobody wants - not even companies. Instagram lives from the personality and privacy of the pictures. Sometimes bloggers have significantly more followers than big brands - That is not by accident.

10. Shoutouts: Shout It Out!

Shoutouts are a great thing. Here profiles are presented to your own followers. The whole thing gets interesting with you #sfs (Shoutout for Shoutout). If you are the organizer, you call on the SFS. If you want to now, you can take part by posting a picture of you in your profile, tagging you and calling for a visit. After 1-2 days you will then present all the profiles that have participated.

Discover profiles and gain new followers, made easy!

You can of course summarize them in thematic groups and, for example, introduce 5 at the same time, so you don't have to make too many posts. To start with, you can try your luck as a participant. You are guaranteed to get to know great, new profiles and if your own profile is convincing, you will certainly gain many new followers yourself. Once the account has reached a certain size, you are more of an organizer. Here you should make sure that you strictly limit the campaign period, otherwise you are forced to present tons of accounts.

11. Challenges: Dare!

Here, too, you can organize a challenge yourself or take part in one. In both cases, this will generate some new followers.

As an example: Participation in a Sketchnote challenge

I took part in a Sketchnote challenge. You should draw a small picture about a certain term every day and then post the picture. Of course there is also a hashtag for each challenge and you mark the organizer with @XY. If you look at all the pictures under the Challenge hashtag, you will quickly find like-minded people and you will also be found quite easily. The organizer is also gaining popularity as it is marked by many. All in all a really nice thing.

12. #widn: The chain letter among the hashtags

A kind of hashtag chain letter is hidden behind this combination of letters. It starts with a user asking another user what he is doing. The respondent then posts a picture, tags the questioner and uses the hashtag #widn. Here is an example, the text is mostly the same or they are very similar:

“Dear @XY asked me #widn. Thank you for thinking about me! I'm doing XY right now and then I'm looking forward to XY. What are @YZ, @AB, @CD doing right now? "

Here we go. And what does this #widn actually mean? Very easily: what I do now - So "What am I doing". You use the marked people to advertise their profiles and you will be mentioned by the others whom you have asked yourself. Just try. Certainly better suited for personal profiles than for brands.

13. Place advertisements

Since April 2015 there are also advertisements on Instagram in Germany. Companies should be happy about this possibility, the pure image consumers less so. These are currently still leaving negative comments under many advertisements - after all, they have now been used to an advertising-free environment for long enough.

Carousel Ads: Series of images as an advertising format

Since June 2015, advertisers have also been able to use so-called carousel ads. In this advertising format, several images are combined in a horizontal direction into one advertisement. The user can click through a row of images and thus gain a better impression. Still, it pays to advertise! The users are

  • more receptive,
  • more positive and
  • more responsive

than on Facebook & Co. And the competition is currently still low. In any case, it is definitely one good opportunity to increase reach and promote your image. This form of advertising is less suitable for generating traffic.

Our book tip for the topic:

Instagram Marketing for Business: How to Master Instagram, Reach Your Target Audience, and Acquire New Customers

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Patricia Schwarm has been a project manager at Unternehmer.de since 2011. In addition, she has been leading the cross-project content competence team at united vertical media GmbH since 2016. Before that, she studied media science, worked at the Fraunhofer Institute, Funkhaus Nürnberg and a radio station in Sydney / Australia. In her private life, she is currently setting up her own small blog on everything to do with interior & food.