Whether you’re just getting started with your business’ Instagram or want to sharpen tools to improve your existing account, check out these ten principles for a thriving and engaging profile.


  1. Share an experience, not a product.

    Customers can go to your website for product picture. On instagram they want to be inspired or see something exciting. Show an experience or positive outcome of your product or service, it’s more compelling than an inanimate object. I.e. if you sell cameras don’t post pictures of cameras, post pictures of the stunning photos your customers could take with them.
  2. Appeal to emotion.

    Highly aesthetic images perform well, but Images with high emotional appeal connect on a more human level. Smiles, human faces, gravitas, all can boost your likes and shares. Additionally, storytelling is one of the best methods for building post popularity. A relevant story  or quote with a compelling photo can take your post to the next level in terms of emotional appeal.
  3. Optimize your bio.

    Ideally your bio should include: A slogan or brief description that speaks to your brand voice, and an Instagram-specific relevant bio link pointing to your homepage or a promotion (hint: you can use a URL tracker like Bitly to further assess your Instagram traffic).
  4. Stay relevant.

    Start with annual holidays, then branch into seasonal content, current events (sports, politics), and even topical events like the women’s march or national pizza day. This content resonates with users and will help your brand seem up to date and topical.
  5. Post high quality images.

    High quality both in picture quality and content quality. Here are a few essential tips:

    1. Use natural lighting for clearer photos with more vibrant colors. It’s best to take photos in natural light early in the morning or just before dusk.
    2. Think a little bit about composition before you snap a photo. Take time to play objects where you think they look best.
    3. Reduce clutter and aim for clean images that are well-balanced with a focal point. Consider the background, angle, and composition.
    4. Don’t over edit your images. Though you have tools at your disposal, avoid over editing to the point where your images might come off as fake or inauthentic.
  6. Strike a balance between promotional and inspirational content.

    You need to strike a healthy balance between promotional content and content that’s interesting and inspirational. If every single post is about how great your brand is, your target consumers will be less likely to follow you.
  7. Use hashtags.

    Hashtags help you reach a larger audience by improving visibility.  But don’t overdo it! You don’t need a paragraph of hashtags at the end of every post. Try and use ones that are the most relevant to your brand or service, or create a unique branded hashtag.
  8. Post consistently.

    It doesn’t matter if that’s once a day or once a week, but keep up the content! Customers will forget about you or not seek out your content if it shows up highly sporadically. If you want to post at times of high engagement, check out this chart to see when users most likely engage.
  9. Be active in the comments.|

    When a follower asks a question, answer it. If someone comments about how much they love the post or your brand, thank them. This type of quick response engagement lets your followers know you are plugged in  and listening to them.
  10. Include a call to action (CTA).

    Engage your followers by asking them to perform an action. This can be: Asking a question, Encourage sharing via hashtags and regrams, publish “tag-a-friend” posts that encourage conversations between users, or simply point people to your bio link. All of these are a great way  to generate more buzz around your post.

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