It’s official: Instagram is a beast. According to Sprout, it has over 300 million users (nearly a third of that in the U.S alone) who share over 70 million photos and videos every day. Nearly a quarter of Internet users have an Instagram account. Forrester found that Instagram scores the highest when it comes to brand engagement with a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%.
The command is clear. If you or your brand isn’t on Instagram yet, it’s high time to do so. But is there a strategic way to gain followers and garner engagement?
Dan Zarella, who writes that the future of social media is visual content, put together this wonderful infographic below that might help answer that question. In it, he took a look at a large amount of Instagram data and identified what works and what doesn’t.
A few takeaways:
Information is key. The more you tag, geolocate, and caption, the more people like and comment on your photo. There are occasions where a simple image can speak for itself, or perhaps the image has text in it already, but your followers often want and need context. Use hashtags, tag the people in your photo, and come up with a clever caption. Social media is about information, and the more you can give, the greater the follower satisfaction.
Be clear. The call-to-action principle works on Instagram the way it works on Facebook and Twitter. If you want people to like, give them a reason. If you want them to comment, ask a question. Be direct with your incentives, and you might be surprised at how many of your followers will participate.
People want to see people. Photos with faces and with a lot going on get more engagement, so don’t be afraid to post a (well-crafted/staged/lit/styled) shot of people doing things. Certainly photos of nature and still lifes do well in their niche communities, but an easy way to energize your fan base is to energize your photos.
Stay bright, stay light. There is no secret sauce to a beautiful photo, but time and time again we’ve heard that blue and green hues in Instagram generate more likes. Therefore, when in doubt about a filter, try Nashville or Walden. It follows that brighter photos do better than darker ones (think Rise or Amaro), and dial down that saturation while you’re at it. Of course, each photo you take and post will require different touch-ups, but if you want your Instagram theme to be, well, a well-liked one, tend toward the cooler, brighter colors.