Instagram has announced another update to the formidable photo social network. This time it includes three new photo filters and the ability to use emojis as hashtags! According to their blog, new filters will also be coming more frequently to your mobile devices.
Instagram added five new filters back in December 2014, and it was just a couple of weeks ago that they introduced new editing tools to their menu for color and fading effects. Therefore, we thought it would be an appropriate time to–take a breath–and assess which of the current filters and features work best for social media marketers to increase their followers and build engagement.
Let’s dive in.
1. Choose a Focus
When users decide to follow brands on Instagram, they want the follow to fulfill a specific purpose. Choosing a focus for your brand will give your users a reason to check your profile for new content and necessitate a follow.
For example, if you’re a real estate agent, your account could showcase a variety of photos: under-contract properties, favorite home features, or properties that are for sale. Though no matter the goals you’ve set for this network, we suggest choosing a theme that the most users will relate to. Not everyone may be in the market for buying a home, but many people can dote on home décor and beautiful landscaping.
2. Pick the Right Filter
Design is everything when it comes to visual social media posts. Colors, fonts, and overall design can be the deciding factor between scrolling and double-tapping for a ‘like.’ So which Instagram filters will push for interaction?
Top Filters for Engagement: Mayfair, Normal, and Inkwell
Top Filters Used on Instagram: Normal, Lo-Fi, and X-Pro II
Surprisingly, it looks like #nofilter is the best filter when posting on Instagram! This analysis doesn’t include the latest filter updates, but we’re confident if you do want to add an artistic feel to your photo, go with Mayfair to provoke likes and comments. The worst filters to use are 1977, Willow, and Toaster.
3. Insert Hashtags (many hashtags)
Just as on Twitter, hashtags are meant as a discovery tool on Instagram. However, the difference is that on Instagram, hashtags fit the motto ‘the more the merrier.’ There is no 140 character limit on Instagram to which we are constrained, AND people are more likely to find your photos when they’re linked to more hashtags.
First, try this with trending topics or holidays. For example, to capitalize on Earth Day 2015 we searched Instagram to see which hashtag was most popular.
Granted we didn’t have the emoji update yet, so we couldn’t to search for a globe, but we did discover there were 963,837 posts using the #EarthDay hashtag; so we added it to our photo #MadeWithPagemodo.
Even if your post doesn’t see a huge amount of interaction, you might gain a lot of followers–we added 50 on the day of this post!
Hashtags are a great way to gain followers as long as you maintain the proper hashtag etiquette!
4. Add a Call-to-Action
Having a clear call-to-action will help you complete your social media goals. If you want to increase interaction, ask them to ‘double-tap’ for a like or comment when you ask a question. If you want more followers, join the popular hashtags that will influence people to follow.
Sometimes the best way to get what you want is to ask for it!
5. Hold a Contest
Using your new knowledge of hashtags, create an Instagram contest with a hashtag! Some of the best Instagram contests have a branded hashtag, feature a giveaway as a grand prize, and promote the contest on Facebook, Pinterest, and other related networks.
If you use #contest, you’re sure to find new followers or participants. But, the key is to tell users they MUST follow you to be eligible to win. It is easy to collect the usernames of contest participants and identify if they are in your list of followers.
6. Follow Back and Interact
In the photo above you’ll see that we have followed some of our users that are also following us. We want to show our appreciation and show we are engaged and active on our account.
A good tip is to also like photos or videos that your followers have posted. Not only have you followed their interests, but you’ve provided another way to expose your brand to more users (by your account being displayed in the list of likes).
You may want to establish specific criteria for which users you follow. Here at Pagemodo we follow public accounts that don’t post any crude or inappropriate content.
7. Experiment with Ads
If you have tried to attain followers organically through hashtags and follow-backs to no avail, it may be time to put a little money behind your posts.
Instagram advertising has made impressive updates, allowing users to see multiple photos with the swipe of a finger or click-through to your website with a single tap.
Image Source: Instagram Blog
This carousel ad method allows your brand and your message to reach more users based on a strict budget you set, and gives more opportunities for increasing your Instagram following.
Bonus Pro Tip: Discover People in Activity Tab
In addition to discovering people and posts through hashtags, it is a little-known fact that Instagram has a feed that will show more than your selected followers! No, we don’t mean the ‘People’ tab under the search function, we are talking about the ‘Following’ tab in your notifications!
In this tab you will find ALL of the activity of the people you are following on Instagram: photos they have liked, profiles they have followed, and even comments they have made. In this tab you can discover what kind of content your followers are interested in (granted you have followed them back), and get a better idea of the content you should be posting!
When you try one or all of these tips, we hope you bring in all the followers you desire!
Are there any methods we may have missed? Share them with us in the comments.
About the Author: Deanna Zaucha is the Senior Specialist of Content Marketing for Webs and Pagemodo, and also manages our social media presence. She can be found on a dance floor, or on her iPhone keeping up with trends in marketing and tech. Get more from Deanna on Pagemodo’s Blog and Twitter.