Patrick Cole

10 Ways to Be Compelling on Instagram

By: Patrick Cole | May 12, 2016 | 
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10 Ways to Be Compelling on InstagramBy Patrick Cole

With Facebook no longer social media’s cool little brother and Twitter having plateaued, it makes sense for businesses and marketers to start looking elsewhere.

And, especially for visually-oriented brands. the logical place to go is Instagram.

So let’s focus on some ideas that can benefit both the seasoned Instagramer and the Insta-noob alike.

On Instagram, You Need Flow

If you want your feed to be appealing, it needs to have internal coherence.

You can’t just post whatever you like. Instead, keep to a theme, a color scheme, or have some sort of continuity.

This doesn’t mean your feed can’t change over time.

This isn’t a straightjacket.

Instead, it’s more like how a great DJ mixes from one tune to the next—the tune and the genre might change, but the changes appear seamless.

Be True

You need to actually like what you’re posting and care about what you’re trying to say.

If you don’t, people will notice.

Admittedly, that can be hard for a company or a brand.

The best way is to make somebody who cares about both photography and the brand and make them primarily responsible.

As an added bonus, this will also be more likely to create flow.

Quality is Far More Important than Quantity

Don’t post because you have to.

Post because something is good.

Use the ‘would I share this?’ question.

If the answer is ‘no’ then maybe reconsider the post.

The internet is full of crap that nobody looks at. Only quality gets noticed.

Focus On the Human Experience

If we want dry content, we’ll go to news sites.

We go onto social media to connect.

For that reason you need to create an actual experience for your viewers.

That means evoking emotion, creating a connection, or provoking a reaction.

Try to engage the heart first, only then the mind.

Social Proof

Though Laura Petrolino deservedly rips social proofing apart that doesn’t change the way the world works.

We like what other people like.

For that reason, if you’re getting started out on Instagram, you need to build up an initial following, preferably by recruiting people from other social media channels.

Once you’ve got some following people will begin to pay attention and you might not need to do more, but that first core group is vital.

Be Consistent

Obviously in quality, but also in posting you’ve got to be consistent.

Work out a schedule that you can keep to and then keep to it.

Miss it a couple of times and people will quickly move on.

The best way to do this is to actually schedule everything days in advance.

I normally try to have a whole week scheduled.

That way, if there’s some kind of emergency, you know Instagram is taken care of.

Use a Real Camera

They just look better and you need every edge you can get.

Know Which Hashtags Are Trending

If you want to get noticed fast, use the right hashtags.

This will push your pictures out to a far wider audience and, if they’re good enough, can get you noticed by the movers and shakers.

Engage With Your Audience

Don’t just post your own photos, but engage with other people and their stuff.

Respond to comments, like photos that people take and leave comments of your own.

Alternatively, get Instagress to do that for you.

Consider Sponsoring Influencers

Alternatively, if you have the cash, consider getting somebody who has a large following and get them to promote your brand.

It might be expensive (very expensive) but if done well, can launch a brand into orbit.

Instagram Last Words

Instagram is different, not easier.

The competition is just as stiff and it’s for a smaller audience.

That said, the audience is younger, with it mainly being made of millennials.

That means if you can get them now and make friends, you’ll have them for a long time.

In that regard, these ten tips will certainly help.

image credit: shutterstock

About Patrick Cole


Patrick Cole is an entrepreneur and freelancer. He is also a contributing blogger for several websites. Patrick loves self-education and rock music. Connect with Patrick via Facebook, Google+

  • Interesting tips! Instagram IS fun, and definitely has a different personality than the other channels. I am always amazed at the number of recommended hashtags because holy heck it seems like a lot! Curious what you mean by use a real camera …… and also what you think about the change to a non-chronological feed. Thanks!

  • Laura Petrolino

    In my experience, engagement is the number one most important thing to build your Instagram following (well that and posting a lot of shots of your butt, should the latter not be an option, even more emphasis must be on the former).

    Pick a community you want to build your following in (and that aligns with what you post) and engage as much as you can. I personally wouldn’t use something like Instagress because it’s pretty obvious the people who do and comes across just as spammy as automated DMs on Twitter. While it might build your following, I’d argue the quality is different and thus it really depends on your goals.

  • The main issue with instagram…well I have a few. It is great for cross posting on Twitter and Facebook to amplify reach. But the lack of resharing tools requiring 3rd party apps is ridiculous this late in the game. And while engagement is high…it is just as pithy if not more there than anywhere. I find that I LIKE photos almost always. Yet I don’t on Facebook. And unlike snapchat that has a montage having to click on each photo is very tedious when looking at a page. The good thing about it is that people have way smaller networks on average than twitter or facebook….so engagement/reach is higher. And people post photos on average 1x per day on Instagram vs 1x per week on Facebook so there is much more participation (most of Facebook’s is passive. 80% of content is posted by 20-30% of users)

  • Great post! And the points are oh so true!!

  • Alexandra Milo

    Thank you for the article. I would add my two cents: We
    examined a large number of automatic Instagram marketing apps.
    According to statistics they leave awkward out of place comments,
    provide low level of engagement activity with the audience and even lead
    to accounts being blocked! So, we created our own organic tool that helps building genuinely interested audience around the brand. Meet a free beta version of InstaHeads! https://www.instaheads.com

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