Aug 03, 2015 / by Maria Materise

Instagram isn’t just for “the kids” anymore. Your audience is there, which means you need to embrace this fast-growing social platform. So what do you need to do to take advantage of Instagram’s full potential?

At her recent “Build Your Brand With Instagram” webinar, social media consultant Jenn Herman shared the best practices for using Instagram to connect with your followers. She covered everything from creating your profile and promoting your business to using hashtags effectively and engaging your audience.

Want more strategies for using Instagram? Watch the free on-demand webinar now!

Here are six of Jenn’s key tips for connecting with your audience on Instagram:

1. Make your profile public.

Make sure your consumers can find you.  Making your profile private closes your brand off from potential followers and potential business. A public profile is more inviting and encourages others to find you and connect with you.

2. Humanize your brand with your content.

“Instagram is all about visual content. You need your photos to stand out.” — Jenn Herman

The best way to do that is by choosing photos that showcase your brand on a more personal, human level. Jenn suggests posting photos of your employees or including motivational messages. No matter what you post, be sure your photos are high quality and high resolution.

3. Share exclusive content.

Instagram for PR

Your Instagram channel should offer something new for your followers that they can’t get anywhere else. You need to give people a reason to follow you on Instagram. Don’t post the same things on Instagram that you do for Twitter or Facebook. Each platform has a different audience that requires a different type of messaging.

4. Post natural-looking photos.

Instagram photos should not look like ads. Your followers want content that is interesting and unique, not too staged. Choose photos that are more casual and show personality. Your content should evoke emotion. Jenn recommends sharing behind-the-scenes photos of your workplace or process.

5. Take your story further with the caption.

While your photo grabs your audience’s attention, it’s your caption that keeps it. Make sure your caption adds value to your photo’s story. Explain the significance of your photo and then take it one step further with more information.

6. Use trends and hashtags where applicable.

Taking part in the Instagram community is a great way to attract new followers. Use hashtags and trending topics to join an existing conversation or start your own. Be sure that the hashtags you choose are relevant to your business, and don’t overwhelm your followers with too many.

Are you ready to start using Instagram for your brand? Check out our “10 Tips to Make Instagram Your Most Effective Social Channel” tip sheet!

Image: C_osett (Creative Commons)

Tags : social media

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About Maria Materise

Maria Materise is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Formerly a copywriter, she enjoys creating content that excites and inspires audiences. She is an avid reader, movie trivia geek, Harry Potter fanatic and makeup junkie..