Over the last few years as I worked to grow my own Instagram and researched endless other successful users, I realized there was five foundational things that were repeated over and over by the most renowned accounts. No, these aren’t things like “the use of Instagress” or “consistent following and unfollowing”.. in fact, these five things are real, authentic, reputation-building characteristics that you can apply to your own account today and start reaping the rewards right away.
So get to it! Here is the Five Things You Can Learn From The Best Instagram Accounts:
1. Post Consistently
All of the best Instagram accounts know that in order to get the highest engagement, create the strongest relationships with their audience, and continue to increase their follower count daily, they MUST be posting consistently. Depending on your niche and your audience, the number of daily posts can vary but for most, ONE post per day is the norm.
Depending on where you get your information, you may have heard that 3-5 posts per day is the best but that amount can be overwhelming to your audience (most instagrammers prefer a variety of different posts in their feed and not multiples from the same account), and it can actually hinder the amount of engagement your posts get. In my personal experience when I post a second image within the same day, it brings my first post to a halt and stops it from getting as much engagement as it could have if I had let it be for 24 hours.
Now, having said that, being consistent seems simple but it can actually be really difficult to maintain. In order to help keep yourself on track I recommend using a scheduling app like Later.com or Planoly.com. You can use these services to pre-plan your posts ahead of time and have them go live with just a few clicks. (*Pro Tip: any scheduling app that automatically posts for you is against Instagram’s terms of service and can get you in hot water.. stick to my recommendations to be safe!)
2. Use High Quality Images
As you probably know by now, Instagram is alllll about imagery. In contrast to social platforms like Twitter or Facebook, Instagram’s native content is photographs and that’s exactly what it’s users love so much about it. So, having said that, it’s absolutely critical that you make sure your account is filled with high quality images!
Some of the best Instagram accounts are photographers, for obvious reasons, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a photographer to have a great account. Take for example my account @menandcoffee. While all the images I use are user generated (meaning they are taken by others and submitted to me for posting) I am still able to create a feed filled with super high quality images that my audience loves. (ok maybe the abs have something to do with it, but truly, I make sure to only choose the photos that have the best composition and quality!)
Alternatively, accounts like @kass_reich_illustration are equally amazing because of their artwork / graphics. Your imagery doesn’t have to specifically be a photograph, but rather anything that is eye catching, crisp and appealing to your audience.
3. Write Personal Captions
This concept is something that all of the best Instagram accounts certainly are aware of, although chances are good it took them sometime to realize it, or become comfortable with it. This is true for me too. When I first started posting to my account @alextooby I acted solely as a business owner and simply wanted to share Instagram tips and hopefully funnel my audience towards my website and eventually to my course. While that did work (specifically offering value in the form of a tip really helped with my credibility and likability) it wasn’t until I started infusing a bit more of my personality into my captions that I really saw an upturn in clicks to my website and subsequently, sales of my course.
If you take a good look at a couple of your favorite Instagram feeds, chances are not only do you like them because of their images, but also because you feel some sort of connection to them. That connection, whether you noticed it or not, was formed most likely by the way they write their captions. When we open up and share more of our personal lives (the story behind the picture, the emotions you felt at the time, any current or past struggles that are relevant) we let our audience see our real, authentic and relatable side, which often leads to the creation of a genuine connection. While you may not meet or even speak to all of your followers, you can still build individual relationships with them by simply opening up and letting it all pour out into your Instagram captions. Give it a try and I promise you’ll notice an increase in comments!
4. Know & Engage With Your Target Market
If you want to be ranked among the best of the best on Instagram, you must take the time to get to know and engage with your target market. What exactly is a “target market“ you ask? A target market is the ideal person you would like following you on Instagram, or the person you believe would benefit the most from your content, products, services, etc. For example, my target market is primarily female entrepreneurs, ages 25-35, who own a small creative business. The details of this person actually go much much deeper but in it’s most basic form, that’s my target market.
When you make the effort to figure out who your target market is, and become as familiar with them as possible, your efforts on Instagram become a lot easier and you’ll see a massive increase in engagement and followers. With your target market in mind you can create content specifically for them, you can write captions you know they’re going to resonate with, you can post at a time you know they’re going to be online, you can use hashtags you’re certain they’re searching for, etc.
On top of this, the best Instagram accounts spend time every single day engaging with their target market. So whether that’s responding to comments they’ve received on their pictures, or going out of their way to like and comment on the photos of people who aren’t following them yet. These actions don’t take much effort but can result in a substantial increase in followers!
If you’re intrigued by this concept and would like to learn more about discovering your own target market and using that information to your advantage on Instagram, please check out my course The Instagram Ivy League. This course focuses on determining who your target market is then implementing a variety of different methods to appeal directly to them. If done correctly, this can quickly and easily increase the amount of targeted, engaged, and potentially profitable people following you! Sure it would be nice to have 100k followers but if they aren’t your target market, you aren’t going to make any money from them, right? Get the right followers with The Instagram Ivy League.
5. Implement A Strategy
I know we’ve all been there before.. posting haphazardly, randomly choosing hashtags for each image, and not really knowing what direction we’re going with our accounts. It’s actually very common and simultaneously self sabotaging. This strategy, or lack thereof, can be really detrimental to your success on Instagram. So, let’s take a final cue from the best Instagram accounts; they all have a strategy and goal in mind when it comes to their accounts!
That means they’re considering an ideal time to post when their audience is most likely to be online.. they’re researching and using hashtags that will increase their engagement.. they’re consistently using ‘call to actions’ to encourage their audience to take action (leave a comment, tag a friend, click the link in your bio, etc). These small, purpose driven actions can make a massive difference in the success of your Instagram account, so take it from the pros; be organized, be purposeful, and implement a strategy!
Need help determining a strategy for your account and goals? Check out my FREE Instagram Training!
So that’s it! The five key take away’s we can learn from the best accounts on Instagram! I highly encourage you to implement these concepts on your own account if you want to make the most of your time on Instagram!
What do you think of these concepts? How many are you implementing on your Instagram? Let me know in the comments!
These are great tips! Thanks so much for sharing Alex
Thanks for sharing Alex! I have also heard that asking questions in your captions to engage with your audience helps….would you agree?
These are some really awesome tips!!
This is so great – thanks Alex! I’m not quite there yet but I’m working on it! I use later.com to post every day and have also started a ‘share Saturday’ where I pick an account or post that I like that ties in to my brand. The analytics from Instagram help with identifying my target audience (matched with what I had hoped which is a bonus! ) , with the best time to post…. still working on my photos but your advice on the FB group and your free course has been brilliant so I’m trying to improve steadily… Read more »
Great tips Alex! I think you’re spot on with writing captions that connect with your audience – I receive a lot more engagement from posts where I’m being more personal and sharing an insight or learning from personal experience.