Now "Husi" It: IG Rules of Thumb
As you thumb through Instagram (get it?!?!), you can tell as well as I do that some accounts are fun, engaging and/or visually impressive and some are...not. Whether you are an up-and-coming artist trying to build a fan base or a local baker selling cakes, Instagram can be a super helpful tool—not only for reaching the right audience, but also for keeping the conversation going far beyond their first purchase of a ticket or delicious baked good(s). In order to help you use Instagram to your greatest advantage, here’s a quick and dirty list of suggestions to guide and inform your strategy on the ‘gram (listed in ascending order of importance, so read to the bottom to get to the good stuff).
1. Be Clear. If I am a plebian IG user and I happen to come across your profile because you were tagged in a meme, it better be hella clear to me what exactly it is that you do (read: sell). If you are a band, but your last 6 posts are all beautiful landscapes of Utah, I’m going to assume you are photographer with a very confusing company name and move on. A link to your soundcloud isn’t enough--75% of the screen a user sees at first glance should tell them exactly who you (or your business) really are (selling).
2. Be Consistent. Personally, I’m turned off by accounts that post three times a day in their feed (and God knows how many stories about their dogs/the rain/a bookstore/other boring shit), but at least they are consistent about it. If you post three times in a row then don’t open Instagram for a week, users will get confused, feel mislead, and then by the time you post again they’ve forgotten who you even are and/or why they care. On the other hand, if users come across a profile that hasn’t been posted on within the last month, I’m 99% sure everyone assumes that person is dead, the business is closed, or your band broke up. If you can only commit to posting once a week, FANTASTIC. Do that. If you want to post every day, be my guest. Just know that you have to keep it up until the next platform comes along (enter IGTV).
3. Be Communicative. To me, this is the most important rule, as it is what social media is all about when I’m wearing my rose-colored glasses. Social media platforms offer you an opportunity to interact with, get feedback from, and show appreciation for their fans/advocates/customers. Plus, the Instagram algorithm favors high engagement rates—the more comments you have, the more likely you are to show up in a feed or explore page. So take the time to respond to someone who left a comment, because I promise you they will appreciate it and it will help you in the long run. That’s Karma, dude.
4. Be F*cking Cool. I’m only going to say this one time: YOU DO NOT NEED A HMU TEAM, PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER, SPONSORED WARDROBE, AND/OR PHOTOSHOP EDITING SKILLS TO HAVE A BADASS FEED. Yes, branding is important, but if you just curate the same boring, minimalist feeds that are seeew trendy right now, most users will swipe right past that bad boy. Be true to your product and/or self and do whatever you think feels cool, whatever that looks like, and your real fans will love you for it.