Since the  inception of MySpace, people have been clamoring for their spot in the social media world. Whether it’s a like from that guy you had a crush on in high school or a comment from a celebrity or brand you love, we all desire the attention that social media can give us. Because of this, the world of social media marketing has exploded and it’s become a necessary tool to the success of so many different companies in just about every industry across the board.

Everyone knows Facebook and Twitter, and they have certainly stepped up their game with specialized tools and services for businesses to boost their visibility across the web. There is, however, a new contender in the corner waiting for their chance to help grow your brand: Instagram. Now we’re here to tell you how to put Instagram to work for you. We’ve put together a few tips to help your brand stand out from the crowd with your Instagram presence.

Switch to Business

If you haven’t already, the first thing you need to do is change your brand’s personal Instagram page to a business account.  Even if you are small and just starting out, this will set you apart from all the personal accounts hawking their DIY goods. You have to look professional to be taken seriously with your business and you can’t do that with a personal account.

Once you’ve gone to a business account, you will have access to some pretty useful tools like the “in your face” call to action contact buttons that allow your customers to email, call, or even text your business. You should also familiarize yourself with Instagram Insights. Their impression and engagement data can be used to make necessary adjustments to your posts and customer engagements in the future.

Don’t Oversaturate Your Feed

The saying “quality over quantity” is key when posting on Instagram. You may think that more posts will bring more eyes to your brand, but the opposite is actually true. Twitter and Google+ seem to do better with three or more posts a day, but Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram have more success with interaction from followers when they post just one or two a day. Keep it simple and leave them wanting more!

Encourage Interaction

There are so many ways you can encourage comments and customer interaction on Instagram. Posting a picture and including a question or poll in the caption will increase comments and likes while creating promotions, giveaways, or contests will bring in more followers as your existing customer base tags their friends and family to increase their chances of winning!

Improve Your Visuals

Instagram isn’t just for over-filtered pictures anymore, and you should use that to your advantage. Teaser videos for upcoming products as well as organic product posts can increase visibility and customer interactions as people feel the information they’re seeing is more “real”. Get creative with angles, lighting, and focus points to draw the eye and you’ll find you won’t have to rely on filters to make your pictures stand out.   

Timing Really is Everything

While there isn’t a universal set time that’s known to be best for posting on social media, it’s good to know when your target market is logged in. We’re not going to get into the specifics for other platforms like Facebook or Twitter, but all you really need to know is anytime between 5 and 6pm is best for weekdays with the exception of Mondays which is 8pm. Since this is just a general statistic for all Instagram users, you can use a service like Buffer to analyze your profile so you can find YOUR sweet spot for posts.