Instagram works in mysterious ways. There are no real hacks or shortcuts. One time a setup picture will go viral and the other time you will be left with no engagement and lots of frustration. But is there really nothing you can do to battle the evil Instagram algorithm?
I have been creating content since I was 16 and managing social media for big brands for the past three years. Along the way, I learned a lot through trial and error. Now I want to share six tips that will help you create better content, have more engagement and grow your community faster.
1) Good Content is King
Instagram is a visual platform and if your content is bad, no matter how many things you post, nobody will care. ‘Nuff said.
Luckily, we’ve created a list with basic tips and tricks on how to make your pictures stand out from the crowd. Take a look after reading the rest of this article!
2) Pick a Theme and Stay Consistent
If you are reading this article, chances are that you are a longboarder. Congratulations! This will be the theme for your Instagram page.
But we know that you are so much more than that. You love to travel, you have a cute dog and you are obsessed by that one tv show. We get that you want to share all these interesting things with your audience but it is very important to stick to your theme.
Russian Pro Rider Kate Voynova carefully curates her instagram feed by using cold blue tints in combination with her red hair and by making sure a longboard is visible in every shot.
If a person followed you for your amazing action shot or because they liked the graphic on your board, it doesn’t automatically mean that they will also love the same animals as you do. Does this mean that the world should never see your cute dog’s smile?
No, you just have to be creative and find ways to incorporate your dog into your theme. Take a photo of it sitting on your board, have the board somewhere in the background or wait for International Dog Day (August 26th) to give it more context. This way your followers will go from “Ain't nobody got time for this dog- unfollow” to “This person has more to offer than just longboarding, share with a friend”.
Next to action shots Kate also loves to share her love for fruit and drawing. Notice how her board is still visible in every picture.
3) Consistent Posting Schedule
Look at your longboard idols and favorite brands on instagram. No matter if it is Hans Wouters or Paris Truck Co, they all have one thing in common: they either post daily or stick to a consistent posting schedule.
Posting daily is the preferred option if you are actively trying to grow your community, but having specific posting days during the week or posting every other day will work too. You can't grow if you don't post for a week or a few days here and there. Your followers will come to expect your content so it’s important that you constantly deliver what they want.
Get your calendar out at warp speed and start planning! Photo by Christian Rosillo.
4) Best Hours to Post
Lots of people will tell you that you need a business account to figure out when the best posting time is for you. That can help but it is definitely not the only way. It’s actually better to get to know your followers and figure out when they are most active on social media.
You can do this by experimenting for a week or two. Upload pictures in the morning vs the evening and see what works best. Once you’ve figured that out, focus on specific times.
PRO TIP: people are most often active early in the morning before 11am and around 4-5pm in the evening of the time zone where your followers are. So when you travel from Europe to the US you have to adjust your posting time accordingly so that your photo shows up in your followers’ feed at peak time.
5) Hashtags and Geo Tags
There are multiple ways people can find you on instagram.
- someone likes you so much that they go to the streets and shout your instagram name out loud (very unlikely).
- the algorithm likes you and features you on explore page for millions to see (again, very unlikely).
- someone just bought a longboard, took a photo of it, posted it and used the hashtag #longboard, accidentally clicked on that hashtag and saw a photo you’ve posted (still very unlikely, but way better odds than the two previous scenarios).
Long story short, using 1-10 hashtags per post and tagging your location will help you get discovered.
PRO TIP: do not use the same hashtags for every post and keep them relevant. Think about the community you are trying to attract and the types of hashtags members of that community like to explore. Here are a few on us, for free, because we like you: #longboard #longboarding #skateboarding #longboarddancing #downhillskateboarding #enter_board_brand_name_here #enter_truck_brand_name_here #enter_wheels_brand_name_here #enter_city_name_here #enter_holiday_related_ word
6) Thumbnails - Look of your feed
Instagram is a visual platform, remember? It’s one thing to have the best pictures and videos, but if they don’t look good on your feed or the, nobody will care. This one is simple!
Just be aware of the thumbnail that you choose for you video (please don’t let it be the first frame) and make sure that your vertical photo eventually will look good in square on your feed.
The first frame of a video is usually black and that won't look good on your feed. Choosing a relevant thumbnail where you and the board are visible will result in more engagement.
When posting a vertical photo you should always keep in mind how it will eventually look in square on your feed.
We hope you’re ready to step up your IG game. If you are, best of luck and let us know how it goes by sending us a message on instagram @stokedrideshop (and maybe hit that follow button).