• Graciela Salazar

12 Instagram rules for the newbie

Updated: Jun 8, 2018


Many people and now companies have Instagram accounts but not everyone makes the most out of it. For some, it is very hard to keep up with the unwritten rules of social platforms. Not everyone has the budget to hire a social media consultant or community manager so even if you are working very hard to have an awesome feed you can easily mess up.


I’ve created this go-to list to help you avoid making simple mistakes on Instagram.


1. Keep your username simple

Don’t have a username that is impossible to type or to remember. Create a username as close to your brand name as possible. Keep it short and simple without unnecessary numbers or symbols!


2. Optimize your Instagram bio

Visitors must decide whether they want to follow you or not. Make an impression! Let you visitors know what your business is about. Give them something so they will want to come back for more.


3. Have a “call-to action” link in your bio

The “call-to-action” can take users to wherever you want them to go! It can be a webpage, YouTube video, registration link, or your Facebook. This link does not have to be static, you can change it as many times as you want.


4. Thinking Instagram is like Facebook

Instagram and Facebook are different platforms. Yes, they are owned by the same guy Mark Zuckerberg but they work very different. Instagram is more about capturing moments. It’s way more mobile and it is all about the hashtags. With Instagram you can be more creative and less formal.


5. Quality vs. quantity

I see this happen all the time with businesses that are new to Instagram. They think it is OK to post something even if it is bad content. A quality post is always better than a bunch of crappy content. Each post you make needs to be high quality to interest people, so they will follow you.


6. Posting many times in less than an hour

People will unfollow you! Followers don’t want to go through their feed and see 5 or 10 posts of the same business next to each other. They can be awesome posts, but followers get tired and might only like the first one or two posts they see in their feed. They will classify you as spam!


7. Video thumbnails are important

Video thumbnails are very important. It is what people will see on your feed forever and ever. The thumbnail will mean the difference between a video being watched or not. Once it is posted, you can’t change it.


8. Have good photos

You don’t have to be an expert to take decent photos. You don’t have to have the fanciest camera either. All you need is to shoot your photos in bright light and it can be with your own cellphone! To achieve a quality image, you may also need to play with the Instagram editing tools. Or, you can try apps like Adobe Photoshop Express, VSCO or PicsArt.


9. Look at your Instagram feed as a big picture

You need to look at your Instagram as a whole to create a consistent feed. Don’t just focus on the separate images, always imagine how they will look next to your other previously published photos.


10. Plan what you are going to post

Don’t just post for posting. Plan! Take a few minutes to think about the photo, caption and hashtags. There are apps that can help you imagine this better before posting. I like using Preview App, it has a couple of awesome features and the best part is that it’s free! Another app that could work for you is Later.


11. Use hashtags

This is the best way to engage with new possible customers. Using the correct hashtags will help you accomplish this. And, please don’t use hashtags like #followforlikes or #likesforlikes. Make sure your hashtags relate to what you are talking about in your photo or video.


12. Engage

Answer questions. Ask questions. Give advice. Engage with your audience. Give them many reasons to stay and follow you.


Are you ready to start posting?

There are many other rules (which we’ll explore in a future post), but I tried to keep it as simple as possible for Instagram newbies. I hope this can help your businesses Instagram following grow.


So, are you following these basic Instagram rules? If you think you might need help at accomplishing this contact GS Digital Marketing, we will help you be creative.


By Graciela Salazar

GS Digital Marketing is a creative digital marketing firm in the Rio Grande Valley specializing in social media, video and graphic design. We will find creative ways to reach your customers. To learn more, visit our website or contact us.

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We are a creative digital marketing firm in the Rio Grande Valley specializing in social media, video and graphic design. We will find creative and effective ways to reach your customers.