Instagram is Singapore’s third most-used social media platform with over 3 million active users. It is by far the most popular platform for sharing photos and videos amongst 25 to 34 years old, making it an excellent choice for engaging young adults.
In this Instagram guide, we’ll cover the Instagram tips, hacks and secrets successful brands use to generate sales and grow their customer base.
Account Profile and Optimisation
Switch to a Business Account
As far as Instagram tips go, switching from a standard account to a business account is a basic but fundamental step towards getting the most out of your Instagram marketing.
A business account allows you to add a contact button as well as key information like your industry and business address to your Instagram profile. You’ll also get the ability to create and publish ads on Instagram.
The biggest benefit, however, is access to Instagram Insights. Insights is an analytics tool that provides stats like the impressions and reach of your posts. With this, you’ll be able to track the performance of your posts and identify which types of content resonate best with your audience.
To turn your standard account into a business account:
- Open your Instagram app and open your profile
- Tap the hamburger icon in the top right-hand corner
- Tap Settings
- Tap Account
- Tap Switch to Professional Account
- Tap Continue
- Select a Category for your business
- Tap Done and OK to confirm
- Tap Business
- Tap Next
- Add contact details
Optimise Your Profile
One of the many Instagram tips that is always mentioned but often underlooked is to optimise your Instagram profile. Your profile will be the most visited page that tells potential customers who you are and what you do, so it is worth spending the extra time and effort to get it right.
Here are the elements that make up your profile and the best practices for optimising each of them.
Your bio introduces prospective customers to your brand. You want to create an instant connection, so craft something that will communicate your brand promise and showcase your brand personality.
Experts recommend keeping your bio short and sweet at 150 characters or less. Be sure to include a call-to-action that tells visitors what you want them to do at the end of your bio. This can be anything from clicking the link in your bio to following your account or purchasing a product from your website.
Business profile pictures are typically logos. Make sure you use the same image across all your social media platforms to keep things consistent and improve your brand recognition.
Instagram displays profile pictures at 110 x 110 pixels. We recommend uploading your image in a higher resolution to retain image quality. Finally, Instagram also crops profile pictures into a circle, so consider how your image will look with a circular frame.
Story highlights take up a prominent spot on your Instagram profile, showing up just under your bio and above your posts.
When prospective customers first land on your Instagram profile, they have months and even years of content to go through. Instead of slogging through your feed, organise your story highlights to make it easier for visitors to find the content they’re interested in!
Use a Third-party Bio Link Tool
Traditionally, Instagram only allows a single link on your profile. Marketers would have to manually swap the bio link anytime they were running a different campaign.
This presents a problem when you’re looking to drive traffic to your website, social media platforms, or even multiple campaign pages. Third-party Instagram bio link tools alleviate this by turning your one link into a custom landing page that houses all the links you want to share.
They range from simple to complex with multiple ways to showcase your links. Some excellent bio link tools you can check out include Buffer or Linktree.
Developing and Posting Content
In today’s social media landscape, authenticity is key. All the Instagram hacks in the world won’t help if your audience cannot connect with you and your story. Don’t just post non-stop products and promos, be sure to mix up your content by showing off the human side of your brand — a behind-the-scenes look at your operations or a post about a valued member of the team and what they do is a great way to do just that.
Develop Content Pillars
Creating content is hard. Creating content consistently is an uphill battle if you don’t have a plan in place.
Have you ever struggled to create a social media post or write an article? One of the Instagram secrets content creators don’t tell you is that they have days where they feel uninspired and struggle to create content too.
That’s where content pillars come in. Content pillars are three to five topics your brand will consistently discuss and create content for on social media. They help you find your niche and ensure that your content is consistent and not all over the place. Once you come up with your content pillars, it becomes much easier to plan ahead and avoid last-minute content creation.
Here are some examples of content pillars:
- A marketing agency’s content pillars might be marketing trends, marketing tools, and marketing tips.
- A fitness apparel brand’s content pillars might be motivational content, workout tutorials, recipes and workout lookbooks.
Stay Organised with a Content Calendar
When you have your content creation down, you also need a strategy to publish it consistently. This way, your audience knows when they can expect new content and have something to look forward to.
Social media managers and marketers use content calendars to plan and organise their content in advance. Content calendars are excellent at helping you track the progress of a piece of content and ensuring that it is published at the right time and place.
You can use tools like Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel or any other project management software to create your content calendar. If you’re unsure how or where to start, try adapting these content calendar templates by ClickUp and HubSpot.
Post at the Right Time
People are on social media a lot of the time. But they’re not on social media all the time. One of the easiest Instagram hacks to increase engagement is to figure out when your audience is active so your posts get the most views and interactions. As a bonus, Instagram’s algorithms tend to promote recent posts that have gotten plenty of attention in a short time.
Knowing when to post is such a key metric that several of the internet’s reputable marketing blogs have all done studies on the subject and published their insights.
SproutSocial: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 am – 1 pm
HubSpot: Thursday and Friday, 1 pm – 3 pm
Hootsuite: Wednesday, 11 am
As you can see, the times vary wildly depending on the source. What gives? The caveat is that this all depends on your target audience’s time zones, age, demographic and activity. So what’s the best way to find the right time to post that’s relevant to you?
We recommend using Instagram insights to identify the times and days the majority of your audience is active on the platform. You can also look through your best-performing posts and determine if they were published at a similar point in time.
Use a Post Scheduler
Psst. Here’s one of the more open Instagram secrets out there. Just because social media is 24/7 doesn’t mean you have to be. Publishing content on Instagram manually can lead to missed timings and mistakes.
You don’t need to be running a complex marketing campaign with multiple Instagram accounts and posts at different times of the day to benefit from a post scheduler. Automating your Instagram posts in advance is an excellent time-saver and gives you more energy to focus on other things.
Most social management tools will have a post scheduler built-in. You just have to find one that works for you. Buffer, Hootsuite and CoSchedule are popular options you can start exploring.
Use Insights to Track Post Success
As far as Instagram tips go, here’s one that is worth constantly repeating — listen to your audience!
Instagram Insights helps you learn more about trends across your followers and tracks exactly how each of your posts has performed. It’s a powerful tool that can shape your content strategy and help you align your content with your goals.
Figure out what you want. Is it more clickthroughs? Reach? Comments? Shares? Views? Then review your data to see what works, what doesn’t and what can be improved.
Use Closed Captions
Top priority amongst the Instagram hacks on this list is something you can start applying to your stories and reels right away. According to Later, 30% of Instagram users watch stories without sound. HubSpot also ran a similar survey amongst 300 users — 15% of which watched Instagram stories without sound while 56% turned on sound “sometimes”.
Either way you look at it, turning on closed captions for your stories and reels is a great way to ensure you keep the attention of the silent watchers amongst your audience. Simply tap the sticker icon after you’ve recorded your footage, select the “captions” sticker and Instagram will automatically generate closed captions for your video.
Community Building and Growth
Make Use of User-generated Content
The best Instagram hacks for growth involve your community and get them engaged in everything you do. User-generated content (UGC) is one of the most powerful tools in your social media arsenal. They’re essentially the online version of word-of-mouth marketing.
UGC can help take the pressure off having to create original content every day, which is why you want to make it easy for your community to find and share content related to your brand.
On Instagram, the easiest way to do this is via hashtags — which is why many big brands come up with interactive hashtags for UGC. For example, GoPro has grown into an international brand using the hashtags #GoPro, #GoProCommunity and #GoProAwards to get users to share videos shot on their cameras.
Coming up with your own UGC hashtag also makes it easy for you to find content posted by your followers to regram (with their permission, of course!)
Respond to Comments and DMs
This is one of those Instagram tips that might seem obvious but is hard in practice. No one likes being ignored, but an impersonal scripted response arguably makes you feel even worse. If you’re managing your Instagram page, it’s important to set aside some time to actively participate in community engagement.
That means taking the time to craft personalised responses to comments, replying to DMs and even engaging on other Instagram pages in similar niches. Trust that your audience can sense if you’re being inauthentic! Your followers want to interact with a brand that shares their values and will listen to them — the more you engage them in a meaningful way, the stronger your relationship will grow, and with trust, these followers will turn into your brand advocates.
If you don’t have the time to respond to everyone, that’s understandable. At the bare minimum, you should be checking and answering your Instagram comments and DMs every day or every few days.
Use High-quality Hashtags
How can we cover Instagram tips without mentioning hashtags? The main function of hashtags is to categorise your posts and make them easily searchable. But don’t just start adding every hashtag under the sun!
When it comes to hashtags, less is more. Sproutsocial found that posts by top brands often have fewer hashtags, with most hovering between the two to four range. The top brands also use a combination of their branded hashtags and broad community tags to encourage shares amongst their followers whilst still appealing to Instagram’s broad user base.
Collaborate with Other Brands
Collaboration with other like-minded brands is one of the Instagram hacks social media marketers use to increase their following. Chances are brands that share your values also have similar customer profiles. Collaboration opens the door and gives you access to a pool of receptive audience so you don’t have to.
Run Contests and Giveaways
Want to grow your follower base fast? Sometimes the oldest Instagram tips work best. Contests are an excellent source of user-generated content and can greatly boost your organic reach.
One of the Instagram secrets big brands use is to keep contests as simple as possible to encourage more people to participate.
Keep Up-to-Date with Hashtags and Trends
Top Instagram tips to staying relevant? Trending hashtags are your friend. The right posts with the right hashtags at the right time can put you on top of search results to generate more awareness for your brand.
Sales, Lead Generation and Marketing
Make Use of Instagram Stories
One of the top Instagram secrets successful brands use is to consistently create stories and reels to engage customers and keep them interested.
Stories appear on your profile or feed for 24 hours before being deleted, so they are a great way to share behind-the-scenes or other types of content that would not be on-brand for your feed. The time-sensitive nature of stories is also a great way to induce fear of missing out (FOMO) and get customers to take action.
Need some statistics that show stories and reels are worth your time? Brands that posted a story a day saw a 100% retention rate while Meta reports that 50% of people visit a brand’s website after seeing a story.
Make Use of Product Tags
Product tags work like normal Instagram tags except you’re tagging products instead of people. They can be added to posts, stories or reels. A product tag will display the name and price of the product whilst giving customers the option to tap to view more or buy. They make it convenient for customers to take immediate action when they’re viewing your post and feeling interested — so there’s no reason not to use them!
Try Influencer Marketing
What Instagram guide would this be if we didn’t mention influencer marketing? Instagram is a platform where everyone and anyone can be a creator with their own following. No matter your niche, one of the Instagram secrets successful brands use is to connect and build relationships with a network of influencers that align with your brand and its values.
Remember that you don’t always have to go for Instagram influencers with a big following. Working with micro-influencers within your niche can be more effective as it spreads awareness of your brand amongst more receptive followers. Plus, influencers can also humanise your brand and be a source of user-generated content.
Use Instagram Ads
Instagram ads have a potential reach of 3.05 million Singaporeans and that number is steadily increasing year-over-year as more Millennials and Gen Z-ers start using the platform. The majority of Instagram’s ad audience is 25 – 44 years old with an even mix of males and females.
If you walk away with one thing out of the many Instagram tips from this Instagram guide — it’s that you don’t need a lot to get started with Instagram ads. Using the “Boost Post” feature, you can turn any of your old posts into an Instagram ad.
If you have an old post that has received tons of impressions and positive engagement, why not boost it and turn it into an ad to benefit and repurpose your old content!
We hope you’ve picked up some useful Instagram tips from this Instagram guide! If you’re looking to learn how to maximise your marketing results from Instagram ads, why not learn in person from the experienced marketers at FirstCom Academy?
Get hands-on experience setting up your first Instagram account, creating ads and learning strategies to maximise your campaign results with our Instagram marketing course.