We all know that social media sites represent a great way for us to get some free advertising as freelance workers. A post a day can keep starvation at bay, or so the saying goes. We wanted to take a look into some of the sites on an individual level to find out how we should be using them to maximise our brands.
Let’s break it down into short, actionable items that you can do a little at a time. What do you need to do to get the most following and sales through Instagram?
There are a few timing points we want to make, so let’s cover them individually.
No…but yes. According to market research, the day of the week you use IG is as important as what time of day you schedule your posts at. They will have maximum engagement when posted on a Thursday. Why? We’re not entirely sure, but Instagram use falls off pretty steadily over the weekend. We think this might be when Instagram fans go out and collect new pictures.
So no, you don’t have to post every day as long as you are making sure you post on a Thursday. That being said; brand recognition cannot be built without exposure. You need to get your name, your business, and your logo out there as often as possible.
If you have regularly engaging content then posting every day is wise. If you have ‘just enough’ content (i.e. a blog you want to link to, the odd product, or a few services to talk about) then posting a few times a week is fine. If you can only hit one day a week then make sure it’s a Thursday.
So it isn’t only the days of the week that will impact the reach of your posts (and we all know more reach is better for spreading the word!) but it is also the time of day that you post. People tend to check their Instagram on workdays, usually on breaks or at lunch. When they get home there is a lull again as they deal with family life so you tend to find that average Joe only scrolls through once at night.
There are a few different opinions when this time is, but you can find a nice table via the Influencer Marketing Hub. Sources do tend to agree to a Wednesday around 11am as a hotspot of Instagram activity. What you need to consider is if this is a hotspot then is your post going to get lost in a sea of others trying the same thing? Maybe posts between 9am and 11am will give you your best shot at increased reach. What is important here is to try and test it out. There may not be a set rule for all, so analyse which time gets more results and edit your schedule.
Of course life gets in the way and we don’t always get to post when we want to. Particularly if you happen to be snowed under in freelance jobs. Take some pressure off yourself and use the ‘schedule a post’ function. You can find it next to the publish button, under the drop down menu. Head over to Hootsuite, who put together a how to schedule post.
Now… There is a huge difference between content that works and content that doesn’t. Not all of the advertising you want to do on the internet fits into every social media brand. For example, it is best to sell professional services via LinkedIn and best to reserve IG for all the fun or beautiful photographs you take that are related to your brand. Videos also get great Instagram engagement.
For Instagram, make your content highly visual. Share your logo often or put it in your profile picture. Quotes about life, about your service, or about your art form tend to resonate with viewers and become shared. Behind the scenes shots that the general public don’t get to see also work well. According to Georgia Tech, inserting human faces into your posts are a whopping 38% more likely to gain you engagement,
You can also follow other, more popular, peers in your business. Study their posts, see what makes them stand out, and then steal it. All is fair in love and the internet.
Before we unleash you on Instagram we better cover hashtags. These nifty little symbols can be attached to the beginning of any word or phrase (provided you don’t include spaces) to turn your product or service into a potential viral must-have.
The best way to learn about the hashtags that apply to your brand is to turn to your competitors. You can click on their posts and select each hashtag they use. This will show you how many people have used that same hashtag in the past. Instagram users can also choose to follow certain hashtags instead of individuals or businesses. If you capture that market your engagement ratings will shoot up.
So how do you do this? Apart from stealing the ones your competitors use, you can also search Instagram itself, as well as Google, to find the most popular hashtags. The more popular it is the more followers it has, the more you use popular ones the more chance you have of being seen by new clients. The Influencer Marketing Hub have a list of the most popular hashtags of all time – but you should also search for your own, more specific ones.
And by the way, a good hashtag has the power to travel the world. If you can start a new one that goes viral you could become famous, overnight.
So remember: post good quality content, make sure you post on a Thursday, and use as many hashtags as you possibly can, up to 30 that is. All of these will extend the reach of the free advertising you get through using Instagram. Since more reach means more exposure, and more exposure means more clients, sticking to our rules should see you get the maximum impact from Instagram for your freelance business.
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