10 Things You Should Definitely Be Doing on Instagram

Step up your Instagram presence by following these tips

Instagram is no joke these days. It's a seriously huge and active social platform with a thriving community of people hungry for as much visual content as they can take. And because Instagram is primarily mobile, people are browsing it virtually all the time.

Whether your mission is to make a big name for yourself on Instagram or to just attract a few more followers and increase engagement, there's a checklist of things you should consider implementing into your own Instagram strategy. Even if you're just looking for some new ideas on what and how to post, you could still benefit from these tips.

Take a look at the list below to see how you can use each idea to improve your content and interaction from your followers on Instagram.

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Post Photo Collages

Photo © Cultura RM / Planet Pictures / Getty Images

One out of five of Instagram's 300 million monthly active users post photos as a collage. They use third-party apps to choose multiple photos that can be incorporated into one, essentially condensing them into a single post.

Why photo collages? Collages are perfect ways to tell stories through photos. Rather than posting each photo separately, they can be combined to showcase different scenes of a related event.

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Use Appropriate Hashtags in Your Captions

Hashtags are extremely useful on Instagram, mainly because they're what everyone uses to find ​specifically themed content they're interested in viewing. Hashtags give users a way to categorically filter down results based on keywords or phrases.

Why hashtags? People are searching them all the time. Users who have attractive photos or videos and incorporate just a few hashtags that are relevant to their posts have a great chance of increasing their following and engagement.

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Post Time Lapse Videos

Instagram introduced a standalone app a little while ago, called Hyperlapse, which easily lets users film and create high-quality time lapse videos. Time lapse videos are videos that have been sped up so you can watch them in a shorter amount of time.

Why time lapse videos? People's attentions spans online are short these days, and a user can take as little as one or two seconds of watching a video before deciding to move on. Time lapses offer a way to hook viewers' attention more effectively while also squeezing more footage into Instagram's 15-second video time length limit. 

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Edit Your Captions If You Notice Mistakes or If You Left Something Out

For the longest time, captions couldn't be edited on Instagram. If you were serious about changing something in the caption, you had to start all over and repost it. Now, captions are editable!

Why edit captions? Including captions without mistakes and typing in enough information makes you look like you care about your posts. You can also add hashtags later (or take them away) or even decide to tag users in posts you want them to see.

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Post at the Right Time of Day to Ensure Your Followers Will See Your Posts

Even though people are looking at their phones all the time these days, there still are optimal times and better performing days of the week to make your posts. If you want your posts to be seen and get as much engagement as possible, you'll want to pay attention to when you post.

Why post at certain times of the day? There's statistical proof that mornings, midday, and early evenings are highly active for Instagram. Thursdays and Sundays are also ideal, while Friday nights and Saturdays are usually not so active.

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Track Your Instagram Statistics and Activity With Iconosquare

If you have a lot of followers and receive a fair bit of engagement, tracking it all through the app can be difficult. Iconosquare is a powerful and free tool you can use to access your account and give you a look at your stats.

Why track your stats? Iconosquare will let you see trends in your engagement, letting you know what types of content your followers like, and when they're most likely to engage. You can also read and respond to comments easily with the tool, or see which followers you've lost.

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Use Shoutouts to Increase Your Exposure and Get More Followers

Users who each have a similar number of followers will often partner up and agree to promote each other as a way to swap followers. It's called a shoutout, or a "s4s." It usually involves an agreement to post one another's photo or video for at least a specified amount of time (before potentially being deleted) and instructing followers in the caption to go follow the other user.

Why shoutouts? Shoutouts are by far one of the fastest and most effective ways to grow an Instagram following. The only downside is that you have to keep posting other users' content and telling your followers to follow them. But in turn, your shoutout partner will do the same and if their followers are engaged, you should see a good number of new followers start to trickle in.

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Tag Posts to Their Corresponding Geographical Locations

Instagram lets you attach your photo and video posts to the places where you took them, by tagging. All you have to do is turn your Photo Map on from the caption page before posting, then choose a nearby location (or search for one).

Why tag locations? Tagging your post to its location files it under the public page for that location, along with all the other posts from other people who also visited that place and tagged their posts to it. Depending on how popular the location is, you could get more exposure from people browsing it.

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Stay on Top of Popular Posting Trends

When Instagram first came out, users loved that they could apply all these different filters to make them look different or give them a vintage effect. Today, the filter trend isn't as hot as it once was, and new trends have popped up instead -- like posting in portrait and landscape, or shooting with a DSLR and posting higher quality photos later.

Why keep up with trends? If you're out of the loop with what people want on Instagram, your engagement could suffer. Things move fast on social media, so yesterday's cool trend isn't quite as cool as it is today. Keep your content fresh by staying in the know.

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Use Instagram Direct to Privately Message Individuals or Groups

Are you one of those users who loves to post several times within the span of a few hours? Some followers like following extremely active accounts while others don't. Instagram Direct is a great way to privately share a photo or video post with one or multiple followers.

Why Instagram Direct? If you need to contact a user directly, using Instagram Direct can be much more effective rather than trying to leave a comment on one of their posts. It's also a preferred way to share content relevant to just a small group of followers rather than everyone.