10 Things You Should Definitely Be Doing on Instagram

Step up your Instagram presence by following these tips

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
Introduction

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 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.

Hands taking a photo of a colorful street with smartphone
 Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

What You Can Do On Instagram

No matter if you have a personal or business account, these ideas can take your Instagram sharing to a whole new level. Take a look at the list below to see how you can use each suggestion to improve your content and interaction from your followers on Instagram.

01
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Post Photo Collages

Screenshots of a photo collage in Instagram.

Many of Instagram's active users post photos as a collage. You can use Instagram's built-in collage maker or use a third-party app to choose multiple images 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, combine those pictures to showcase different scenes of a related event.

02
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Use Appropriate Hashtags in Your Captions

Screenshots of using hashtags in Instagram.

Hashtags are beneficial 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 filter down results based on keywords or phrases categorically.

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

03
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Post Time Lapse Videos

Screenshots of video time lapse in Instagram.

Instagram has a standalone app for iOS 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. There are third party apps for Android that will accomplish the same action.

Why time lapse videos? People's attention 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.

04
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Edit Your Captions If You Notice Mistakes or If You Left Something Out

Screenshots of editing an Instagram post.

For the longest time, you couldn't edit a caption 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 tag users in posts you want them to see.

05
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Post at the Right Time of Day to Ensure Your Followers Will See Your Posts

Screenshots of a post on Instagram.

Even though people are looking at their phones all the time, there are still 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? Some companies study social media traffic and report these activity trends for each platform. Knowing when your potential audience is most active will help generate more views and likes. You do have to stay on top of trends as they tend to change from year to year.

06
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Track Your Instagram Statistics and Activity With Iconosquare

Screenshots of Iconsquare.

If you have a lot of followers and receive a fair bit of engagement, tracking it all through Instagram can be difficult. Iconosquare is a powerful 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.

07
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Use Shoutouts to Increase Your Exposure and Get More Followers

Screenshots of a shoutout in Instagram.

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 an "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 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. 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.

08
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Tag Posts to Their Corresponding Geographical Locations

Instagram post with location info.

Instagram lets you attach your photo and video posts to the places where you took them, by tagging under Location. All you have to do is select the possible locations provided by your GPS within Instagram. Or you can manually enter the location.

Why tag locations? Tagging your post to its location files it under the public page for that location. These photos that you and the millions of other users can be searched via location. Depending on how popular the area is, you could get more exposure from people browsing it.

09
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Stay on Top of Popular Posting Trends

Instagram

Photo © alexsl / Getty Images 

When Instagram first came out, users loved to 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 as cool as today. Keep your content fresh by staying in the know.

10
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Use Instagram Direct to Privately Message Individuals or Groups

Screenshots for chat within Instagram.

Are you one of those users who loves to post several times within 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 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.