instagram for business

How To Write The Perfect Caption On Instagram

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Over 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram every day, and 40 billion have been shared in total since the inception of the platform in 2010 (yes, it’s been 9 years, how incredible!)

When it first became popular, Instagram was known as the photo-sharing social media platform. Facebook was about giving your friends a live update as to what you were doing, Twitter was helping its users flirt with 160 characters at a time and no one was really all about the photos.

Enter Instagram.

But when Facebook brought the platform two years later in 2012, they slowly made changes to the algorithm that made it just as important to write good captions as it did to have good eye-catching photos.

After all, Instagram’s robots don’t have eyes, so they can’t actually SEE the photo, so you have to tell it what the photo is about.

Side note – when I was running ads in December for a hashtag training webinar, I had someone comment on my advert telling me that it was trendy not to use hashtags any more. I responded that it was cool that she thought that she didn’t need to use hashtags, but considering she had the same follower count as I did but had a quarter of the engagement, I wished her luck in a hashtag-less world, and proceeded to train business owners who want to learn!

There are 4 important steps to make a great caption on Instagram, here they are broken down.

1) The caption itself

Ever noticed how Instagram shows the user just the first few lines of text underneath a post? That’s your 2nd chance to entice the reader to click “more” and read on, the first being the image that made them stop scrolling.

The caption can be as long as you like (up to 2200 characters) but this is your chance to really connect with your audience by doing any of the following to build that know, like and trust factor.

·         Solving a problem that your target market have

·         Give advice that your target market would like to receive

·         Give insights into something about your work or a recent experience

·         Give your personal opinion

·         Tell personal stories

·         Teach new skills or give facts and figures that are relatable but interesting to your target audience

·         Be inspirational

2) Usage of emojis, font changes and line breaks

Although not proven or had the record set straight by Instagram officially, it’s said that the use of emojis can help your post stand out. Emojis can invoke emotion in a way that is usually quite funny and charming, which helps you better connect with your audience. Not an emoji user? No, me neither, but even something simple like using the camera emoji at the end of your post to depict who took the photo can work too.

Line breaks are always useful; it helps your reader split up the text in their mind, especially in this day and age when people skim read. It’s also great to use line breaks (or full stops) to separate the caption from the hashtags as that helps the human reader know when to stop reading. Anything that keeps the reader reading the caption will help your engagement.

Ever used different fonts? I’m betting that you are not familiar with this as not many people do it, or know that it’s possible. There are some font changes out there like Yay Text that can change your text into different fonts. I like the posts that only change a few words to make them stand out – I think it works really well.

3) Call to action

Even if you don’t want to be selling all the time (and why would you if you follow the 3, 2, 1 method of posting), you can still invite people to take action. Some examples are:

·         Comment below if…

·         Tag a friend

·         Check out the link in my bio

·         Ask me a question below in the comments

·         Double tap if you agree

·         Save this post so that you can come back and action what I have taught you (I will do a blog post on why it’s great to get your followers to save a post soon)

Without a call to action, you are not invoking an emotional response to your post. Chances are, if it resonated with your target audience, you will have made them feel like they belong reading your post, so they will gladly take action. Ever seen an IGTV or a story where you felt like the person was speaking directly to you, then you took action because it was totally you? That’s what you are trying to do with your followers.

4) Hashtags

Yes, I know, this is my favourite subject! Here’s just a few little tips to help you out with hashtags

·         Always try to use 30. If you can’t think of 30 (ideas for how to get over this below), then put at least 11

·         Don’t use the same 30 hashtags on each post; Instagram considers this spammy

·         Research hashtags in your niche in advance so that you don’t sit on the sofa trying to find the right hashtags for every post, trying to think of every word you can hashtag

If you want to make your hashtags work for you so that you don’t have to sit there before you post a picture wondering what hashtags to put on your posts, then download my free guide: 5 easy steps to improve your hashtag strategy on Instagram.

So there you have it, four different elements to your captions – the text, the emojis, the call to action and the hashtags. Which element of this do you have nailed already and which do you need to improve? Let me know by dropping me an email at charlie@boundlesssocial.com

 

How To Research Instagram Hashtags For Your Niche

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Hashtags. A dirty word for you or are they just plain boring? I get ya, I’ve been there, sitting on my sofa on my phone, wracking my brain figuring out what kinda hashtag I should put next on my post.

 

The secret to having a great relationship with your hashtags is definitely not trying to magically think them up as you are posting. That’s something that I will help you get out of. Not only will you be able to sit back and relax once you’ve written your fab caption, but you won’t have to worry about hashtags for 2 months, or thereabouts.

 

How is that possible? By spending 60 to 90 mins today researching hashtags in your niche. Once you do the research, you can separate your hashtags into sets and use an amazing app to put them together for your post.

 

So are you ready to forget hashtags for a bit?!

Let’s do this!

Step 1 – Instagram Search Bar

I do advise doing this on a desktop, but only because it’s more comfortable to type. Open up two programmes: Instagram on your browser and a notepad (or Word doc). On Instagram, type the hashtag symbol followed by the main thing that you do – so #yoga #businesscoach #homemadejewellery #fitnessinstructor etc. Before you press return, take a scroll down the list of hashtags and start typing some of them out onto your notebook. Try and choose ones that are relevant still to what you do – so for example if you are a Yoga instructor and teach in classrooms, don’t use the #YogaOutside hashtag (unless you then do a post of you doing Yoga outside).

My best advice when doing this is to only choose hashtags that have more than 1000 uses of it, but less than 1m.  Too few uses means there won’t be many people searching for that hashtag, but too many and you won’t be found in all that competition.

Try this with a few more keywords from your niche until you get a healthy bank of hashtags written down.

Step 2 – Find Instagram Influencers

Now find an influencer or two in your niche who has great engagement. Look at their profile and their posts so that you can see what hashtags they are using to gain traction on their account.  You may find that they aren’t using any, so just move onto the next account when that happens.  By looking at hashtags that others are using, you can see whether they work for you too.

Step 3 – Get Planoly

Planoly is an app for Android and iOs; there’s so many scheduling apps out there for Instagram posts, BUT I am recommending this one solely for the use of the hashtag sets. As you can see from the video below, you can create hashtag sets using your research above. Then when you come to post your pictures to Instagram, you can simply click what hashtag sets to add.

Et Voila, you no longer have to think about your hashtags!

Disclaimer

At the beginning of this blog, I mentioned that you wouldn’t have to think about hashtags for 2 months. This is because it’s good to revisit your hashtag research every 8 weeks or so to make sure that you are not missing out on any up and coming hashtags that are now trendy, or that some of your hashtags haven’t been used too many times. Once they go over 1 million uses, you want to take them off your list unless you are growing your followers and engagement at a high rate.

How To Get Legit Followers On Instagram

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I get it. You’re fed up of people that follow you then unfollow a few days later.

I first noticed this happening a year ago, on my personal account. I was taking some yoga classes at my gym and figured I’d get inspired by some of IG’s most beautiful yoga poses on the beach, so I started following some larger yoga accounts.

I woke up the next morning to 70 new followers. I thought at the time that people had just liked my recent post but 3 days later they all disappeared. I hadn’t followed them back because they didn’t interest me, so their bot told them to unfollow me.

In truth, you will never stop this from happening, but you can slow it down by not following large accounts. And that’s my first tip to getting legit followers:

1)      Understand bots and follow apps so that you can spot accounts that use them.

Bots and apps that follow accounts are often set to target followers of large accounts that are in the same niche  For example, If you are  PT, you can set a bot to follow all accounts that follow @kayla_itsines because she has 10.9m followers all wanting to be healthier and fitter. The way the bots get around the issue that they are a bot is that they are programmed to act like a human, so they will only follow a few accounts at a time so that they don’t get blocked.

Turn this around to think about who you should target to gain more followers.

  • Accounts with less than 5k followers

  • Accounts with a proportionate number of followings.  If the followings is greater than the followers, this is a legit person because they are not using an unfollow app so likely not to unfollow you.

  • Accounts that have stories up constantly. Because of the nature of IG stories, built like Snapchat to take a snapshot of your life and what you are doing, it’s likely that an account that has stories up is a legit account.  So when you click on an account, check the stories! Also the fact that your account is engaging with other’s stories helps the algorithm give you points too!

This account looks legitimate because they are following many more accounts than are following her, plus there is the circle of Instagram colours around the profile picture meaning she currently has a live story.

This account looks legitimate because they are following many more accounts than are following her, plus there is the circle of Instagram colours around the profile picture meaning she currently has a live story.

2) If you really want legit followers, then be legit yourself.

To be legit yourself, do not:

  • Use follow / unfollow apps

  • Don’t ask people to follow you on comments etc

  • Don’t use the hashtag #follow4follow

  • Don’t use a bot to autocomment on other people’s posts

3)      Play to the Instagram algorithm

If you understand the Instagram algorithm well enough, you can understand where you will be able to “gain points” with it and make sure that you don’t do things to “lose points”. Here are 6 general things that you need to be aware of to stay in Instagram’s good books.

Consistency

As with all social media, posting consistently gives you points with the algorithm. Instagram wants people to stay on the platform, so you if you play to the algorithm, your account will be rewarded

The prefect profile

Your IG profile is your shop windonw and when someone comes across your account, you need to give them a reason to follow you. So you need to tell people who you are, what you do and who you want to follow you. Being an international woman of mystery doesn’t work in business I’m afraid! If you would like some more info on how to craft the perfect IG bio to attract your ideal followers, click here.

Hashtags

Oh this is a long subject! Here are my 5 golden rules of hashtagging.

1) Always post 30 hashtags. This is the maximum that IG allows, so use your capacity to reach as many people as you can with each hashtag.

2) Never keep using the same 30 hashtags again and again – IG considers this as spammy

3) Never use hashtags that are outside of your niche, because if you are reaching “everyone” then you will sell to no one. IG will penalise you for using tags that have nothing to do with your account or photo.

4) Don’t use banned hashtags. Sometimes a particular hashtag gets banned by Instagram and your post will only be shown to very few people. For more info on banned hashtags and where to find a list of them, take a look at this article here.

5) Don’t post your hashtags in the comments after you have posted – new research in 2018 shows that hashtags in the post are the way to go!

Be yourself

So that you can attract people with your personality. If you are trying to be someone you are not, human nature means that you will get tired of that person and it’ll show on your account.

Don’t be negative

If you do feel like being negative, tell people how you have overcome or are planning on overcoming that negative situation. No one wants to connect with a negative or sad person.

Engage with your target audience once a day

Find accounts that are in your niche and leave real, valuable comments on their posts. Not only is this great for the IG algorithm (lots of points for you), but it’ll get people interested in what you do because you are being personal.

Publish Stories

Instagram likes it when you use all of it’s features, so as well as posting once a day in your feed, commenting on your niche’s posts and liking pictures in your feed, make sure that you add stories to your profile when you can. These can be snapshots of your day so that people can understand who you are so that they get to know, like and trust you.


If you are looking for more training and help with your Instagram account, plus all aspects of growing your business online, check out the Social Media Bootcamp here.

Why You Should Avoid Using Popular Hashtags

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If you are a yogi and you post on Instagram using the hashtag #Yoga, do you know how many millions of posts you are competing against to get yours seen?

59,676,703 at the time of writing this post.

Not only are you competing with that many other posts, you are also being very broad with your marketing and not honing in on your target audience and niche, which is the secret to success in the online world.

Let’s face it, if you conduct yoga classes in central London, you are probably not looking for people in Australia to follow you unless they are moving to London and want to find a yoga class to attend.

In this short video exercise, I explain how you can do the research to use less popular hashtags on Instagram to be able to reach a much more targeted audience.

For those of you who don’t want to listen or watch my video and would prefer to read, her'e’s a brief summary of my video:

There’s no harm at all when using popular hashtags that have been used millions and millions of times. However, we want to try and get you to use hashtags that are less well known so that it helps your engagement.

How to find hashtags that are less well known

The best way to find new hashtags for you to use is via the Instagram search function. So let’s say you are a pilates instructor, then type in #Pilates into the search bar, but do not press search. Lots of hashtags will then drop down that have the word pilates in it, and Instagram will tell you how many times they have been used.

You want to find hashtags that are:

  • relevant to you - so #PilatesAustralia isn’t a relevant hashtag for you if you are in the US

  • have smaller usage than a million preferably, but it’s ok to pick some that are less than 10,000 and some that are less than 100,000 too. The smaller the hashtag, that more likely that you will rank in the top posts for that hashtag, which means you will get more engagement.

Using these new hashtags

Once you have found a selection of good hashtags to use for your nice, copy and paste them into a notebook on your phone, or somewhere convenient so that you can access them at a later date for your posts. It’s not good to always copy and paste the same hashtags every time you post, but using a selection of them is always helpful for the algorithm to know you are not a spammy user.


If you want to learn more about how to do the research for your hashtags on Instagram, take the Hashtag Quiz. It will help you understand what kind of hashtags you need to use on your account to be able to grow organically and increase your engagement.

How to create cover images on Instagram highlights

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Ever wondered how to create cover images for your Instagram highlights that match your brand, stand out and make people want to watch them?

This article is for you!

What are Instagram Highlights?

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Highlights are when you use the Instagram stories that you have previously published and publicly archive them in your profile for visitors and new followers to view. Stories will only last 24 hours, but highlights are a good way to bring your stories together under 1 or more categories and they will be available forever as long as you have them in your highlights.

Here’s my four top tips for highlights:

1) Use between 1 and 4 categories for your highlights. Any more and they won’t be visible on mobile and users would have to scroll across to see them

2) Don’t cram each category with lots of stories; people won’t want to watch through minutes of stories to see what you do. Three to 8 stories per highlight would be preferable!

3) If you have over 10,000 followers, it’s good to ensure that at least one of your stories in each highlight has a call to action to swipe up to find out more, leading to a landing page or product webpage.

4) When you create a highlight, Instagram chooses an image from your stories that you put into the highlight as the cover image. It looks much more professional to have specific cover images that match your brand, so watch the training below to find out more about how to change the cover image on your highlights.

Want to learn more about how to use Instagram for your business? Join my Facebook Group: Instagram Myths Debunked.