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Did you know? If Instagram were a country, it’d be the third largest country by population. With more than 500 million users, the population of “Instagrammers” is more than 21 times greater than the population of Australia alone. That’s a lot of people, huh!

Perhaps you’re ready to join the masses, but you’re not quite sure how to get started? That’s why we thought you might appreciate a few handy Instagram tips and tricks to help you build your Instagram presence (as well as a couple of pro tips to boost your likes and follower-base if you’re already an avid Instagrammer).

1. Get your Instagram account started now

If you’ve been around social media a while, you’re probably already aware that building a presence takes time. Of course, getting started is as simple as downloading the app and registering an account – and there’s no better time than the present!

2. Find your Instagram niche and build your identity

Just like in business, sports or life in general, when you find something  you’re passionate about, it shows! Of course, if you’re Instagramming for business, you’ll already know your niche. Are you in travel? Post high quality travel images. Are you in construction? Maybe you’ll focus on residential homes, interior design inspiration or renovation makeovers. And if you’re posting to build your personal brand, start by making a list of all the things you’re passionate about, choosing one and building your profile from there.

Understanding your niche on Instagram will not only help to guide the kind of content you post, it will help you become more visible to, and attract the right followers. Use your @handle, profile picture, bio and website link to tell the Instagram world exactly who you are and catch the attention of your audience before they even begin scrolling through your photos.

3. Build relationships, engage other Instagram users and follow the right people

Now  you’ve created your account, found your niche and created your unique identity, it’s time to give a little love and get a little love in return. The best way to build relationships is to start by following other brands/people in your niche. You might also like to search popular hashtags for your niche and like other users’ posts and starting conversations. If you’re loving someone’s feed, leave them a comment and let them know! Chances are, they’ll come back and do the same for you.

Another great way to maximise engagement and increase your visibility is by tagging brands and other users in your posts. As established brands tend to have a considerable following, tagging them in your photos allows their followers to find your tagged pictures and follow you too. Or, if you’re lucky, the brand might repost your post directly to their followers.

4. Post at the right time

As with all things online, timing is everything. When it comes to the timing of your posts, there are two things to keep in mind: your audience’s time zone and the time of day they’re most often checking their feed.

Most Instagram users check their feed in the morning and the evening on their way to and from home/work/uni etc. So if you’re targeting Sydney-based business owners, try posting between 7am-8am and 5pm-7pm on weekdays. Instagram posts generally only have a lifespan of around four hours before they’re lost in followers’ feeds. That’s why the least favourable time to post is during the night for most users (both brand and personal).

5. #Hashtag

Hashtags are the best way to get noticed on Instagram. Using hashtags that are consistent with your theme and identity  ensures users with similar interests will find your page, like your photo and potentially hit that ‘follow’ button.

When it comes to hashtags the rules are simple: be relevant and be specific. It’ll make it much easier for others to find your content. Oh, and try not to go hashtag crazy. An entire paragraph of hashtags below a photo can really distract from the photo itself, so it’s best to stick to three-five relevant, specific hashtags per post.

Of course, it’s important to note that your posts will only show up in hashtag search feeds if your profile is set to public. (This is automatically the case when you sign up, so if you don’t want your photos visible to anyone and everyone, you can change this by visiting your private account settings).

6. Pro tip – avoid the front-facing camera

Trying to capture the perfect Instagram #selfie? Unless you’re Kim “queen of the selfie” Kardashian herself (and you have an entire glam squad, stylist and lighting team on hand), capturing the right selfie can take a little work.

Pro tip? Stop using the front-facing camera. It’s convenient, yes, but the rear-facing camera takes photos at a much higher resolution. So while it might take a few extra snaps to get the angle or positioning right, it’s time to say goodbye to grainy photos! Besides, practice makes perfect, right?

7. Pro tip – follow and engage @Instagram

Follow @Instagram and participate in #WHP (Weekend Hashtag Project) – a series featuring designated themes and hashtags. Why? There’s a chance you’ll be featured by @Instagram! And with more than 175million followers, if you are fortunate enough to be featured, be prepared for more than a few new followers.

Of course, if you’d like to know more about the evolution of Instagram, you might like to read a recent blog on why social media is changing so quickly. Or if you’re looking to better your social media strategy you can give us a call on (02) 8012 8008 or drop us a note.