Instagram Marketing Best Practices with #HootChat

When I think of Instagram, I think of personal, visual content that allows me to connect with friends. If you think about it, Instagram is one of the social platforms with the least amount of ads and sponsored content. Besides the occasional sponsored post, I only see what I want to see from the people I follow. This is awesome for users, but it can be really difficult for brands to grow their audiences!

This week, #HootChat was all about Instagram best practices, and social media guru Peg Fitzpatrick partnered with HootSuite to offer some amazing tips. For those who don’t know (aka me, before this week) #HootChat is a a weekly Twitter chat hosted by HootSuite. Users can follow along every Thursday at 12 p.m. PST/3 p.m. EST to talk about different social media best practices.

Peg, along with many others who chimed in to the discussion, had some great tips and tricks for giving your audience great visual content through Instagram. Basically, @sageandsavvy summed it up best:

Graphic credit to Hootsuite

I’m someone who is more interested in marketing my personal brand than taking up social media marketing as a profession, but I found that many of these tips still apply! Whether you’re marketing a brand or you’re marketing yourself, you must be ENGAGING. Instagram is the perfect place to tell your story personally and creatively.

Some of my favorite tips included:

Peg Fitzpatrick: Use visual storytelling with videos, boomerangs, etc. “It takes talent to put together great visual stories.” (this tip goes for both your grid and stories)

Bruce Deschamps: Calls to action are great to add into captions!

Peg Fitzpatrick: “You can write a long caption. People love the heartfelt stories and they get to know you and your brand.”

@makeupmunky: Have an overall brand goal. Whether you’re aiming to create, educate, inspire, etc, this will shape what you share!

The bottom line is to be authentic. Your audience can tell when you’re being fake to try to look good. Tell your story, be funny, be you. That’s what will attract the most followers and make people want to engage with you and share your brand with others.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some suggested Instagram brands to follow, courtesy of #HootChat participants.

Danielle Tullo, food editor at Cosmo Magazine (My pick!)—her aesthetic is always so great!
Starbucks was a fan favorite among the #HootChat participants! Their content is always aesthetically pleasing and original to their brand.
Peg Fitzpatrick recommended National Geographic for their great representation of their brand. They are always telling interesting stories.

These brands are so diverse, you can definitely take something away from their great strategies no matter what content your audience enjoys!