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Instagram remains everyone's favorite social media platform. It's fun, interactive, and best of all, it allows bloggers and business owners to connect in totally different ways. On the whole, brands and users have steadily increased sharing. With the added bonus of Instagram Stories you're able to get a real, behind the scenes look at those you follow.

What I love, is that it's not just an app to showcase pretty pictures. You can develop relationships. Instagram is now 6 years old (!!) and with it's age, it's brought on new features. Some we love, and some we don't. Many people are worried about the new algorithm and it's effect to be seen on the app.

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But despite all the hoopla about algorithm and changes, it is still the fastest growing social media network out there. There are 500 million active users each month (which is 100 million more than last year!). But it doesn't just stop there. Not only is Instagram a large audience, it's highly engaged. Instagram users have shared over 40 billion photos to date and share an average of 95 million photos and videos per day.

What does this tell us?

Basically, if you aren't using Instagram effectively you're missing out on a HUGE sector to grow your blog, online presence, make money, and succeed online.

Take me for example.

When I started blogging 5 years ago, I was pretty clueless as to how everything worked. Sure, I knew needed social media, so I set up my profiles and went on my merry way. I had some early success with Pinterest but wasn't seeing a lot of return from Instagram.

At work one day, I worked in social media marketing and digital advertising,  we discussed the power of Instagram for brands and businesses. I thought to myself, no way. This is just a picture sharing app, it doesn't take people anywhere. But once we started using it as a marketing tool, the results were astounding.

I helped clients go from 0 to 1,000s of followers. And from no sales on Instagram, to the main marketing equation. So many companies now focus their efforts on Instagram because it's a direct connection between the brand and the user. But not just a connection, it's a targeted user. It's someone that is interested in your stuff.

How powerful is that? A blogger or business has followers that WANT to know more about them. No longer is it an ad that flashes on your screen because you happen to be watching a TV show. Instagram allows you to sell, without selling, & to grow organically with people who trust you. Instagram allows you to sell, without selling, & to grow with people who trust you. Click To Tweet

What's even better is that if you put a little bit of time into it and have a strategy, you can see your numbers increase rapidly. If you don't believe me, check out these stats from Hootsuite:

  • 49% of Instagram users check the app daily, with 73% checking at least once a week.
  • Top brands post 4.9 times per week on Instagram, an increase of more than 50% over 2015

You might be wondering… but what about the other social media tools out there? Yes! They are still important. I for one, love Snapchat. I think Pinterest is a great tool for bloggers and I see wonderful engagement on Twitter and Facebook. BUT, the great thing about Instagram is that is constantly growing, with no signs of stopping, and I genuinely enjoy posting and interaction on the app.

That's something I can't say for all the other apps out there. Plus, Social Media London found that compared to Facebook, there are 58 times more UNPAID interactions per post. That means with Facebook, you have to pay to play. Meaning, if you want your content seen on Facebook you need to pay to boost or advertise your posts. But NOT with Instagram. Users that follow you do so because they want to.

So… how an you use it effectively?

First, no matter who you are: a blogger, a business owner, an online influencer, or just someone who wants to grow their ‘gram, you can use it as a tool.

Post consistently. I know, I know. You probably already know this. But what you might not know id that consistently doesn't mean 3 times a day. Consistently, meaning, what works for you. If you can only manage 3 times a week, then do 3 times a week! You'll start to get in the groove of posting.

If you really feel like you just have no time, schedule it. I love using a tool called Later. And I actually have a whole tutorial right here on how to schedule your Instagram.

Edit consistently. Oh yeah, let's keep it going with consistency! Brands that do really well (and influencers too) create a cohesive feed. That means editing your photos in a similar way. When you can create an aesthetic that works for you, people tend to follow. You don't need a fancy camera or expensive equipment, you just need to find a style that works for you.

Check your stats. It's important to look at your analytics, this helps you find the best time to post. Now, Instagram has their own set of analytics that will help you determine the best time to post and what pictures get more engagement.

HASHTAGS. I preach about these all the time. But if you aren't using hashtags, you're missing out! Use hashtags that will work on growing your account, and are broad enough to help you be found organically. Take a look the hashtags that work and when your followers are most engaged.

Using hashtags, posting at the right time, and taking beautiful photos are just some of the ways to get your followers engaged and to grow your audience organically.
Posting often, with consistency, helps you to continue to increase engagement.

 

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