How do you choose which social media networks to participate in?
Certainly, there’re a ton to choose from. Are you on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn? Are you on Pinterest and Tumblr? Instagram and Vine?
How many social media networks can you handle?
Instagram makes a strong case, if you’re interested in raw numbers and unique appeal. Instagram has 200 million active users and provides a huge asset for visual content, which we all know is driving social like none other. It’s one of the top 10 most popular smartphone apps with growth nearly doubling that of every competitor ahead of it on the list.
More and more, it seems that companies default to having a Facebook and Twitter account and then make the choice for a third among Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. For those who use Instagram in their personal lives, adding Instagram to the business mix is becoming an easier and easier decision.
So the next question becomes: How do you get started with Instagram for business?
Here’s the ground I’ll cover in this post. You can click any question to go straight to that answer (or browse the whole list if you’d rather).
- How can I get started with Instagram? (answer)
- What are the exact image sizes used by Instagram? (answer)
- What are the best analytics tools for Instagram? (answer)
- What is a good benchmark for engagement? (answer)
- When is the best time to post to Instagram? (answer)
- How do Instagram hashtags work? (answer)
- How many hashtags is best? (answer)
- How do Instagram photos work with Facebook and Twitter? (answer)
- How can I add an image from my computer? (answer)
- How do I run an Instagram contest? (answer)
- What’s the difference between Instagram videos and Vine? (answer)
- How can I get the most out of Instagram? (answer)
How Can I Get Started With Instagram?
You can download the app for iOS or Android or view photos and follow users straight from the web. You’ll need to use the mobile app for uploading, editing, and sharing images as there’s currently no way to do so from the web.
If you’re a brand starting from scratch, there are many creative ways you can launch your Instagram account. One of the neatest examples I’ve seen is from the clothing store Kooples, which did a daily countdown until the account went live.
What Are the Exact Image Sizes Used by Instagram?
Square images reign on Instagram.
Profile pictures are 110 pixels by 110 pixels.
The standard size of an Instagram photo is 612 pixels by 612 pixels.
Any image you take—up to 2048-pixel square—can be resized to work in various places around the site. For instance, the mosaic that appears at the top of your profile is made up of seven of your popular past photos. The largest image in the mosaic will be 409 pixels by 409 pixels. If you’re new to Instagram, your cover will be created as soon as you have shared seven posts.
Here’s how Buffer’s mosaic looks today.
What are the best analytics tools for Instagram?
Like Facebook and Twitter, third-party analytics apps exist for you to learn more about how to get the most from your Instagram posts. Here are two of the top analytics tools:
Iconosquare – An incredibly deep (and free!) set of Instagram tools, Iconosquare lets you view and browse Instagram from right within the Iconosquare interface and spits out incredible amounts of data about your account and interactions—growth charts, engagement rates, best times to post, and so much more.
Totems – An analytics suite built especially for brands, Totems covers all the bases for Instagram stats, including an analytics dashboard, hashtag monitoring, and a social CRM. Pricing begins at $149 per month.
What is a Good Benchmark for Engagement?
If you want to set your sights toward achieving success like some of Instagram’s big brands, then you can aim for the same numbers they get. Sabel Harris of Track Maven, who put together a big report last fall about Fortune 500 companies on Instagram, notes that big brands receive an average of 37 total likes and comments for every 1,000 followers.
You can extrapolate this to fit your company’s following. Multiply your followers by 0.037.
- If you’ve got 1,000 followers, aim for 37 likes and comments
- If you’ve got 500 followers, aim for 19 likes and comments.
- If you’ve got 5,000 followers, aim for 185 likes and comments.
We’ve got 618 followers on our Buffer Instagram, so we should aim for 23 interactions per post. (Four of our last five posts have got there!)
Of course, you may expect to have a somewhat lopsided ratio of likes to comments. Totems, an Instagram analytics service, has found that the average distribution of engagement on a post is 100 likes for every 1 comment.
What is the Best Time of Day to Post?
Analytics app SumAll researched the best times to post to seven different social media sites, Instagram included. Their findings for Instagram: