What Running a Social Marketing Agency for 7 Years Has Taught Us: 12 Rules and Tips for Instagram

lessons from running a social media agency

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Pete Davis

CEO, Ampjar

24 Sep, 2017

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As I mentioned in our getting to know us post, I ran a social media marketing agency for 7 years. It was a husband and wife start-up that grew to 20 staff working with some amazing brands.

Fast-forward to the launch of Ampjar, and something was clear from the start; there’s an ongoing thirst from our customers to keep improving how they use Instagram.

It’s a huge part of most of our customers’ marketing efforts, so I thought I’d share some of the learnings we made over the seven years since Instagram launched. Ah, 2010 back when we were playing Angry Birds and watching Glee. It seems like a simpler time! 😉

There will be many exceptions to these rules and tips, and I’m sure lots of you reading this are already running the accounts I find so inspiring (and could easily write your own lists!). Anyway, here goes:

12 Rules and Tips for Instagram

  1. You need to be active. Post at least daily if you’re serious about the platform. 3 times a day is probably the limit unless your database has actively shown you they want more!
  2. If you’re going to post more often, consider clustering posts every now and then. Instagram’s multiple-image posts can be very effective, but posting with short gaps is also worth a trial.
  3. There’s no reason to not post on the weekend. You might find these are your most effective product posts.
  4. Quality is everything. While Facebook can be about looking for ways to get that click, Instagram content needs to be content the consumer will visually enjoy. Understand that it’s very likely the follower won’t immediately leave the app to purchase, so give them something to look at that is well-planned, styled, shot, and memorable.
flatlay with notebook
  1. Make your feed look beautiful as a whole. Color waves and group posts that don’t compromise the quality of individual posts will drive organic follower growth.
  2. Invest some time in becoming an expert in the niche hashtags that are relevant to your industry, product, and consumer. You can see what hashtags everyone else is using. Go exploring and don’t expect to get anything from general popular hashtags like #shoes #love #baby, etc.
  3. Engage with your followers, customers, and others posting content relevant to your world. There are tools like Instagress (RIP) that can do some of the heavy lifting for you, just don’t be surprised if they get shut down!
  4. Use the link in your bio wisely. You only get one, so direct customers to specific places and don’t be afraid to change the link often.
  5. Invest time and effort in growth activities. Make it a priority to be good at running cross-promotions with non-competing brands with similar audiences, paying influencers with product or $$$, and creating content that followers want to tag their friends in.
  6. User-generated content shows yet-to-be-customers that your product is as good as you say it is, and can give you a lot more diverse content than you could ever create yourselves. If you’re going to regram it, just make sure it works in with your approach to content (and that you ask first!).
great product photo
  1. Sometimes you need to post functional stuff – like your stall number at a trade market, website technical difficulties, or something else equally mundane that might not be ‘beautiful’. When their functional purpose is up, delete these posts if you don’t like how they look. Leave them up as long as they are useful, then get them off your profile.
  2. With the Instagram algorithm and follower behavior, it’s rare that more than 25% of your followers will see any of your posts. Ask your followers to sign up to your email newsletter, so you know you’ll reach them. Create a nice post showing them what they’ll get and do so this every month or two. You can always delete past posts like this when you put a new one up.

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