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A Handy Dandy Guide on How to Write Social Media Posts: Best Practices, Length, & More

Imagine this:

You’re standing at a crossroads.

Facebook is open.

You’re ready to write a social media post for your brand, but you don’t know how to write social media posts strategically.

What do you do?

It’s not as easy as it looks. Writing and posting on social media is a whole different story when you’re a business versus an individual.

You have to know posting practices to get the most out of social: the way you write your posts can affect your authority, reach, and more.

Don’t just compose a post and call it done. You need to conform to best practices to get the most rewards for your efforts. To fit into each social network niche, you have to post in expected ways.

Follow the below formula for creatively (and correctly) posting to each social outlet, and people are more likely to see and discover your posts. Let’s delve in!

a guide to social media posts

How to Write Social Media Posts That Hit the Mark, Every Time

Stick to proven best practices when thinking about how to write social media posts. Stay true to the best structure for each different network. Then, get creative within that post content and use your own ideas, content, and visuals.

Here’s a rundown of best practices on how to write your social posts for each network, from Facebook to Pinterest.

1. How to Write Engaging Facebook Posts

Facebook can be tricky, as lots of different posting techniques work. Here are some general guidelines. Play around with them until you find a method that works for you.

Post Length

In general, shorter posts are better for social media. However, when it comes to Facebook, you can go a little longer with no worries. For twice the engagement, 80 words is a good sweet spot to shoot for, but you can get as lengthy as 120 words.

Best Practices

A good best practice for Facebook is to include a visual with every single post. Even if your post is a text post, add a graphic or photo to increase engagement. Videos are good complements, too.

You can also boost engagement by ending your post with an exclamation mark. Positive sentiments do well for Facebook posts. Similarly, ask your audience a question to get more reader involvement, like comments.

Hashtags

Using hashtags on Facebook is a good way to connect your post to a larger discussion. It may also get more notice if you choose hashtags wisely.

That said, hashtags aren’t huge on Facebook, so limit yourself to one or two. You can create your own brand-related hashtags and use those, as well. For instance, a marketing campaign with its own hashtag is excellent for getting engagement.

 facebook_innocentdrinks

Example: Innocent Drinks

The British juice makers behind Innocent Drinks post stuff that’s short-but-sweet. Yet, it still falls in line with their trademark “innocent” humor.

They keep their average post length pretty short, use photos in every other post, and occasionally use hashtags. Their engagement level on every post speaks for itself.

2. The Best Way to Tweet on Twitter

Twitter is notoriously harder to get right because of its length requirements, but when you do nail it, you can really soar.

Post Length

Twitter only allows you to post up to 140 characters at a time. Obviously, your tweets need to be short and to-the-point. Twitter itself recommends only posting about one topic at a time. You won’t be able to fully address multiple topics.

A good length to shoot for is 120-130 characters. This way, there will be room for your Twitter handle at the end if anyone retweets your post.

Best Practices

If you have more to say than what Twitter allows, include a link to a blog post or article. TinyURL can shorten long web addresses so they don’t hog your writing space.

Another good practice for Twitter posts is including compelling images with your tweets. These types of posts get more engagement than other kinds.

Finally, did you know you can tag up to 10 people in a photo on Twitter? This is great for directing their gaze to your post, but make sure the tag is relevant to both the post and the photo. Tagging somebody as a random grab for attention will not win you any favors.

Hashtags

You don’t have much space in Twitter posts, so use hashtags wisely. This does not, under any circumstances, mean you can hashtag every other word. For example, this type of hashtag usage should make you cringe:

I love #coffee! My #favorite #coffeedrink is a #hazelnutcappuccino from the #localcoffeeshop.

Instead, go for one or two hashtags that are relevant.

Example: Disney/Pixar

Disney/Pixar did a few things right, here. They used one hashtag to participate in a fun holiday, they posted a relevant joke, and they included a playful visual that’s their own content. Win, win, win.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Learn the best practices for creating amazing #socialmedia content via @ExpWriters!” quote=”Learn the best practices for creating amazing #socialmedia content via @ExpWriters!”]

3. How to Write Instagram Captions That Complement Your Photos

Posting photos on Instagram is one thing, but what about the other half of the equation, the caption? Turns out, a good caption can do a lot of work for your post and get it noticed! Here’s how.

Post Length

On Instagram, your caption length doesn’t matter too much. However, there is a character limit, so you can’t write a novel.
As for what to write, feel free to describe your photo and put it in context. Or, ask your followers questions to increase engagement and encourage comments. In fact, any call-to-action in your Instagram caption is a great idea.

Best Practices

If you like longer captions, hit the “return” key a couple times after each point to make them easier to read. You can also use emojis creatively to break up your caption.

Emojis work great in Instagram posts, as they mesh well with the general lighthearted nature of the platform. You can even use related emojis as hashtags.

Hashtags

You can go wild with hashtags on Instagram – up to 30 are allowed with each post. Add them in a new comment on the post to keep things cleaner.

When using emojis as hashtags, as always, keep it relevant. For instance, a post about Earth Day could include a hashtag with the globe emoji, or a hashtag with a plant or tree emoji. This is the best way to help interested people find your posts, discover your account, and, by extension, discover your brand.

Planning perfection! Get more @BritandCo cuteness via link in bio.

A post shared by Target (@target) on

Example #1: @Target

Target has a super short caption, but they have all the right elements. Their post includes a catchy description, relevant emojis, a tag to a related/featured brand, and a call-to-action.

Example #2: Obvious State

Bookish goods and stationery sellers Obvious State get everything right in this post featuring one of their products. Note how they posted their hashtags in a new comment and kept their caption engaging.

4. How to Write Good LinkedIn Posts

For a business, LinkedIn is a good platform for sharing news and insights from your industry. Here’s how.

Post Length

LinkedIn is a good platform for longer posts. Try posting company updates, new ideas, and insider experiences. Any other enlightening topics about your work will do. Don’t forget to post about company events, either.

Link-sharing related to your business will work well, too. Describe your link and add a few insights of your own. Or, ask your followers a question about a trending topic.

Best Practices

Format your long-form posts like blog posts. Include a headline and subheaders, and generally make sure you organize your ideas so the post is readable. Stay professional and avoid rants or casual posts. For more engagement on your posts, include related images.

Hashtags

LinkedIn posts benefit from 3-5 related hashtags plugged in at the end unobtrusively. This will help you contribute to larger professional conversations as well as get you more notice.

Example: TED Conferences

5. Tips for Posting Original Pins on Pinterest

Yes, there is a formula for writing pin descriptions/captions on Pinterest, too. Follow them for best results!

Post Length

Much like Instagram, the picture is the focus of the post on Pinterest. However, you can boost your post with the right description.

Don’t be afraid to use detail when describing your pin. 150-300 words is a good standard, depending on the pin. Make sure you include relevant keywords in the description. Provide more information about the pin and make users want to click on it to learn more.

Best Practices

When posting for your brand, Pinterest is not the place for internet slang, acronyms, or text-speak. For all descriptions, use correct punctuation and grammar, and keep your tone informational. Strictly avoid salesy language or anything that sounds inauthentic.

Hashtags

Don’t use hashtags. Pinterest doesn’t recommend it, and it’s not a common practice. In fact, pins with hashtags look strange and out of place.

Ancestry.com describes their pins naturally and with minimal fuss.

ancestry

Example: Ancestry.com

Note how the pin description asks the reader an interesting question. Intriguing!

Now that we’ve covered the right formula for writing for various social networks, let’s get into some general do’s and don’ts.

How to Write Social Media Posts: 3 General Best Practices

Keep to these general best practices for writing on social media and you’ll stand head and shoulders above the competition.

1. When in Doubt, Keep It Short

If you’re ever waffling about how long your post should be for Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other platform that allows length, go shorter.

Shorter posts always do better than longer ones in terms of engagement. If your post does get on the long side, include an image to draw in your audience.

2. Be Authentic

Don’t ever be salesy or overly promotional in your social media posts. Quite frankly, nobody wants to listen to your sales pitch. Instead, practice authenticity. Be a real human with opinions, emotions, and ideas.

3. Consider Evergreen Posts

The lifespan of a social media post is brief. You only have a limited amount of time to catch people’s fancy before the post gets lost in the endless scroll.

Try posting content on social that will stand the test of time to combat this. If a post ever misses out on notice for some reason, you can also try posting it again. Try a different time of day, try different hashtags, or reword your description. You’ll quickly find out what lands – and what doesn’t.

[clickToTweet tweet=”What are the three best practices for #socialmedia content? Find out via @ExpWriters!” quote=”What are the three best practices for #socialmedia content? Find out via @ExpWriters!”]

Your Social Media Posts Can Be Better

If you’re scratching your head wondering how to write social media posts that stand out, you’re not alone. Social media is one of the hardest avenues to cruise down without speed bumps.

Follow this guide to help you get your outline down, then branch out and find the best way to fill in the blanks.

If you need a cheat sheet, download our Quick Handy Guide on How to Write Social Media Posts below!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Instagram Stories for Business with Sue B. Zimmerman

Are you using Instagram Stories for your brand? If not, you should be! And if you’re wondering how to get started, our latest #ContentWritingChat is perfect for you. If you missed out, dive into the recap below, which is filled with awesome tips brands can use to impress on Instagram Stories.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Instagram Stories for Business with Sue B. Zimmerman

Our guest host this week was the Instagram Expert herself, Sue B. Zimmerman. Sue is no stranger to posting content on Instagram Stories, so she shared her tips on how we can all be using it to connect with our audience and grow our online presence.

Q1: Is it important for a brand to be present on Instagram Stories? How can it help your brand?

Is it really necessary for a brand to be using Instagram Stories? And how exactly can this Instagram feature help a brand’s online presence? Find out what our chat participants think about it below:

Sue feels Instagram Stories can be great for brands if they have a strategy their audience would be interested in watching. After all, it comes down to having interesting content that your target audience would want to tune into.

Varun knows that millennials and many others connect with real, human stories. Instagram Stories provides a great way for you to share that with your audience.

It’s a great way to personalize your brand and allow your followers to get to know you. When they get to see who you are and what you’re all about, they’ll form a stronger connection with your brand.

You can easily bring your audience up close and personal with your brand through your Stories content.

Q2: How do you know if Instagram Stories is right for your audience? Should you also be using Snapchat or stick to just one?

Before you begin using Instagram Stories, it’s important that you consider if it’s right for your brand and your audience. While it may work for someone else, it might not be the ideal move for you, so you have to think about it first. Check out this advice on how to know if it’s right for you and if you should also use Snapchat:

Sue said Instagram Stories can work for any business, as long as it aligns with your core business values.

When choosing between Instagram Stories and Snapchat, you want to consider where your audience is. Use the platform that they’re actively using so you stand a better chance at getting seen.

Take the time to do your research before investing the effort into another platform. Ask yourself if your customers are spending time on Instagram Stories. Are your competitors doing well there? These are important things to consider before diving in.

If your audience likes your content on Instagram Stories, Snapchat may work for you as well. If you want to find out, the best way is to just give it a go and see what happens.

Lucy also recommends testing to see which platform is ideal for your brand and audience. Try sharing content to each and see which one gets the most engagement.

As Mallie said, it’s important that you don’t share the same content on both channels. If you have people following you on Instagram Stories and Snapchat, it’ll be repetitive. Find ways to change it up so that it stays fresh and interesting.

Q3: What kind of content should you create and post to your Instagram Stories?

Once you’ve made the decision to commit to Instagram Stories, you need to decide what you’ll post there. After all, you can’t just post any old thing. It has to be relevant and appealing to your audience. Here’s some helpful advice so you can create amazing content for Stories:

Sue recommends sharing exclusive content to your Stories. This gives people a reason to come back and watch more every time they see you have new content. She said to share a glimpse into your business, which is an amazing way to give a behind-the-scenes look.

Remember that when creating content for any social media platform, it all goes back to your audience. You should find a way to serve them and deliver the content they need.

Julia’s advice is to get creative with the content you share on your Instagram Stories. It’s the best way to captivate and engage your audience, so make sure it’s original and interesting.

Keep it engaging and entertaining! Ask yourself what you would want to see and what your audience would really be interested in.

You can easily give people an inside look into what your business does. Your audience will love the behind-the-scenes look into what you do and it’ll help form an even stronger connection with them.

Sara suggests showing people what a day in your life is like. This gives you an opportunity to share the content you wouldn’t post anywhere else.

No matter what, make it personal and valuable for those who will be watching it. You want to make sure you’re giving them something they’d be interested in watching.

Q4: What makes an incredible, captivating Instagram story that your audience will love?

What’s the secret to creating amazing Instagram Stories content? Check out these tips:

Sue’s advice is to create content that entertains, educates, inspires, or makes someone laugh.

Personality is key when sharing to something like Instagram Stories. People want to see you’re human and get to know you.

Content that is relevant, captivating, timely, and appeals to their emotions is the winning formula.

Make your audience feel like you’re speaking directly to them by delivering what they want.

Have a purpose to everything you share and provide value to your audience. Encourage them to interact with you.

Julia mentioned that she loves the “truth bombs” and inspirational rants that Gary Vaynerchuk shares on Instagram Stories. He knows this is the type of content that will resonate with his audience, so he makes sure to share it often.

Q5: For those who are camera shy, discuss ways to help get more comfortable being on screen.

Many of us feel a little nervous appearing in front of the camera. It can be intimidating and we often worry about what others will think or say. To help you get over being camera shy, keep this advice in mind:

Sue’s advice is to speak to the camera as if you were talking to one person.

The best way to become comfortable in front of the camera is to be in front of the camera. The more you practice, the better you will be at it.

Jot down a few talking points before you go live to help you stay on track. Be confident in yourself and know that you’re doing great.

When you speak the camera as if you were talking to a friend, it’s so much easier to be on camera.

People who are tuning into your Stories aren’t looking for perfection, so don’t obsess over making things perfect. Be authentic and people will resonate with that.

Julia agrees that authenticity is more important than perfection.

The best thing you can do? Just do it!

Q6: In what ways can you increase ROI by using Instagram Stories? How can you get a viewer to take the next step with your brand?

Because you want to make sure your viewers take action after viewing your Instagram Stories, you need to know how to actually make it happen. These tips will help you increase your ROI:

Sue knows including a call to action is essential to getting people to take that next step. She also said to provide clear, concise information so people will want to take action.

It really is as simple as including a call to action within your story. Tell people what they should do next.

Mallie said to make sure the steps are clear and provide people with a call to action on what to do next.

Jeremy also knows how important a call to action is, but he also said to to engage in conversations. It’s so important to begin making connections with your audience.

Tell people to click the link in your bio, give them sneak peeks on your blog posts so they’ll want to read it when it’s live, and tag people in your posts. If you have the ability to use the “Swipe Up” feature, then use it!

If you’re working on a new product, Emily suggests telling people when it’ll be available. You can also share sneak peeks to build hype.

Q7: How can you know if your Instagram Stories are a success? Are there key metrics to track?

Once you’re posting on Instagram Stories, it’s important to see if your content is actually a success. If it is, you know you’re on the right track. If not, you have to figure out where you can make changes. Take a look at the following advice so you can know if your stories are a hit and which metrics you should track:

Sue said to see who is viewing your stories and watching until the end. It gives you a good idea of how interested people are in your content.

Are people watching your Stories and actually watching them all the way through? Or are you seeing drop-offs in view count? You want to see that people are staying tuned in.

Julia takes it a step further and reaches out to viewers of her story. It’s a great way to make a connection with your audience.

Jeff also agrees in tracking how long people are tuning in. It shows you who your top advocates are and which stories are the most engaging.

Engagement is a great one to track because you want to see that your content is resonating with people.

In the end, the success of your Stories goes back to your specific goals. Know what you’re trying to achieve with your posts and measure results accordingly.

Q8: Which brands are killing it at Instagram Stories these days? Tag them!

Which brands do an amazing job at their Stories content? Check out these awesome people and get some inspiration from them:

Sue loves watching posts from Drybar, Benefit, Lilly Pulitzer, and Chase Jarvis.

Sarah thinks Barbox is doing a great job with their Stories.

Julia is a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk and our guest host, Sue B. Zimmerman.

Buffer’s Brian Peters does a fantastic job at sharing valuable content.

Join our Twitter chat every Tuesday! Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on the conversation.

#Contentwritingchat

#ContentWritingChat, Sue B. Zimmerman, Instagram strategies, Instagram for business

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Smart Instagram Strategies for Your Business with Sue B. Zimmerman

Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? We have good news for you! We have a recap of our latest Twitter chat, which was packed with amazing tips on effective Instagram strategies for your business. Are you ready to dive in? Just keep reading!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Smart Instagram Strategies for Your Business with Sue B. Zimmerman


Our guest host this week was Sue B. Zimmerman. Sue is a speaker and a top Creative Live instructor. She’s also known as the “Instagram Expert,” which is why she joined our latest chat. She shared a ton of amazing tips for building a presence on Instagram that you’ll want to put to use today.

Q1: How can you determine if Instagram is the right platform for your business?

With so many social media platforms available today, it can be tricky to determine which ones are best for you to invest your time and energy into. So, how can you figure out if Instagram is right for you? Keep these things in mind:

Sue feels Instagram can work for any business. People process visuals faster than text, which can make it a worthwhile platform for you to use.

Are your customers on Instagram? Are your competitors active there? Can you actually commit to building a presence there? Those are questions you need to answer when deciding whether Instagram is right for you.

Tracy agrees! If your audience is on Instagram, your business should be there.

It all goes back to knowing your audience! Are they on Instagram?

Can you accurately and effectively represent your brand on Instagram? You want to make sure it’s the right fit for your brand.

Bill raises a solid point. Can you provide value to your audience on Instagram?

As Sarah said, try it! You won’t really know if a platform works for you unless you give it a go yourself.

Q2: What are key strategies for growth on Instagram?

What do you need to know to see growth on Instagram? We have the answer! Check out some of the tips the chat participants shared on Tuesday:

Sue recommends having an “Instagram Mindset.” She said you need to make taking great photos a priority. After all, Instagram is a visual platform and your followers expect to see quality posts.

Liliana said consistency, quality content, and commitment are three things you need if you want to see growth on Instagram.

We all know hashtags are a must on Instagram. Pamela recommends choosing the right mix of hashtags. Pick those that are popular (but not so popular that your post will get buried in seconds) and align with your audience. Consistency is key, too!

Make sure you’re posting great content and actively engaging with your audience. You have to be present if you want to see results.

Varun said Instagram requires great visuals, relevant hashtags, engagement with your audience, and trend analysis.

Optimize your Instagram strategy by posting when your audience is actively using Instagram. Don’t forget to add relevant hashtags and be social with others.

It’s simple! Know what your audience likes, what they interact with, and which hashtags they’re using.

Sherri knows consistency is key on all social media platforms. You need to post regularly and engage with your audience.

Julia said you need to consistently post great visuals, add relevant hashtags, and include a link in your profile to direct people back to your site.

Q3: How do you ensure you’re posting quality content on Instagram?

Posting quality content is essential on any social media platform. How can you make sure you’re doing a great job on Instagram? Check out these tips:

Sue said engagement confirms if your content is high quality. Are people commenting and taking action on your posts? That’s key!

Pamela recommends seeing how your content sits together and determining the story it’s telling. Make sure the content you’re posting aligns with your brand.

Brittany brings up some great questions you should ask yourself before you hit that “post” button. Would YOU like what you’re about to post? Does it align with your brand? Does it provide value? These are important things to consider.

Make sure your’e also taking the time to take great photos for your Instagram profile. Don’t rush content creation just so you can get something posted. It’s more important to post something great.

As Julia said, you’ll know you’re on the right track when you see those engagement rates start to rise. When people are engaging with your content and starting to follow you, that’s a great sign.

Q4: What are the qualities of a great Instagram caption?

When it comes to Instagram, not only do you need a great image, but you also need a great caption. Here’s how to write one that stands out:

Sue said your caption should educate, inspire, or entertain your audience.

Kristen feels a great caption is one that is succinct and clever. She also knows asking questions is the best way to increase engagement.

Varun recommends finding a sweet spot with your captions when it comes to length. Don’t forget the important CTA to tell your audience what to do next.

Tell a story with your caption!

Don’t forget to proofread before you submit. No one likes typos!

Q5: What are your tips for choosing the right hashtags? How many should you use?

What’s the secret to mastering hashtags? Keep reading these answers to find out:

Sue recommends thinking about where your customers like to hang out. Which hashtags are they actively using?

You have to do a little research to find the right hashtags for your posts and your audience. Once you’ve chosen the right ones, don’t put them in your caption. Instead, post them in a comment.

It’s important to know the answers to the questions Sarah suggested. Which hashtags are your audience using and engaging with? Which ones fit your brand?

Spot on! Using hashtags that are too popular will only result in your posts getting buried within seconds. Choose hashtags that are still popular, but have a smaller audience.

Gary Vaynerchuk knows social media, right? In his book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, he said 11 is the ideal number of hashtags for an Instagram post.

Pamela likes to use Hashtagify to find the right hashtags for her posts.

Q6: What are your favorite tools for managing Instagram?

Make managing your Instagram account even easier with the addition of a few tools! Check these out:

Sue provided a great list of tools! If you haven’t already, be sure to check these out.

Jason is a big fan of Grum. Have you tried it?

Stacey relies on Planoly to help with her Instagram presence.

Crowdfire is great for tracking followers and growth. Squarelovin provides a lot of statistics, including your best times to post.

Brittany loves Iconosquare and Hootsuite for managing her Instagram.

Michael is also a Hootsuite fan.

Sarah uses Buffer to schedule her Instagram posts. She also likes using the Repost app for reposting content from others.

Although it’s not specifically for Instagram, the team at globalHMA loves to use Trello for tracking post ideas and more.

Q7: How do you convert Instagram followers into ROI customers for your business?

So, how do you take someone from an Instagram follower to paying customers? Here’s what you need to know:

Sue knows that you need to provide a CTA if you want your audience to take that next step with you. Direct people to the link in your profile to get them to take action. It’s also so important to build a community first. They’ll be more likely to take action then.

Pamela recommends making a compelling offer in your caption, then directing people to click the link in your bio. You want to move people from Instagram to your website to make a sale or convert them into an email subscriber.

You can use bit.ly to easily track clicks on the link in your Instagram profile.

Make sure you’re taking the time to and effort to nurture the relationships with your followers.

Engaging with your followers is essential if you want them to convert. Show them why they need whatever it is you’re offering.

Sarah recommends offering coupons or contests on Instagram as well. It’s a great way to grow your audience and get them engaging.

Don’t forget to make sure you have a great bio for them to check out when they visit your profile. Include your website link and contact details.

Q8: Which brands are doing an amazing job on Instagram?

Are you in need of some awesome Instagram inspiration? Check out these brands:

Sue thinks Suja Juice does a great job on Instagram.

These are all great accounts that Julia shared! Especially that last one! 😉

Brittany loves Glitter Guide as well as Brit and Co. She’s also a fan of the creatives who are local to her area.

These accounts are definitely ones to check out!

Lori is a big fan of our very own guest host, Sue!

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM CDT for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

Instagram Ads Rolling Out

The Launch of Instagram Ads for Business

Scrolling through your Instagram account you hit on a Ben & Jerry’s photo of the most delicious ice cream you’ve ever seen.

You have to have it. Now!

(Warning: scrolling below may induce frantic, mouth-watering-till-you’re-foaming, ice cream cravings.)

At its core, it’s amazing. Photo by @cookingkitty007

A photo posted by Ben & Jerry’s (@benandjerrys) on

(It’s fine – we understand. Go ahead, leave us and grab that tub, come back to snatch a spoon and carry on scrolling.)

More Instagram-ming. Hey, you didn’t realize Levis has a new design out. Wonder when the sales are on? And on you scroll.

See what Instagram does there? They pave the way for possibly the most non-intrusive ads we’ve ever come across.

There they sit, right in your feed, not flashing out at you from a sidebar.

You can click on the image and go straight to the brand’s profile, share the ad, like it… just the way you would for your friend’s photos. This has got to be the most open and engaging platform for advertising yet.

Instagram Ads Rolling Out

What Are Instagram Ads?

Instagram ads are your typical Instagram photos or videos. The company took the decision to keep the Home browsing experience completely undisturbed for users. What distinguishes the ads from other photos is the “sponsored” mark just above the top right corner of the image.

Why Would Anyone Want to Advertise on Instagram?

Check out this infographic with an analysis of Instagram users. The report shows that the platform is extremely attractive to advertisers. This is thanks to the platform’s young, relatively affluent user base. A user base that keeps on growing.

In fact, Instagram has revealed that their active user base has reached the 200 million mark, making it one of the fastest growing social sites on the planet. With numbers like this, it’s little wonder advertising on Instagram has snow balled.

Who Can Advertise on Instagram?

There was a time when now just any brand could appear in Home feeds, only those with an existing and successful following. There’s good news: Instagram ads are now open to all businesses, all around the world. No matter the size. It has been working to open up ads to more types of businesses on an easy self-serve basis. So now any size of business can run a campaign on Instagram. Best of all, ads have been opened up to over 30 new countries, including India, South Korea, Italy, Spain and Mexico.

By the end of this month, ads will launch in markets around the globe. Using technology that leverages the very best of Facebook’s ad infrastructure, advertisers can now effortlessly target their messages effectively, reaching people based on what they’re following and what they’re interested in, be it food, cars, fashion or sports.

Advertisers are also able to access new ad formats that will help with achieving various objectives and allowing people to learn more about something of interest or shop for something – right from the site. So now businesses of any shape and size can test their capabilities.

Tests that have already been conducted have yielded positive results with areas like travel, e-commerce, entertainment and retail seeing significant demand.

Using Ads to Drive Objectives

People browse Instagram for visual inspiration. Advertising in this incredibly impactful platform has the power to inspire and touch people. Just look at the figures: 97% of measured campaigns on the platform have spawned weighty lifts in ad recall. By adding new formats, marketers have started achieving a variety of objectives, from mobile app installs to website clicks. For example, Gilt Groupe made use of the site to recruit customers. The company ran an ad campaign that saw an astounding 85% increase in app installations. Made.com, a designer furniture retailer, saw their ads yield a 10% order value increase.

4 Ways to Do More With Instagram

Thousands of businesses worldwide are using Instagram as their showcase. The platform is making it easier for them to do more, too. Here’s how you can boost your business with Instagram.

1. Add videos. Businesses can now add up to 30 seconds worth of video ads to engage in much richer storytelling.

2. Landscape videos and photos. These help unlock creative opportunities and gives followers a cinematic feel.

3. Delivery and optimization tools. These help to manage and drive the best performance of campaigns on the site.

4. A new product from Instagram, it helps drive mass awareness while expanding a brand’s reach in a very short time-frame. It’s perfect for product launches or movie premieres.

The Cost of Advertising on Instagram

One of the unique things Instagram offers is the ability to measure ad recall. Businesses can do this by leveraging Nielsen technology.

The goal here is to grab a user’s attention with concept-driven creatives that are tasteful and relevant. Initial beta testing partners have been buying on a CPM (cost per thousand) basis.

Larger scale budgets have been seeing a CPM of around $20. Smaller CPMs are coming in at $13. To date, CPCs have not yet been discussed but will be made available as more objective based campaigns start using Instagram.

The Top 4 Instagram Ads

It’s really tough to choose the best Instagram ads so our list is by no means exhaustive.

1. @LexusUSA

 

Honestly, he’s a bit overdressed for a road trip. #LexusIS #LexusLens #vegas A photo posted by lexususa (@lexususa) on

The affluent vehicle brand uses Twitter ads to highlight and showcase their existing campaigns. One campaign that stands out is the #LexusLens campaign where the brand took photos of various vehicle models on road trips across the nation. It set the benchmark for future brands to hashtag campaigns and grow their likes and followers. Lexus was actually the only brand of the first businesses to advertise that used location tagging.

2. @DunkinDonuts

 

The king of donuts has a much bigger following on Instagram than it does on YouTube or Vine.

One of their most popular ads is their recent Instavid of a trip around the world with the #TravelBuddy. The video had an estimated 15,000 likes and 46,000 views, making it clear that fans are loving creative video ads.

3. @JackintheBox

 

There’s a reason it’s called an Ultimate Cheeseburger™. ?: @oohkeving

A photo posted by Jack in the Box (@jackinthebox) on

Regularly showing up on best Instagram lists, Jack-in-the-Box seems to have carved out a rather special niche in today’s fast-food world. Thanks to rather quirky marketing. In July the brand generated about 10,000 viewers for its various Instavids. It’s a slightly lower count that what they got on YouTube uploads and Facebook videos, but the brand keeps on taking risks with their micro-video content that seriously encourages engagement from Instagram fans.

4. @GoPro

 

GoPro in general is a genius initiative to use footage created by users of the products. The videos the brand uploads range from documenting some extreme sport action to capturing insane stunts and filming all that is weird and wacky in this world. The brand has an astonishing 6.3 million followers on Instagram, so it’s no surprise that any video content the company uploads generates views in the hundreds of thousands. In July 2015, the combined Instagram video uploads generates a staggering 200,000 views per video. The brand’s celebration of user-generated content makes for a diversity of uploads, such as the clip of Didga, the Australian cat that skateboards:

When Will Your Ad Show Up on Instagram?

Instagram has to be the most engaging and non-intrusive way to reach out to your target market. So get on there, have fun with it and start engaging with your followers. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to #follow us @expwriters, for fun stuff like this:

20 Brands That Blow It Away On Instagram & What To Learn From Them

Have you ever snapped a picture, applied a filter, and shared it to your followers with a fun hashtag describing your feelings as you post?

Then you’ve used Instagram.

Instagram is an amazing social channel that provides people with the ability to give their followers a glimpse into their everyday lives.

Many times this means a ton of cat pictures, selfies, and the occasional food and beverage shot.

However, there are businesses and brands out there that are taking their Instagram game to a whole other level, hitting it out of the park with their strategy.

I am going to look at these amazing brands, helping you find some great Instagram inspiration for your own strategy.

Learn from the best out there.

Learn from the best out there.

20 Brands that are Amazing on Instagram

What are some brands that can give you excellent Instagram inspiration? I am going to take a look at some of the top ones when it comes to excellent content.

1. John Deere

Tractors, farming, spending time with family, and living off of the earth are all things that John Deere shares on their social channels. When you look at their Instagram page, you can immediately tell what they sell, and how much they value family and hard work. This is a great illustration of a brand knowing their audience base, and creating images to share that will easily connect with fans, followers, and customers.

2. Billboard Magazine

Keeping up with the latest music news is something everyone loves, and Billboard Magazine helps with that. They provide their followers with “insider info” and give behind-the-scenes looks at various projects, concerts, and more. BTS is a great way to interact and engage with your audience.

3. The White House

It’s pretty obvious that the White House staff is pretty stellar at social media. They understand that working with the public is a great way to bolster positive attitudes, which is a great inspiration for everyone, including businesses. Work to promote positivity, and you’ll start to notice more positive change around you.

4. NASA

NASA has a variety of excellent Instagram accounts, giving followers and fans excellent content that they all want to see. You can follow their main account, or you can choose different ones from different laboratories, space centers, and missions. This guarantees that you will be able to get the content you want, without having to sift through other content you aren’t interested in.

5. Intel

Seeing the latest innovations in technology and watching as awesome things are created can be an exciting thing for many people. When it comes to showing these, Intel is tops, giving all of us a great look into the future of technology. In addition, we see great behind-the-scenes elements, which creates great personal connections with all fans, followers, and customers.

6. Virgin America Airlines

Virgin is known for their swanky airline, and their Instagram shows just how awesome it is. Just a short, quick look at their pages shows some awesome photos of the airline, all with the signature purple lighting that everyone associates with them. This is a great illustration of keeping something consistent, whether a particular color scheme or voice, when it comes to using any social channel.

7. Taco Bell

You don’t have to like their food, but it is pretty hard for anyone not to laugh or enjoy this brand’s epic social media and advertising campaigns. They utilize humor in some of the best ways possible, making great connections with their fans and customers. But, like I said, even people who aren’t fans of their food still love their hilarious approach to all marketing.

8. Warby Parker

Warby Parker is a great place if you want designer glasses, as well as having a passion for helping those in need. The company knows that the main customer base they want to reach incorporates the younger generations, and their Instagram shows that. They truly are masters at creating content that young shoppers are likely to enjoy.

9. Macy’s

Fashion and fun are two major aspects of Macy’s Instagram account, and they capture it all amazingly. From giving suggestions on how to style the best minion outfit to celebrating the USA women’s soccer team, Macy’s knows how to connect with their audience. They are an awesome example of just how to utilize something that is currently trendy, as well as something that can bring everyone together in joy and celebration.

10. Game of Thrones

Whether it is when the show is airing, during a convention, or when the snow drifts start piling up, the Game of Thrones Instagram is on the ball. You get great behind-the-scenes looks at the series, plus fun photos of the cast at various Game of Thrones events. This really helps make all GoT fans feel like they are involved in this awesome series.

11. Starbucks

What’s Instagram without a picture of food and a Starbucks coffee cup? Their Instagram is filled with photos of the current marketing campaign, pictures of store locations, videos, and, of course, those coffee images. Starbucks is a great source of inspiration, no matter your industry, when it comes to social media.

12. GoPro

From an impactful bio to great fan-made images and videos, GoPro is an excellent example of involving clients and using Instagram to the fullest potential. You can expect to see amazing fan-captured items that are sure to make anyone want to use a GoPro camera. How can you implement anything from such a popular company? Simply by involving your clients and sharing media that is created by your client base; just share images they send in and have a blast.

13. H&M

H&M knows that their client base is one that appreciates fashion, fashion tips, and fashion industry news. And this is exactly what they share with their 8.4 million followers. You can see great style ideas for Bohemian-chic, how to relax at the beach, and the latest from whichever fashion week or show the brand is at. With fun videos, great behind-the-scenes looks, and excellent product images, H&M is definitely a leader in the world of Instagram. Take a look at their channel for some epic inspiration.

14. He for She

#HeForShe is an amazing social media campaign that is aiming to get young men involved in and supporting women’s rights all over the world. They mobilized this initiative over Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and have had an amazing social strategy that brings people together.

15. Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is another excellent example of a non-profit and how they utilize social media. For this particular non-profit, stories are vital to connecting with their donors and volunteers. Their social channels are filled with the latest stories of families helped, which is a great encouragement for many to get involved and help others.

16. Target

When it comes to a brand that knows how to use social media and Instagram, Target is definitely one of the top ones. Their channel is filled with vibrant colors that make their whole store and online shop seem like an amazing, inviting place. There’s no way you can feel anything but happiness when you see a Target Instagram post pop up in your feed.

17. NFL

For many Americans, it is a sad day when football isn’t on the TV. However, football fans don’t have to wait until the season kicks off to enjoy excellent football related content. With the NFL’s Instagram account, fans get the chance to see excellent news from within the NFL, as well as great countdowns until football is back on everyone’s TVs.

18. Sharpie

Thinking outside of the box and creating an amazing and unique Instagram presence can really help you stand out from competitors. This is exactly what Sharpie does, with a feed filled with fun images and creativity. Get creative, and even get some great creations from your readership and establish an epic Instagram presence that everyone will remember.

19. American Express

This is a great social channel for anyone who enjoys traveling, seeing new sights, drinking coffee, or almost anything else. The goal of American Express’s Instagram is to show just how AE can be used for almost everything out there, which means they are always reaching out to different audiences. This is an amazing example of creating great, gorgeous, high-quality content that isn’t limited and can reach out to a broader audience.

20. A Lady in London

People love to travel, but it isn’t always feasible with tight budgets. But A Lady in London gives everyone the chance to travel around England’s famous city and see some gorgeous sights. She connects with people through images that people can immediately recognize, as well as showing them “off the beaten path” locations. This is a great way to engage with followers and give them amazing content they are sure to enjoy.

Insta-spired: Create an Epic Instagram Strategy

Take some time to get inspired by these excellent Instagram channels to create some amazing images to share with your audience.

You can find great ways to connect and engage with your client base, giving them quality images, and involving them with your business.

If you are looking for great, written social media content then look no further than Express Writers. We can make some epic written content for your business, helping you make that initial connection with your customers and followers.

twitter instagram hashtags

5 Ways to Correctly Use #Hashtags on Instagram & Twitter

Hashtags are an incredible part of social media. They are what connects people during incredible or tragic moments, bringing the entire world together on social media. They provide excellent opportunities for discussion and are excellent for businesses. However, you might be wondering just how to use them, and use them correctly, on Twitter and Instagram.

Let’s take a look at hashtags that will help you create an excellent Twitter or Instagram campaign.

Crash Course: How Does A Hashtag Work?

Hashtags are becoming vital to any social media campaign, but many people still might not know just what a hashtag is. Here is a quick rundown and reminder: a hashtag is a word or phrase used on social media that follows the pound or number sign (#). This helps to tie posts together with others and makes it easier for clients and readers to browse through the hashtag to find relevant information. This is a great way to index and categorize posts to make it easier for those with an interest in the specific keyword. For example, if you are selling artisanal coffee and want people who aren’t following to see your posts, you can use a hashtag such as #artisanalcoffee or a keyword that you use more often on your site. This will help connect you, and broaden your reach.

Why Should You Use Hashtags?

I briefly stated a benefit of hashtags in my example above. You need hashtags because they help direct people to your posts if they are not within your network. Let’s say you are a company that sells your product worldwide; you may have a few local customers, but how can you connect with someone in England, Australia, or America? Simple answer: hashtags. In addition to broadening your range and reaching out to more customers, you can also use hashtags as a way to engage with your clients, potential clients, and industry leaders. In fact, researchers find that tweets that utilize hashtags get two times the amount of engagement as a regular, non-hashtag tweet; interesting! The biggest thing about social media is being social, and you can do just that with hashtags directed at being social. I am going to take a more in depth look at this to show you just how you can correctly use your hashtags, especially when it comes to Twitter and Instagram.

Companies That Should Be Using Twitter or Instagram

Twitter is a great social channel for many businesses to use because it can connect you with a broader range of individuals. It can also provide you with the chance to host online chats, which I will discuss later. Twitter is a great social channel for small businesses and is also a great tool that B2Bs can use. Now, when it comes to Instagram, it is important to sit down and think about what your company does. If you don’t have much visually driven content and don’t focus on it too much, then Instagram is not for you. However, if you do have visually driven content or product, Instagram is perfect. If you are looking for some tips on how to use Instagram for your business, Social Media Examiner gives some excellent points to guide you in the right direction!

How To Correctly Hashtag Your Content on Instagram and Twitter

Now that I’ve taken you on a crash course reminder on hashtags, their importance, and if you should use Twitter and Instagram, I am going to help you learn how to use them. Remember, when it comes to social media and hashtags, you will need to tweak and grow to find the best ones for you. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can correctly, and awesomely use hashtags.

  1. Use Weekly AMAs or Hashtag Chats. Many businesses use something known as an AMA or an Ask Me Anything. Ask Me Anything is a really popular concept for many celebrities and users on Reddit, but it is slowly catching on for many businesses on other social channels. Most of the time, a business will adapt it into a chat instead of using AMA, but the concept is the same and helps develop communication and dialogue. A great example of a business chat is that of SEMRush’s #semrushchat that they hold to talk about various concepts. They discuss various questions with their readers and followers and then post the discussions on their blog. This is a great way to answer some of the common and current buzzing questions clients have while also creating excellent blog material.
  1. Create Unique Hashtags. This is a perfect way to get your posts to stand out while directing people to your accounts and site. You will need to use trendy hashtags that will get noticed, but throwing in a unique hashtag created by you will help put all of your posts in an easy to find spot. It can also help when people start discussing things with you, using that hashtag instead. This will direct more people to the discussion, and eventually direct people to your Twitter account, or website. In addition, a unique hashtag can also help you keep your business related photos in one spot on Instagram, giving people the chance to see all photos you’ve posted throughout your whole Instagram usage.
  1. Follow Specific Hashtags to See More Discussion. When you are using Twitter, it is a good idea to make sure you follow specific hashtags to see discussions and anything your clients might be talking about. This is especially necessary if you create your own hashtag to get people involved in discussions. It won’t work if you don’t keep tabs on it to talk with clients. The best way to follow specific hashtags is to utilize social media tools such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or others that allow you to create columns for certain keywords and phrases.
  1. Utilize Trending Hashtags for Easy Advertising. No matter if you are on Twitter or Instagram, using trending hashtags for advertising is a great method. Most of the time, popular hashtags are to promote something but are always asking for others to engage. For example, on April 12th, Game of Thrones was promoting the show’s 5th season starting up. The way last season ended showed one of the three dragons still flying around the countryside, causing trouble for the people and Dany. Game of Thrones’ official Twitter used this as a great way to advertise with #CatchDrogon, encouraging people to share gifs, images, or come up with clever tweets to catch the dragon. This was a great idea, and many fans participated. What made it even funnier was when businesses such as Arby’s joined in. This was a great way to advertise Arby’s by using a very popular hashtag. You can do something similar whether it is for a TV show, movie or just a random trending hashtag.

  1. Create a List of Hashtags to Use for Your Strategy. Before you start a hashtag campaign, you might find it helpful to sit down and brainstorm a few ideas. This will help you focus on the keywords you want to use for Twitter and Instagram while also helping you keep a list of all the hashtags you think can work for your business. Do some research into your top keywords and also take some time to look at Twitter and Instagram to see which hashtags are trending, not just in your industry, but overall. You never know when you’ll be met with an excellent opportunity to advertise your business in a clever way.

Top Trending Hashtags of 2015, So Far

Using trendy keywords is a great way to get your posts out there to a wider audience that might not look at your industry keywords. Let’s look at some of the trendiest hashtags so far!

#StarWars. This is the year of Star Wars. There will be a new movie, new game, and tons of new merchandise everywhere. During April 2015, the franchise held a convention called Star Wars Celebration. The convention worked with Twitter and anytime someone used a specific hashtag for Star Wars, new, little Emojis would pop up. It was pretty fun!

#Sports. Whether it be #baseball, #basketball, #football or the #StanelyCup, sports take over the trendy hashtags each year. These hashtags are great to get in on with your promotional material, especially if you make it sports related.

#Coachella. Coachella, the music festival of the hipsters, was in full swing in April, making it a trendy hashtag for everyone to use. It was used to highlight the festival, create advertisements using the hashtag, or even for a great discussion on issues such as cultural appropriation. The #Coachella tag and all of its subsequent ones had some intriguing aspects and discussions.

Everybody, Do the Hashtag Shuffle

Now that you know a bit more about hashtags for Twitter and Instagram, you should start doing the little dance known as the hashtag shuffle. Get to using them, and creating some excellent individual hashtags for your business. If you need help with social media or need keyword research to know the top ones to use for your website and social campaigns, then look no further. Express Writers is here to help with Twitter and other social media platforms, as well as providing excellent keyword research services. Which of these tips do you think will work the best for you and your business?

Photo credit: PrismaIllustration / iStock

Social Media Content Optimization: How To Optimize Your Pins & Pictures

Today’s newest and greatest in social media content optimization happens to be almost all visual. Instagram, with over 100 million users and 4 billion users, is one of the most popular iPhone apps out there. Pinterest, one of the newest social media platforms, has at least 100 million users with over 30 billion pins.

With this many users available on these new social media platforms, business and companies are including their campaign strategies to advertise to the people on these sites. Besides CPC, the best way to do this is simply by organically populating their own Pinterest and Instagram corners and encouraging their fans to follow, like and re-pin. Social media content optimization across these platforms is a major player.

Besides getting your business, company or person actually on these platforms: what more can you do for exposure across these two social media platforms?

A lot. Copyblogger says that although Pinterest and Instagram revolve around visual content, you can still optimize content on each of these platforms, in your postings.

Social Media Content Optimization Secrets: Getting Popular on Pinterest

For one thing, infographics with optimized descriptions are big on Pinterest. Pinning a tall, infographic style piece if you don’t have an infographic is another excellent route to go—statistically, tall and narrow images get more repins than fat and wide.

Social media content optimization for your pins shouldn’t be more than 200 characters (think meta description). This text gets crawled by search engines and helps your readers identify a keyword about you, so make sure to include your keyword here.

Secrets: Getting Interesting on Instagram

Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags: they might feel the opposite of useful when you type them in, but hashtags encourage follower activity by a huge ratio than Instagram pictures posted without it. The top followed or returned hashtags on Instagram encourage reciprocal behavior, and are as follows–#FollowforFollow, #LikeforLike, and the like. Nature focused hashtags like #Sky, #Sun, #Clouds, are very popular (interestingly) as well. (The least-liked hashtags include #Drunk and #loveyou).

Inspiring pictures do very well on Instagram and Pinterest alike, as well as DIY or home and garden focused tidbits. Think about the DIY content your audience might be interested in.  If you sell SEO services, “how to write your own SEO blog” – or if you’re a contractor, “how to build your own garden”.  Think about what you’d discuss, if you were your own reader.

For up-to-date SEO strategies, be sure to stay subscribed to The Write Blog for new posts. Join our weekly Twitter chat where we talk up-to-date principles on content marketing, SEO and more with guest experts: #ContentWritingChat at 10 AM CST with @ExpWriters on Twitter.