The first thing I do when I wake up is turn off the alarm on my phone and then scroll through Instagram.
While I wish I was kidding, I'm definitely not.
As a consumer, Instagram is one of my favorite platforms. I get to see fun and inspiring content that's also helpful and entertaining.
However, as a marketer, nailing Instagram isn't as easy as waking up and being inspired.
That's why we talked to six Instagram managers to give us their best tips and tricks on managing an Instagram account.
Below, let's dive into trade secrets that Instagram managers swear by.
Instagram Managers Share Their Top Tips and Tricks
1. Focus on engagement.
Instagram's main value proposition is that the platform brings people and things they love together. That's why engagement is a top metric for this platform.
According to Vana Korrapati, a digital marketing strategist and social media manager, "I always try to engage my audience by including some of them in my posts. This brings my audience together for a meaningful conversation."
I love this tip because Korrapati uses a specific tactic for a specific goal. This means that she's created a SMART goal — one that's specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
You're more likely to attain goals with those qualities.
For example, your goal on Instagram can't just be to raise awareness. You need to know what tactics you're going to use and how you're going to measure that specifically, whether it's through follower count, impressions, reach, or engagement.
Korrapati measures her goal of brand awareness through engagement metrics. She says, "My main motive on Instagram is to build awareness, so I track follower count, impressions, and reach."
Additionally, she also evaluates her process continuously.
She says, "I use Instagram analytics actively on my campaigns to understand the engagement and continuously tweak my strategy. Not evaluating your Instagram analytics could lead to targeting the wrong audience and driving irrelevant visitors."
2. Build an emotional connection.
On HubSpot's Skill Up Podcast, Matthew Brown, a senior podcast producer at HubSpot, discusses how to use Instagram to drive awareness and purchase intent.
One of the main takeaways is to build an emotional connection. Instagram makes this easy because you can have direct communication with consumers and potential customers.
You can do this by using interactive features such as polls or by replying to comments in a timely manner.
Additionally, building an emotional connection will help you increase trust with your audience.
To track the emotional connection with your audience, you can look at your comments. These are a good metric to use because it takes a lot of time for the user to do and it shows the algorithm that people are engaging with your content.
3. Be consistent with your visual branding.
Although we're past the days of perfectly planning out your Instagram grid, visual branding is still important.
According to Leslie Green, a campaign manager on HubSpot's social media team, "Don't ignore the importance of consistent visual branding across Instagram — which includes Feed posts, Stories, IGTV, live video, and your highlight covers."
As more people are searching for products and brands within the platform, you should think about your Instagram profile like you do any other landing page.
That means that you should use brand guidelines, as we do at HubSpot, to help achieve consistent branding on Instagram.
Green adds, "You want your page to visually communicate your brand as soon as someone reaches your page. Instagram is a highly visual platform so use that to your advantage with a consistent look and feel to increase brand recall."
4. Use Instagram Stories.
With Instagram Stories, you can show up for your audience every single day — and you should because Stories are one of the best ways to be noticed by your audience.
In fact, if your Stories become one that your audience is consistently watching, you'll show up more often in their feed.
According to Kelsi Yamada, who's on the HubSpot social media team, "We love Instagram Stories, and your audience probably does too. Meet them there by posting your own, and engage them with the platform's poll, quizzes, and questions. These stickers help make your Stories fun, memorable, and something to look forward to in the feed."
5. Test everything.
Just like any trend, you shouldn't immediately buy-in to every fad that comes along.
According to Kelly Hendrickson, a social media manager at HubSpot, "Don't buy into the trends, test them. Everyone you talk to (including everyone in this blog post!) will have their tips and tricks. The important thing to remember is that what works for one account, may not work for yours."
That's why you need to test, learn, and repeat.
And remember, for every strategy you test and implement, you never want to lose focus of your customer.
Hendrickson says, "Never forget your audience. People opt-in to be part of your conversation on Instagram. Give them a reason."
6. Provide value to your audience while working smarter, not harder.
Jennifer Stefancik, a social media manager of the HubSpot Academy Instagram account, says the best thing to do on Instagram is to provide value to your audience.
She says, "Make sure each post — both the creative and the caption as standalone elements — provide value to your audience."
Once you've nailed that, you should also work smarter, not harder. But how can you do that?
Stefancik says, "Use Canva (or a similar tool) to create your posts and Stories in advance. Creating them on the fly can be unnecessarily stressful and leaves room for typos."
When you create posts in advance, you can use the same fonts, colors, and plan for interactive features like polls or questions. This helps you make your feed look consistent.
Additionally, Stefancik recommends using a link in bio solution (HubSpot uses LinkTree) so you can drive followers to different parts of your website. This also helps create value for your audience.
These are some of the most successful strategies we've used. But you don't have to take our word for it. You can see how our HubSpot Academy Instagram account conversions grew by 475% for only $6 a month.
While these trade secrets from social media managers are helpful to anyone getting started on Instagram, remember to test them on your account. It's important to test any strategy you use for your social media team to see what works.