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How to Post on Instagram (and Connect With Your Audience)

Learn key tips for connecting with your audience via Instagram. Learn about the different types of posts you can use to make your brand go further.

Developed by its programmers in just eight weeks, Instagram is a top-rated social media sharing app initially launched in 2010. The app was created to help people share pictures taken on their smartphones. After its initial widespread success, Facebook later purchased Instagram for $1 billion.

Today, around one billion people access Instagram each month, making it one of the world's most popular social networking apps. Instagram posting represents a fun and easy way to connect with your audience. Small business owners from virtually every industry use this social media juggernaut to market and reach new customers.

Posting random images on Instagram isn't difficult, but conducting social media marketing campaigns, using calls to action, and engaging in other advertising activities on the platform means taking a deep dive into how to use Instagram for small businesses. We'll also explore what makes Instagram great for marketing.

How to make an Instagram post

First, let's learn how to post on Instagram with a traditional single image post.

To post on Instagram, you'll want to navigate to your profile, which means tapping the profile picture for your account on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. Once you're on your profile page, you'll take the following steps for your Instagram posting.

  1. Press the plus sign at the upper right hand side of the screen.
  2. Choose one of the options from the pop-up menu (you'll choose "post" for a picture or video).
  3. Select a photo or video from your gallery that you want to use.
  4. Edit the photo by using filters, as well as cropping and straightening when necessary.
  5. On the caption screen, type a message, use hashtags, and choose emojis to maximize the post's reach.
  6. Tag people (when applicable) and add the location of the photo or event.
  7. Publish the post to Instagram and share it on other social media platforms.

One of the fun aspects of using Instagram as a marketing tool is that it offers you many options for connecting with your customers, fans, and followers. It's not just videos and pictures. Learning how to post on Instagram helps you create posts with multiple photos, stream live videos, create stories, and start fundraisers.

Traditional feed Instagram post

The traditional single-shot Instagram post remains a favorite for casual and business users despite the opportunity to post videos, post multiple images simultaneously, and go live. A conventional post features just a single photo tagged and captioned with optimized terms and phrases for your industry.

One of the most important things to remember when learning how to make an Instagram post is that the post should strive to create a personal connection between your customers, potential customers, and your business. Stock photos that don't show your company's personality and feel won't result in as much engagement as personal images that help define your business persona.

Here are a few do-this-not-that pieces of advice for your Instagram social media content.

Do post at least every other day. Don’t overwhelm your follower's feeds.

Do include your employees in shots of your products. Don't create pictures without a human element unless you're a landscape photographer selling pictures of vast, expansive, and empty vistas. Photograph your handmade rings on a hand rather than a plastic display piece.

Do try to tell a story with your photograph. Don't simply post an image of one of your products without some context. For example, if you own a food truck, include pictures of your employees making the food rather than create artsy yet emotionless snaps of the food you sell.

Carousel posts

A carousel Instagram posting is when you choose several photographs to include in a single post. You'll start the post using the same steps you would for a single traditional Instagram post, but you'll choose the "select multiple" option on the selection screen.

After choosing your photos – you can select up to ten photographs – you'll go through the same process as you might with a single post for editing. You'll choose filters, crop when necessary, and straighten anything that looks crooked.

Although you might include several photos in your post, you'll only type up a single description for the group of pictures. Here are a few guidelines to consider when posting a carousel Instagram post.

  • Create a story using related images.
  • Use the best image to "hook" the user into swiping for more pictures.
  • Employ the same font throughout any labeling on the photos.
  • Use the comment section on each image for added descriptions
  • In the post's description, encourage users to swipe left for more.
  • Try to make sure each image can stand on its own.

One exciting and beneficial feature of the carousel post is that if the primary image doesn't result in engagement during the first time a user sees it, Instagram will show the post again using one of the secondary images.

Instagram Story post

Some of the first images you'll learn how to post on Instagram are the single-shot original style and the carousel posts. Once you've mastered those options, you'll want to consider adding an Instagram Story post to your feed because over 50% of customers are more likely to make a purchase after seeing a brand in a story.

An Instagram story is a photo or video that appears on your feed for just 24 hours until it disappears. You can keep an Instagram story active by adding it to your profile as a story highlight. To add a story to your Instagram profile, you'll begin with the same steps as you might for a regular or carousel post.

On the post type selection screen, you'll choose "story" from the list of options. The gray circle at the bottom of the screen is what you'll tap to take a photograph. If you want to create a video, you'll hold the circle down to start recording. You can also choose a photo or video from your phone's gallery. You can draw, add stickers, or include text on your photos and videos.

Here are a few things to remember when creating your Instagram stories.

  • Each slide in the story will appear on the screen for ten seconds. Don't overload your viewer with text that they can't finish reading within ten seconds or less.
  • Add a poll or quiz to create active engagement and include hashtags on the pictures or videos that can help your story reach more viewers.
  • Include a call to action in your story that encourages viewers to take quick action during a seasonal sale or another event.
  • Create the story ahead of time to take advantage of peak posting hours even if you're busy with other business responsibilities when the story goes live.

One of the best reasons to employ stories on an Instagram posting is the opportunity the option gives you to interact with your followers. Liking a post is something that people do on autopilot when they scroll through their Instagram feed, but things like polls, quizzes, and questions encourage the viewers of your posts to engage with your company directly.

Benefits of including Instagram in your marketing strategy

You may consider Instagram as just another one of the many social media platforms you must use to reach as many customers as possible. However, Instagram isn't just a place where you can copy the content you already posted to Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Rather, Instagram is a powerful tool because it blends seamlessly with Facebook, and it offers an easy-to-digest method for sharing information with your customers. Instagram isn't for 600-word blog posts or deep-dives into a particular subject. It's for the quick and easily digestible content that busy users want.

Instagram is also an excellent platform for visual artists and anyone who sells something best shared through visual images. You can use flowery language to describe the food at your restaurant, but showing pictures of it will make people jump that much quicker to make a reservation.

Historically, Instagram has offered one of the best engagement rates for users. Features like hashtags boost interaction dramatically, and users often consider an Instagram posting as a place to share information rather than engage in direct sales.

Your customers won't feel pressured to buy something when you're sharing the fun and exciting aspects of your business. However, Instagram does offer paid advertising options, so you can use the platform as you wish. Suppose you have a minimal budget for marketing and advertising. In that case, Instagram is an excellent, affordable choice, whether you choose Instagram ads with help from MailChimp's marketing technology or free postings for your current followers.

Final Notes

If you're reluctant to learn how to make an Instagram post for your business, consider that your business might already have an Instagram presence through your customers' posts. Anyone can post a picture with details about your products, services, and business, and they can even add hashtags identifying your business.

Suppose you don't take advantage of the platform. In that case, you might miss out on natural, organic advertising that takes nothing more than offering your customers a great product or service and waiting for the positive comments and engagements to roll in.

User-generated content doesn't cost your company anything, and it gives you the ideal space to interact with your customers, but Instagram is an excellent platform for paid ads, too. When you're ready to jump into Instagram ads, head to Mailchimp to use industry-leading email marketing technology with comprehensive Instagram ad features.

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