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Instagram is consistently changing and adding new features, but some core best practices remain the same. There are plenty of opportunities for brands and influencers to grow their followings in 2022. We’re diving into the current Instagram best practices to ensure you are reaching your target audience.

Instagram best practices to keep in mind

Keep these tips in mind for best results. 

Be consistent

Like all social media platforms, consistency is key. Consistency keeps you top-of-mind with your audience, but it is also the hardest thing to achieve.

To get started, choose a posting schedule and stick to it. If that means you can only post three times per week, that’s OK. Just make sure you don’t overpromise and underdeliver. 

Creating a content calendar will help you stay consistent and on schedule, so you never have to stress that you have nothing to post. What’s more, it will also give you an overview of your content and help you ensure you’re covering all of your content pillars. 

Create strong captions

It’s not enough to just drop a pretty photo anymore; you have to create engaging, share-worthy content. 

This doesn’t mean each post has to be a mini blog post, but it does mean you should use this space to tell a story. If you’re stuck, go back to the goals you set when starting your account. Are you hoping to educate others, entertain or inspire? Make sure each post and caption is working toward your goal. 

Remember to engage your audience by asking your readers questions and include calls to action in your posts. Invite readers to DM you, save your content or share your story to start a conversation. 

This not only sends positive signals to the Instagram algorithm that your content is resonating with others, but it will also help you expand your reach and grow. 

Engage your audience

Besides your captions, another place you can engage with your audience is on Instagram Stories

Instagram makes it easy to do this by including plenty of features you can use, such as polls, stickers and quizzes. Question boxes, countdowns and the “Add Yours” feature are other excellent tools that will drive up your reach and your engagement. 

Remember, the more share-worthy content you create, the faster you will grow. 

Leverage Instagram’s features

For the best success on Instagram, you’ll want to use all of the features available to you. That means posting a mix of static photos, daily Instagram Stories, Reels, Carousel posts and Instagram Lives. 

Master video content

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, announced in 2021 that Instagram is no longer just a photo-sharing app and that video would be a much bigger focus going forward. It’s not yet known whether some of the video-focused changes will be rolled back, but it’s clear that to get the most out of Instagram, you need to learn to create and share great video content. 

There are free tutorials online and even by other influencers on Instagram to help you learn how to shoot and edit video content like a pro. And no, you don’t need a professional camera or editing software either. What you do need is an understanding of the basic principles of shooting and editing great videos. 

  • Good lighting is key and natural light is always best. Try to find a spot near a window if you can. 
  • For outdoor photos or video, avoid the middle of the afternoon when the sun is at its brightest. Instead, you’ll want to aim for the golden hour right at sunrise or sunset for the softest lighting. 
  • If you have the budget for studio lights, you can start with a ring light or a light kit. There are tons of affordable options for every creator’s budget. 
  • Edit, edit, edit! This can be a bit of a learning curve but there are many free and affordable apps to help you edit both your photos and your videos. 

Be relatable and authentic

Instagram is a social media platform so by all means, be social. That means engaging your audience, responding to comments and being yourself. If you show up as someone who is authentic and relatable, your audience will begin to trust you. IZEA’s Trust in Influencer Marketing report found that 62% of social media users trust influencers over A-list celebrities. This is because influencers authentically show their love for certain brands and products.

Don’t buy followers

The absolute worst thing you can do for your Instagram accounts is to buy fake followers. You may even get DMs from spammy agencies that offer Instagram growth services. While this may seem tempting, slow and steady is the best way to go when it comes to account growth.

When you buy followers, it tanks your engagement and it can be hard to recover. Brands also have many tools at their disposal to identify accounts with fake followers. 

Larger loop giveaways in which 25-plus accounts share a giveaway encouraging someone to enter in order to be eligible to win are also frowned upon.