There are so many successful accounts on Instagram – but what can we attribute to their success? Over the past 7 years I’ve worked with many different businesses (including my own personal brand) to grow Instagram followings and increase engagement. This week we’ll take a look at what you can learn from the best Instagram accounts.

1. Post Consistently

You might be tired of hearing this but one of the most basic things you can learn from the best Instagram accounts is to post consistently. Remember that you’re competing to get the attention of your audience and with so many profiles out there you can’t count on posting once a month and retaining your followers and engagement. Hitting the post frequency sweet spot will vary from business to business but posting at least 3 times a week is a must to stay in your followers’ minds (and feeds).

2. Use High Quality Images

Instagram is a visual network, so your image quality plays a role in your account success and the best Instagram accounts post high quality images and videos. Try to post high quality images, or use apps like VSCO or Instagram’s built in filters to made your images and videos look nicer. If all else fails stock photos are a great way to get access to high quality images for your feed.

3. Create Cohesive Feed

Creating a cohesive feed may seem useless but one thing you can learn from the best Instagram accounts is that they have a specific look and feel to them. So why create a cohesive feed? Having a distinct look will help you stand out from your competition and can help you reinforce your branding (further immersing your followers into your brand experience). The theme can be expressed in a specific filter, using frames or even a posting pattern. Creating a cohesive theme will take thought and work, but it will elevate your account. If you have no idea where to start take a moment to check out this post: How To Create A Cohesive Instagram Theme.

Here is an example of my feed @DhariLo.

4. They Use Hashtags

It almost seems impossible to grow Instagram account without using hashtags. Remember to use hashtags within captions as well as hiding up to 30 captions in a comment on any photo you post. They key here is finding hashtags that relate to your audience. If you need help read: How To Find The Right Hashtags For Your Business.

5. They Use Instagram Tools Like Stories, Live Stories and Slideshows

One overlooked tip to learn from the best Instagram accounts is to take advantage of all the extra features Instagram provides aside from posting to the feed. Instagram Stories and Live Stories are a great way to gain exposure for your account and business. They give you an opportunity to show your audience that little more they’re looking for. Take them behind the scenes, share helpful tips, and get creative – this is where you can dive into your brand beyond your feed.

6. Engaging Captions

Another takeaway to learn from the best Instagram accounts is that they have really engaging captions and tell great stories. Take a look at some of your favorite accounts – you most likely read their captions and feel connected to them. They tell stories instead of talking AT you. I found that when I add more personality, and ask questions my audience engages with me more than before. Remember to show personalty and try to pull on your audience’s heart strings in your captions. Put yourself in their shoes and what would speak to you. Instead of saying “Sign up for my amazing course” you may say something like “I remember sitting in front of my screen with nothing to say. I remember how frustrating it was for me. We don’t always have all the ideas – so I’ve created a course to help you out when you’re feeling stuck”. See the difference?

7. Take The Time To Engage With Others

Playing off the last takeaway, the best Instagram accounts take time to engage with followers. They take time to answer questions, interact with comments and they ask their audience questions. Try implementing this strategy with your Instagram account. It’s not only beneficial in that it helps to build relationships with followers and potential followers but it can also help you research and get to know your audience.

8. They Have A Strategy

The biggest thing you can learn from the best Instagram accounts is that they have a strategy. They aren’t randomly posting just because. There is a plan in place, even if you don’t see it. They are setting goals, paying attention to what times they post, what their audiences react to, and they use this information to shape how they publish content.

What is the most useful thing you’ve learned from the best Instagram accounts?

This article was originally published on Dhariana Lozano’s blog.

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