Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Instagram is an incredibly fast-growing social media platform. Now owned by Facebook (and bought for the sum of $1 BILLION), Instagram now has over 800 million monthly active users.

Although I’m a big fan of all social media, at the moment, I’d say Instagram is my favourite platform. Not only is it incredibly interesting and I enjoy spending time there, but the speed it’s changing and evolving makes it really exciting. And it is also very different to the other platforms out there.

See also: Which social media platforms should your business be on?

The main ‘thing’ about Instagram is it’s all about the visual quality. People’s main Instagram feeds are the places they show their best photographic work. The best feeds I see, the ones with the highest followers and engagement, are the ones with the beautiful imagery.

Yes, it needs to tell a story, be relevant and lots more besides, but the first thing people see, when they’re scrolling through is the picture. Instagram is a superb place to put your images, your professional pictures, your clients’ pictures (with the right permissions). If Youtube is all about video, Instagram is all about photos.

In addition to the images, the power of the caption you decide to use tends to help people engage and comment and helps to tell the story. It allows people to find out more about the brand, the people behind it, your customers and lots more.

Use of hashtags

But how do you get found? Following people and searching and commenting on posts with relevant hashtags is a good way to help you gain more visibility, but the very best way to start at least is through using hashtags.

See also: The key steps to developing a successful digital strategy

You can add 30 of these gems to each post, and these give you 30 ways to be found because, on Instagram, the hashtag works as a search. For example, you use #farm365 and you search for this hashtag, your image and everyone else’s with that tag will appear when you look.

You don’t have to use 30 hashtags per post, you don’t have to use any. But you’re increasing your chances of being found if you do.

The other part to Instagram is Stories. These ‘live’ in another part of your Instagram profile, only exist for 24 hours and can be the most amazing way to document what you get up to.

What goes on behind the scenes in your business? What do your team love? What does your farm look like? What’s your favourite thing that grows there? What’s your favourite tipple?

See also: Native content on social media: Why you need to make this a priority

Use Instagram Stories to open the doors to your world. The images might not be as picture perfect as they would be for the main feed - you might decide to use Boomerang, or video, or stop motion (all built into the app and can be accessed really easily) to tell your story.

Be fun, be you and don’t over curate your story. Play around with it, keep it on brand, but enjoy it. And if you’re feeling really clever, add hashtags too. This means that when people search that hashtag, your Story might appear at the top of that search.

This is very much a whistle-stop tour of Instagram. I blog about Instagram and Instagram Stories a lot on my own blog, and you can always follow me on Instagram at @rheafreemanpr to see what I’m getting up to and how I’m using the platform.arm diversification, diversification ideas, rural business, rural business ideas

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