Social media is one of the best ways to increase your online presence, send more traffic to your website, and ultimately increase your brand authority. There are many popular social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, but Instagram has become very popular for image sharing and social outreach. All Instagram posts start with a great picture, so let’s learn how you can make your Instagram pictures better as well as some tips for improving your post’s reach on this evolving social network.

Altitude’s Tips for Better Instagram Images

Make an Action Plan

Every good Instagram page for your business or image starts with a good plan. Is your Instagram account being used to draw more customers to your ice cream shop? Is it being used to promote your craft store? Is it to create likes? A proper plan dictates a theme and a proper theme ties all your images together for a better idea of what your business or brand is all about.

Consider Using a Real Camera

Modern smartphones have unbelievable cameras that now allow you to change lighting, add effects, and change the image to get a professional result. While those tiny phones on smart cameras are revolutionary, they still don’t hold a candle to real digital photography. If great Instagram images are important to your brand, it may be time to upgrade from smart phone to camera.

But Smart Phones Can Be Upgraded, Too

If you want better pictures, but you can’t afford a camera or don’t have the time to learn photography, you can consider upgrading your smart phone’s camera. There are several high-quality lenses available for smart phones that can improve focus, depth, clarity, and the finished product of your images. These lenses run anywhere from twenty bucks to the low hundreds depending on their quality.

Take Advantage of Filters and Options

Instagram was the first major social media outlet to use filters and other simple editing tools that allow their users to modify their images for a better picture. These options are varied and unique, and you should be taking advantage of them. A properly used filter can turn a good image into a great image, and other options can give your image the boost it deserves. The tools are there – use them.

Use Third-Party Applications

There’s more to editing images than Instagram filters alone. You can use third-party applications like Photoshop to polish images to a professional level. Deciding to step into image editing is a step into more work, but the beautiful and unique images that you can create are worth it.

But Don’t Overdo It

Unfortunately, many Instagram feeds are filled with images that have been over-edited and don’t resemble anything close to a decent picture. Filters and modifications are great to enhance pictures but don’t rely on them to make your pictures great. Too many Instagram images are over-saturated, overly colorized, or modified by kitschy, kiddy filters.

Turn Up Your Caption Game

Do your viewers know exactly what they’re looking out? A strong and informative caption can do much more for your image than a filter can. Explain what the viewer is looking at to keep them informed and engaged. A viewer that knows what is happening in the image and its context is more likely to appreciate it. Consider adding a link back to your website for more information where applicable for a better end-to-end user experience.

Hashtag Properly

If you use Instagram for your small business, make sure you’re tagging your pictures properly. Hashtags help search engines and Instagram sort your images so if a potential customer comes along they have a chance of seeing your image if they’re searching for similar images. Hashtags are one of the best ways to grow your social brand so don’t send photos to the unknown – hashtag them.

Spread Instagram Along Your Other Social Media Channels

If you continually post without promotion, your Instagram page will never grow, and it’ll be much more difficult to build your online presence. All your social media channels should be linked to each other to allow for customers to easily bounce from one to the next and to crosspollinate content between them. This helps increase you reach not just on Instagram but elsewhere your brand is visible online.

Instagram Takeovers

Takeovers are popular on other social media channels, and Instagram pioneered the takeover like no other network out there. A takeover is when someone literally takes over your Instagram for a set period to showcase what they do related to your brand. This brings a fresh take to your Instagram and gives your audience a unique look into what you do and how you do it.

Stay Consistent

Your Instagram won’t pull in hundreds of likes and shares right away, but don’t let that discourage you. Stay consistent with your posts and styles in the beginning and try to stay focused on your brand, image, or industry. With time, great images, and promotions a steady page will flesh itself out with great images that keep your viewer’s scrolling and clicking.

A great Instagram page can’t be great without high-quality images and proper use of them. Use these eleven tips above and look for more to make your Instagram everything it has the potential of being.