Instagram – Everybody’s on it.
In my quest to be active on social media I stumbled onto Instagram and downloaded the app to my phone. There are a kabillion people it seems, (recent stats say over 300 million) on Instagram, but not me, I have no friends or followers yet. Quick glance is that people share photos – of anything. I have a house cleaning business – and who wants to see pictures of me cleaning? But I understand I need to figure out a way to use Instagram for my business. I did a quick experiment and posted a picture of an empty bowl I used to make guacamole. Within minutes I had 14 likes. Hmm. Within a few days and no other posts, I had 44 followers and that caught my attention. So it seems that Instagram has some sort of algorithm that finds nice people to like and follow you even if you have no Instagram skills like me. I’m going to get better at this, I promise.
What is the quickest way to learn Instagram?
My online research suggests that there are some standards and protocols for getting the most use from Instagram.
- Download the Instagram app to your smart phone IOS or Android
- Fill out a profile and add your photo to personalize your Instagram home. You can also add one hyperlink – if you are using this for business, this could be your company web page.
- Find and follow other people who share similar interests to you (in my case, that would be house cleaning.) And you can find these people by searching for common hashtags.
- Comment or like their posts.
- Learn from the pros who have mastered the art of Instagramming. Check out Taco Bell to see how they are maximizing their advertising with fun photos.
- Start taking photos. If you are using Instagram for your business, see how many different ways you can tell a story with your pictures.
- Experiment with various apps available for Instagram to clean up, brighten or enhance your photos. (Think of it as a self-taught lesson in graphic design.)
- Only post really great photos. Take photography class or an online course to learn how to get the lighting and composition right for your photos. You want your photos to live forever.
- Two great apps for making photo collages are Pic Stitch and Diptic Note: Use no more than four photos in collages – otherwise it gets confusing.
- Build a portfolio of really awesome photos that represent your brand. As you release new company products, figure out a way to photograph them in action, being used in unique ways, or by a variety of people in exotic locations.
- Create a theme for your photos that support your business brand.
- Post regularly. Every day you should update your posts. Some experts recommend posting every 6 hours, so if you are batching your photos, add them to your social media calendar and scheduler so you don’t get overwhelmed trying to pop back in every few hours.
- Use relevant hashtags to organize your photos. Unlike other social media sites, it is okay to go crazy with hashtags. As long as they are consistent with your photo.
- Be social. Engage with followers and people who like your posts.
- Streamline your social interaction on Instagram with a systematic web service called IconoSquare
- Share your voice – this means whether you’re posting original content, or curating content from others, make sure it’s consistent with your brand and what you’re promoting.
- Be Uplifting. Be positive. Don’t be all doom and gloom.
- Work smart not hard. Repurpose your posts. Instagram allows you to share a post on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. Get the most from your effort. Note: other social media sites frown on gobs of hashtags in a single post, so be sensitive when repurposing posts elsewhere.
- Participate in social media events like #MondayMotivation or #ThrowbackThursday or #FF (Follow Friday)
- Check out Instagram’s best business practices and best times to post.
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