Instagram is Serious Business
Some people think that Instagram is all pretty pictures–which it is–partly. But Instagram is also a serious business, with 28% of adult Internet users on board. People mostly use Instagram on their smart phones, unlike certain other platforms, and with more and more people moving to using smart phones, Instagram can only become more popular.
Why Use Instagram?
- Instagram has the highest engagement rate between brands and customers of any platform, according to Forrester.
- If someone follows you, they will see your posts, unlike Facebook, which has become “pay to play”
- People are becoming more image-centric, and Instagram is the land of images
- More people are on their phones and Instagram lives on your phone
- People are more engaged on Instagram
- Great for local businesses, since you can target using hashtags (see below)
- Instagram is simple and fun!
There are so many ways to use hashtags on Instagram. I like to bury my hashtags in the first and second comments of a post. There are quite a few ways to use hashtags:
- Location-based hashtags. Any city, state, country, highway, or area can be turned into a hashtag. Search the people nearby and see which hashtags they’re using. For instance, #SantaCruzMountains is a favorite of mine for finding people near where I live.
- Topic hashtags. Use the topic of your post as a hashtag. If you’re an SEO, expert, for instance, you could do #SEO or #SearchEngineOptimization.
- Hashtags that work across industries. For example, #tbt or Throwback Thursday works for any brand.
- Self-deprecating hashtags. These are my favorite! Use a hashtag to make a comment about your own post or yourself. #facepalm and #sosnarky, for instance.
Once you use a hashtag, click through and see who else is using it and like or comment on other posts. Be assertive and don’t wait for people to come to you! Go see who else is out there and be friendly. Do a Google search on hashtags in your industry and then experiment.
If your business has a company outing or if you’re with someone else who has an Instagram account, upload a photo and tag that other business or person. This is a great way to get a conversation going. And you can use it in conjunction with another idea, such as Throwback Thursday, to double your interaction! For courtesy’s sake, you might want to ask before posting a picture of someone else.
Comment on other posts, and tag the owner, especially if the account has many followers. Often people don’t check their own comments, so tagging ensures that they see your comment. Anything, such as “I love this picture.” “This reminds me of…” “I love that park, too!” can be good conversation starters. Often one word, such as “Beautiful!” works, too.
At the very least, tell us where a picture was taken. Often, I skip by posts with no captions. Something about a picture with no caption makes me think it’s fake. Do you think so, too? But a wonderful image with a great caption? That can be very powerful. And some of the best Instagrammers use Instagram to tell a story. For instance, @thecuratedfeast uses Instagram to educate. Their posts are packed with information about food history.
If you really appreciate one of your followers, use their photo, especially if they’re a big fan of your product. One of my favorite accounts is Cutco Cutlery, and they often ask people to use the #shareyourslice hashtag for a chance to be featured. Could you do something like that?
Contests are an exciting ways to get your followers engaged. You might ask them to like your own or another account, tag someone who might like that account, for a chance to win a book or a trip! The @Whole30 people are very good at generating engagement this way.
Who Do You Find Engaging?
Leave me a message in the comments! I promise to engage with you!