As Instagram continues to grow in social media popularity, many brand builders are trying to figure how to use it. Here are a few tips…
- Having a private account does not protect your account. This is true with all social networks. Having a private account limits access to your content but don’t ever assume that making your accounts private will keep everyone from seeing your information. If it’s really private, don’t post it.
- Instagram allows you to share video and photos. In your settings you can turn off the feature that automatically plays videos when you scroll past them. Sharing on Instagram is just like other networks, share in moderation. Most people don’t want you to flood their timelines, especially if it’s with selfies (pictures of your self). If you are trying to build a brand, share images that are meaningful to your brand’s image. If you have multiple versions of a similar image, consider creating a collage (there’s an app for that)
- As of now, there are no click-through options. If the purpose of you using IG is to drive traffic to your site, only use the base url and ensure the content they are looking for will be posted on your homepage. Long urls are not likely to get retyped and having hidden content (with the hopes they will search for it) is unrealistic.
- Share other people’s content. There are a couple of ways to do this… You can regram pictures (there’s an app for that) or you can screenshot images and repost. If you are posting images that someone else created, it is proper IG etiquette to give them credit when posting their images. However, many people are starting to put their information directly onto the image. You can find content on your timeline as well as by clicking on the “following” tab on the “like” page. (Side note: people can see the images that you like when they click on “following” and that says just as much about your brand as the images that you post)
- Having a description in your profile will help build quality followers. Like most social networks, you can build a large number of followers but if they don’t know who you are and what you are selling, they are probably lurking and not very interested in what you’re selling. Don’t assume that likes are the same thing as sales. People will scroll by and like your image without concern for what you are selling/building/promoting so remember that this is one tool in your toolbox.
- Tag the people in your photo or at least say something about it unless it’s a text image. If you host an event and share pictures, let us know what was happening or who the people are, even if you don’t know their IG usernames. Also, if it’s a text image, make sure the text isn’t too long… If you have that much to say, go to Facebook or write a blog. People don’t want to read an essay on a visual platform.
- Don’t forget to respond to comments. Just like with most social networks, you don’t have to reply to every comment but if someone asks you a question or requests additional information; make the time to respond. You also have to tag the person that you are responding because IG doesn’t automatically notify people when a comment has been posted on an image that they like.
- Amplify your message. You can connect your IG account with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and Foursquare so that when you create a post, it can go to your other social networks which saves the time of posting on all these outlets individually.
- Sell ads. Yes, I have seen brands that have engaged followers allow people to pay them to post on their IG. This technique doesn’t work for everyone but if you are already offering ad space on your other outlets, consider adding IG posts to your list.
- Promote events. I recommend that you create, at least, one image per week leading to your event so that you can promote, promote, promote without the image getting stale. The key to doing this without losing your branding advantage is to ensure some of the elements of the image remain consistent. For example, use the same text but change the background images.
I’m sure I could come up with ten more but let’s stop here and you can feel free to share one of your tips…