Learn how to use Instagram to promote your organization, your cause or your business.
Instagram – #Hashtag like a Pro
Part I – The Basics
One of the “newer” ways to reach you audience, is Instagram. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first until I downloaded the app and started using it. And of course, I LOVE IT! Also with the recent upgrades they’ve made to it, it’s made it a lot more fun to use.
There’s quite a few things I want to cover so I’ll do it in several blog posts. First I’ll cover the basics.
There are so many great things about Instagram:
- It’s just pictures!
- It’s easy to use
- You can post your photos to many different social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook
- You can hashtag or (#) to reach a large audience
- You can tag other Instagram users to your photos.
So what is a hashtag? Hashtagging is used in Instagram to “connect” a variety of content. Think of it as your very on keyword goldmine. When an individual is on Instagram, they can do a search for topics or keywords. The hashtags represent that keyword search. If you’re curious how it works, download the app or go to instagram.com and I’ll show you what I’m talking about. I’m going to use my own personal one as an example on how this works.
So on the right (post #1), I uploaded a photo of myself. Just for a little background, I competed in my first bodybuilding show in October 2014, so I like to post progress photos as I go. At this time, I had posted a photo of myself. I made a brief comment and added some hashtags to it.
On your app there is an option to “explore”. You can put in user names or hashtags/keyword topics you’re interested in. In my example here to the right I added several hashtags to refer to. So if someone were to get on the app and type in let’s say “npc”, they would be presented with a list of photos that have been tagged with that. Mine would appear somewhere in that list.
Now you can get pretty creative with this and I advise you to. But you can also strategize this. Think about your organization or your business and build your keywords around that. I built mine around bodybuilding because that’s the audience I was trying to attract. The “npc” for example is a bodybuilding organization. I wanted to make sure that whatever I posted got associated with that because I knew people would be searching that if they are in that community. Same with your organization.
Next, “explore” keywords and phrases in Instagram. Start with a list of keyword combinations and write them down. Then go into the Explore feature of Instagram and type them in and see what you get. When you first enter it in, it will tell you how many photos are tagged with that.
Create your own hashtags
Now you can get really creative here. Brand your hashtags. Come up with something that’s either rarely used or new and tag all your relevant photos with it. You’ll create you’re own unique hashtag and you never know, it could pick up. Then when you’re on Facebook or maybe you’re updating your website you can say “find us on Instagram #ThisIsAUniqueTag”. It makes social media fun and can be very effective.
Get to know your audience. Look for people that share some of your organizations same interests. Any easy way to find those people is just to search hashtags. When you search a hashtag, images appear that match that tag. See something or someone interesting? Follow them on Instagram. Build that audience. Instagram is interesting in that matter. People tend to have some sort of “following” loyalty meaning you follow them, they will follow you. So build that following of people that you can share information with.
In the next post, I’ll talk about:
- Tagging and the benefits
Social media. It is a blessing and a curse in so many ways. There are a TON of options out there for social media. You can use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, and the list goes on and on. But for many people, it’s trying to decide which ones to use and how. And once you figure that out, you have to decide who’s going to be your social media manager for all these channels. Because you have SO much free time on your hand! That’s where I come in.
It’s definitely an undertaking to manage all these items but it’s necessary. What I always like to tell people is you have to take advantage of all the FREE stuff you have available to you to market your business and organization.
When I first moved to where I am now, the very first thing I did was hop on Facebook and see what was in my area. I bookmarked every club, restaurant and organization I could find. Point being, people use social media all the time and it can very easily be used for any business or hobby.
So how do I use social media?
I’ll give you some quick ideas on how to use them. But I’m always available to help you in more detail. I’ll use the example of a custom cake maker.
Facebook: You can use Facebook to post photos of your cakes and cookies. If you’re having an in-store or in-bakery event, create a Facebook event and invite folks to that. Facebook tabs can also allow for you to go even further and create contests or coupons and even adding video.
Pinterest and Instagram: Both of these are photo driven. Use this to upload photos of your finished products. Other people can favorite them or re-pin them in the case of Pinterest. Instagram also let’s you record quick video as well to upload. Hashtags are amazing!
YouTube or Vine: With as advanced as cell phones are, you can record quick video. In the case of Vine it could be a 6 second snap shot view around a cake you made. Just to give people a quick glance at the product. With YouTube, you can have longer, more detailed video. For example, you could walk people through how to make an icing flower, or whatever you might want that relates to your end product.
Twitter: You can “tweet” out quick updates about products or what you may be doing. For example, “Just finished up making a beautiful 4 layer wedding cake for a client. Turned out great”. Twitter also allows you to add images to your tweets.
These all seem to really be the same.
This is true. They are very similar in many ways. However, the audience may be completely different. Some people only use Pinterest and don’t even look at Facebook. Many teens and students are switching from Facebook and only using Instagram. So you really have to make use of multiple product lines to target all the right audience. So it’s going to take some planning on your part on how to use them.
Got questions? Send me a message and I’ll see what I can do to point you in the right direction.