Blog,  Social Media

A Little Schooling on the Subject of Instagram

Yesterday I attended the webinar: “How to Generate Massive Traffic with INSTAGRAM.” Hosted by  Brooke Ballard of B Squared Media (@B2MediaLLC) and presented by Jenn Herman (@jenn_trends) the 90 minute session focused on the reasons Instagram is so important, how to perfect your profile, and ultimately generate traffic for your business via this wildly used social tool.  I highly recommend you check out her slides; it’s good stuff.

Let me add, I am so impressed with B Squared Media’s post-webinar follow-up.  Attendees were sent a thank you for attending email which also included links to the slides, the webinar recording, and a copy of Jenn’s Instagram Ebook.  B Squared’s tagline is – “it’s a conversation, not a campaign.”  They practice what they preach…and it’s refreshing and inviting.

There were a few points Jenn made that particularly caught my attention…
(please note these ideas and suggestions are Jenn’s and I am just paraphrasing and sharing the knowledge)

1.  Beef up your Instagram profile.  If your profile isn’t on point and doesn’t concisely reflect who you are and what you’re about, viewers won’t engage and won’t even be interested in going to your website.

Take advantage of your bio profile to generate traffic to your site through custom links. Using a service like bitly, for example, allows you to not only shorten the site URL but also provides analytics so you can track the number of hits to your website through your Instagram account.

Ensure your username, name, bio, and profile pic is in sync with your image and brand. To quote Jenn:  “Yes, you’re a business, but you’re also a person.”  Be personable and relatable.  This ties in with my recent post about utilities using social media and how Southern California Edison (SCE) is making good use of visual marketing.

So, on my to do list:  strengthen my Instagram profile and incorporate my Communicating Passion brand into it.  I usually just post personal life pics, but I’m inspired to also post on things related to my profession.

2.  Your audience is on Instagram – you just may have to work a little bit to find them.  Jenn threw out several interesting stats – here are a few to think about.  Currently with 200 million monthly active users, Jenn predicts they will reach 300 million by the end of this year.  60% of users are outside the U.S. and 60 million images are uploaded daily to the tool.  25% of all Fortune 500 companies are using Instagram.

So if you’re not using photos in your brand, you’re missing the boat.

During the Q&A session, Jenn was asked: do you think you’re wasting your time on Instagram if you’re not marketing to millenials?

I liked her response.  Yes it is predominantly a younger audience on Instagram.  But, now is the best time to get on board.  Look what happened with Facebook – who use to be there and who is there now?  It’s now the older generation showing up.  The trend for Instagram will probably shift as well.  If your target demographic is 55+ males, maybe you focus on Facebook and Twitter, but start cultivating a relationship with your Instagram audience now in anticipation of that demographic use increasing.

3.   Use creative videos.  I think this is a great tip as videos add to the visual appeal and draw to your Instagram profile.  Videos seem daunting to me – like I’m scared of them or something.  But, I was reminded that it doesn’t have to look like a Chanel commercial, be real.  Plus, there are tools to help  you shoot and edit a more professional video.

Jenn mentioned some neat ideas to get the video juices flowing, such as:  new releases, how-to videos, greetings, and entertainment. Example – show the “behind-the-scenes” look at a product launch.

Another helpful tip:  Shoot in landscape mode not portrait – you’ll lose the top and bottom of your shot when you upload.

4.  Drastically increase the reach of your posts and grow your audience and traffic through the use of hashtags.  If you’re struggling with which hashtags to include, check out this app: “#TagsforLife.”

Let’s don’t go over board with the hashtags though, people.  Keep it cool.  And speaking of over using hashtags — this SNL skit cracks me  up.  So, I’ll leave you with a laugh.  #hashtagoverkill

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