Monday, 29 June 2015

Learn from the Experts: Instagram Tips

Instagram is still relatively new territory for marketers, but it’s quickly becoming one of *the* essential platforms for all sorts of businesses. The challenge is knowing how to create the sorts of content that will look appealing, and not too sales-y, in users’ feeds.
In today’s post we’ve gathered a handful of tips from Instagram pros that will help businesses gain traction on the photo- and video-sharing platform.
#1: Be Consistent ~  Studio DIY/Jeff and Kelly Mindell
Know your brand inside and out! Create brand ‘filters’ or key identifiers for your account and stick to them. Start by defining a do’s and don’ts list to determine what your brand is and is not. For example, Studio DIY is bright, colorful photos with even composition and captions that highlight personality! We both keep to that aesthetic when sharing content which lends itself to a much more cohesive brand experience when visiting our Instagram feeds.

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#2: Offer a Unique Perspective ~ Rebekah Radice
Whether you’re taking a picture of your latest event, product or creation, be unique in your content and perspective. Steer clear of simply throwing up pictures for the sake of it. Be strategic in what you share and engage your audience through appealing context that tells your distinct story. Every image has the power to connect your business to a new audience. Why not make your feed bold, beautiful, vibrant and perfectly aligned with your business or brand?

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Highlight what’s special about your business, product, service or area.Christi with Love From the Oven is a perfect example of this in action. Every one of her pictures makes me drool. From buttery pretzel bites to mouth-watering peanut butter cheesecake bars, Christi makes me want to click through to her site and bake, bake, bake!

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#3: Use Hashtags Strategically ~ Cyrissa @immersephotography &@sparkle.society
I love using hashtags to “move up the food chain!”  As a photographer, I’m up against a lot of competition and I always try to make it easy for my brides to find me!  If I’ve shot a wedding at a venue (or engagement session whose wedding will be at that venue), I’ll tag them in the photo, geotag their location, and use their hashtag.  All these things help my brides find me… because who do they usually book first?  The venue and the church!  Instagram makes it easier for me to reach my ideal clients.

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#4: Use Scheduling Tools in Moderation ~ Christian Karasiewicz
One of the most requested features on Instagram is the ability to schedule Instagram posts. While Instagram doesn’t currently offer a native tool to allow you to schedule posts, there are a number of third-party tools available that can help with this.
Some of my favorites include: ScheduGram, Latergramme and TakeOff
When choosing between a scheduling tool remember, each of these tools has its own unique pricing and features so choose the tool that fits your situation, not just the tool that everyone else is recommending you use. Scheduling should be a part of your Instagram strategy, not your whole strategy.
I recommend scheduling content when you know you won’t be available to post. For example, if you’re attending a conference, giving a presentation, or writing a blog post.By scheduling Instagram posts in moderation, this allows you to keep fresh content in your channel to keep your audience engaged.

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#5 Never Leave a Comment Behind ~  Sue B. Zimmerman
The best way to create authentic relationships on Instagram is to engage in conversation. I know this is time consuming but Instagram is where we grow our community the fastest and we want to respond to every question and comment to make our followers feel connected and valued. The same principles hold true for our company on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. (For more great tips from Sue, read our entire interview here.)

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#6 Learn from the Experts ~  The Instagram Blog
On Instagram’s own blog you can learn how to perfect specific kinds of shots. In recent months there have been features on “Taking the Perfect Action Shot,” with tips from X Games photographers (@wilhelmvisualworks); “Capturing the Perfect Time-Lapse Video” with tips from Kevin Lu (@sweatengine), a New York based photographer who is on a quest to capture time-lapse videos on his iPhone; and “Cinematic Portraiture” with tips from Spanish photographer Lucia Fernandez Muniz (@luciafernandamuniz)

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#7 Be Strategic with the One Link You’re Allowed in Your Bio ~ Jim Belosic, CEO, ShortStack
For personal use, Instagram is fun and spontaneous. But if you want to use it as a marketing tool, you have to be a little more calculating with it. I suspect the businesses that are really killing it on Instagram — Nordstrom, Starbucks, Nike, etc. — plan their posts well in advance. But even if you’re a smaller brand, or a one-man show, you can still develop a great presence on Instagram by using the link in your bio to connect to a landing page that holds the same posts you put on Instagram, but allows you to collect leads, promote your ecommerce site, gain subscribers to your blog, collect entries for a giveaway, etc.
Here’s what our bio link looks like: 

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And when you click on the link, you’re taken to our Campaign, which looks like this:

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