The Instagram Bug
A couple of months ago, I caught the Instagram bug. I never intended to get involved with Instagram until a business advisor showed me how beneficial it has been to growing her online presence.
I was under the impression it’s a platform for the under 30 crowd. I saw no reason to put effort into something that would put me in front of people who are not my market. That is, until I began my research. Although, at this point, the majority of users are younger than my niche market, the tides are shifting.
A Place for the Young to Congregate
In December, 2015, 25.6 percent of U.S. Instagram users were between 25 and 34 years old. The second-largest user group were 18 to 24 year olds with a 22.9 percent share. Yet, that leaves a high number of those of us who are in an older demographic.
Trends indicate that more of the over 50 crowd are flocking to Instagram. When I realized the potential, I jumped in. True to my nature, I decided if one account is good, three must be better. I suppose that’s the compulsive side of my personality. Although I wouldn’t advise getting three accounts so quickly, each focuses on a specific area and all are steadily growing.
In that my market is primarily over 50 and this is a growing segment, this is a great place for me to put some of my visibility efforts. Keep in mind, it doesn’t take a huge number of people to optimize your efforts on Instagram.
According to SproutSocial.com, “Slowly but surely, Instagram is nibbling away at Facebook’s popularity. This is even more relevant when you see Instagram has reached more than 500 million active users.”
In that Instagram (IG) is visually based, I decided early on to shoot the best images possible. It takes more than simply snapping shots and throwing them up on your IG wall. For the more successful men and women on IG, there’s a science behind what they do.
What fascinates me is how passionate I’ve become around IG. Not only can I share, through images and a bit of text, what I enjoy, the process in and of itself, is a way to chronicle my passions.
To assure you get the most out of your efforts, and your IG followers enjoy the best you have to offer, here are a few of the basics of IG.
People do read your bio. Give some thought to an engaging bio. In that you are limited to 150 characters, be selective in how you describe yourself. Add emojis throughout to make your bio more entertaining. Remember, IG is all about entertaining your followers.
You are allowed a clickable link in your bio. You can have your blog or website URL, the URL to a landing page for an ethical bribe, or a pretty link to a book you have available on Amazon. Whatever you decide to use, choose wisely due to the limited number of characters.
More times than not, a picture of you is the best choice. However, in some cases, you may want to choose something else. For example, with my IG account Book Marketing Success, I have an image of one of my more popular books.
With my personal account, Kathleen Gage, I have a head shot.
With Passion For Thriving, I have an image of me after a half marathon I ran.
Whatever image you decide on, make it interesting, engagement and fun.
The Instagram profile picture size is only 110×110 pixels on desktop. You can upload any size image, and scale and crop as you like.
This is a topic that could fill an entire book. There’s a lot more to choosing photos than meets the eyes. For the more successful IG stars, it’s more of a science than many social media platforms.
Take time to check out various accounts and notice if you sense a common thread among the more successful IG folks.
It’s not that their images look similar, but it is that for many successful IGers, they have their own look and feel.
It all boils down to filters, backgrounds, cropping and editing and lighting.
Granted, if you’re simply using IG to share photos with family and friends, that’s one thing, but if you seriously want this to be part of your messaging, take time to think through the impression you want to leave people with.
Although IG is all about photos, it’s not all about photos. Oh my! Adding a description to your photo in the form of a mini story is a great way to engage your followers.
You can add in emojis to your description to make it more entertaining. Avoid rushing on your description because many people do read them.
A great way to get engagement is to ask a question. The idea with IG, is to make it as engaging as possible. It’s more than a one-sided photo gallery. Your image description is an aspect of engagement.
There’s likely no other topic on Instagram more confusing than hashtags. In essence, adding tags to your photos is a great way to find new followers and share your photos with more people.
But hashtags can be confusing and tricky. Choosing specific tags will help you connect with other like-minded people on Instagram.
It is possible to put geotags in your description to build a following in a geographic region. In that I focus a lot of my marketing efforts in the Pacific Northwest, I add in tags that have #pacificnorthwest, #portland, #pdx, #northwest in them.
You are allowed up to 30 hashtags in a description. Some IG experts encourage you to use al 30 while others say use hashtags sparingly.
Myself, I lean toward using as many as possible. I’ve found that when I have carefully selected tags for an image (specific to the theme of the image) I get more engagement on a photo.
My recommendation is to play around with your tags and notice what type of engagement you are getting.
Instagram can be a really nice addition to your social media marketing. Be sure to take full advantage of all it has to offer including your image, bio, themes, consistency, descriptions and hashtags.
As with anything, the more you put into the end product, the more your community will enjoy it.
There are lots of great resources to learn Instagram. If you’re a beginner, check out this easy to understand book.
Thanks for this great article Kathleen. I’ve been on IG for some time now, but I haven’t done much with it. I decided to jump in with both feet in 2017. It’s already been amazing. I gained some great new ideas from your post.
So true. You can get great results quickly with Instagram.
Instagram is such a great tool to help tell your story using your own pictures.
I agree. I love using Instagram.
Thanks for this! I’ve been wondering how to add in Instagram. I feel kind of weird just posting random pictures…
Once I realized how powerful a communication tool IG is, I have been really enjoying it.