Getting Started on Instagram
Updated: Sep 22, 2022
This month, we are looking at Instagram as a part of your marketing strategy. Who’s on it? Should you use it? And, if so, what are some of the best practices? Let’s take a look.
If you remember from my blog on starting your social media strategy, the answer to the question of which platforms you should concentrate on is going to depend on your target audience. Do you know your target audience? If not, read this blog and define your audience before you go any further.
Latest statistics show that one-third of the Instagram audience is in the 25-34 age group but the older age demographic is gaining and they are quickly starting to adopt Instagram. Basically, this means most people are going to have a decent showing on Instagram. So, if you can only concentrate on one or two platforms, this is definitely one to take a hard look at.
According to this LinkedIn article on Facebook vs. Instagram, the content you are posting is also an important factor in choosing your platform.
What’s important to remember for now is: if we want to share content in terms of pictures and videos, Instagram is a good platform; but if we want to share textual content, Facebook is a better choice.
We completely agree with the author. Remember, you can’t share links on Instagram. This means that unless you want to direct everyone to “see the link in bio.” or use a third party like Linktree, it’s going to be tough to share your blogs, website, or YouTube videos via link. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about them, reference them or repurpose pieces of content, it just means you need to be a bit more creative about it. We’ll talk about that more in a few minutes but before we get there, let’s start at the beginning.
You need a strong profile to tell people what you do. Some things to include are:
Good photo of you (not just a logo). People want to do business with a person.
Sentence with your mission/description
Hashtag or two
Website (or Linktree link)
Shoot for your profile name to be the same across platforms
Now that you have that set up, it’s time to do a little hashtag research. Later.com has a great blog about the use of hashtags. Popular opinion is to use anywhere from 3-11 hashtags but you can use up to 30. Once you read up on the best uses, then, you can find some of the best hashtags for your specific business using any number of tools out there. A couple of my favorites include #hashtagsforlikes and #hashtagify.me. Remember, the search feature on Instagram is set up to search via hashtags so be sure to choose some to be using.
Once you’re all set up with your profile and have decided on a hashtag list to test out, it’s time to create some content. Remember, you won’t be able to share links to each post so you will need to decide on a “point out” strategy. Will you refer people to your link in the bio that will be your website or will you use a third party app like Linktree to have some separate links to promote? It’s easiest and best to decide this ahead of time so you can remain consistent. Linktree has a free version that should work for pretty much anyone. That makes it easy for you to be able to separate out a few buckets of your content. Here’s mine for example. It’s really a personal preference but I feel like it makes it easier on readers to be able to get to my information by saying “see link in bio.” and then giving them options. Some people really go all out on their Linktree (or similar platforms) and list separate blogs, etc. I prefer to keep it simple as it’s easy enough the way it is and it allows for less error in remembering to update the links.
Remember, Instagram is graphic-centric. While you can get by with just a quick text status on Facebook or Twitter, you can’t even post to Instagram without some sort of graphic. Don’t fret! Your blogs most likely have graphics you could use, your podcast may have an audio clip you can add to Canva to create a video and your YouTube videos can most likely have a short preview pulled from them. This is where you can get creative and use your repurposing skills.
For example, you could do what I did here and pull a few tips from your blog and create a short video. While I did put my link text directly in my post here (as a lot of people look at my stuff from desktop and can copy/paste the link to their browser) I don’t generally suggest doing this unless you know that is the case.
Once you are on Instagram and creating some content on a consistent basis, you will want to branch out and test some Stories and Reels in there as well. And, if you get really brave, you can even try doing a Live video. Regardless of what social platform you are on, video still tends to get the best engagement and reach so if you are willing/able to work with it, I certainly suggest giving it a try.
Are you ready to jump on the Gram and start posting? Profile, hashtags, graphics. Those are the three main things to keep in mind. If you have any questions along the journey, be sure to reach out. I’m happy to assist.
Rebecca Paciorek is an Online Business Manager specializing in assisting in the growth of your business through traditional and digital means.
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