Part 1: Instagram
It’s been only 5-weeks or so since I started my blog, Holistic Living With Carla, and it’s been both fun and a bit of a baptism of fire at times!
One of the first things to get to grips with as you launch your site is social media. There’s such a variety of options available with this, your starting point is probably going to be narrowing these options down to a few that you feel will best work for you and your blog.
It’s tempting to add as many social media buttons to your site as possible but I don’t recommend this – at least not at first. Using social media is a form of marketing and for me, whilst it’s a necessary part of building a blog, it’s not my primary goal. I’d rather be spending the majority of time building quality content that I can promote to a few social media sites rather than spending all my time marketing.
There are apps out there such as Tailwind that post to multiple social media sites at once and you can link to other social media platforms to save time by posting once to multiple social media types. I haven’t used Tailwind or similar apps but I did try, at first anyway, uploading one post to multiple platforms. Whilst it was more efficient on my time, what became pretty obvious to me fairly quickly, is that this wasn’t as effective as posts carefully crafted to that platform’s particular strengths and uses.
Essentially, the lesson for me here was to do different, more targeted posts to the social media platforms I’d chosen to work with which quickly and noticeably resulted in better engagement.
The 3 social media platforms I currently use are:
- Pinterest; and
There are of course other options such at Twitter and Tumblr for example but these were the 3 that I felt would be of most use to me for raising my brand awareness. I already had personal accounts for Pinterest and Facebook but using these in a business/promotional sense is, I’ve discovered, a very different kettle of fish!
Now, instead of uploading a post to my website and then just adding one social media link on these 3 sites, I instead consider what post I could add that is most likely to catch the attention of my audience on each platform, based around the topic I’m blogging about, which has seen a greater success rate already in bringing my social media audience over to the blog itself.
In this 3-part series, I set out some basic dos and don’ts that I’ve incorporated into my social marketing technique based on the last 5-weeks usage and social media strategy as a way to hopefully help others tweak their marketing efforts for maximum results. Part 1 focuses on Instagram, with Pinterest featuring in Part 2 and finally, Facebook in Part 3:
If you’re already familiar with Instagram then you’ll have a head start on me as, until blogging, I’d never seen the point in it, choosing to stick with Facebook only for my personal social media.
For business-purposes, however, it makes sense to find a way to promote your product/services/talents, mainly through photographs and images, that are eye-catching enough to stand out from the thousands of other images on the platform being constantly uploaded, attracting likes, or better yet followers, to your profile and, in the case of a blog, then getting these people over to your website. Some of my learning points have been:
- Only post your best quality images or memes and try to adopt a colour scheme that works well for you – this meant I had to delete all of my posts and start again – I personally stick to a colour scheme for say 9 posts and then bring in a new scheme but others prefer to stick to one or two colours throughout;
- Use the “Rule of 3” to post images as that is how they’ll be displayed on your board. I like to have 3 related posts next to one another, some as memes, some as photographs but all connected to one another in terms of topic;
- Add text to explain the image you have posted below the image itself, that is helpful or entertaining to the audience and, if appropriate, add a link to your blog post/website.
- Add relevant hashtags only – you can have up to 30 here but I tend to limit myself to 10 so it doesn’t look spammy;
- Use an app like Follow Cop which I personally use (for free) to track which of my followers are users genuinely interested in my content and which are just playing the old “follow/unfollow” game to boost their own follower numbers.
- Check out the profiles of those who liked your images or have followed you and return the favour if you think you both have something in common.
- Use hashtags that are too popular as your post has less chance of being seen;
- Post spammy comments asking other users to DM (direct message) you for a collab (collaboration) if you plan on asking them to buy your product at a discounted price, for them to take pictures of themselves using it, which you’ll then use on your site. This is not a collab.
- Unless you actually want to buy a product yourself, don’t get caught out in scams like the one above yourself. There’s nothing wrong with politely saying no thanks or even just ignoring these types of comments.
- Follow and then unfollow to boost your own follower numbers. It’ll be caught onto pretty quick by most users and just wastes everybody’s time, seriously affecting your popularity;
- Post too often or too little; there are different views on this but I currently post 3-posts at a time, at least once every couple of days.
- Post content that is not consistent with your brand – if you’re using Instagram for your business or brand, then don’t post content that could hurt this. If you think you’re going to want to post images unrelated to your brand, it’s better to have separate personal and business accounts so as to not mix business with pleasure.
For those of you who prefer a visual example, feel free to check out my profile on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/holisticlivingwithcarla/
These are just basic observations from my own limited experience, I’m sure that there are many others that I’ve not included. The key thing is to not get too caught up in the figures and stats, whilst also recognising when a particular strategy is or isn’t working. You can then tweak or adjust your strategy accordingly and hopefully the above gives you some ideas for what might work for promoting your brand/services/talents on Instagram.
Part 2 in the series will be uploaded next Sunday and focuses on Pinterest social media strategy so be sure to check back then if you found this topic of assistance at all.