Join Silver Light Media on January 22, 2019 from 12pm-1pm for a Lunch & Learn workshop hosted by Aryonna Richard focused on the social media platform Instagram. You will learn best practice tips like managing disappearing content, expanding your influence with Instagram Stories, growing your social community, and more! The event will begin with introductions, small group networking and lunch. Continue with an educational presentation and end with a giveaway raffle. Check out the event flyer below for details. Email aryonna@silverlightmedia.net with any questions. Join the event page via Facebook. To purchase tickets click here! 

 

Keeping up-to-date on social media is often a job in itself. Through working with clients I’ve learned people often have no ‘success strategy.’ Businesses and entrepreneurs begin social media campaigns with no realistic goals and get over-whelmed by the pressure of creating regular content and managing an audience. Remember beginning or updating a plan is going to take WORK. It is going to take more patience than you can predict. But if you are dedicated enough to connecting, posting, and collaborating you will experience results beyond what you can dream. I still glance at the hand-made owl from Australia in my office sent from a passionate business-owner in the area as a test to the magical experiences that can happen virtually via social media.

Continue reading for my 5 Instagram Strategy Tips for 2019.

1. Craft Your Captions: Particularly with Instagram being an image-centered social network it can be easy to focus mostly on the photo you are posting. Keep in mind that most of the engagement an update can receive actually comes from the caption. Try not to copy and paste the same text as people following you day after day will get bored and could un-follow you. Remember to prompt action by getting users to like, comment, or tag another user.

2. Know Your Hashtags: Particularly WHY you are using them. Many people ask me how many hashtags to use on Instagram. My short answer is 5-10 hashtags with an emphasis on knowing why you are using the hashtag. The purpose of a hashtag is to connect the information you are sharing with other people searching for and also sharing that information. My top takeaway for hashtags is to keep the focus on integrating local tags that are relevant to your location. Keep in mind that the hashtag limit is 30 on Instagram and I encourage you to not use more than 15 hashtags as it can start to appear as spam. The aesthetic appearance of your updates is important on Instagram so be mindful of your photography, caption, and hashtags. 

3. Remember ‘The Grid’: Have you ever heard ‘the grid’ referenced on Instagram? If you haven’t ‘The Grid’ is the standing profile that appears when users pull up your profile. It is referred to as a grid because the updates appear side-by-side as opposed to up-and-down like on Facebook, Twitter and most blogs. If you haven’t thought about your Instagram profile holistically take a look at your grid to see how the photos/videos are complementing or hindering the overall appearance of your profile. Think about or look back to the last few photos you posted on Instagram to make sure the appearance of your next updates complements to the overall aesthetic of your profile. The dimensions for an Instagram update are 1080×1080 pixels. A photo that is larger will appear cutoff when viewing your grid. Try to avoid uploading wide photos as this will hinder the appearance of your Instagram profile.

4. Community Interaction is Key: What do you do if a customer follows you on Instagram? Follow them back! I am often asked how many people to follow on the platform and my answer is always; it is not about the number of people you follow but the strength in those connections. Don’t be afraid to follow people and businesses on Instagram as this process is essential to community building. Following your customers shows them you care about the connection. It also gives you the opportunity to comment and like their photos, strengthening your connection. When a customer tags you in an update make sure you like and comment; the faster after they post the better from a customer service standpoint. 

5. Instagram Story Success: If you do not already take advantage of the Instagram Stories feature now is the time to start. I’m often asked how many Instagram Stories businesses should post. My answer is: use the story feature to help yourself fill in during times when you don’t have time to post updates to the grid and especially during special events. Do you usually update in the morning or evening? Try to post your stories during the opposite time frame to capture users that are online during that time.

Pro Tips: Use Instagram Stories to informally promote your business. Take customers behind-the-scenes, feature staff members, get customers involved, and use the feature to post the content that may not be as polished you would like for your standing profile but is purposeful in highlighting your company culture. The story feature is also one of the best way to promote events – instead of posting several updates that will stay on your profile during a short amount of time. Try an Instagram Story Sequence or Go Live; this feature pulls your profile to the top of the stories. If you have any questions about using Instagram for your business email me at aryonna@silverlightmedia.net.

As a full-time social media strategist and SEO blogger, I spend the majority of the day immersed in virtual communities. I am the online “face” of eight companies from across the country in a variety of states and cities from Texas to Colorado, and along the central coast of California.

I believe in the power of social media and how this innovative platform can be used for more than building a following or increasing sales. The power of social media lies in the connection you can create with someone whether they are a block, a state, or several continents away. When working with any of my clients, I stress the difference between working with Silver Light Media as opposed to other public relations firms is my insistence on Creating Inspired Connections.

Many people don’t know that I started Silver Light while enrolled as a full-time college student at Boise State University. I had a limited budget and minimal amount of time to dedicate to the marketing of my business. After graduating from college in May of 2014, I had time to start thinking about my marketing efforts like I never had before while I was enrolled in college.

I relocated from Boise, Idaho to Denver, Colorado and wanted to connect with new people through social media as well as in-person. During this time having people submit photos to a hashtag on Instagram was a somewhat new practice that was taking off. I decided I wanted to have a hashtag for my business that would be inviting enough for others to submit photos to it as well.

Crafting A Hashtag

If you are using social media for your business and don’t already have one, I invite you to consider crafting a hashtag for linking and community-building purposes. In case you don’t know the purpose of a hashtag is to link related content together for search purposes. Being aware of its use you can see how having a hashtag specifically for your business can help with user-generated content creation. Whenever I start working with one of my clients on a social marketing campaign, I always add in user-generated content if it is applicable because it is highly efficient and easy to generate if you take strategic steps, first. I will save those steps for my next post, but I will share a little more from my brainstorming session.

Many businesses use their company name as a hashtag. I thought about and often do use #silverlightmedia as a hashtag on some of my social media posts. The only problem with this hashtag was for me; it didn’t give anyone a reason to use it. So I started to think of ways to tie my business name to some action or feeling that other people could associate with when posting their photos.

Since my company tagline is Creating Inspired Connections, I pulled from my rhetoric. I’ve always loved the word inspire and its derivatives. To me, the word reflects positive emotions that captivate us to feel something. I began to think of how I could combine “Silver Light” and “Inspire” since I knew all the words, together, would be too long, so I took the first letter from each word “S” and “L” with the plural “Inspires.” It wasn’t my first instinct to use a character but the look of the tag “#SL_Inspires” seemed more ecstatically pleasing than “#SLINSPIRES.” I typed the tag into Instagram and found out no one had used it. My new hashtag and one of my smartest branding moves I’ve ever made for my business finally manifested.

Building A Social Media Community

I will be the first to admit the first month starting any content strategy campaign is TOUGH. Mentally prepare yourself if you are ready to take the leap. Social media platforms are hindering organic reach more each day so be prepared to revise your strategies if needed and don’t give up be consistent in your posting, especially during the initial stages of starting a new platform.

When starting my hashtag, I had seen countless of other posts that I was using as an example. It seemed easy, “Use this hashtag on your post for a chance to be featured.” Seemed to be the general breakdown of what every photo sharing platform was emphasizing, the trouble is how do you know when people are going to start submitting to that hashtag? If you are persistent, probably sooner than you think, I started using it on my posts and including a call to action at the end. One day I checked my #SL_Inspires hashtag and was excited to see another user had used the tag.

My First Tagger – Jacque B from Pagosa Springs, Colorado

If you are looking to build a hashtag interacting with the first few people that engage is critical. I was ecstatic the day Jacque B – @jacquebblackie on Instagram used my #SL_Inspires tag. Jacque B was the first person to use it apart from myself. I immediately shared her photo to my following thanking her with credit. When you are in the beginning stages, make sure to give as much praise as possible.

You never know if you say something the person likes they could “Regram” the photo sharing it with their followers in turn, or at least you will get the person engaged enough to use the tag again. This stage is where community building starts. If you are looking to build not simply a following but a “virtual community” you MUST be willing to be as active in that community as possible. After, Jacque B’s feature more users started to use my #SL_Inspires hashtag. My community grew with photographers taking gorgeous landscape shots and sunset captures.