Chapter 6: Search Engine Journal’s Instagram Strategy
Instagram is a mobile app where users share their life stories and events using only photos with cool filters and captions. Instagram is owned by Facebook and has 150 million monthly active users as of December 2013.
Similar to Facebook, photos are posted to a feed where followers can see what is being shared and leave comments or click on a heart symbol to “like” the photo. Similar to Foursquare, people can tag a specific location to a photo. Similar to Twitter, users can view a feed of the most popular photos around the world from other public-sharing users or only view the photos in the feed of the people they are following.
We are in a slightly trickier position since we do not have a visual product to showcase and URLs are not linkable if we were to share a photo pertaining to a certain article. Instagram is different from other platforms in that it is not really a place to share our articles on a regular basis, but rather, it is a place to engage others in the SEO space and build brand awareness.
Using Hashtags Effectively on Instagram
Hashtags are widely used on Instagram. Hashtags are words or phrases marked with the # symbol and are used to enable collecting all content with that tag in one place.
With public Instagram accounts, anyone searching for a hashtag used in a photo caption will be able to see that image. This is a great way to get specific photos and brand accounts a lot more attention. Like on Twitter and Facebook, users should be smart with hashtags: Do not overuse them, and only use words that are actually relevant to the photo being tagged.
Some brands overuse hashtags with the goal of getting more likes and followers. This is not going to get the followers they want and will likely attract spammy comments.
Engagement on Instagram
Like other social platforms, engaging with other users is a significant part of the experience. Looking at who is following us then following back relevant individuals and users of certain hashtags, as well as significant people at events, we can continue to grow our following and get in front of a greater audience. We should also consider gathering Instagram handles of our authors and following them.
Optimizing Instagram at Events
Instagram is often used at industry events. Using the event hashtag is a great way to connect with others that are also at events. By searching for the event hashtag and engaging with other photos from the event, other users will see we are there as well and likely follow back. We can also feature short videos from the events and behind-the-scenes photos.
Website and Social Integration for Instagram
Our website currently does not include the Instagram logo among our apparent social icons. Adding it to that list and adding a widget that features some of our recent photos are great ways to alert website users that we do have an Instagram presence and are staying active on it.
Furthermore, Instagram can be easily linked to Twitter and Facebook allowing us to share photos directly to both platforms when posting them on Instagram.
We are presently following 330 users and have 113 following us. We have only posted seven photos, but as we begin to use Instagram more, subsequently we will grow. Beginning with a large push during SMX, we hope to gain more followers and rapidly increase activity, then use our progress results from March as a baseline for future growth.