Five Instagram Tips Part 10

Let’s try to keep this going (talking to myself). Weekly Instagram tips are back on the top of my list, so hope these ones are once again helpful/useful for you.

Instagram has gained a lot of traction in the past year. And even though I’m still a big fan of the platform, I also notice how hard it is to interact with your audience on Instagram. And even though that might be just what some are looking for, being social on social media is key to it’s success for most. Or ROI as you will, as most companies have to make sure they see a Return On Investment (of time/manpower). While people most of the time people hardly question the use of the telephone or email, they do with social media, as most of it see it as another marketing tool. But how priceless is it really to interact with your fans and followers? Here’s a tool that let’s you interact with your past/present/future consumers, isn’t that good for your business/brand in the long run? And a picture tells a 1000 words, so let the photo do the initial talking, and then jump in later for the interaction.

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1. Promote your name/brand hashtag & the other “branded” hashtag

Assuming people will find you and know what hashtag(s) you want them to use is not easy in a day and age where so much is going on. You can blame that on the smartphone and social media for most of it, but you can use this in your own advantage. Adapt or die right?

So promote your brand name as as hashtag in all your other marketing efforts (print ads, back of a sticker, on a sign during events, via your sponsored athletes, your employees, retailers, etc) and of course in your Instagram (and Twitter) profile. This is the gateway to your brand/name for most people. So at the first point of contact you have a change to explain who you are, and what you want your audience to use when the post something about you.

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Since you can only see the last 50 likes/tags on Instagram, it’s hard to keep track of the people that tag you. So here is where the hashtags come in handy. I totally get that you want to promote #yourbrand, but most people might now want to use that all the time. This is where your slogan or campain tagline comes into play. Make sure the 2nd hashtag does NOT contain your brand name. It looks tacky and it shows that you are trying to hard. When people really start to use this it will become synonymous with your brand name.
Best example, in skateboarding, is the Nike SB hashtag #skateeverydamnday. Other good examples are #theyturnandstuff (from Krux trucks) and #skatemore (from DVS Skateboarding).
As I’m writing this (May 2013) the hashtag #skateeverydamnday has been used more than 300,000 times on Instagram. It’s used by a lot of skateboarders around the world, even by some who are sponsored by other shoe brands. That’s when you known it’s a real success. Which die hard skateboarder wouldn’t want to tell the world he/she is skating “every damn day”?

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2. Interact with your 2 main hashtags
So now that you have people using your #notthebrandname hashtag, as well as the #brandname hashtag, you have a chance to reach out and interact with these people. And I know this might get full-time job (hint?), but people will go crazy if their favorite brand/famous person will “like” their photo. Or even better, will leave a comment on the photo. Chances are they will take a screenshot of your like or comment, so all their followers see that you actually talk back. How rad would it be if the brand of the product you just bought, and posted a photo about on Instagram, comes back to you and says thank you for buying the product? Think that will have an impact on the brand perception? Think the chances just increased that you will buy that brand again? I think so too.

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3. Don’t abuse the hashtags
One of the problems with hashtags that become popular is that people start using them to get more followers, and adding them to photos that have nothing to do with the subject. This is where the term “MySpace photo” pops back up. Lots of selfies and other bullshit now comes up in the feed when you look up certain hashtag. Best is obviously to not do anything with these photos. I guess if you have lots of time on your hand you can start to comment on them and saying the need to chill out, but you’re never gonna win that battle…. Just stay away from it yourself. 13 years olds grow up eventually and they will get it someday. But don’t bet on that.

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4. Stay away from the most used hashtags
Yeah, I know, we all want to get more followers right. Justin Bieber has 8.3 million Instagram followers (May 2013) and it’s totally reasonable for you to get at least half of that. Within the next month. Yeah right. And the trick to your followers explosion is more hashtags. Especially the ones that everyone uses.
How many friends can you really have if you’re not famous? Best trick on getting more followers? Post great photos. Good content always wins. And of course make sure other people, preferably those with a lot of followers, tag you (more then once).

The no go hashtag list for me contains of #followme #swag #lol #instagdaily #popularpage #like #picstitch #10likes #20likes #30likes…. yeah you get it…. Embarrassing.
Huffington Post made a top 100 of most used Instagram hashtags, and I’m glad to say I’ve never used most of them….. #tbt and #friends might be the only 2.

5. Tag others when you can (as they most likely will do the same)
Tagging others in an Instagram post is a way of letting your followers know who else they should follow. It’s a stamp of approval more or less. And once they see that you tag them they will most likely do the same in the future. It’s all about supporting those who support you right?

Have a question? Feedback? Drop a comment here or tag me (@fredvanschie) on Instagram or Twitter.  Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

For more Instagram tips see part 9 from a while back. Until next time! Quite possibly next week….

Five Instagram Tips Part 5

After the guest tips from Steve Clare last week, we’re back to another batch of tips from me.

1. Makes sure your hashtag works
You can’t use any punctuation marks in a hashtag. So the hashtag #iwon’t will be archived as #iwon. The hashtag ends wherever you put the punctuation mark in.  ( , . ; ‘ ? ! – + etc.). Also make sure to leave a space before, and after the hashtag to have it show up correctly.
I mostly try to use 3 or less hashtags per photo. An overdose of hashtags makes each hashtags less valuable.

2. Double tap to like
This is one of the basic ones but it wasn’t included in the first versions of the app. If you want to like a photo you can do so by simply double tapping on the photo. Of course you can also tap on the “like” button (once) below the photo.
The only downside with the double tap is that I keep seeing people go though their feed and like every photo…. Since it’s so easy to like a photo it’s also way less valuable.
So if you really want to show someone you like their photo, leave a comment.

3. Go to the top of the feed with one tap
This is something that works for every iPhone app. Tap the status bar, at the top of your screen (where the time is displayed), once and you’ll go to the top of the page.
I use this a lot with my email and phone list too.

4. How to change your username if needed
Both with Instagram and Twitter is super easy to change your username, if the username you want is still available. I understand that you have this super weird nickname that you like to use, but again, think long term and think big. Because of social media everyone is their own brand, so beware. Do you know any brand that uses a different name on social media?
Not saying you must use your real name, but it will help. If you don’t have your real name as your username, at least have your real name in your profile.
Tap the right button on the bottom and go to “edit profile” to change your info. The first 2 lines are for your regular name (first and last), the 3rd line is your username.

5. Do a giveaway and get other users involved
People love free shit, and skateboard kids are no exception. The most interactive instragammer in my feed is by far Metro skateshop from Pleasant Hill, CA (Bay Area). Every other week they do a giveaway with a product the sell in their shop. A few weeks ago they did a Thunder/Chris Cole giveaway.

Besides posting this flyer on their own Instagram it was also posted on the Thunder facebook page and the DLX website. Numerous DLX employees, as well as friends of the shop, posted it on their personal Instagram account.
Think that gained Metro some more followers? Think those followers are mostly skateboarders? Think it gained Chris Cole some more followers?
And besides all that, it also brought some extra attention to Metro, Thunder and Chris Cole. Plus someone won a free pair of trucks. So all this great promotion for all parties involved, for one set of trucks.
We asked Joel Jutagir, owner of Metro skateshop, about the impact of this giveaway: “We has been playing with different ways to garner attention to what we do at the shop. Our latest efforts have been focused on Instagram where there’s tons of interaction due to the platforms simplicity and the way you can tell a story visually. It’s right up our alley!
We did a giveaway for Chris Cole’s new Thunder Truck, what we saw was some large accounts, 5000+ came on board and posted for us. That helped spread the word to everybody in their feed. Even small accounts that posted helped us out a ton. More importantly it opened up lines of communication and exposed them to the fact that were a bunch of goofs, that like to ride skateboards, have fun and on occasion sell something. We are also involved in their feeds now, dropping likes and comments and staying in touch.
Instagram a great way to stay in touch and share what makes you tick!”

*Make sure whatever giveaway you do on Instagram complies with the Instagram terms.

Interaction on social media is not only a must, it’s also super easy. Do believe the hype.

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

For more Instagram tips see part 4 from last week.

Five Instagram Tips Part 3

In the last week some people mentioned some issues they had with the first Instagram tips post I did. In one of the 5 tips I mentioned some people that “clog the feed”, purely as an example. The social media nerd in me looks at some things a little more in depth as others, and all I wanted to do is share that with all of you so you can learn something from it.

I have a lot of respect for everyone in skateboarding that is working their ass off and trying to contribute in a positive way to this industry, and most of these people have inspired me for more that a decade. Besides that I want to be a part of this industry (I might be already) and contribute something positive that inspires others, so why would I try to burn my bridges?

In the last few days I’ve spoken with all 3 parties “involved”, and things weren’t half as bad as I thought (for a bit), but if I offended you or anyone of your close friends, I apologize for that. I had no intention to do that in any way. If you know me well enough I hope you can vouch for me on this. Overall I think I’m a pretty positive person, who is down to help out others at any time.

I did delete the people involved from the post but I still don’t regret writing it, since I wasn’t trying to make people look bad. My straight forward Dutch-ness, mixed with a lot of Henry Rollins spoken word and a ton of Gary Vaynerchuk social media videos might have triggered me a little bit more, but all of the words were my own.

In the future I might either use myself as an example more often, or try to mention some cases “in general”, to avoid further drama. After all, I’m only here to help you….

OK, back to business. Here are 5 more instagram tips to help your personal and business account on the Insta.


1. No need to tag someone when you leave a comment on their photo

If you leave a comment on an Instagram photo, there is no need to tag the person (or brand) that posted that photo. For instance, if you leave a comment on one of my instagram photos, you don’t have to write “@fredvanschie” in your comment. If you want to mention me just write Fred in the comment. Don’t double up!

2. Write sentences with usernames and hashtags
Use the usernames and hashtags within the sentence you write. Let’s say you post a photo of me doing a trick (!) in a skatepark, I suggest writing something like “this is @fredvanschie sucking at #skateboarding”.
Don’t write “Fred grinding his life away @fredvanschie #skateboarding”. Again, this is pretty much a double too, and it makes it harder to read. People are smarter than you think.

3. Stop asking to get followed
Any big name skateboarder (or anyone with a lot of followers) that I follow, will get a lot of comments and likes on any photo they post. And of course it would be so rad if they would start following me and start leaving comments or likes on my photos. But the worst thing you can do is to write a comment on every photo that person post, asking him to follow you. Want to look desperate? You really think begging for a follow is making you look serious?
Good content will get you somewhere, so post cool photos, write something rad/funny/honest about it and maybe add a hashtag or 2 that makes sense, and you’ll get somewhere. And don’t forget to think long term. It’s hard work and things won’t come overnight.

4. Don’t post the whole URL
As of right now, you can’t click on a URL you post on Instagram, so try and keep it as simple as you can. When I post a link to this blog post on my instagram, I just tell people to go to “fredvanschie.com”. Doesn’t make sense to post “http://fredvanschie.com/2012/02/05/five-instagram-tips-part-3”. A waste of space and it makes it harder for people to type it in.
Really hope Instagram will add this feature sometime soon, as it will help a lot!

5. Tag someone in a photo if you want them to see it
This one has to be explained with an example. Let’s say one of you friends bought a pair of shoes from brand X. After a few days the shoes start to fall apart and he posts a photo of it. He is obviously disappointed in the quality of the shoes. He doesn’t tag the brand in the post, nor is he following the brand. (The brand didn’t promote they had an Instagram, so how should he know?).
You are following brand X on Instagram, and one of your friends works there too. You can go to the photo that your friend posted of the shoes that are falling apart and tag the brand and your friend in the photo. Now both the brand and your friend get a message that they were tagged in the photo. They read that the shoes fell apart and are probably gonna reach out to your friend.
If they are smart they”ll be sending your friend a brand new pair of shoes, and include a t-shirt, some stickers and a note (with a mention of the instagram of the brand) for his inconvenience. Once your friend receives the shoes, plus the extra’s, he is probably gonna post a photo of the box with all the goodies in it. And he will tag your brand and say thank you.

Now not only did brand X take care of bad branding (with great costumer service), you also made the consumer,  and all of his friends, aware that you care about him/them. If you didn’t know about this, the person who bought the shoes in the first place would probably never buy your shoes again. And the same goes for his followers. People listen to the advice of their close friends, that’s a fact.
So you can thank the person who tagged your brand in the first place, since stuff like this will save, and grow, your business!

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

For more Instagram tips see part 2 from last week.