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 [email protected]

For more Instagram tips see part 4 from last week.

Five Twitter Tips Part 2

Here’s the second Twitter tips for you and yours.

Twitter takes a little bit more time to get used too than Facebook and Instagram, but it’s definitely one of the better social media platforms out there. Every self respected brand should be actively taking part in the conversation, respond to, and interact with, their fans and followers.

1. Keep your username short and simple
Since Twitter only gives you 160 tokens to type, or 140 if you add a link or photo, you want to make sure your username is short and simple. I would stay away from arithmetic operators (such as +, -, *, /,) and if possible, numbers. The longer your name the harder it is for people to retweet or quote your tweet. If the text gets too long Twitter makes the last part, that doesn’t fit in, into another link.

2. Use the Twitter search (now discover)
After the recent makeover Twitter renamed their Twitter search homepage discover. The function remains the same. This is where you find other people or brands you want to follow.
You can also search for hashtag that could be used by your possible consumers. Join the conversation and make yourself valuable. Once you gain the respect of people you can send them to your business side of things. Don’t start out with strictly business tweets. If you have no trust people will just see your shit as spam. And they’re right….

3. Shrink your URLs
Any URL that has 19 characters or more will be shortened by twitter to a “t.co” link. For now any link of 18 characters or less, will be left unchanged. But Twitter will sooner or later also change those links into a “t.co” link. The good thing with the t.co links it that you will be able to get the stats of the t.co link.
Once Twitter changes all links into their own t.co links, the use of any other link shortener will become useless. For now, I really like the is.gd link shortener. I’ve been using this one since the Libya drama raised some questions with all the .ly URLs, like bit.ly that many people use. Is.gd is one letter shorter anyway, which sometimes is just enough.
Or use the emeri.ca (or etnie.es) ones that I helped to get with Sole Tech uber webnerd Ivo Janssen (and fellow Dutchman) and Canadian distributor Timebomb. For instance, I just made a Emerica short link for my favorite Emerica shoe of the last few years, check emeri.ca/fredsfavorite.

4. Link to something mobile friendly
A lot of people use Twitter on their mobile (smart) phone, so make sure that whatever link you put in your tweets, works on a mobile. Whether it is a site or a video, nothing is more frustrating than not being able to see what the tweet talks about. And someone who gets frustrated might just not pursue to found out what the link is about. Or worse, stop following you.
So if you want to show a video link directly to the YouTube (or Vimeo) video. You agree with me that it wouldn’t be wise to link people to a site with a shitty video player right?

5. Fill out your bio and link to your website
Make sure to put some short info in your profile section, and add a link to your website. If people have never heard of you but they found you through a friend, a video, or an ad they need to be able to go to your website and see what you’re all about.
The website should be your main hub with information, your social media platforms is the place where you communicate with your fans, followers an consumers.

Check part 1 of the Twitter tips if you haven’t already.

Questions or comments? Drop a comment below!
Or hit me up on Twitter, @fredvanschie.

Five Instagram Tips Part 1

Instagram came and conquered 2011. If you haven’t heard of it by now, it’s basicly a mix between Twitter and Hipstamatic. Snap a photo, add a filter (optional), add some text (optional) and upload it to the feed.

While the app only works on the iPhone (and iPad & iPod touch) it went from 1 million to 15 million users in 2011. Can’t thank the homie Steve Clare enough for the skype call in February of last year and telling me I needed to join in. My first insta photo was a photo of that skype call….

A lot of people in the skateboard industry (riders, employees, shops) joined the madness in 2011 and surely but slowly brands are seeing the value too. Along with Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is the social media platform where your brand needs to be present.

Here are some tips and tricks for using Instagram, both on a personal and on a brand level.

1. Sync your username to Twitter (and all other social media)
I’m all about syncing all your usernames, but since a lot of people feed their Instagram into Twitter it’s very important for you, and your brand, to make sure both usernames are the same. This also allows people to respond to an instagram post on your twitter. Even though I’m all about the iPhone there is a huge amount of people on Twitter that use a different mobile device. And ‘currently’ Twitter has 100 million active users, Instagram has 15 million (Jan 1, 2012).

2. Use your hashtags wisely
The world famous pound (#) key is slowly loosing it’s meaning to the hashtag. When you post a photo about skateboarding, just write (hashtag) “#skateboarding” instead. Once you post the insta photo you can click on the hashtag and see all the photos that people have posted with the same hashtag. It’s a great way to find people with similar interests. And others can find you too.
I’m all about using the hashtag, and the “at symbol” (@) in the actual caption, so it reads like a normal sentence. E.g. “Loving my new @zeroskateboards deck, #skateboarding rules!”
And please don’t use more than 3 hashtags that make sense in the caption. Using 10 lame hashtags to gain more followers is making you look very desperate! (#iphoneography, #instagram, #popularpage, #follow, #followback, #swag, etc)

3. Don’t clog the feed
One of the main themes for social media in 2012 is LESS IS MORE, and Instagram is no exception to that trend. I recently tried to post no more than 3-4 photos a day. Your life, or brand, is no doubt way cooler than mine, and I’m not being sarcastic here. Even though I keep unfollowing (and follow) people that clog my feed (“cloggers”), less is more. Good content will attract people, but too much of anything…. You know the rest.

4. Size your photo right
When taking a photo on your iPhone hold the phone up straight, no landscape photos for instagram please. (It’s pretty much the same for every blog out there.) The black bar on the top and bottom doesn’t help the look of the photo. One out of 5, or maybe even 10, can be a product shot (plug), but just have your designer size it up right. I normally size the product images to 900×900, then email the photo to myself, save it on my iPhone, and then upload it to Instagram. A minimal effort that makes it look that much better. And I’m an amateur!

5. Promote your Instagram
After I got on Instagram in February 2011, and saw that most of the Altamont teamriders where on it too, it was time to start an Altamont Instagram and start promoting it. While most not so social media people in the office asked me if “Instagram was gonna be the new Facebook”, I went ahead and worked with Altamont designer Tristan Ellis on a flyer. Right before I was gonna post it on various Altamont social platforms Patrick O’Dell walked into the office. I asked him if he wanted to start an Instagram account, so we could include him on the flyer, and he did….
I remember running into Figgy a few days later and he was all hyped that he gained a couple hundred followers in a few days. Yup, it’s really that easy.

* I ran the Altamont Instagram from April 2011 til early December 2011
** DGK took it to another level with their Instagram ad in the Transworld Skateboarding (Dec 2011)

Questions or comments? Drop a comment below!