While teaching elementary school, I once remarked, "I have a video camera but I don't know how to make a movie." One of my fifth grade students, Hannah, said, "Don't worry Mrs. R, I will stay in at recess and teach you iMovie." In case you don't have a student around, I can highly recommend Instagram Power: Build Your Brand and Reach More Customers with the Power of Pictures by Jason Miles to quickly get started with this powerful tool.
This book shares success stories and easy steps to get started with the latest social media winner. My husband, George, is building our brand on Instagram and with Miles' steps and coaching from a friend's eleven year old, we are making progress. Recently, we were on the plane with students studying in London who gave us more assistance on the road to social media greatness.
Do you think you don't need social media or a mobile site? Think again.
"According to analyst Mary Meeker, at the end of 2012 there were 5 billion cell phones in use globally. (Global Trends Report) The planet has 7 billion people, but many of them are children."
And really many children are also on their phones!
When I consult for social media, many people ask me: "Oh no! Do I have to learn another platform?" The answer is yes. As Miles reports: "In August 2012, Instagram passed Twitter in terms of daily active users on mobile devices." It is important to pick the social media platforms that match your audience but remember: "Recent statistics indicate that roughly 5 million Instagram images are shared every day."
One of Miles' top tips for Instagram is including captions. We took his advice and downloaded InstaCap but our friend, Dean, recommended InstaMag, which we are enjoying more. We heard early on from our 10-year-old consultant, Ashley, that we needed captions. At first we thought that meant what you write under the photo in the explanation part but it means words that are physically on the photo.
Using his examples and instructions, you can use Instagram well without it taking over your life. We have only just begun on this platform and as Miles remarks everyone starts with no followers but we are growing!
It is worth the effort to make a plan to "Follow the people who liked your product images...and leave comments frequently on many people's images." It is important to follow Miles' advice that comments "be focused, be intentional, and be sincere." We appreciated his practical help on how to take a screenshot. "Simply navigate to your website, look at the image, and on an iPhone press the Home and Sleep buttons at the same time. The image you're looking at will be saved as a picture in your photo album." This is a great way to get photos of your website on Instagram.
Remember, "People like images that stir them emotionally: vacation destinations, sandy beaches, gourmet cuisine, sunsets, shoes, dresses, pretty places, and pretty faces." Think about what you can share but 2-3 images a day is more than enough. We followed his advice and our Instagram images also go to our twitter and Facebook fan page. Our next step is to "set up the Instagram social sharing buttons to point to the web version of our Instagram profile" on our website. We want to make it easy for people to follow us on our new platform. We have shared the address in twitter; Facebook and it will be in our next newsletter.
"Frigyes Karinthy originally suggested the idea that everyone in the world is within six degrees of separation or less." Using social media I have found I am now often only one or two degrees separated from anyone I want to connect with online. I can highly recommend this book and you are welcome to join us on any social media platform!