Three tried-and-true Instagram tactics

I originally wrote this post for Gazette Media & Marketing’s blog. 

With 400 million active users, there’s no doubt that Instagram plays a huge role in any brand’s marketing strategy.

Instagram is useful in reaching a target demographic that’s been hard to connect with thus far for a lot of brands: Teens and young adults.

According to this post by Hootsuite, Instagram is considered the most important social network by more American teens (at 32 percent) than any other network.

At Gazette Media & Marketing, we’ve tried a number of different tactics on Instagram. Here are the three that we think are most important:

Consistent branding.

This may sound like a no-brainer, but often brands get on Instagram and post images just to post them. When you’re posting, think “how is this image relevant to my consumer?” Make sure your captions thoroughly explain why this image is important to the users you’re trying to reach.

And, keep a consistent tagline when possible. For example, The Indiana Gazette closes out Instagram posts with a years-old tagline, “In print daily, online always.”

Develop a hashtag campaign

Instagram engagement is driven hugely by hashtags. Research by Hootsuite says that posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6 percent more engagement.

On Recreation News’ Instagram account, we used the magazine’s tagline, #LivePlayDo, as an opportunity to solicit photos from users across the Mid-Atlantic. In just the few months that we’ve measured the campaign, it’s received over 1,000 photo submissions from adventurers everywhere.

Tip: Keep your hashtag short and sweet – it’ll be easier for users to remember that way.

Tag post locations

A small but mighty tweak to your strategy, research shows that posts with location tags have up to 79 percent more engagement on the social network.

How do you add a location? Make sure your smartphone’s location settings are active, and then the “Add Location” button on your post should work.

Posting later? No need to worry. Search the location you took the photo from by name.

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Travel ‘grammers I love

On a rainy day, I can spend hours scrolling through Instragram feeds, looking at what travelers throughout the world are experiencing.

That’s not healthy, I know.

Nonetheless, here are a few of my favorite accounts, as of late:

  1. Cameron Anderson

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2. Kylie Turley

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3. Queston Van Horne 

Fullscreen capture 1182015 121525 AM(PS – he lives near Indiana, PA – and some of these photos are local!)

4. Cassandra Haverland

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5. Camping With Dogs

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Why I’m Photo Obsessed

I can’t even begin to make a guess at how many photos I’ve taken in my lifetime. Thousands. Who knows. I’ve filled up countless CDs, an entire external hard-drive and I’ve already got a couple hundred on the new external I got for Christmas.

The photo-taking obsession started early, with my first camera being given to me as a birthday gift in (I think) 8th grade. This was pre-cell phone service in my town, so rather than having a cell phone on me 24/7, I had a camera.

A few years went by, digital photography changed drastically, and I got a new Sony Cybershot (again, for a birthday). Though the obsession died down slightly, I still managed to take hundreds and hundreds of photos.

Wiz Khalifa–2011 for The Penn

And I can’t lie, a few thousand of these were failed attempts at taking the perfect Myspace photo in high school.

When I met a photographer and became best friends with him in the beginning of college, I realized that taking photos didn’t have to be just something I did. It could be a part of my life. That’s when I purchased my DSLR and learned the real rules of photography.

I started working for my school’s newspaper as a photographer, and the obsession continued to grow. And getting paid for it wasn’t so bad, either.

Young the Giant, 2012 — taken for The Penn

Having your photo printed on paper gives you a rush. Especially the first time your photo is used as a cover photo. An even bigger rush? Standing between the crowd and a famous artist at a concert, being just inches away from that artist and feeling the crowd and it’s excitement, while shooting 800 shots in 20 minutes just to get three or four perfect photos.

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Bathroom picture — three days ago…

Now, though I don’t get the chance to actually shoot as often anymore, I still take photos daily with my phone. Sure some of them are still random pictures of myself in bathrooms, a picture of my new coffee mug (I did that today) and what I ate for dinner last night, but the point is– I can’t stop taking photos.

Why?

I think I’m afraid of forgetting.

I want to remember every single thing I did, whether it be that amazing concert I shot in college, the walk down Jackson Ave. I took with my friends in high school, or the outfit I wore that isn’t going to fit me when I’m 50.