Maximizing reach with Instagram hashtags

Instagram hashtags

How many of you include hashtags with your Instagram photos?

If you have been avoiding using hashtags on Instagram, it is time to re-consider.

Why you need to be using hashtags on Instagram

For those of you who need a refresher on how hashtags work, if you do not include them, photos you share are limited to the size of your network.

This means that while you may have a great photo, if you have a small following, not many people are going to see your photos.

When you include hashtags on Instagram, you increase your chances that someone else following the same hashtag will see your photo and engage with it.

Do hashtags really work?

While using hashtags on other social networks like Facebook do little to help with exposure.

Instagram users see higher engagement and get more interactions when using hashtags.

For example:

Source: Buffer

Instagram user stats:

While Instagram triggers higher engagement and more interactions, they also have a very active social network.

This means if you are looking to get more exposure and to grow your brands presence, this is a good way to go.

So how do you know which hashtags to use to increase your interactions on Instagram?

While some users will use random hashtags for giveaways and specific social media campaigns, it is best to try to stick with the more popular hashtags.

These include: #food, #beauty, #makeup, and so on.

This is so that you can insert your photos into the larger conversation and increase visibility with other Instagram users.

To help you get started, here is a list of some popular Instagram hashtags.

I have also included tools you can use to help identify the right hashtags to use.

Identifying relevant Instagram hashtags Continue reading Maximizing reach with Instagram hashtags

Share Instagram photos and videos with Instagram Direct in 4 Simple Steps

After a failed attempt by Facebook to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion, they hit back in a big way when they announced Instagram Direct.

What is Instagram Direct?

Instagram Direct is a way for users to share photos and videos privately with up to 15 other Instagram users.

Here is what makes Instagram Direct so powerful and why it should be part of your Instagram strategy.

For example, one of the biggest issues that Instagram used to have was that every update, like, or comment was public.

Now, that isn’t the case because you can share Instagram photos or videos with everyone in your Instagram feed or use Instagram Direct to share them privately with a select group of followers.

Besides this new feature, Instagram also put Snapchat and Twitter on notice that they are a major force in social media.

Instagram Direct vs. Snapchat and Twitter

Previously, if you wanted to share a photo or video with someone privately, you had to look to Snapchat and Twitter because they offered the ability to send private messages while Instagram did not.

With 150 million Instagram users, by introducing private photo and video sharing, Instagram can keep its growing userbase within their platform.

Couple that with the fact that Facebook owns Instagram and you can start to understand why this feature is a giant step forward for Instagram.

So how easy is it to use Instagram Direct?

Follow the step-by-step guide and instructional video below on how to use Instagram Direct.

How to use Instagram Direct

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7 Ways to drive Instagram engagement

It’s one thing to push a lot of content out through your social media channels like Instagram. Anyone can do that.

It’s another thing to drive Instagram engagement.

So what is the secret to getting higher engagement on Instagram?

According to Curalate, a research firm, they analyzed some 8,000,000 Instagram photos and looked at 30 image features such as background ratio, dominant color, lightness, and saturation and here is what they found.

When posting images on Instagram, be sure to share images that are predominantly blue, spaciously cropped, bright, and slightly desaturated.

Facts on achieving higher engagement on Instagram:

Here are seven examples of photos you want to share to drive Instagram engagement.

7 Ways to drive Instagram engagement

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Minding your manners with hashtag etiquette

Hashtags seem to be everywhere these days. For example, there are Facebook hashtags, Twitter hashtags, Instagram hashtags, and even Google Plus is using hashtags. This is great because you can begin to incorporate hashtags into all of your social networks. Before you do though, you need to be aware of the proper hashtag etiquette.

Otherwise, you could be doing more harm than good when using hashtags on your favorite social networks.

What is a hashtag?

Oxford dictionaries defines a hashtag as a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.

To sum this up, when it comes to social networks, hashtags are clickable links that bring together posts from that network that are also using that hashtag.

This can be useful because it lets you see who else is talking about a similar topic on your favorite social network.

Hashtag evolution

The hashtag has evolved quite a bit throughout history though. In fact, it wasn’t always used like how it is today. There is a rich, storied history of the hashtag.

Common hashtag mistakes

While hashtags seem like they’re very easy to use, here are common mistakes you want to avoid when using hashtags.

  1. Stringing together too many words in a hashtag.
    • For example, using #hashtaqetiquettetips when just #etiquette will suffice.
  2. Tagging every word in a post with a hashtag.
    • Not only is this unprofessional, but doing this can make it difficult to follow a post or tweet.
  3. Using hashtags that don’t relate to your business or brand
    • This is a big no-no when using hashtags. An example of this is using a hashtag and including a link to a product that doesn’t relate to the hashtag. You can be seen as a spammer if you use this technique.
  4. Using hashtags when they are not needed
      Just because you can use a hashtag doesn’t mean you need to. Make sure you’re selective on when you should include a hashtag.
  5. Picking the right network for hashtags
      While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Pinterest all include the option to use hashtags. Be sure you know your audience. If they don’t understand hashtags, you could be pushing them away by including them.

If you want to see hashtags in action, Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon created a hilarious video on using hashtags in real-life that also does a great job illustrating why hashtag etiquette is so important.

While it seems that hashtags are ubiquitous, remember, there is a right time and place for them. The team at Gremln put together this infographic on hashtag etiquette. There are also some great tips on how to use hashtags to get your message across and reach your target audience.

Tips on proper hashtag etiquette

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How to upload Instagram photos from a computer

One of the frustrating things about using Instagram is being confined to using a mobile device to upload Instagram photos. Fortunately, there’s a way to upload instagram photos from computers that are not mobile devices or tablets such as from a desktop or a laptop.
Upload Instagram photos from computer

While you’ve probably been relying on Dropbox to move photos to your mobile device from your computer, if you take a lot of photos, you’ll need enough storage to store all of your photos within Dropbox.

The great thing is that while Instagram is primarily used from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, you can upload Instagram photos from computers if you like.

To upload Instagram photos from your computer is really easy, just follow the instructions listed below.

Note: you can only upload one photo at a time using these instructions.

How to upload Instagram photos from computers such as a desktop or laptop

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How to embed Instagram photos and videos in 4 steps

Instagram recently rolled out the ability to embed Instagram photos and videos on your blog or website.

How to embed Instagram photos and videos on your blog or website

This is great news if you’re a heavy Instagram user because now your photos can be free of the Instagram news feed and shared where they really matter most – on your blog or website.

By using the embed feature of Instagram, this allows you the opportunity to post your photos and videos on Instagram and leverage the 130 million Instagram users and then take that content and share it on your blog or website for users who aren’t on Instagram.

What can you do with photos and videos you embed on your blog or website?

While you can embed Instagram photos and videos on your blog or website, not all of the features from Instagram carryover. Here’s a rundown on what features you have when you embed Instagram content.

  • Link to the Instagram profile who posted the content
  • See how many likes and comments content received on Instagram
  • Can only embed one Instagram photo or video at a time. If you want to embed three items, this requires three separate codes
  • No ability to comment on Instagram photos or videos  – you must go to Instagram to do this
  • No ability to add hashtags on content you embed from Instagram – you must go to Instagram for this

Is there a difference embedding Instagram photos or videos?

Kudos to Instagram for making this process extremely easy. The process for embedding Instagram photos and videos is exactly the same – and it’s something you can do in 4 easy steps.

Keep reading for instructions and a video on how to embed Instagram photos and videos on your site.

Embed Instagram photos and videos in 4 easy steps!

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Video on Instagram – the definitive users guide

Video on Instagram

Today, Facebook announced “video on Instagram.” While this wasn’t exactly a surprise to most people (it has already been leaked a few weeks ago), it is a surprise because of how similar, yet different Instagram is when you compare it to the video-sharing app, Vine.

Features of video on Instagram

Instagram’s foray into video now gives users the following capabilities within the Instagram app.

How to shoot video on Instagram

Shooting video on Instagram

Continue reading Video on Instagram – the definitive users guide

Contact Instagram – In a Snap!

One of the biggest challenges to using any social network is getting help. In most cases, you’ll often find a lot of people with similar questions, but no answers. We’ve compiled a list of the best way’s to contact Instagram about any issues you are having with your account. This way you can get your resolve your issues quickly by routing them to the right place.

How to contact Instagram

How to contact Instagram

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Make 2013 Your Best-Ever Year: A 12-Month Plan For Social Media Success [INFOGRAPHIC]

2012 was the year of social media.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest all experienced tremendous growth in social media.

So how can you as a business, capitalize on the success of these growing social networks in 2013? First, you need a social media plan.

No, you don’t have to get your calendar out and start feverishly writing. Instead, there’s a handy infographic that can help you figure out what you need to be doing each month to reach social media success in 2013.

A few of the key steps include:

  1. Assessing your social fitness
  2. Revisiting your social goals
  3. Becoming a better listener
  4. Integrating all of your social platforms, and
  5. Planning for the future
  6. ….

Continue reading Make 2013 Your Best-Ever Year: A 12-Month Plan For Social Media Success [INFOGRAPHIC]