Instagram 101

Currently, there are 700 million active Instagram users, there is an average of 95 million photo or video posts per day! 59% of Instagram users are between the ages 18-29 and 33% are between the ages 30-49.

That means if we want to reach the next generation we need go no further than their phone to plug events, share stories and promote ministries through the photo sharing application.

But, did you also know there are some things on Instagram you should never do? Are you now asking what some of those things are while going back in the recesses of your mind hoping you never did them?

Well, let’s see!

  1. I know you want to, but don’t. Yes, getting a picture of your adorable dog balled up in the corner does seem like a good idea, but taking that same shot every time the dog is napping and posting is not. Resist the urge to show off your animals, shoes, cluttered desk, even your food. Every now and then is fine, all the time is not going to get you many likes or engagement. Make sure to create aesthetically pleasing photos, that gets a lot of engagement, those tend to be the most popular photos!
  2. Take it easy. I know you went three days without posting and now you have 14 photos from your awesome fall retreat to show off, but resist the urge to post them all. Thanks to the new feature, the carousel, it allows you to post multiple photos in one post, however, don’t go overboard. Even though Instagram now allows up to ten photos, it’s best that you only post about five. Another thing to keep in mind is that single photo posts are top dog. I encourage you to stick to single photos, and occasionally do a carousel!
  3. Regrammming a picture without attribution. Nope, you cannot take a screenshot of a beautiful photo and slap a new filter on it thinking that you have now made it your own. It’s not yours. Feel free to download a regramming app (like Repost) and give attribution to help bolster another person or organization’s Instagram account, but no stealing. Got it?
  4. Ever heard the phrase, “Too much of a good thing?” Well, that can be said for the hashtag. Hashtags – when used appropriately – can create a 12.6% increase with engagement, and using something relevant to your picture and your niche group of followers is a perfect way to get more eyes on your post. Writing ten hashtags that babble on about every detail of your photo is not OK. Viewers will not take the time to read it, much less click on it. So be sparing with the hashtags and let’s not do more than three at a time. Keep in mind as well that seven out of ten hashtags are branded. You don’t want to get into any legal trouble!
  5. But I look so good today. I’m happy your hair is falling into just the right place, but try to stay away from the ever popular “selfie” shot. Turn your camera around and show me students, volunteers or ministry action shots. That’s what people like to see.
  6. Please be my friend. Once in college I asked a girl to be my friend – she didn’t sit by me again. I share this embarrassing story to emphasize the importance of not asking people to follow you or be your friend on social media. Give them good content and they will want to stay.
  7. If you like it, then I’ll like it. Instagram has said it best: “Document life, show off your quirky moments, and tell a vibrant, filter-filled story.”

Now that you know what not to do you’re probably asking, “Why should I worry about another social media platform?”

I’m glad you asked. Instagram has 15 times more engagement than Facebook, Twitter or Google+. That means the people you want to reach most are likely on Instagram too.

So now that you know what not to do get on there and start telling your photo story.

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