Beer flight at Below the Radar Brewing Company Huntsville AL (by theseafarer on Instagram)

Beer flight at Below the Radar Brewing Company Huntsville AL (by theseafarer on Instagram)

In a social media marketing Group on LinkedIn, I noticed this question recently:

“What is the best way to get the most views on [photo-sharing app] Instagram? I know to # [hashtag] certain things that tend to get the most activity, but it’s hard for me to tell so far. I am fairly new to Instagram; any advice?”

I’m TheSeafarer on Instagram – right now I’m only using it personally and not managing any business or professional accounts. Like Twitter, how much I enjoy it is directly related to who I choose to follow.

My immediate reaction was that this person needs to first ask herself:

1)  What are my primary goals right now in my overall social media marketing strategy, and how do “more views on Instagram” fit into those goals?

Tip: you won’t be using the app to “drive traffic” because the only hyperlinked URL you get on Instagram is the one for your profile. That’s it.

2)  How will I measure whether my efforts on Instagram are helping me to reach the goals I’ve set?

Here are some Instagram metrics to consider tracking.

Followed by:

3)  Learn how to take excellent photos that will resonate with your followers. Start with Digital Photography School’s 12 tips for improving camera phone photos.

If you do nothing else, do these 4 things: wipe your phone’s camera lens, maneuver to avoid backlighting, get physically close rather than use zoom and hold the phone steady by making your surroundings a tripod.

Only THEN:

4)  Start widening your Instagram follower network by connecting it with the rest of your social media channels.

Learn to give your photos additional visibility by doing things like using relevant hashtags (without junking up your post with too many of them; 3 or 4 is about right.) For example, do you have historic photos of your destination or hotel? Try posting them on #tbt – Throwback Thursday.

If you’re interested in Instagram contests to boost followers and views, that’s the topic of the December 12, 2013 #tourismchat on Twitter, guest-hosted by Andrea Robyns from Experience Grand Rapids, Michigan.

When in doubt with a new social media tool or other shiny toy, go back to your core strategy and goals, always asking, “Is MY market there?”

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