Introduction: Instagram As a Community Building Tool
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms nowadays along with Facebook and Twitter. But unlike these two, Instagram has the advantage of being visually driven, because it focuses mainly in users sharing photos and videos to other people all around the world. Therefore, in a way Instagram has a unique way of building its community compared to other social medias. However, it’s far from being a difficult task. It’s simpler than it seems and it’s a powerful tool that can bring together a lot of people when used correctly.
For this Instructable, I’ll show you some tips on how to get started with Instagram and how to use it well, so that you can start building up your own Instagram community.
Step 1: Getting Started: Choosing Pictures, Comments, Following
Instagram is a powerful tool for communicating visually with your audience. How well your message is received is heavily dependent on two things:
1. Which pictures you select to represent your organization
2. Your level of engagement with your community
These tips will help you with both points.
Choosing the right pictures
Decide what you want to highlight about your organization. If you're a college hoping to increase your membership, take pictures of the facilities available to residents. If you're a journal, pictures of your conferences are a great idea. Student groups could share pictures of the fun things that happen at their meetings. Be creative!
However, while it may be tempting you share as many things as you can, less is usually more. Keep the number of posts you make per day to two or three maximum – anything more may be perceived as spam.
Get your voice out there
Posting pictures is just the first step to creating a following. It’s much easier to build a community when you actively engage with them. Have a conversation with your followers in the comments section of your post, and answer any questions they have.
Remember, don’t just comment on your own posts. Look for the people who are most engaged with your content, and take a look at what they’re doing. Showing an interest in their work by commenting on their posts is another great way to build a sense of community.
Following like-minded organizations is another good way to get your name out there . For example, if you are a student group on campus that is focused on technology, then it would make sense to follow the accounts of local tech companies, or even tech student groups from other universities. Similarly, if you are looking to promote your academic journal, look for some already well-established journals and give them a follow.
Finally, it’s best to ignore “follow-for-follow” offers. While it may seem like an easy way to boost follower numbers, it is better to have a small number of engaged followers than a large number of followers who may not have any interest in what you're doing.
In conclusion, good pictures and a strong sense of community are key to doing well on Instagram. Read the next step to see how you can take the best quality photos possible, and for more tips on gathering followers.
Step 2: Getting Good: Improving Picture Quality, Holding Contests, and Getting More Followers
Now that you’ve established an online presence with Instagram, it’s time to get good. A general rule of thumb when posting on Instagram is quality over quantity.
Improving Pictures Quality
Picture quality is important, especially when it comes to grabbing and holding the attention of your target audience. Here are some general tips on improving photo quality:
1. Get a good camera! A proper digital camera can take photos that stand out among the sea of selfies. Once you’ve taken the photos, they can be uploaded to an online file storage service such as Dropbox or OneDrive. The photos can then be exported to Instagram for posting. That being said, Instagram is primarily a mobile-based app. This makes it convenient to use a cell phone to both take and post the photos. Using a cell phone camera is definitely an option as the newer models have high-resolution cameras.
2. Use third-party software to edit your photos. The Instagram filters are very basic and are easily spotted by other Instagram users. Fotor is a great choice for both beginners and those with a little more experience. It has one-click smart filters as well as a host of photo editing tools. This handy piece of software is available for Windows, Mac , Android and Iphone users.
3. Utilize good lighting. Even a skilled photo editor will have trouble salvaging a poorly-lit photo. Try to avoid using dimly-lit spaces, lights that are very bright, or the flash feature on your camera. Natural, indirect light should be your first choice.
High-quality photos are great for attracting and keeping the attention of Instagram users. However, this can be a slow process. To get your brand out there and reward loyal followers it can be helpful to hold contests. Contests are great for advertising programs and events you want your followers to know about.The easiest type of contest to hold on Instagram is a sweepstakes giveaway. After you’ve decided on a prize, make a post with the contest details. For users to participate, ask them to like, comment, or mention their friends on the post. Then use a program such as Instagram Sweepstakes to pick a random winner. Read this for a more in-depth guide on running a social media contest.
Getting More Followers
Contests aren’t the only way to increase your follower count. Here are some other strategies for gaining followers:
1. Post when your target audience is most active.
2. Use appropriate hashtags.
3. As mentioned in step 2, follow other accounts with similar content.
Gaining followers is often a slow process. However, if you follow the previously mentioned tips and are appealing to your audience, your following should grow. If all this makes sense and you have done some of the linked reading, you are well on your way to getting good.
Step 3: Learn More
With these tips, you should have gotten a grasp of what it's like to build a community through Instagram. Choosing the right photos and the right methods to get online presence might seem difficult and intimidating at first, but with time you’ll get better and better and you will wonder why you had not started this before. Also, remember that this Instructable is only an introduction on using Instagram as a community building tool. The next step is to do further reading on the concepts discussed here. This can be done via the links provided in this article or by doing a simple google search.
Here are some other Instructables related to Instagram that you may find useful:
If you are interested in further amplifying your online presence, you can start learning about community building on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Each platform has its own strong and weak points so it’s important to adapt to them. You can start learning to how to use these platforms through these Instructables: