Is there a right way of using Instagram? I give you 7 ways! #IGtravelThursday

September 12, 2013 Katja Presnal

7 ways to use Instagram by @katjapresnal

I had an honor to speak about Instagram strategy at TBEX conference in Toronto earlier this year, and I will be speaking about the same topic at the TBEX Europe in Dublin next month. The past few months I have also been sharing a lot of my Instagram tips here at Skimbaco Lifestyle. During this time I have also adviced several people and brands on their Instagram strategy, and I have realized some truths about the “right way” of using Instagram. Today I am representing 7 ways to use Instagram.

7 ways to use Instagram

1. There is no one “right way” to use Instagram – create your own experience.
Instagram is a tool, like with any other tool – you can use it for the purpose YOU want to use it, in a way YOU want to use it. Start by asking yourself WHY you want to use Instagram and WHAT you want to share there, and accomplish with using it. I highly recommend though finding your own best way, and being consistent. People like consistent. If you want people to like you, be consistent.

2. Instagram is a creative outlet for DIY art called iPhotography.
Instagram was built for anyone easily publish mobile phone photography and share it with friends. Editing photos is made easy and anyone can become an artist by simply using easy photo apps or the filters Instagram offers. Go for it, be an artist and join the community of other Instagram artists.

3. Go ahead, be a promoter.
I posted a photo of my book cover and lost 13 followers, but got 50 comments.
I posted a photo of my backyard and got over 300 likes and gained 5 followers, but got 10 comments.
You do the math.

In all seriousness, there are a lot of people on Instagram who are “allergic” to any kind of self-promotion, such as “buy my product”, “visit my website”, “vote for me” or “like my photo/follow me”. They tend to be those people who are using Instagram as described in #2 – for artistic expression, and we all know the saying about starving artists – artists don’t like to promote or sell.

In all honestly, also great marketers know that non-self promotion self promotion is the best way to go about. Some call this also unmarketing. If you have hard time finding the zen of promoting without being too pushy, don’t worry about it. Like said in #1 – you use Instagram the way you want. If you want to use it to promote your website content, products or just you and post selfies all day long, go for it. There will be a group of people (often the other self-promoters), who like to support you and see only your promos AND there will be your real fans, real friends and real tight-knit community who wants to hear everything you have to say and have going on. Just be warned though – you might get the cold shower of 13 lost followers and feel little less loved when you push the limits.

FOLLOW: SkimbacoLifestyle – strictly promotional account to give you a heads up of the content on our site. I started a separate account so I can be more “artistic” on other accounts.

4. Don’t know how to take great photos? Share other people’s photos!
And by this I mean: WITH PERMIT. Don’t steal other people’s photos and never-ever post them without permit, nor as your own. However, you can start an account and think of a cool hashtag and ask people to share their photos with the hashtag and then you can showcase their photos. Several brands are doing an excellent job with this, and many people on Instagram also love having their photos featured, so you can become quite popular this way.

FOLLOW: IGtravelThursday and tag your photos #IGtravelThursday to be featured!

5. Use Instagram just as an easy tool to share photos to different places at once.
You know, some people just don’t like Instagram, and feel “why do I need another social media tool where to connect with people” – I get it. If you feel it’s one of those things you have to do it because everyone else is doing and you are not excited about learning about trying to connect with new people via Instagram, then don’t do it. Or claim your name/brand name on Instagram and don’t worry about the liking & commenting and trying to gain followers-game, and only use Instagram to easily edit a great photo from “behind the scenes” of your business or your everyday life, and easily share it to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Foursquare with a few extra taps on your phone. If you are building your personal brand (and who isn’t these days? Even the stay-at-home-moms are building brands these days!), and you don’t have time to write, snap a photo and share it and boom! you are a content creator and can be an expert on whatever you want to be an expert of. Instagram is a great tool to get a lot accomplished with one photo at the time.

6. Give a “behind the scenes” look.
For Instagram artists, Instagram IS the art and the end result. It doesn’t mean that it has to be that way for you. You don’t have to give away the best shots from your travels, or the “money shot” of your finished product, whether it’s a recipe, cocktail or a room makeover, but you can give the “behind the scenes” look to make your Instagram friends feel they are getting something special they can’t see from you anywhere else. Of course, an occasional “money shot” doesn’t hurt. Instagram is a great place to give “teasers” and making people feel they are traveling the journey with you.

FOLLOW: InspiredByCharm, a lifestyle blogger on Instagram showing great “behind the scenes” type of photos.

7. Pick a theme, stick to it.
Like mentioned before, people love consistency on Instagram. I posted a few “Good morning from Sweden”-photos last year, and a year later I am still posting my good morning-photos, because my Instagram friends love the consistency and started asking for them after I skipped a few days! It also makes me happy each morning to know people out in the world want to either start the day with me – or go to bed after seeing my photo. Only take pictures of flowers, cats, doors, coffee cups, shoes, store windows, trees, landscapes, cars – the list is limitless. Pick your passion and share it with others.

FOLLOW: Kitkat_ch, she takes pictures of gorgeous Swiss landscapes and her Fiat 500 is often trying to steal the show.

This is just a start! Like mentioned, make Instagram something special for you, you don’t have to follow what everyone else is doing, or what some experts say are the “best practices” of using the tool. There are hundreds of great ways to utilize Instagram, you just have to find what works for you. To get you started – join our #IGtravelThursday community!

Join the Instagram Travel Thursday Linky

Join us! Bloggers – add your blog post to the linky. Not a blogger? No problem. Join us at Instagram by using hashtag #igtravelthursday and share your travel photos. But sorry- no linking to Instagram images from the linky, just to blog posts. Get email sent to you when the Instagram Travel Thursday linky post is up (subscribe it here) and add your Instagram profile link in the Instagram Travel Thursday page and follow other travelers who have left their links there as well.

instagram-travel-linky-rules

My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own "skimbaco," how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter as well that I sent out sometimes on Fridays.

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Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comments (13)

  1. Love thinking about different ways to use instagram – I definitely haven’t considered much of this before. Thanks! Looking forward to being more intentional with some of my posting!

  2. I’d love to have a theme that I stuck to properly, but I guess most of my images are Norwegian landscapes. Bit limiting, really! Thanks for sharing Kitkat_ch’s account, I hadn’t followed her before but LOVE what she’s doing!!

    • Enjoy Life Oils

      It’s difficult also when you travel so much. I’ve started doing 3’s of same type of theme now, but quite frankly I get bored myself ;)

  3. Great tips!! I struggle between trying to be artistic and trying to self-promote as well! I’ve noticed that I get fewer comments even when I use a lot of hashtags, perhaps because viewers consider the tags as an attempt to gain more followers and therefore has the appearance of being self-promoting.

    I am still trying to discover my niche I suppose! I like variety personally, but you are right, I do tend to think it’s strange when someone I follow for travel all of a sudden puts up several pet pictures in a row.

    Thanks again for sharing and I always enjoy seeing the other posts from the linky and who you recommend to follow!

    • Enjoy Life Oils

      The consistency is the key for loyal following, but at the same time – I can’t post the same type of pictures day after day, so I do mix it up, but try to keep a few on-going themes so it’s not too mixed. And that’s why I started other accounts so I can post different photos there that don’t fit my main account and then connect with completely different set of people there. I don’t know if that’s smart either, it’s a lot of trouble, and probably confusing to people, but I am just trying to figure out the best ways to use Instagram for me.

  4. Good Morning from Croatia! As always, every week I enjoy reading your tips. It always gets me thinking about what I am / am not doing. AND every week without fail I think – damn, why did I not think of that?! Thanks for spreading your wisdom.

  5. Ha…also love the tips. This one in particular was much appreciated. I take a summer hiatus, and use that time to reflect on what I did, where I’m going and what tools I’m going to use to get there. I found tremendous value in this story. Thanks for sharing!

    • Enjoy Life Oils

      Thank you Stefanie, great that you found value! I know many Instagram experts say there is only one purist right way of using Instagram, but it really depends who you want to connect with there.

  6. Thanks so much for this, Katja! I am inspired weekly to do better on my next post. I love reading your hosts’s stories and seeing their amazing photos from IG. This is such a great series!

  7. Great point about the self promotion–so true. There is no easy answer. I definitely still have multiple themes- though in looking at my stream it is more consistent than at the very beginning–a bit like me I guess :)

    • Enjoy Life Oils

      Yes… I am fighting with the consistency all the time myself… and I have multiple themes too :) But yes – the self-promotion part is tough. I know I have an amazing community of people who WANT to support me and I can ask it from them, but at the same time, everytime I do something promotional in nature (and it is not often!!), I also lose followers and it makes me kind of sad that so many people don’t want to support me, although they have been my Instagram friends for a while. So it is a tough thing, like in any social media outlet I guess.

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