In this episode I talk to Jenn Herman. She is the forefront blogger on Instagram marketing and her blog, Jenn’s Trends, has won the title of a Top 10 Social Media Blog in 2014, 2015, and 2016. She is the author of “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Instagram” and “Stop Guessing: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Social Media Strategy”.
What is Instagram and how does it differ from other social media networks?
It is a photo and video sharing platform. You can’t share links, but people tend to have an emotional reaction to the photos and videos posted. It is like a visual version of Twitter – a fast moving series of photos and videos. It is a very interactive platform.
Instagram has a reputation for people posting pictures of their food and selfies, how can people use it for business?
While this is a stereotype for Instagram, Jenn reckons this is the minority of posts. She recommends using it to ask for input on book covers and also as a way of showing a behind the scenes look at what you are working on at the time.
What approach would you recommend for people hoping to promote their books on Instagram at the moment, if they are new to the platform?
You need to set up your account as clearly set up to describe what you do. So your bio needs to be set up correctly. Also you need to make sure your username describes what you do. You also need to post relevant content, not just random things. Everything you post should have a purpose.
Should people have multiple accounts if they write, say, in different genres?
Yes/No/Maybe. It depends. Multiple accounts is more work, but if you publish a lot in both genres then it might be worthwhile. One account is fine if you don’t publish that much in terms of content.
What is the biggest mistake you see people making on Instagram?
Don’t put hashtags in your bio profile – it just looks bad, and serves no purpose. The second mistake is failing to engage. You should like most of the content of the people you follow on Instagram.
What is the culture in terms of following people back?
If you like people’s content then follow them back, but don’t just follow back everyone. Jenn suggests following the number of people you could engage with depending on how often you use the platform.
How much time is the minimum someone can use Instagram and still use it effectively?
Be consistent. Try not to post more than two or three times a day. The ideal is once or twice a day. But twice a week can work. Quality should be more important than posting for the sake of posting.
What about the use of hashtags, how is that different from Twitter and other platforms?
While Jenn hates hashtags on most platforms, on Instagram you have to use lots of them. She recommends the more the better. You cannot use more than 30 hashtags. She recommends anywhere from 10 to 15 hashtags. Pick some popular ones (e.g #book), then some moderately popular ones and finally your own personal hashtag.
Is advertising on Instagram worth the investment and have you got any tips for people who want to try using it?
Jenn says it is absolutely worth trying. While she isn’t a fan of paid advertising, she feels there is an opportunity in terms of advertising on Instagram. You need to have a Facebook business page to advertise there though. You can associate a web-link with a promoted post, which you cannot do with a normal post. You can also use all of Facebook advertising’s targeting features as well. Jenn gives quite a bit of advice about how to use them in the podcast. She has a free eBook available about how to use Instagram Ads at http://www.jennstrends.com/get-instagram-ad-ebook/
Where should you be sending people who click on their bio link, given it is the only link that (apart from for Ads) people can click on?
You can send people to wherever you want : this might be your website, a link to a free eBook, to your Amazon page or to a competition. Jenn suggests using the link shortening service called bit.ly so that you can track how many people come from Instagram as many of the tracking services can’t identify Instagram traffic as opposed to direct traffic.
Where can people find out about you?
On Instagram and Twitter she is jenns_trends, and her blog is at http://www.jennstrends.com/ where there are many hundreds of articles about Instagram for those people who want to find out more.