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THE INS AND OUTS OF INSTAGRAM

A picture is worth a thousand words. The right photos shared on Instagram can help create a personality for your business and help you stand out in niche markets. All social networks have an audience, and those audiences are full of potential customers. Instagram is a great way to tap into that audience and let your photos do the talking!

What is Instagram?
Instagram is a social networking service available on smart phones that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, including Facebook and Twitter.

Why join Instagram?
With more than 150 million users in 2014 (up from 100 million users in 2013), Instagram is the fastest growing social network. Over 90% of these users are under the age of 35, making Instagram an attractive venue for businesses looking to market to the 18-34 age bracket.

How do I start?
Download the free app on your phone, create a username, write a short profile description, start adding photos!

What kind of photos should I add?
The filters on Instagram allow you to showcase your items in a new light. Zoom in on details, set a scene, or capture behind-the-scenes moments to help build a more personal relationship with your followers. Create an overall aesthetic for your business that can be felt when viewing your photos. Post photos that people in your industry would want to see - cakes baked in vintage cookware, a fully furnished room in a dollhouse, before and after pics of jewelry making.

What is the purpose of hashtags?
The purpose of a hashtag is to be searchable. For instance, if you post a photo of a teapot, you might add #teapot to your post. Then, anyone searching for a teapot will come across your photo. Hashtags help you get your photos in front of the right people. Similarly, if you are looking for Art Deco inspiration, you might search for #ArtDeco to see all photos tagged with an Art Deco hashtag.
Some people try to tag their photos with every possible hashtag hoping to get more exposure, but this can backfire as many followers are put off by a long list of hashtags - relevant or not. Try not to add more than seven hashtags per post; any more can be seen as hashtag spam and no one likes that!

A few more tips:
Remember, Instagram is about quality, not quantity, so delete any photos that aren't up to par.
Don't post too many photos at once: no one wants to have their feed monopolized by a single user.
Reach out to potential followers by following them.
Liking and/or commenting on their photos will help you get noticed and gain more followers of your own.

Have fun! With these basic guidelines you're now ready to join the Instagram community and build a fantastic portfolio!

Follow Ruby Lane on Instagram @rubylanecom, and be sure to send your Instagram username to marketing1@rubylane.com so we can follow you! (And while you're at it, send us your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest info too!!)
Your Ruby Lane Team

Article Last Update: October 20, 2014