“But, do I need to be on Instagram”

Several weeks ago, I was talking candidly with a new client about their marketing activities. They were new owners taking over a relatively successful health club. Taking their time to make changes, spending time talking with members and growing the membership base slowly, but effectively, were their initial priorities. During our conversation, I gave them props for their effort on Facebook. They took a nearly extinct page and breathed new life into it – offering a combination of information about the gym and health/fitness tips. They were demonstrating the culture of the gym through photos and sharing necessary information about classes, events and sales through status updates.

Then she asked me, “What about Instagram, do we need to be on there too?”

I’m typically of the “find a platform that works, and do it really, really well” mindset. But in this instance, the answer was “yes.” Yes, you need to be on Instagram too. And, here are a few reasons why:

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So, for many businesses, especially those appealing to a crowd of 35 and under females, Instagram is a must-do. So, how do you get started? Is it enough to snap a photo and add a filter? Here are a few tips:

  • Take a good picture. Yes, it’s important to be on Instagram, it’s also important to remember that Instagram is as much about quality as it is about quantity. Users reward (in likes and in comments) good photos. Find an interesting angle, hold the camera steady, and add a filter to help soften any flaws.
  • Make sure your photo tells a story. A picture is worth 1,000 words, right? Make sure your photo is telling a story that is in line with your brand messaging.
  • Use the comments. The caption is where you get to show your personality. Don’t be afraid to be sincere – whether that be emotional or witty. Let your personality fly. And be sure to reply to any questions or comments in the comment section of your photos. Users come to IG for the engagement, make sure you’re not ignoring them.
  • Hashtag it. But don’t overdo. Yes, you want to be searchable, and you may be using hashtags to be clever or show your sense of dry sarcasm. But too many hashtags will have people rolling their eyes and talking behind your back. #ipromise
  • Frequency. Depending on your business you may have enough content to post several times a day. If not, try to post at least several times a week.Instagram is a great way to connect with your audience on another platform. You may find that users follow you on several platforms and that’s OK, it’s great actually. Try not to completely duplicate all of your content and remember which demographics are most likely to be on which platform to ensure that you’re delivering the most appropriate message to the right people. Once you’ve nailed the basic posting on Instagram, start looking for ways to increase your followers, improve your photos and engage your audience



  1. I recently highlighted the work of Cabela’s on my blog. I love this analysis from SimplyMeasured of the success the outdoor-retailer has seen on Instagram: http://simplymeasured.com/blog/2014/06/25/dogs-boats-celebrities-cabelas-instagram-approach-drives-stellar-engagement/
    What I love is that Cabela’s has built great engagement momentum on the platform, without heavily featuring their products!

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