[This article was originally featured in Speaker Magazine.]

I interviewed five fabulous speakers on how they use Instagram for their business. Not too surprising, there were five completely different strategies for how they use and how they determine results. There were only two consistent messages in the interviews, one, use the native app which means install Instagram on your phone and use that. Do not rely on third-party tools to help you manage or automate your activity. And second, if you are going to be on Instagram, be on Instagram. Don’t go on once, post a picture and not come back for six months. Here are the highlights from each of the speakers as well as a quick tip list to help you be more effective in your Instagram usage. Make sure you follow each of the speakers so you can see how they continue to leverage Instagram for their business.

Patrick Allmond

Instagram Profile: https://www.instagram.com/patrickallmond/

Interview Highlights: “My Instagram account is not safe for children. I like it because it’s more spontaneous than other platforms. It feeds our short attention spans and allows me to visually communicate my message.”

Best Tip: “Go hashtag crazy—I aim for ten. At first, I wasn’t a big fan but then I noticed my account grew significantly when I started using them. Instagram lives and dies by hashtags. Don’t get stupid about your hashtag use.” Hashtags to avoid for obvious reasons: #hashtag, #Instagram, and #picture.

Omekongo Dibinga, PhD

Instagram Profile: https://www.instagram.com/omekongo/

Interview Highlights: “People are going on Instagram to see you to see you in action and to see your work. Your audience wants you to be you 100% of the time. Instagram allows me to show that I am the same person on and off the stage. If you do your presentation in your pajamas then you need to be on Instagram in your pajamas.”

Best Tip: “Consistency. Be consistently authentic and post consistently. To help me be consistent, I use the daily hashtag. Oh and use Instagram to celebrate others. People love to see us celebrating them.

Corey Perlman.

Instagram Profile: https://www.instagram.com/cperlman/

Interview Highlights: “I love Instagram because of its relationship with Facebook. Facebook can be crowded, but Instagram isn’t. We also know it will be around for a while, unlike other platforms that have come and gone.”

Best Tip: “Focus in on the quality of your images and use your own. Don’t wind up on stage and forget to get fabulous photos. If you know you are going to be in Vegas with an audience of 500 people. Insist that you have a photographer there taking pictures of you on stage with people laughing and agreeing with you.”

John Palumbo, CSP

Instagram Profile: https://www.instagram.com/palumboj/

Interview Highlights: “I consider each post I make a piece of art. It’s not shooting the right picture, it’s finding the right picture. I don’t follow anyone on Instagram because I don’t want to be distracted or have my craft influenced by others. Phyllis Diller, the late great comedian, once explained that she never went to watch other comedians for fear that she would subconsciously adapt her own style afterward.”

Best Tip: “Become a good photographer and photo editor. Every picture tells a story and balances the type of images that you share.”

Tamsen Webster.

Instagram Profile: https://www.instagram.com/tamsenwebster/

Interview Highlights: “My Instagram account is a mix of where I am, what I see, and what I’m doing. I’m not a massive Instagramer. I never assume that people go “OH this is interesting” so I try to caption all of my photos. I don’t want them to be confused and I want my clients to know that I do what I tell them to do.”

Best Tip: “We speak. Use Instagram to speak to people and let them see who you are beyond the stage. Let them see the world from your view. Show them the view beyond the stage.”

In addition to the native Instagram app on your phone, there are other apps used by the Speakers to create or post content: Quotes, Canva, Snip.ly, Snapseed, Repost, Buffer, Camera Plus, Iconosquare, squarelovein, and Agora Pulse.

What You Really Need to Know About Instagram

  • The algorithm is based on personal use—the more you use Instagram, the higher in the feed your content will appear. This is opposite of Facebook. The more you interact with another user, the more you will see their posts and most importantly, the feed does not constantly refresh like it does on Facebook.
  • In order to have a business profile on Instagram, you need to have a business page on Facebook. Currently, there is no preferential treatment on Instagram for business or personal accounts, but as with all things social media, this can change. The business accounts just give you access to analytics.
  • Your bio should tell people who you are, what you do, and what drives you. It’s basically an elevator pitch that covers you in a nutshell. Don’t use hashtags as it makes you look like an amateur. Emojis are good however not all emojis go cross-platform or device seamlessly.
  • Always use a location sticker to gain local exposure.
  • Use less popular hashtags for an increased chance to make it into the “Top” section. Aim for less popular, community-oriented, and specific hashtags to drive engagement and build your brand. If you have a small following avoid hashtags that have more than 50,000 in search volume. Also, be sure avoid banned hashtags. Instagram is proactive about banning hashtags that are used for pornographic content. They strive to keep the platform clean.

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Mixing brand development, strategy, and implementation, Mel DePaoli works with her clients to build brands worthy of going viral ®. She speaks on social media, branding, and customer experience. For more on Mel DePaoli, please visit www.omicle.com or join her Facebook Group, Brilliant Branding.

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