Imagine my surprise (and satisfaction) when “Instagram” was the answer to the question “How did you hear about DJ Kanoya.” I was even more ecstatic when that inquiry turned into a signed contract for a 2017 wedding.
I booked a wedding because of Instagram (well, there were certainly other factors), but there is no doubt that Instagram was the catalyst.
By dedicating part of my marketing plan to Instagram it has elevated it to one of my most important (and cheapest) marketing tools to my business.
Here are five tips that I believe were instrumental in this sales conversion.
A quick note: This was written from a DJ’s perspective, but the tips are applicable to anyone looking to maximize the marketing benefits of Instagram.
Create an Account
This should be obvious, but this potential client would not have found me if I wasn’t on Instagram. She was routed to me via a photo that was on the Brick account (@bricksd). Brick is an event venue in San Diego, where her wedding is taking place. Brick was taking photos during an event I was DJing and their social media rep came up and asked for my account name so she could tag me.
That photo tag, led this customer to my account, which led to my website, which eventually led to a booking.
High Quality, Relevant Photos
Instagram is a visual social media platform and it is important for your account to be visually appealing. The saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is so true, especially when it comes to Instagram. Users scroll through their newsfeed to primarily look at those square images, not to read descriptions and comments. You have seconds (maybe even less) to capture someone’s attention and get them to look - and potentially read - your content.
As a DJ, users and potential users follow me because I am a DJ. I keep them engaged because my feed is filled with photos of me all centered around that aspect. My account is made up of photos from weddings, yoga sessions and corporate events. I also create infographics about music or about me as an entrepreneur. But the constant is always me as a DJ, providing a glimpse of moments from my vantage point.
I do not post photos of food, my wife and I strolling on a beach or my daughter in her Halloween costume. Because as amazingly cute as my daughter is dressed as a 50s soda shop girl, my Instagram followers are not following me to see that.
Instagram is a powerful, slick option to show off your business. When posting to it, consider if the image is something you would want inserted into your businesses printed brochure or other marketing material. When thinking about it in those terms, you likely wouldn’t be putting a random image of a bowl of soup or your cat in your DJ brochure.
Posting non-relevant content is the quickest way for your followers to lose interest and subsequently unfollow your account.
Potential followers and customers will tap on your user name and take a quick scroll at your three photo wide feed and make a determination if you are someone they want to follow or potentially do business with. Having a professional appearance, via those photos, is important.
“Nice pictures” are nice for a reason. They are composed and framed properly (google search “rule of thirds). Attractive photos have colors that are enticing and the subject matter in the photo is interesting, and most importantly relevant to your business.
If you do not have a knack for photography, consider taking an introductory class or looking through online tutorials or books. When it comes to editing, I use Snapseed on all of my photos. There are many mobile tools, but Snapseed definitely does the trick for me.
Regularly Scheduled Posts
This tip is important to consider as a means to retain your followers, but also to entice new ones. Have you ever scrolled through your feed of the people you are following and found a particular user has batch posted several photos within seconds/minutes of each other? Those photos clog up your feed and for many people this is an annoyance when they are just trying to see updates from others.
There’s no need to “live-Instagram” something. Take pictures at an event, and afterwards choose one really good one to post at an ideal time. Unlike Twitter, most of the people viewing your content are seeing it well after the event you are posting from. As a result, there is no need to post quick, unedited snapshots of something with a caption that reads “I’m here right now, come see me.” Because when someone actually views that image, you are no longer there.
Being strategic about when to schedule posts ensures you are reaching your followers at the peak times they are using Instagram. The "Insights" tab within Instagram is a host of great info such as when your followers are on Instagram, what city they are in, what gender they are and much more.
I use the free app and website interface, Hootsuite, to schedule my posts.
By the way, as a general rule, schedule one or two posts per day. This gives you time to carefully craft the content you are posting, taking the extra effort to edit the photos (using Snapseed or other photo editing program) and writing a good caption for those that are taking the time to read it.
Engaging with Your Audience
Engaging with followers is one of the primary recommendations of social media. As such Instagram is a two way street. To build your following and legitimize what you are doing, you need to engage with the users that are taking the time to engage with you. This means if someone leaves a comment, acknowledge it with a thank you. If they ask a question, answer it.
You should be taking time to search through Instagram for users similar to your line of business and within your industry. Like, comment and follow when appropriate. As you start to build a network of social media followers and followings, you are creating connections with other vendors and potential clients.
As I mentioned earlier, this client found me because her wedding venue’s Instagram account tagged me in a post. This is important information to note and to understand that this is one method your potential customers are conducting research.
Yes, people are “Googling”, but they are also likely hitting the “image” button, especially true for people planning their wedding who want to see what previous weddings and events looked like at their venue.
This is why hashtagging your photos is important. Hashtags, when used properly, are a direct pipeline to you from potential customers and followers. Despite the fact that generic tags such as “wedding” or “DJ” are being searched by millions at any given time, it still gets your content viewable to potentially millions for a few seconds. But more specific tags such as a venue name, or even “wedding DJ” have a little longer shelf life.
According to Quora, the number of hashtags allowed per post is 30. “That includes # in the caption and the comments section both. Instagram doesn't allow more than 30 hashtags per post. That said, some of the hashtags are filtered to prevent spamming.”
As DJs trying to maintain sanity on the plethora of marketing opportunities available, not to mention the horde of social media platforms to try and keep with, realize you do not need to use all of them. However, the marketing and social media tactics you do choose to engage in should be managed strategically and most importantly used properly.