There are two very important things for you to keep in mind as you read this article. First, as of last September, Instagram had 800 million active monthly users (and 500 million active daily users). And second, archery can look really cool in photos.
Given those two facts, Instagram is a perfect medium for archery manufacturers and retailers to reach consumers. If you’re not already using Instagram, now is the time to get started.
Know Your Audience
The first step to successfully navigating Instagram is understanding who will be viewing your posts. According to Hootsuite, Instagram users skew (slightly) female, and they tend to be younger, with 55 percent of all online 18- to 29-year-olds in the U.S. using the social media platform. Meanwhile, 27 percent of teenagers ranked Instagram as their most important social media platform. The only social media platform to do better among that demographic? Snapchat.
Instagram users are also interested in following brands and in learning about new products. Sprout Social reports that a whopping 80 percent of Instagram users follow at least one business. It gets better. From the article:
“As of March 2017, over 120 million Instagram users visited a website, got directions, called a business, emailed or direct messaged a business … To get more tangible, at least 30% of Instagram users have purchased a product they first discovered on Instagram.”
With that kind of engagement, it’s hard to ignore Instagram as a component of your social media strategy.
Work on Your Photo Skills
Instagram is all about telling a story visually. An out-of-focus photo of a bow on your service counter surrounded by random stuff (a few catalogs, an old pen from your bank, your phone charger, etc.) probably doesn’t tell a story (or at least not the story you’d like to tell). What about a photo of someone shooting a bow on your range? OK, that’s a little better, although given the number of so-so photos already on Instagram of someone shooting a bow, it probably won’t stand out. A photo of a young child’s face just after they hit a target for the first time? Now we’re getting somewhere. That’s a story.
You can — and should — feature product photos on Instagram, but always keep in mind that you’re telling a story. (Need some inspiration? Check out some of these awesome photos from successful brands.)
The good news is that Instagram has a number of “filters” to help you make your photos look better. These are color editing tools that you can select to give your picture a sharper look. Some posts may not need a filter. In that case, consider tagging — more on that in a sec — your post with #nofilter. This is a popular hashtag on Instagram that can help generate a lot of views.
Posting on Instagram
Instagram utilizes hashtags to organize posts by categories. Hashtags are this symbol (#) on your keyboard. When a hashtag is put before a word, Instagram will file that post under that word in the search databases. This is referred to as tagging. If something is tagged as “outdoors,” it will show up in a master compilation of every post containing the word “outdoors” when you search for it.
You want to make sure the tags are a good mix of specific and generic. It is beneficial to create a hashtag that you use continuously on every post. This gives users/consumers a way to identify your brand. When they go onto Instagram, they know they can search this specific phrase and find posts by your company.
Alternatively, using broad tags will gain you a large audience. There are certain tags that encompass millions of posts. These include phrases like “scenery” and “landscape.” Tagging your posts with these phrases will allow more people to see them, generating more views on your page.
Get a Little Help From Your Friends
If the idea of constantly coming up with new things to post and new witty things to say is daunting to you, there is an alternative. Companies can create an Instagram that is strictly pictures taken of, or provided by, their customers. Ask your customers to send you pictures of themselves using your products, or pictures of the products, to an email address you provide. Have them include a review or their personal thoughts on the product, and use that in the picture’s caption.
Michaelean Pike contributed to this article.