Webinar Q&A: Picturing Success With Instagram

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1 Webinar Q&A: Picturing Success With Instagram Q: Besides feel good social networking, how can a business benefit using the platform? A: Businesses and associations can use Instagram to promote products, events and timelimited promotions, to name a few uses. Businesses are posting photos of products online and asking users to comment with a PayPal-enabled address so they can send an invoice and complete the transaction off Instagram. (Instagram does not currently offer inapp purchases.) Organizations like APHA are using graphics and photo text editors to educate followers about events like National Public Health Week and concepts like vaccination. Social media engagement can lead to new members joining an association. Q: Do you use app software to develop images? A. There are many app programs available to edit photos from your phone or tablet. There are also watermark programs you can use to place text over an image and free apps for making collages. APHA has used app software to create slideshows of Instagram images. Q: Can you give an example of how a company or brand would use an InstaMeet? A: A company or association could organize an InstaMeet in conjunction with an existing event, much like organizations hold Tweetups (Twitter meetups) during their conferences and shows. The InstaMeet would allow Instagram enthusiasts to connect in person in addition to within the app, and to exchange tips and ideas about using Instagram. The association would advertise the date, time, and location of the InstaMeet ahead of time, and would likely set a theme for the InstaMeet based on the organization s purpose, its offerings, or the event setting. The theme could also tie into the time of year or the season. InstaMeet participants would take theme-related photos and post them to Instagram in the immediate area of the meetup, although there are no rules against traveling to another location or making a tour out of the InstaMeet. Participants would use the designated InstaMeet hashtag on all their posts to signal that their photos originated from the

2 InstaMeet and are intended to tie into the theme. Others not at the InstaMeet can then view the hashtag-based gallery in the app and learn more about the theme and the participants involved. Q: Do you need a loyal and active audience to make an InstaMeet work? A: There s no minimum or maximum number of participants required for an InstaMeet, although the more people who attend and post photos, the bigger a splash your InstaMeet and its hashtags will make within the app to those interested in your organization and its audiences. Q: How are graphics posted? Graphics created within a photo or drawing app should be saved to your device s photo album, and then uploaded through the Instagram app. Q: How do I get my logo on my account? A: If your logo is saved as a photo on your device, you can upload it as your profile picture or as its own post within your Instagram account. We also recommend using your logo as a watermark on most or all of your posts as a way of including your organization s signature. If anyone chooses to share your post, your logo, and your status as the originator of that content, will automatically be included in the shared post. APHA puts their logo in the corner of all posts to brand their content and ensure their name follows the public health information they publish as its spreads around Instagram through reposts. Q: Can you take photos with your phone? A: Absolutely! You can only post or delete images or videos in Instagram through the mobile app. Taking photos or videos with your mobile device (phone of tablet) and then posting them to Instagram, or taking a photo/video within the Instagram app itself are the two most common ways people post to Instagram. Q: How can you control the photos that people post? A: You can limit who knows the login information to your Instagram account, or you can allow several team members access to the account with the understanding that all posts must go through an approval process before they are published. Q: How do you buy an ad on Instagram, and who gets to see it? A: Instagram ads are currently available on a limited basis. Most Instagram advertisers are larger brands who have the resources to fund wide-reaching campaigns across social media. You can read more about advertising on Instagram at

3 Q: What is the name of a recommended tracking system? A: APHA uses Iconosquare to track its followers, growth and interaction. You can login to the online tool using your Instagram password to access analytics for your account. Q: What do you use to make graphics? A: There are numerous apps available that help you create professional-looking, exciting graphics. If you already have a favorite, you can use it to create a square graphic that will fit Instagram s frame. If you don t have a favorite graphic-creating app and are looking for one geared toward beginners/non-designers, we recommend Canva, PicCollage, or A Beautiful Mess. If you re a graphic designer or pretty good with design software, try Adobe Ideas, idraw, or Paper FiftyThree or any of the usual programs available through Adobe Creative Suite, such as Photoshop or InDesign. Just make sure and create your graphics as a square, as that s the shape Instagram uses. Q: I ve noticed a trend in putting all hashtags in a separate comment not in the original caption. Do you recommend this? A: There s no rule for or against putting a handful of hashtags on your original caption. Some people include hashtags within their caption sentences to blend them in organically, while others reserve hashtags for the end of their caption so that the main text looks like any other typed caption. Those who place hashtags in a separate comment often do so because they want to keep the caption clean-looking and easy to read, or because they want to format the caption with specific spacing, characters or emojis, and would like to keep their descriptive hashtags separate. Q: Is there an easy way to toggle between Instagram accounts? A: At this time, no. Unlike Twitter, where you easily switch back and forth between accounts, Instagram requires you to log out of one account to log into another. Q: How do you recommend managing Instagram as a team? Does it always come down to logging into an account on your own phone? A: As with any social media platform that s team-managed, you ll need close communication between members. You want to make sure you re not all posting the same thing or at the same time. Apps that let you auto-schedule posts ahead of time are helpful for a team, as is creating a schedule for what s planned. Q: What is a way to work around the fact that links aren t allowed in captions or comments? A: You can continually update the clickable/tappable URL allowed in your Instagram profile to match the content you promote in your latest post. If your URL is easy to remember, you can type it into your caption or include it as text within your visual post and ask viewers to visit that URL in their browser. A similar option for longer URLs is to use a link shortener like Bit.ly or TinyURL.com to create short, branded URLs that are easy to remember after reading them in a caption or visual.

4 Q: How do you upload graphics and text to post on Instagram if it s not a picture you took on your phone? A: If you took a photo or video on a device other than your phone or tablet, you ll first have to upload the file to your mobile device. That may mean downloading photos from your camera, ing them to yourself and saving them to your phone or tablet, or using a storage solution like Dropbox to access your photos online via your mobile device. Instagram only allows posts to be uploaded through its app version. One the file is on your mobile device, you can upload it to the Instagram app and format it the same way you would format a photo or video taken on your phone or tablet. Q: Is Instagram better than Flickr? A: Instagram and Flickr have slightly different purposes. Instagram is much more social and active. It s also a real-time feed of photos, videos, and other visual information that provides quick, bite-sized updates about people, organizations, and places in which you are interested. Flickr can provide the same visual information, but most people use it as an evergreen repository for sets of photos related to specific events or places. Flickr can host high-resolution images that can be enlarged and printed at a quality definition, while photos posted to Instagram are small and low-resolution. If desired, Flickr can also allow you to post images that you want to make available for download and reuse. Q: Any suggestions for apps that allow you to access multiple Instagram accounts on one phone? A: At present, there is no such app. To toggle between accounts on the same device, you must log out of Instagram and log back in using a different account s login information. Q: Any tips for designing graphics? A: Use the same principles you would use to design a printed piece: choose clean, readable fonts; use appropriate colors and images that speak to the topic; keep the number of visual elements to the minimum necessary to convey your message. Make sure any text is large enough to read on a phone, as viewers can t zoom in on an Instagram image. And design your graphic as a square. Q: How do you track success on calls-to-action? And, what is a benchmark for success? A: One way is to use a shortened URL that provides tracking information. Free shorteners like Goo.gl and Bit.ly show you how many people have clicked a link. It s also a good sign if people are commenting on and reposting your call to action. Because people can t click on your URL, make sure it s memorable and easy to type. Bit.ly lets you customize what your URL says. But take into account that clicks really aren t your goal on Instagram.

5 Q: Do you recommend certain size dimensions when creating imagery in photo design software? A: Images posted to Instagram measure 640 x 640 pixels. The CSS programming Instagram operates with compresses all posts to 612 x 612 px, but if you save a photo through a screen grab, it will come out 640 x 640 px. When snapping a photo or taking a video, you ll want to be sure your frame is at least this large so you do not have to enlarge your photo and risk making it look blurry. Your profile picture has a diameter of 110 px. Virtually all phones and digital cameras capture photos at a resolution that is much higher than what is required online (72 dpi). The higher your device s resolution, the sharper it will look. Q: How do you handle member consent for your posts? A: Your process of getting consent to feature a member in a post could be as simple as calling the member or asking them in person. If you want more formal documentation, you could create a consent form that members sign, either as needed or as part of their membership application. Either way, your organization should have a process in place for obtaining member consent so that no one is unwillingly featured. At APHA, we include language in our Annual Meeting registration that says all attendees may be photographed during the meeting and images may be used by APHA for promotional or communication purposes. Of course, if someone doesn t seem like they want their photo taken or asks that we don t photograph them, then we do not. Q: If you use photos are graphics that aren t your own, how do you obtain permission? A: Again, you could simply call or speak with the owner of the photo/graphic in person and obtain verbal permission to repost their visual in your gallery, or you could obtain their written approval on a formal consent form. Some brands who wish to reuse a post that features their product in action will comment on the photo and ask the owner of it to comment back with a specific hashtag if the owner is okay with the brand reposting their photo at a later date.

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