Class 6: Getting Social – Instagram, Hashtags, & Eye Candy
Instagram is a beast that is constantly changing and has been since it first became popular after its release in the fall of 2010. I mean, most of us have one, right? Some of us post photos of our pets, selfies, food, or sunsets, but fan accounts on Instagram have become very popular.
In fact, so popular that Instagram has began deleting and suspending accounts that do not actually clarify that they are a fan page. (We’ll get into how to avoid this.)
What is Instagram?
Next to Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms today with over 800 million people using them. Fan accounts take up a good chunk of that because everybody and their brother and sister think they need one. Some begin great but they are never updated after two weeks. Some have been around for years (@BSBFangirls has been around since 2014.)
So how do you start a fan account?
First thing you need above all else is a topic. What is your fan account going to be about? Will it be about a music group or a movie series? Whatever you pick, make sure it’s direct and has only one topic. Remember not everyone will like a topic you might pick if you go too broad. It could cause people to unfollow you.
Make sure you have the app downloaded and open it and hit “Set Up.” Sign up in your preferable way.
Fill Out Your Profile
The first thing you want to do is fill out your profile. Let people know what your Instagram is about.
- Come up with a profile picture that fits your “brand.” Whether it’s you, a logo, or whoever your Instagram account is about. Make sure that it fits your account. You can easily go to Canva.com and create a logo.
- Name – Make sure you put a name is fits your brand or whatever your Instagram account is about. For instance, @BSBFangirls is, you guessed it, BSBFangirls.
- Bio – The best thing to do for your bio is to make it like an introduction to people who come to your profile page to follow you.
Switch to a Business profile or Creator profile
Changing your Instagram to a business or creator will be a tremendous asset if you are serious when it comes to creating a fan account on Instagram. With these type of profiles, which are free, you can keep track of analytics to see when your fans are mostly online, what is the most popular time of the day, and more.
To do this, go to your profile and look at the bottom. You will see the option to do so. I would choose a Creator account, because you can then label yourself as a Fan Site.
Got a URL?
Do you have an actual website? On your profile you can insert a URL, but don’t worry if you don’t have an actual website. There are sites such as Linktr.ee where you can create a custom URL that will house various links that you would like people to find when they visit your website.
What kind of links? You can link your other social media accounts, a blog, an online shop, and more. And it’s free!
Ready to make your first post?
After setting up your profile, you are probably ready to make your first post! But wait, there’s a lot that you probably should think about before you do that.
Follow Similar Accounts
You want to go around and follow similar accounts, the actual person/group that you are making a fan account for, and any popular fans that are in your fandom. Even if you consider people “competition,” follow them.
Figure out what the main hashtags are for your fandom. Whether they are band member names or different sayings, such as “#BSBCruise” or “BSB27” (for their 27th year), make a list in Notepad or in Notes on your phone so that you can easily just copy and paste.
You will want to continuously use hashtags on posts because that is how many photos and accounts are found. If you’re not using hashtags, then it will be very hard for your account to be found on Instagram when people go to searching for accounts to follow or even photos of your favorite subject.
You can have up to 30 hashtags on a photo, but it’s best to use about 11-15 hashtags. And much like any social media account, you have to stay on top of your game. Constantly look and read what the latest trends are with Instagram, because like most technology, it is constantly changing.
The most important thing: Use hashtag in every. single. Instagram. post.
Graphics: Eye Candy
Quality over Quantity
There’s an old saying – quality over quantity and that holds true on Instagram.
First off, you shouldn’t continuously post photos or videos on your account. Much like Facebook, Instagram (who is owned by Facebook), will begin blocking out your content so some of your content may not get seen by your followers.
Try to post at least once a day, but no more than three or four times. I like to space my posts out (which I schedule ahead of time on Hootsuite).
And that Quality part? Make sure your photos or graphics that you are posting are GOOD. You do not want to post photos that will end up blurry. In the Backstreet Boys fandom, since, you know, we’ve been around since the ‘90s when HQ photos were actually available, a lot of the photos I have saved are not great quality. I try to avoid posting those.
Switch It Up
Constantly just posting videos and photos can get a tad boring, which is why I suggest switching it up. Going back to Canva, I suggest coming up with some random ideas.
Not that I want you to steal my ideas, but I have a song of the week where I make a graphic with some of the lyrics, and a question of the week. I do all of this on Canva.
A big no no is to not steal content from another fan account. If you do? Give them credit. You will make no friends by stealing things other people have taken (such as personal photos) or photos they have in their own collection.
Unless the photos are personal and belong to you, do not tag them with your Instagram name or a graphic. Videos are a little different because you have to edit them together and fix them to post on Instagram. But tagging photos that do not belong to you, well, you’re going to piss people off, especially if the photo belongs to someone else. Just don’t do it.
While Retweeting is something that is commonly done on Twitter, resharing content from official accounts on Instagram, like Facebook, can be annoying as hell. Because 99.9% of the people who follow your fan account will also follow the account of the actual celebrity, it will just show up as redundant on their timeline, which in turn will cause them to unfollow you. Especially if all you do is repost things from official accounts.