Instagram is one of the most powerful tools for costume professionals and fans to connect, share ideas, promote their brand or Etsy shop and keep up with what everyone is up to. If you are not already using Instagram to promote what you do or simply enjoy seeing people with similar interests then have no fear. It’s true that you’re much less likely to use it if you’re over 40 and the majority of users are aged 15-24 according to Statista, but if you have a specialised interests you will quickly learn to love this global platform.
1) Set up Instagram
Download Instagram from your trusted app store. While Apple users have this easy other bands of phone often have client apps that are better than their default Instagram programme – 6Tag is good for Windows phones for instance. Instagram doesn’t work on your desktop – you can view your feed online but you cannot post images which for many people is the biggest drawback since you have to have the images you want to post on your phone. Setting up your account is largely self-explanatory and as Facebook owns Instagram you can log in with your existing Facebook account for a smoother process.
2) Post some images
No one is going to be interested in you without seeing something of what you do. Here you face a difficult curatorial role as to how you quickly build up a portfolio without compromising your brand. Go for your latest project, best Ebay bargain or images relevant to what you want people to see of you. Remember to use only images you own or have permission to use. When it comes to editing and filters the choice is up to you. Some people like heavily edited and stylised photos while others prefer to keep things simple. The chances are if you’re working with clothes you want to show the fabric and construction easily rather than whacking up the contrast for an edgy and dramatic shot that obscures details.
This is what confuses a lot of people new to Instagram. Even Twitter that popularised hashtags now shows individual words in tweets as search terms without them needing a hash. Hashtags are basically categories that allow people to really narrow-down what they want to see. The reverse is also true that you can therefore really narrow who sees your post. Instagram should tell you automatically how many posts are in a hashtag so you can see what are popular options. Many marketers and influencers use tags that have massive followings like #wiw (what I’m wearing), #ootd (Outfit of the day), #bebold and #love to grow quickly, although this often dilutes your following and gets you lots of fake followers using bots to follow at random. Instead focus on your specific niche as that is the power of Instagram – #1900sstyle, #historicalcostume, #Victorianstyle. You can place these hashtags in the description but many users find this looks cluttered. Instead you can either place them under several line breaks created by leaving a full stop on each of five new lines or simply place them in the first comment on the photo after you have posted it.
4) Follow People
It seems natural to think that if you are on Instagram to promote what you do then following other people doesn’t make sense. Actually following people is a really effective method of marketing. When you consider that when you follow someone they get a notification featuring your name and profile picture which they can easily tap to see what you do then you have a powerful means of targeting new followers. That also means you can enter the niche you want to post in by interracting with relevant profiles across the world who will reciprocate and boost your engagement.
Instagram is a social network and that means you have to use it and interact with it. Sometimes the best way to connect with people is to just see what they do and ‘like’ their posts. This draws their attention to what you do and helps Instagram form a better picture of what you like. When you go to the ‘Search’ page with the magnifying glass button you should see a gallery of posts curated to suit your interests – this is one of the best ways to discover more posts and people you like!
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