Using Instagram for Business with Taylor Loren

using instagram for business

Raise your hand if you’ve ever struggled with using Instagram for business! What are some of the best practices? How do I get the most engagement? Are these hashtags actually working?

This show is a conversation between Leon Sandoval and the Instagram Queen herself, Taylor Loren. Taylor studies social media like nobody’s business. She is the content marketing manager at a company called Later which is a service for scheduling and managing your Instagram accounts. Taylor has a passion for traveling and naturally started a travel blog called Local Wanderer with an Instagram following that is going to hit 65,000 at any second. We will cover nearly every aspect of using Instagram for business including hashtags, stories, the dreaded algorithm and even some awesome tips for using Instagram live.

 

Give the people a snapshot of who you are, what you do for work, and what you do for fun? [00:01:07]

  • I am the Content Marketing Manager for Later, a leading Instagram marketing platform that helps you schedule Instagram posts, plan your feed etc.
  • I also run the Instagram account and travel blog called Local Wanderer. We started that a few years ago with my best friend and it’s grown to success on Instagram. I feel like my life is very Instagram oriented.
  • For fun, when I’m not on Instagram, I’m pretty obsessed with the reality TV. It’s a really easy way for me to turn my brain off at the end of the day.
  • I’m currently practicing my YouTube skills in my spare time.

What are you doing on Snapchat these days? Have you abandoned it or do you still use Snapchat? [00:03:09]

  • I still use Snapchat.
  • I am a huge Snapchat fan and I don’t think it will die.
  • But I will agree, I use Instagram stories a lot more. Instagram stories are definitely my first place now. It’s now the first place that I not only consume content but also post it.
  • I think that I really enjoy Snapchat though because it’s like a closed loop. On Instagram, I have hundreds of views and I have no idea who is really watching them versus on Snapchat, it’s smaller now.

Give the people a quick understanding of what Later is and how they can use it in their business. [00:05:29]

  • Later is a leading Instagram marketing platform.
  • Basically, we like to use marketing platform instead of the app because our product is really strong on the web.
  • There’s a lot of Instagram schedulers out there that can help you do the basic tasks but we are always coming up with more and more features to help you manage all aspects of your Instagram.
  • Obviously, scheduling an Instagram post is a huge component of what Later is but we also have an awesome tool called search and re-post which lets you manage UGC on any of your hashtags and you can add it to your media library. It’s a really good way to store, organize all your photos and it also makes it easy to manage multiple Instagram accounts in one place.
  • Lots of photographers, for example, make up a big part of your audience obviously and I know that it is a struggle for lots of photographers to commit to getting organized in Instagram. People feel like it’s such a big overwhelming task that they just don’t even want to start but I think we make it really easy. Once you log in, you’re comfortable with the product.
  • I like the visual feedback you get when you put some proposed posts up in Later. Then, you can visually see what your feed is going to look like and you can sequence them and make sure that everything is going to look beautiful when somebody goes to your profile
  • Lots of people recognizing that the aesthetic of your feed is more important so people are now looking to tools to help them do that compared to a year ago or more where people were not aware of their feeds.
  • If you want to be successful on Instagram, you have to be organized, you have to treat it like a job and a business.
  • Later gives me a better opportunity of creating very captivating captions for a set of photos at the same time using my laptop.
  • An Idea of how Later works: when you load it on the website or on the web in your dashboard, you get a notification on your phone to go to the Later app and it tells you you have a post that’s ready and of course it’s scheduled whenever you want it to be scheduled. Then you go to the app, it copies the caption to your clipboard and then you just go to Instagram, it already has the image ready for you. Paste the caption and you’re ready to go. Hit post and it’s done. [00:10:45]

Was there ever a moment where the lightbulb went off and realized you could make a living off of helping people do social media well? [00:11:41]

  • Honestly, it’s been almost my entire career.
  • I remember sitting in my senior year of high school which was almost 10 years ago and using Facebook in class. I remember thinking about getting a job on Facebook one day. Social media wasn’t even a word then, it was just Facebook.
  • When I went to college, I actually started a blog with one of my friends and it actually grew to be the biggest blog on campus and was getting more traffic than the school newspaper was. was the lightbulb moment for me when I realized that this could make me money one day, being good at this could be a job. I ended up working in social media education while I was in college and dropped out to keep doing that.
  • I just love making other people feel empowered to succeed. Social media is something that if you are successful at it, it really can change your life and your business. There are so many businesses that are just built around just Instagram.

Can you think of a story of a business owner who was struggling with Instagram, couldn’t quite figure it out but you saw them turn the corner and found some success with their business in Instagram? [00:14:43]

  • One example that comes to mind is my friend Jamie. She runs a handful of businesses down in Palm Springs and has Airbnb boutique hotels that are gorgeous. Her first Airbnb property wasn’t really having success and she had envisioned she’d put all this work into making this stunningly beautiful property. She invited her friend with and their friends who were Instagram influencers to have a free stay for the weekend. Everyone was posting about it and all of a sudden, her Instagram and her bookings blew up. As her businesses grew, she realized that she had to really invest in Instagram and so, they have a great girl working with them now and managing all the Instagram of their properties.
  • Another example would be my friend who already had a really awesome lifestyle blog. A few years ago, they just naturally did well on Instagram because it was lifestyle content and they take really pretty photos but they weren’t taking the execution of it seriously. For the last little while, they’ve been using Later and they’re seeing a huge increase in their followers and engagement and their feed looks amazing.
  • Spending 30 minutes to an hour a week to sit down and get it all done can make such a difference with your bottom line.
  • One of the greatest things about being conscious about managing the socials is that it relieves your mind a little bit and makes you less worried about it. [00:18:52]
  • When you aren’t feeling inspired to edit your photos for Instagram or you plan out all your posts and schedule them but you haven’t written in the captions yet, you can come back in Later in the afternoon or the next day when you’re feeling more in the writing mode. [00:19:57]

What are some of the things that stick out to you that are the worst misuses or misunderstandings of the platform? How do businesses fail when they use Instagram? [00:21:11]

  • The first one which is very obvious to the photographer community is stealing content or not giving proper credit. You could do a reverse google image search and get an original photo for your brand.
  • The second one is posting anything that is off-brand. if you’re using Instagram for business, you need to have a little bit of restraint and make sure that you use photos that are connected to your brand.

What would you advise to a photographer who’s struggling with this concept of “Should I use my Instagram for business or should I integrate some of my personality here? Does that work to my advantage?” How would you advise a photographer on this topic? [00:23:51]

  • For a wedding photographer, I think it’s important that you have high-quality photos depicting your skill because you never know who’s looking at your work at any time. it doesn’t have to be if someone at a wedding. You could supplement them with stories.
  • I post way less Instagram now but I’m more active on a platform because I’m posting on stories.
  • That’s a super awesome way of engaging people and a nice way to get to know the person behind the lens totally.
  • In my opinion, photographers shouldn’t use Instagram purely to showcase their best work. They should also integrate their personality into it. People who are shopping for a photographer should see some of the personality of the person that they’re going to work with.

Give us a quick intro on hashtags for those who might not really be that familiar with them. How would you suggest that somebody uses hashtags effectively? [00:28:45]

  • First of all, the hashtag is a controversial topic on Instagram right now.
  • Basically, Instagram has said that spammy behavior includes using repetitive hashtags. Repetitive hashtag means if you’re using the same group of hashtags or the same one hashtag multiple times. This can actually be harming your account more than helping it.
  • I suggest people should use hashtags that are very targeted and very specific and avoid using hashtags that are generic like hashtag “#sunshine.”
  • Instagram also has a list of bad hashtags for example hashtag with the camera emoji is a ban.
  • We stopped using hashtags like on Local Wanderer for a few weeks because we were seeing a crazy decrease in the engagement. I’m pretty sure we were shadow banned so we stopped using hashtags altogether and within about two weeks, we’ve seen our engagement get back up again. Now, we’re using them a lot more selectively.
  • I recognize that hashtags are also really important for getting your posts out there but I’m now into location tagging. If you do a general location tag like a city, that can really help you.

What are your thoughts on the algorithm in Instagram? How would you advise someone to think about the algorithm? [00:41:12]  

  • The algorithm has definitely extended the life of your post so you don’t have to feel the need to post as often.
  • But while your posts may have a longer life, it’s getting less reach because of the mechanism of the Instagram’s algorithm.
  • At Later, we are trying out doubling our post frequency for the next couple to see the effects on the algorithm.
  • The algorithm is always changing but there are three key factors that you should know about the algorithm. The first one is engagement which is likes and comments. The sooner that you’re able to amass a lot of likes and comments on your post, it gives Instagram a signal boost that this is an important content that should be served to more people. That’s why posting at specific times per day is still really important because you want to post when the most people are online and even though your posts will be shown to people for longer than an hour, you still want to garner as much engagement in the shortest possible time.
  • The second factor for the algorithm is a relationship. It’s trying to tailor your post to people that you regularly interact with on Instagram.
  • The third one is the time spent on that post. This implies creating awesome captions, creating engaging captions that would make people stand your post a little bit longer. This gives a positive signal boost to Instagram that your post is worth showing more people.
  • A comment pod is where you sign up to be a part of a group direct message on Instagram where you and other like-minded people are in the same DM and when somebody posts on Instagram they share it with that group. This increases the number of likes and comments on Instagram. [00:47:24]
  • Having Instagram live videos stay for 24 hours has improved engagements because people can go back to watch the video within that time frame. [00:51:20]

How can a business use Instagram live or specifically, a photographer? How can they use Instagram live to help grow engagement or find clients or use it to their advantage? [00:52:39]

  • If you’re going to do an Instagram live, be prepared, have a game plan and have an idea of what you’re going to talk about. Make it as engaging as possible. I always try to call out the people who are joining the room because they tend to stick around a little bit longer.
  • If you are making an Instagram live for a photo shoot you are to do for a client, you can describe your location to your clients, tell them your game plan and thereafter, give a report of how excited the client was and how the photo shoot was. This is a great way of using live to show your audience the behind scene of how it would be like to be on a photo shoot with your photographer.

If you could call Instagram today and mandate one new feature what would it be? [01:01:35]

Clickable links in captions!

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