Last year my teenage daughter asked if she could get an Instagram account. This was an eye-opening and educational experience for our family as we learned a whole new way to communicate on social media with our kids and their friends. As teens moved away from Facebook and over to Instagram in large numbers last year, parents have another social media environment to monitor, with some added benefits if you’re open minded about learning a slightly different marketing approach. Instagram isn’t just for teens. Almost 80% of Instagram users are between 13-49, and 68% of the users are female.
After sitting down with my daughter for about fifteen minutes I was educated on setting up my profile, posting pictures and getting creative with #hashtags. From a teen perspective there are cool things to post on Instagram and very uncool things and now that we were following each other the last thing I wanted to do is appear as a stalker parent. There were some abbreviations I needed to Google in order to understand what she and her friends were talking about: #goals, ttyl, TBT, OOTD, bae, cray, LYT and WTH. Now that I had the basics down I was off and running.
Because Instagram is picture and video driven (you can’t make a post without one) the visual stimulation when you scroll through the feed can become rather addictive. I found myself following gluten-free chefs, beach yoga instructors, natural skincare crafters, coffee drinkers, motivational speakers and crossfit athletes. Because IG sorts photos by hashtags, when you go to explore new people you’ll immediately gravitate toward people with common interests.
Posting comments on Instagram is much like Facebook and you can easily engage with new people simply but making a positive comment on their photo. You can private message your friend on Instagram, too, which also requires attaching a photo to the initial message. Another way to engage with your friends is to add their IG name, for example @abc123, as a comment to a post, or tag them in a post. The next time your friend goes to their Instagram account they will see the post you intended for them to see. It goes without saying, if someone follows you, follow them back, unless of course you have reasons not to. Since about 70% of Instagram users check their feed at least once a day, post pictures regularly to keep followers engaged and interested. Follow and engage with people who have similar interests as you. For example, if you see a user who often posts about a healthy lifestyle and natural skin care, you may want to follow them.