Sixty-six Coachella Valley creative professionals learned market-tested tactics for connecting and engaging with their social media audiences Sept. 12 at Love, Like, Follow, a workshop presented by California Desert Arts Council welcomed at UCR Palm Desert. Experts Stefanie Paquette and Katy Carrier of The Social Bar, a boutique communication and creative content agency in Palm Springs, offered lots of insight and advice.
Instagram vs. ‘All the Others’
Instagram is the fastest-growing platform with 500 million daily users. While 68% of adults use Facebook, according to a 2016 Forrester report, Instagram has 10 times the engagement, and “is the most exciting with respect to the tools available in a business context,” Katy said, “but it’s also the most visual so it’s important that you pay attention to content.”
The Game Plan
Content is the whole package: the visual and words of each post. The Social Bar recommended organizing content in specific categories for consistency and frequency. For example, an artist may choose to share a work in process, an inspirational quote, followed by a promotion for an upcoming show. An arts organization may balance its approach by sharing a photo of its community, a behind-the-scenes view, and a repost highlighting the customer experience. Once you’ve determined your photo, you’ll need a purposeful caption to complete the post. “In order to help drive engagement, your caption should have a goal,” Stefanie said. “Are you trying to teach, inspire, inform? Questions or a call to action will help spur engagement.”
Make it Social
Engage with your audience by liking other businesses photos, replying to comments, and using tags and hashtags relevant to your goals. To find images from users, simply search your brand’s geotag or hashtag. Best practices for reposting user-generated content: Always credit and tag the original creator. Also, think about how users can respond to your call to action — link in bio? Change the link when appropriate, or use a tool like Later’s linkinbio.
Grow Your Audience
The Social Bar rounded out its presentation by reviewing ways to grow your audience using both organic and paid methods. Techniques include use of mentions, tags, and hashtags, as well as cross-promotions and special giveaways.
Advertising is available within Instagram, but it manages the ads through your Facebook account. While there are different types of ads available, each platform requires you to choose an objective, define your audience, and follow design guidelines. You can easily track your ad’s performance by using the Instagram tool Insights.
In Your Toolbox
The Social Bar recommends the following resources:
Later // later.com
Planoly // planoly.com
Linktree // linktr.ee
Hootsuite // hootsuite.com
A Color Story // acolorstory.com
Clean Repost // search “Clean Repost for Instagram” in the app store
Canva // canva.com
Adobe Spark Post // search “Spark Post” in the app store
UCR Palm Desert