Instagram Masterclass

Hot tips to help you manage and grow your brand’s social media reach from Michelle Scheuermann of Bulletproof Communications

Michelle Scheuermann
Michelle Scheuermann of BulletProof Communications, LLC shares her strategies for effectively using Instagram on Monday of SHOT Show during SHOT University. Staff Photo

Want a few hot tips to help you manage (and grow) your brand’s Instagram page? Michelle Scheuermann of BulletProof Communications, LLC shared the following key strategies during her “Instagram Masterclass” on Monday during SHOT University.

It is all About the Stories

Scheuermann shared that Instagram stories are one of the best – and easiest - tools to incorporate into your content strategy program. “We are finding that people are literally watching Instagram stories on their phones continuously and allowing one story from one person or brand to flow into another. In fact, trends are reporting many users are doing this at night while in bed, so forget about having sound play on your story,” she shared.

Additionally, Scheuermann says the better you get at sharing quality stories your fans want, the more you’ll show up first in the story feed. “Look at your phones right now and who are the first three people, or brands, that show up in your story feed? It isn’t chronological. It is ordered by those you watch the most.”

Adding stories doesn’t have to be a painful process. Follow these hot tips:

· Keep it easy to watch or read (Less busy, the better)

· Choose colors wisely – using contrasting colors for messaging will help it stand out

· Use GIFs to encourage followers to navigate to the next story – or to make something ‘pop’ on your current story.

· Use the “swipe up” feature to link to a website or video if your brand has over 10,000 followers. If not, not worries says Scheuermann. “If you don’t have the ability to link in stories, you can still do a ‘link in bio’ message by tagging your own Instagram handle. Additionally, if you have IGTV videos, you can link to those in your stories as well.”

· Send your fans to your feed by sharing your feed posts in stories by using the little “arrow” button located just under the photo.

One final thought on engaging new followers in your Instagram stories is using the location tags. “Just like using the location in your Instagram feed, the location tags in stories is a secret to getting new exposure – especially here at a conference like SHOT Show,” explained Scheuermann. “The key is success is to use the smallest location possible. So instead of adding ‘Las Vegas,’ add the convention center or hotel name, or even ‘SHOT Show’ is a location tag.”

Hashtags Are Still Hold the Key to Success

Scheuermann shared that many are still confused on how to effectively use hashtags. “Each post can have up to 30 hashtags, which gives you 30 opportunities to attract new followers every time you post. But it isn’t a pre-requisite to have 30 tags in every post,” she explained. Where to begin? Scheuermann walked the class through a hashtag-finding strategy session that included looking at competitors, influencers and even the search function within Instagram.

Scheuermann said an age-old question she hears all the time is if the hashtags should be within the body of the post, or in the first comment. “It doesn’t matter either way. Third party developers have run tests studying this and concluded it won’t make a difference. However, don’t forget when potential followers are searching hashtags, they’ll only see posts recently published, regardless of then the hashtag was added. So, if you forget to go back and add those tags in the first comment, you could easily miss your most valuable window.”

Hashtag Hot Tips:

  • Use a mix of broad and narrow niche tags – including your own branding tag and location tags, like #SHOTShow and #SHOTShow2020
  • Use your brand’s hashtag to encourage User-Generated Content, that you can then re-share in your stories (after receiving permission, Scheuermann stressed).
  • You can have up to 30 hashtags, but it isn’t required. Scheuermann said the sweet spot might be around a dozen, which is a more easily manageable number.

Scheuermann went over strategies for posting in the Instagram feed, and touched on utilizing IGTV as well. After an hour of information to help push each attendees Instagram page to the next level, Scheuermann said you don’t have to do it all, just pick and choose the strategies that resonate with you the most. “Perhaps this is the year you do a deep dive into hashtag strategy – or maybe you explore opportunities with IGTV. Pick one thing and do it well as that’s how you learn and grow,” she ended.