Friday, February 13, 2015

10 Instagram Tips for Instasuccess

Thinking about making a library Instagram account? If you want to reach your teens, research and even many teen librarians will tell you that Instagram (IG) is the place to be. I talked with Garrett Pinder from Jones Library and an avid Instagram user, and we collaborated to come up with a top 10 list for all libraries getting started:

1) Hashtags are IT 

Hashtags are so important for people to find your content and very integrated into the way people use Instagram. Make sure to use a hashtag for your library and use it consistently. Also, look up hashtags of your city/town and see what’s most popular. Check out the users and see if there are any that you could follow/like.

2) Hashtag in Comments for Searchability Benefits

Put most of your hashtags in your comments AFTER you post so it disappears when people respond, but are still searchable for people to find you.

3) Engage with your Followers 

You don’t have to follow your patrons back, but try to like some of their photos!

4) Yes, You Can Instagram from Your Computer

You cannot switch between accounts easily, but you can download an app for your desktop so that you can upload images directly from your computer to IG. We use Gramblr.

5) You Can Also Repost on IG

Follow people who post about generic literature content and repost their beautiful images on your account for more content with little work on your part! Apps like Iconosquare Websta and squarelovin will let you do this [Update: Starting April 28, 2015, Iconosquare began charging expensive fees to access their special features like reposting and statistics. I'm thoroughly disappointed with this change and have deleted my account.]

6) Learn from Your Statistics 

Pay attention to your Instagram Statistics to see what resonates well with your followers. Iconosquare mentioned in #5 will tell you what times of day people responded, your filter impact, and the top tags on IG.

7) Location, Location, Location

Always use your library as a location (Place on Map) so people can find you.

8) You Cannot Schedule Posts to Go Live

Due to IG’s API, you are NOT allowed to have an app schedule posts for you (though there are programs out there who will do it but they caution you of the risk upfront…) however, you can use apps like Latergramme which you can put your posts into a queue to later post yourself. (It only sets up a reminder, it does not publish.)

9) IG Plays Well With Facebook

Connect your account to your Facebook Page. It’ll create a new tab (next to pictures) so they can see all of your photos. Do you want to see your Instagram Feed on the menu WITHOUT clicking on the “More” button?  When you click the “more” button, you’ll see the option “Manage Tabs” and you can rearrange their order. (Who needs the review tab on the visual menu?)

10) IG Is All About That Image, 'bout That Image

People go on Instagram because they want to see beautiful pictures. It is better to not post at all than to post a lousy image. Please pay attention to that. The good news with Instagram, you don't have to post often to get attention, so make your images count.

Bonus Tip: Andriod and iOS are Not Equal

If you can choose between Android or iOS, go with the later for posting on IG. According to a conversation on Reddit, there's a noticeable difference in image quality between Andriod and iOS. However, if you only have an Android, don't let that stop you from posting on IG. There are many users with Andriods, and we're all hopeful IG will eventually fix this problem.

GARRETT PINDER is the Young Adult Services Coordinator at the Jones Library in Amherst, MA. You can follow Jones Library's Teen Department on all of the social media via @JonesLibTeens handle. You are also welcome to follow Garrett on his personal blog,, where he writes about books, and his personal opinions and reviews.

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