Are you ready to add yet another social media website to your social media arsenal?
Are you wondering how to use images and short video to enhance your students’ experience and gain new enrollments?
Creating a martial arts school profile on Instagram can make your school visible to a new market. Getting started on Instagram is fairly straightforward. Simply sign up for an account (i.e. your school name), add a profile photo (i.e. a photo of your school or your logo), and a link to your website, connect your account to Facebook – and any other social media platforms – and let your followers know they can follow you there.
What to do next can be the tricky part, but if you follow these tips you’ll gain followers, school recognition and new enrollments!
1) Acquaint Yourself with How to Use Instagram for business
Businesses have been flocking to Instagram in droves. In response, Instagram started the Instagram for Business blog, which offers tips, brand/school spotlights, and news from Instagram HQ.
2) Balance Cool Martial Arts Images with Pictures From Your Business.
Rachel Sprung – writer for the Social Media Examiner – writes, “ Take advantage of the increased real estate you have with the Instagram web page to tell a story with the images. Have a healthy balance of fun images and business pictures.”
Sprung uses the example of the clothing store, Anthropologie. Saying the company has struck a good balance with their images. Their followers like fun images as well as business ones. A puppy picture received 7,640 likes and picture of their personal shoppers posing at a company luncheon event received 3,457.
Track the engagement on your images to find out what your followers like best!
3) Cultivate a Following
Tim Sae Koo, from Tintup.com, offers 3 helpful tips for getting more followers on Instagram:
- Connect your Facebook account
- Use relevant, popular hashtags (you can achieve this by searching the most popular martial arts hashtags)
- Engage by following others and liking their photos (other schools, famous martial artists, fa pages).
Cross-post selected images to your Facebook page with a hashtag that aligns with your campaign or school image to help people who don’t know you’re on Instagram to find your page.
4) Debut Videos
Instagram’s recent Video on Instagram has given Twitter’s Vine a serious competitor to contend with. Most notably 15-second, filter enabled, editable video functionality compared to Vine’s 6.5 seconds.
Jordan Crook, writer for techcrunch.com, charts the differences between Instagram and Vine in the image below:
You can showcase an event at your school, a promotion, a class, or a demo team performance, the possibilities are truly endless!
5) Embed Instagram Video in Your Blog or Website
Last month, Instagram released a new embed feature for its desktop web browser version. Mike Gingerich, a business blogger, provides helpful instructions, in addition to examples for when and how to use Instagram videos.
Because you never know who will see your shares on a social networking platform, embed your Instagram video in your blog or website to extend the reach of your content.
6) Follow your Follower’s Back
The people you follow on social networking platforms make all the difference in the world. Curiously, many schools or brands (some with very large followings) don’t follow back.
To create strategic relationships on Instagram, find the brands, schools, and people you enjoy and can learn from in your followers and follow them back.
7) Generate a Flexible Posting Plan
Carley Keenan, a write for Tribune Content Solutions, offers the following advice on the frequency of sharing on Instagram:
“ You don’t need to post on Instagram every day. The ‘feed speed’ on Instagram is mostly laid back. If you start posting a lot, you might saturate your followers’ feeds, and you don’t want to force yourself into the “noise” too often. Decide what you have ready to post and create a schedule to help you remember what to post when and to track what is working once you get going.”
8) Harness the Power of Apps
Kay Tan, blogger for hongkiat.com, put together a list of 20 apps that will enhance your photo-sharing experiences. There are apps that let users print images, search tags and keywords, subscribe to Instagram profiles via email, download all Instagram photos in a single archive folder, plus many more.
Use these apps to make Instagram a significant part of your social media marketing strategy.
9) Inspire Potential Students
Anna Colibri, with projecteve.com, suggests you post photos that are relevant to your school and potential students.
For an example, Whole Foods Market posts representative photos to promote healthy. Wholesome food products, store events, sustainability and their active community of students and staff.
Attract your target market with images that share a compelling and inspiring story.
You could post photos of before and after images of some of your students’ weight loss or a specific form.
10) Juxtapose Use of Filter Types and No-Filter Images
Instagram provides a number of filters to change the look and feel of your photos.
Their findings also shed light on choices around filtered photos: “Lo-Fi is the filter of choice for 14 percent of brands’ filtered photos, followed by Valencia with 12%, Rise with 12%, Amaro with 11%, Hudson with 9%, Sierra with 9%, X-Pro II with 8% and Hefe with 7% (Filters are located at the bottom of the screen).
Marketo also suggests that filters are more than a question of aesthetics, they can say a lot about you!
Shake things up a little every now and then and try out a new filter or the go the #nofilter route.
11) Kickstart Instagram Efforts with a Change in Perspective
Russ Meyer, of fastcompany.com, recommends that for brands to be successful on Instagram, they need to get past their inherent interest in selling and instead:
- Share a distinctive view of the world
- Cultivate a unique visual sense
- Capture things that are interesting to the brand ad to the core target customer
- Train your eye to focus on what makes a great, provocative, engaging image
Entrust your Instagram presence to someone on your staff who understands how to align images with the interests of your target customer.
12) Leverage Photo Contests on Instagram with Facebook
Schools can host photo contests on Instagram using hashtags to organize submissions and an RSS feed to follow along with new photos as they’re added.
Samsung Camera used the hashtag #LiveInTheMoment to successfully promote their Instagram photo contest on their Facebook page.
Use Facebook status updates to encourage your fans to enter your Instagram photo contest. AMS kids has recently featured promotions of the month that use photo contests. It’s a great way to engage your students and gain more followers which result in more enrollments for your school.
13) Market Your School Using Trends
Twitter has a #followfriday and in the beginning seemed somewhat avant garde to many. Instagrammers can use a number of trending hashtags to join in a bigger part of the visual community storytelling.
Charles Mazzini, of hyperlinksmedia.com, takes us through the days of the week beginning with #ManCrushMonday and ending with #SelfieSunday.
Find a trending hashtag that’s relevant to your marketing strategy and participate with images from your school.
Now go get an Instagram account and use these tips to begin building a following. Keep an eye out for part two of these tips for using Instagram for your martial arts school!