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Do you use Instagram in your social media marketing?

Are you interested in growing your community on Instagram?

To learn how to improve your Instagram marketing, I interview Sue B. Zimmerman.

More About This Show

The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

In this episode I interview Sue B. Zimmerman, known as the Instagram Gal. She co-authored the ebook, Instagram Basics for Your Business and taught Instagram Marketing for Small Businesses on CreativeLive. Sue helps businesses leverage the power of Instagram.

Sue explores what you need to know to improve your marketing and grow a community on Instagram.

You’ll discover what marketers should know about Instagram, including the best photos to capture and the importance of comments, hashtags and direct messages.

how to build a community on instagram

Listen as Sue B. Zimmerman shares tips for building a community on Instagram.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

Listen Now

You can also subscribe via iTunes, RSS, Stitcher, SoundCloud or Blackberry.

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

Improve Your Instagram Marketing

What marketers should know about Instagram

Video is very much underused on Instagram and yet there are some very cool things marketers can do with it. A few months ago, Instagram bought Hyperlapse, an app that allows you to create time-lapse videos and share them on Instagram.

ms-sue-b-zimmerman-instagram-profile

Sue helps businesses leverage the power of Instagram.

Hyperlapse is simple and fun to use. It speeds up the frames 3, 6 or 12 times and gives the feeling of moving really quickly through physical space, which is interesting and different to see in your Instagram feed.

Hyperlapse video shot by Sue while rollerblading in Cape Cod.

Sue shot a Hyperlapse video while rollerblading in Cape Cod.

The advantage of Hyperlapse is it can absolutely get someone to stop in their Instagram tracks while they scroll through their feed. It also makes it possible for you to compress a longer video into the allotted 15 seconds for video on Instagram.

Listen to the show to discover a new trick with hashtags you can use to get your posts to the top of Instagram’s hashtag curation.

Promote conferences and events with Instagram

Instagram is the best way to connect with and grow your community at events and conferences. Just like you would with a Twitter hashtag, you can follow an Instagram hashtag before, during and after an event and find people who share a common passion or interest with you.

Instagram is a great way to promote events and conferences.

Sue connected with Zach Kitschke from Canva and Ian Cleary of RazorSocial at Social Media Marketing World 2014, both in person and through Instagram.

When you promote events on Instagram, the visual content can be accessed at any time. It’s available forever and can easily be found with the hashtag.

Even if you miss a chance to meet someone in person at an event, you can still reach out to him or her on Instagram afterwards. If you’re authentic when you reach out, they will likely respond and follow you back. This is one of the best ways to grow a community on Instagram.

Listen to the show to learn the best photos to capture with Instagram at events and conferences.

Create a community on Instagram

Sue suggests you always have a call to action in your posts. You can ask a question or offer valuable content that starts a conversation. The goal is to drive engagement on Instagram through meaningful comments and conversations, not just with a double-tap heart.

ms-sue-b-zimmerman-instagram-engagement

Drive Instagram engagement with a call to action that starts a conversation in your posts.

Community is built by each post you curate because it’s a chance to connect with other people through their comments and questions. Sue advises to never leave questions unanswered and always thank and acknowledge people who leave comments.

The more engagement you drive on Instagram through your comments and posts, the more others will do the same for you or want to be part of the conversation too. The key is being as diligent on Instagram as you are on Facebook and Twitter.

Listen to the show to learn where to focus your time and attention when you manage your business’s Instagram account.

How marketers can use Instagram hashtags

Before you come up with hashtags for your brand or business, it’s important to understand what keywords define you and your business. Think of niche-specific hashtags for you and your business or event.

You’ll hear Sue discuss how to claim and track your unique hashtags with Tagboard.

Use Tagboard to claim and check on your unique hashtags on Instagram.

Use Tagboard to claim and track your unique hashtags on Instagram.

Unique hashtags, especially on Instagram, provide a way to direct users to your content. Sue considers Instagram to be digital testimonials for her work. Unique hashtags for every type of content she shares, generates or promotes gives her a place to direct potential clients and students to what is most relevant to them.

Listen to the show to hear Sue’s hashtag strategy for the each type of content she shares, generates or promotes on Instagram.

How marketers can use Instagram Direct

According to Sue, very few people use Instagram’s Direct message feature. Since it’s a special way to reach a person of influence or big brand, people are more likely to open it, their eyes are on it longer and you have their attention.

Check out Instagram direct message.

You’ll hear Sue share how she strategically uses Instagram’s direct messages to grow her brand.

Listen to the show to discover the six ways Sue strategically uses Instagram’s Direct message feature for business.

Discovery of the Week

Have you ever shared content from your blog or website on Facebook, but found it doesn’t pull the correct information? Are the graphics or text shared either incorrect or outdated?

Have you heard about Facebook’s Lint tool? This developer tool allows you to scrape and see how your website or blog will appear when someone shares your content on Facebook.

ms-facebook-lint-tool

Facebook Lint tool lets you see what appears when someone shares content from your site.

When you enter your URL and hit the Debug button, all of Facebook’s cached images and information from your site will display. If there are any changes to your site, you can clear and refresh all fetched information and ensure anything shared from your site will be gorgeous and accurate.

Listen to the show to learn more and let us know how Facebook Lint tool works for you.

Other Show Mentions

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Check out Social Media Examiner on Pinterest.

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Discover Social Media Marketing World 2015

Today’s show is sponsored by Social Media Marketing World 2015.

We are super-excited about Social Media Marketing World 2015. It’s the world’s largest social media marketing conference. By attending, you’ll make connections with 100+ of the world’s top social media pros (plus 2,500 of your fellow marketers) and you’ll discover amazing ideas that’ll transform your social media marketing.

Hear testimonials from our 2014 conference speakers.

This is just a sample of industry experts talking about their experience at Social Media Marketing World.

In the show, you’ll hear about Sue’s experience at Social Media Marketing World. She says it was by far the biggest and the best, most well-run conference she has ever attended in her life. She was blown away by the caliber of speakers and attendees from around the globe, who were constantly learning and being inspired throughout the entire conference.

The conference takes place in sunny San Diego, California on March 25, 26 and 27, 2015. Hundreds of people have already secured their tickets. Click here to check out all of the speakers and the agenda, watch our video and grab your tickets.

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

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  • Cheval John

    Amazing lessons learned about how to use Instagram by Sue Zimmerman. I have not been on Instagram yet, but I will make it a goal to get on the social media platform. Hope everyone of you had a great Thanksgiving.

  • Krista Wiltbank

    I’m using Instagram now to build my personal brand (prior to launching my social media consulting solopreneur business) and will be using it when I start my business… and I’ve learned 95% of what I know about Instagram from Sue via podcasts and webinars. This podcast brought together two of my favorite social media education sources – Sue and Social Media Examiner. Thanks to Sue and the SMExaminer staff for all you do to teach and inspire the newbies to the industry.

  • Cyrissa

    Sue B Zimmerman is an Instagram genius! Her tips are tried, true, and she knows how to connect with her target market! By using her strategies, I’ve grown my IG following six times over in six months! This article gives you a sneak peek into some of Sue’s favorite tips, but you really need to be following her to get the full benefit of this woman’s knoweldge!

  • Cyrissa

    Sue B Zimmerman is an Instagram genius! Her tips are tried, true, and she knows how to connect with her target market! By using her strategies, I’ve grown my IG following six times over in six months! This article gives you a sneak peek into some of Sue’s favorite tips, but you really need to be following her to get the full benefit of this woman’s knoweldge!

  • Hi Micheal

    Great blog!!!!

    Thanks for putting light over the instagram growth. I get to know about various hidden facts about the usage of instagram from this blog.

  • Maureen Walsh Lake

    Truly a gifted speaker and person. Sue is so willing to share information and help others on their business journey. Sue will inspire you to reach heights with your business you never thought were possible. She is an inspiration and even though you think you are learning about Instagram and other social media, you are actually learning so much more about yourself as well โค๏ธ

  • treb072410

    Another amazing information Michael, never get tired of reading your articles.. Thanks for sharing..

  • Tomika

    Sue’s tips have helped me in so many ways! For example, I went from merely posting pictures to my account, to gaining engaged followers – there is a real community on Instagram. I’m looking forward to more of Sue’s tips and insights in 2015!!

  • Tomika

    Sue’s tips have helped me in so many ways! For example, I went from merely posting pictures to my account, to gaining engaged followers – there is a real community on Instagram. I’m looking forward to more of Sue’s tips and insights in 2015!!

  • Really helpful Article Thank you

  • Really helpful Article Thank you

  • Glad you enjoyed it Cheval

  • Thanks for your kind words Krista

  • Pleasure Manni

  • As always thanks Treb

  • Melissa Partridge

    Sue teaches you everything you need to know to Sell on Instagram!! She is easy to follow, full of energy & truly authentic. She is the one to Follow to make $$ doing what you Love! @theinstagramexpert, @instagallive, @Suebzimmerman

  • Kim McNaughton

    I can’t wait to check out Hyperlapse! Sue does the best at posting during events ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Maureen thanks so much for taking time to sprinkle your thoughts and love here!

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Manni so glad you found it helpful. Reach out to me on Instagram any time @suebzimmerman @theinstagramexpert

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Cyrissa, WOW so excited to hear about your growth from implementing my teachings. Glad you are seeing success in your business!

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Cheval,
    Looking forward to connecting with you there ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Krista, so nice to know that I am your go to gal for learning all things Instagram fro your biz. I really enjoy sharing my message on podcast …especially when Michael interviews me ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Kim it’s a lot of fun, you can speed up your vide 2 to 6 times faster ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Melissa, thanks for your endorsement, means a lot! I love seeing you make money doing what you love ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Would love to hear what you found most helpful ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Tommie totally agree with growing an authentic community and so glad you are a part of mine ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Treb so glad you found it informative…would love to hear your biggest take aways ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Love these tips Sue!! Instagram is for sure one of the platorms I haven’t been using to my advantage and will be doing more of it in 2015. Thanks for the ideas!!!

  • Asia Blaney

    I love Instagram and was super happy to find out so much more about it. Sue is really helpful and has really great tips! Can’t wait to be like her on Instagram! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Beth Bernier Crowell

    Fantastic content as always! Very excited to begin using the app Hyperlapse and to continue engaging with others on IG! @WiltonArtisans

  • Beth Bernier Crowell

    Fantastic content as always! Very excited to begin using the app Hyperlapse and to continue engaging with others on IG! @WiltonArtisans

  • sarina

    Hi Michael, thank you for a great interview. Especially, thank you for asking Sue to clarify several points and break it down – it was often delivered at the speed of light, so it actually helped that you are not particularly familiar with Insta yourself!

  • reality

    “I have not been on Instagram yet”

    WHAT? How is this even possible? This is like saying “I’m trying to become a lawyer, but haven’t gone to college yet…”

  • reality

    The comments here astound me. Have people who wish to operate in a specific channel even bothered to use it for themselves before attempting to use it for their brand? How difficult is it to apply what engages YOU to your audience engagement? Reading these comments, I’m reminded why so many brands fail miserably at being relevant and connecting with their audience.

  • Cheval John

    Because I don’t have a smartphone to download the Instagram app. If I had a smart phone, I would have been on Instagram instantly. Watching my money.

  • Sue is not just a gifted speaker, but she is an amazing person who share information, help and support others with their bussines on Instagram. She will inspire you and you will see that anything is possible. She is full of great energy and when you see her it keeps you going even on a hard day. I had learned from her everything I know about Instagram and I am still learning. You are missing so much if you don’t follow her on Instagram, you can learn so much and with her energy she will brighten your day.

  • Rebekah Radice

    I was an early adopter of Instagram for business and love how industry agnostic the platform truly is. There is so much opportunity, you just have to know where to find it. Thank you Sue for offering so many valuable nuggets, no matter the size of the business. I especially loved your tips at the end about building your list (critical) and building relationships through direct messages. Not something I’ve tried, but very intriguing!

  • Hi reality – What specific comment do you find astounding?

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Rebekah,
    DM has been my go to tool to connect and communicate with my target market. Let me know if you have success in your business. Thanks for your comments.

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    I love see how much your business has grown. You are such a talented artist and now people all over the world can see and buy your beautiful art!

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    I have both a personal account and several featured accounts. It is not difficult at all as long as you have a posting and hashtag strategy that you consistently implement.

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    LOL thanks for the comment about breaking it down… something I need to slow down and understand that often there are newbies listening ๐Ÿ™‚ If you need more clarification please don’t hesitate to ask sue@suebzimmerman.com

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Beth,
    Tag me when you do so I can see what you post!

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    LOL no one can be like me…Asia BE YOU bc you are fabulous! xo

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Glad you are committing in 2015….visual storytelling is where it’s at!

  • Kimberly D’Eramo

    LOVE Sue B. Zimmerman๏ปฟ!!! Have learned so much in such a short time that has made a huge difference, AND I’m having way more fun!

  • Ryan Gromfin

    Great tips about instagram. I am looking forward to putting them into action with my strategy for 2015. Thanks…

  • PS.NY

    Thank you so much for this valuable information! You could not ask for better content as a brand new business owner. All of these suggestions you are pointing out are a great way, how to increase awareness about your brand and gain popularity!

  • Thank you so much for this valuable information! You could not ask for better content as a brand new business owner. All of these suggestions you are pointing out are a great way, how to increase awareness about your brand and gain popularity!

  • Dean Jacobs

    I love Sue’s passion and capacity to make magic happen Instagram! She knows how to make it happen and move the dial forward!

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Thanks Dean, great knowing that you enjoyed the podcast my friend!

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Yippeee Ryan hope to see more of you on Instagram ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    LOL it’s all about having more FUN doing what you love, thanks Kim ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sue has convinced me to get serious about Instagram next year! Thanks for all your help Sue.

  • This podcast was amazing. Sue Zimmerman is awesome and we spoke this morning!!!! Super exciting. I am so psyched to learn All Things Instagram from Sue! Thank you Social Media Examiner for the awesome content and the opportunity to be introduced to Sue who is clearly a super smart & genuine person.

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Thanks so much …so nice connecting with YOU!

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Yippeee …get your acct @IanCleary going!

  • Patrick Mattison

    In short, I recently came to the conclusion that it is
    time to start earning. I worked in the famous in certain circles advertising
    company. Worked well, from morning till night, invented, wrote and drew (all by
    myself!) A lot of indoor and outdoor advertising of different nature.

    And almost all fine with me: do what you like, nothing
    more and not have to deal with. If it were not for one “but” – the
    salary. I got a measly penny. And from my friends in the profession I had heard
    about their wages!

    My patience finally ran out. I reached in the middle
    of the night to the Internet and literally 5 minutes later came across the best
    deal. Black and White Marketing – Marketing company, the development of
    advertising, brands and designs – my baby! The next day I had a day off on my
    old hated work, and I decided to contact them.

    As a result, the same day we settled all the
    bureaucracy. And the next day, I started my work. In terms of all remained the
    same and my salary has increased! I am grateful to my new employers, because
    they appreciated my skills and experience in this field.

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    LOL connect w me when you do ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Carrie

    Great article! Sue B. Zimmerman is the instagram wiz. She’s just brilliant. There’s a lot of good info in this article. Thank you Michael!

  • RisaE

    Sue and her team helped get our company – ECHOtape – on Instagram and now we are connecting with our ideal customers. She is a complete pro, understands social media better than anyone I know and can help you with your digital strategy.

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Thanks Risa! Love working with you and your company.

  • pamguyer

    I really enjoyed this post. Sue Zimmerman is the expert on Instagram and from the time I met her a few years ago, was always ahead of the curve on Social Media. I am inspired to get my insta on!

  • Grace Taylor Segal

    One of the many things I love about Sue is the way she leads by example. In particular, her engagement with her followers is remarkable. She is so generous with her time and advice. She often says she is in this business to help people…well, it shows. Her knowledge of Instagram and social media marketing in general continues to impress me. Sue is a mentor to everyone she encounters. I highly recommend becoming her student and follower as I have. Love ya, Sue!

  • treb072410

    Hi Sue, I have increase my number of clients because of Instagram post.. By the way I manage virtual assistants and get most of my clients on Instagram and Facebook..

  • I finally caught up on my podcast listening and was thrilled to hear the interview with Sue. I always learn something new from Sue about Instagram and her tips on hashtags and Direct messaging really stood out to me this time. Great stuff for businesses!

  • @suebzimmerman:disqus awesome to hear you on the SME Podcast. Tons of great Instagram tips. Looking forward to connecting again at SMMW15. Keep killing it!!!

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Thanks Ryan so glad you listened in and got some InstaBombs ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Mike, I agree DM is were you can really communicate intimately with your target customer on Instagram.

  • Susie Romans

    Another grande slam from Sue! You are crushing Instagram, so many great nuggets in here.

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Thanks Susie…great to see you here!

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Thanks Susie…great to see you here!

  • Sue B. Zimmerman

    Thanks Susie…great to see you here!

  • Really great podcast! I only JUST discovered this, but I would be really interested in learning more. Sue’s tips for Instagram are invaluable! AND they can be used on other social media platforms as well. Thanks!

  • Savina Francisco

    Thank you for the tips! I’m an Artist and I’ve been on Instagram for almost a year now. It’s my favorite social media platform, but I’m really struggling to find my voice on there because I’m somewhat introverted. It’s taken me forever to even get up to 157 followers! But this is my business and I’m determined to treat it like one, so I’ve recently resolved to start posting more than once a week and to start sharing more personal posts about my life as an Artist. I’ve also thought about including video in my stream and I’ve started commenting on fellow Artists’ posts… I already use hash tags in every one of my posts, but in the interview you said the hash tags should not be in the post itself, but rather in the comments – am I understanding that correctly? Should I do both?

  • Vicki

    Yay RisaE, Sue.B Zimmerman totally rocks!! She is 100% The InstagramGal ๐Ÿ™‚
    – Vicki Hadfield, The Happiness Ambassador

  • Vicki

    Yay Carrie,
    Sue.B Zimmerman is The First person I think of when I think of Instagram ๐Ÿ™‚
    – Vicki Hadfield, The Happiness Ambassador

  • Dorino Canciani

    Great lesson ๐Ÿ™‚ But i don’t understand well the second tip about direct message..

  • Thanks for this great information.

  • Thank you so much for this valuable information!