I was recently on vacation in California, from San Clemente up to St Helena, capturing a LOT of beautiful sights, food and drinks along the way!
I like to use Instagram to post my photos and feed them to Facebook and Twitter using hashtags. If you aren't using hashtags, there's a good chance you're not getting your post across to as many as you'd like, or that you have the opportunity to.
Look at it this way: I enjoyed the funky look and feel of the Virgin America flight (and I'd never flown this airline before). So I posted the picture for my followers to see. But why not give props to Virgin America? So I used the hashtag #VirginAmerica in my post and I've included a link to their site in this post. If you have any type of e-commerce, you want to know who's saying what about you. It's called reputation management. And that means by way of hashtags, google alerts, tags, link backs. It's simple.
These were the photos I posted:
And Virgin America responded back in the Twitter feed below. THEY are doing it right! It just shows appreciation. It's a simple gesture that goes a long way. Am I going to consider flying Virgin America again? You bet! I already enjoyed the feel of the flight, but taking the time to comment to me was an extra step that showed they care about their customer's experience.
Wipeout Bar & Grill in San Francisco at Pier 39. This was where we watched Superbowl while in California. I didn't use the hashtag here, rather I posted my location through Instagram. I posted a couple of pictures and the Wipeout Bar & Grill responded back! THEY are doing it right.
There's also the occasion every now and then where someone might post something not so nice about your business on Twitter or Facebook. This is SO very important to be aware of. If you are able to respond to someone's dissatisfaction before they've posted a review on TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc., you're ahead of the game. It's all about reputation management. If you are able to respond in a way that makes the person who posted the comment feel that you truly care, they may not include the negative comments in their review, or they might tame them. They might appreciate that you're taking the time to respond. And a response in this manner is different than a response to a negative review, which often come across defensive.
If you're wondering how to follow by using the hashtag, it couldn't be simpler. Let's say your company is The Sunrise Inn. In Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, enter #thesunriseinn or #sunriseinn in the search field and see what comes up. Some might be irrelevant as there could be more than one business named Sunrise Inn.
And please, if you don't already have google alerts set up for your business name, your personal name, please look into it, STAT. I have 27 alerts set up and could probably come up with more!
A side note, all of your photos should include tags or labels so that search engines can find them. Search engine optimization doesn't work with images, it needs text. But they can detect tags or labels embedded within the photo/post. It's also important to tag the location of the photo (if you're looking for the establishment to be able to see that you were there and posted the pictures). And please, please, give some link love back to these businesses!
If you own a lodging property and you've just come back from a wonderful dinner in town, I'd suggest you post the photo on Instagram, tag the location, use hashtags, post that you had a lovely dinner at #ABCDCafe near #SunriseInn and use popular tags such as #restaurants #foodporn #Camden #Maine and that you'd recommend it to all of your guests. Then go into the post on Facebook and add a link to the restaurant. Done. That took all of 60 seconds, or should have. Do you think that business might refer dinner guests to you if the question should arise? Of course!
If you still need to be convinced of the importance of Instagram, check out these stats. Astonishing!