Managing the social media accounts for your business can feel like a full-time job, and most small business owners are already juggling a full schedule. We sat down with Kristin and Alex Tovar, Vantage West Member-Owners and owners of the locally loved Tucson shop Why I Love Where I Live, to get the scoop on how they were able to leverage a viral hashtag to empower their online brand and turn it into an IRL success. Keep reading to learn how their experience can help you elevate your content and take your platform to the next level.
- Share more of what you care about.
On a platform where retouched photos and filters have you questioning the nature of reality, it’s a bit ironic to say that authenticity matters. But it does matter, quite a lot actually. That’s why it’s important to find a cause that you can connect with on an emotional level and that your audience can rally behind. When Kristin created the @whyilovewhereilive Instagram account, her only intention was to seek out the good in Tucson in order to fall in love with what she found. Her authentic pursuit of connection galvanized her audience to take part in the everyday practice of loving where they live. Engage your platform by encouraging others to share your passion and take the first step toward turning your likes into a movement.
- Create a hashtag that stands out, all on its own.
Officially, a hashtag (RIP pound sign) is used on social media to identify digital content on a specific topic so that posts can be circulated to a broader audience. A good rule of thumb for how to use hashtags on your social media posts is to use 1-2 widely used tags (500k+ posts), 1-2 more specific tags (100k posts), and 1 tag that is totally unique to your account. When creating a hashtag to promote your brand, you’ll want to consider whether or not it can stand on its own, independent of your account. The more unique your hashtag is, the greater your impact will be. The hashtag #whyilovewhereilive is a great example of how to do this. It’s a powerful sentiment that exists separately from its handle and has helped Kristin and Alex aggregate a treasure trove of user-generated content. They’ve been able to repurpose these images to promote the Why I Love Where I Live Instagram feed. This brings us to our next tip…
- Acknowledge the contributions of others.
It’s always better to give than to receive and when you collaborate with as many organizations, artists, and makers as Kristin and Alex do, it’s also important to give credit where and when it’s due. Whether they’re posting a new product to the Why I Love Where I Live main feed or reposting tagged images in stories, the small business owners make sure to tag any and all of the accounts that are associated with the image or item. Not only is this considered good platform etiquette, but it also helps to create a kind of social media karma that leads to more tags and reposting. This spirit of reciprocity is what helps @whyilovewhereilive spread its message across social media and increase overall brand visibility.
4. Hire a photographer to capture quality images.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but with the ocean of content on social media, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. Kristin and Alex recommend hiring a professional photographer to capture scroll-stopping images for your platform. In the beginning, Kristin was using her iPhone to take pictures for her growing social account, but as Instagram has evolved, so has the Why I Love Where I Live photography. Whether it’s a new product launch or a stunning vista of the desert landscape at sunset, the money they’ve spent cultivating a library of high-resolution images has been a savvy investment. Sometimes you only get one chance to make a good impression, so a quality image is the best way to introduce your brand to new followers.
5. Collaborate to capture a wider audience.
All boats rise with the tide, even in the desert. That’s why Kristin and Alex actively seek out local artists, makers, and partners to promote on the @whyilovewhereilive social platforms. This kind of cross-channel collaboration helps the account create more Insta-synergy and capture the attention of new followers. The couple also recommends sharing community events and local happenings on social media to help increase engagement from more regional followers. Kristin and Alex invest in their economic community through their partnership with Vantage West Credit Union. By choosing to bank with a local credit union, they’re helping to keep more money circulating in Tucson’s economy, which benefits their customers and their shop. Proving that collaboration helps everyone to thrive.