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On March 27, Klout had announced that your Instagram activity and engagement was going to be having an effect on your Klout score. Before that date, even though you could hook up your Instagram account to Klout, your activity had no effect. Just like you are able to hook up other platforms like Tumblr, YouTube, Blogger, Flicker, etc to Klout, any interaction you have on those platforms will not touch your score. Interestingly, I noticed that many people were beginning to take Klout a bit more seriously after they had made an announcement that Klout was open for businesses. I am still anxious to see what this is about. However, after Klout started taking in stats from Instagram engagement, many people started to go sour on Klout again. Why? Perhaps the purpose of Instagram is widely misunderstood. A lot of people believe that all Instagram is useful for is capturing a few snapshots of anything you wish, no matter how useless they may be. In other words, a lot of people do not understand how Instagram can possibly be a platform where you can be influential in anyway other than showing off pictures of your scrumptious dinner, or your dog, or your kids, etc.

Well, guess what. You can post pointless pictures (ok not that pictures of your kids, your dog or your excellent meal is by any means pointless, but you get the drift) on other platforms as well, so why is Instagram any different? Just because it is an photo sharing social network does not mean it is useless. In fact, if you use it right, Instagram can be a great platform where you can let your influence shine! Not to mention, it is an excellent platform for businesses to market themselves if it is used right.

Instagram was established in 2010 and it became so popular that it was used more often than Flickr and Picasa. One year ago, Facebook purchased Instagram because it saw the potential.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Sure, you can take as many pictures of your pets, children, your backyard, your meals just for the sake of it. And guess what. You can share all of that on your other social networks too. You can get your followers to like and comment on those photos. Sure enough, your score may rise a bit. However, Klout is starting to monitor true online influence rather than just activity (another blog post to come). Your score will only rise based on that for so long. You can be influential on Instagram and let that activity have a positive long term effect on your Klout score. How can you do that?

1. Optimize your Instagram Profile. What do you want to be known for? What is written on your Twitter and Facebook profiles? Write up something that is relevant to your niche and you as a person.

2. Know What Your Areas of Influence Are. How do you influence others? What content do you normally post on your Facebook and Google Plus pages? What kind of Tweets do you send out? Once you determine that, it is time to use Instagram in a way that will not only be helpful to you but will be helpful to those who you influence.

3. Add Relevant Pictures or Images. You can not only take pictures that are related to your areas of influence, and share them on Instagram. However, you can always find images and infographics that fit into your niche on the web, and add those to your Instagram profile. Just be sure to give credit where credit is due. In other words, if you use someone’s image, be sure to cite that info. Better yet, ask for their permission before taking the image. There are several apps you can use to use Instagram on your PC (I still have more research to do on this). However, you can easily download images on your iPhone (all you have to do is tap on the image for a few seconds and you will have the option to save it on your camera roll). For instance, if you are a life coach, you want to inspire your followers to take care of themselves, to be productive, etc. You can find a load of inspirational quotes that will encourage that via Google images and download those. Again, be sure to give credit where credit is due. Another great way to share influential images are sharing snapshots taken during one of your speaking seminars or you working with a client (with that client’s permission of course). You get the idea!

4. It is Also OK to Add Non-Relevant Images. Just like it is recommended to post non-niche related content on your Facebook and Twitter pages once in a while, sometimes it is perfectly fine to take a picture of your dog, your kids, or your excellent meal or anything tame. It is important to add something that represents you as a person or your life in general aside from your niche at times. People will connect with you that way more too. Adding everything niche related will become dry and unnatural. Fill 20{a0065375a7e2d1c093abc1aba7894b1ad713a40df7f413d8a34d916c8e570350} of your Instagram profile of pictures that represent you and your life in general.

5. Make Use of the Hashtag. Just like on Twitter and very soon on Facebook, it is recommended to add a hashtag next to the keyword you want to associate with your picture or image so it can be easily found by new potential followers who you can also reach out to.

6. Post Consistently. Just like you would not neglect your Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter for a day, make sure you post several images on Instagram each day. Even if it is two images a day, that is better than nothing. And if you want to plan a day to post only non-niche related content on Instagram, then by all means. Just plan ahead and be sure to post mostly relevant images the majority of the time. Just be sure to keep it consistent.

I also believe that because a large percentage of people are drawn to visuals as it is, Instagram if used correctly can be one of the best ways to show how influential you truly are. It all boils down to using these platforms correctly, and learning what you can about them all. And yes, I do believe that Klout did the right thing by allowing stats from your Instagram activity and engagement have an effect on your score. Instagram can be a huge gem, again if you use it right!

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