As a triathlete, a triathlon coach and a business owner, I have to admit, I have a lot of fun on social media, as I have seen it taken off over the last few years with my business. I have been on a lot of social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, LinkedIn, Medium, etc.

The one social media platform that I have to say that I am addicted to is Instagram. Honestly, I don’t even want to know how much time I spend on that platform but to be honest, it has been a very successful platform, not only for me as an athlete but for getting athletes to coach ranging from California, up to Canada, down to Mexico and over to Sweden!

People started following my triathlon journey. From Ironman Florida in 2013, after an eight-year sabbatical to 2015 of my hashtag #kona2015 (insert eye roll) to placing in my age group at Ironman FL in 2016 to qualifying to the Ironman World Championship at Ironman Mont Tremblant in 2017. It was truly epic!

I started on Instagram, January 2012, and then after I graduated from my Masters at UTSA, I started posting in May 2012. Funny thing is now, I look back at my photos then and think, “Oh my word. I need to delete some of those. Terrible photos. Too many words! I love my cat, but she isn’t about my brand.”

I started thinking about it, as I know Instagram has been one of the top social media platforms the last couple of years. Did you know that there are over 1 billion people on Instagram?

So, I came up with “Top 5 Tips on Why I LOVE Instagram.” This may help you as an athlete, a coach, a business owner or brick and mortar shop or every day Instagram!!!

1. Instagram is all about THE photo

  • Quality. Quality. Quality Photo. I will say this until I am blue in the face. I looked at some of my old pictures and thought, AWFUL!
  • Are the photos inlined with your business (if this is a business account)? While your cat ROCKS, it is not part of your business.
  • If you need to get some professional photos done, do it. Are you a coach? Get someone to come out and take pictures of you on the deck or the track. Are you a consultant? Have people take photos in your office or the coffee shop.

2. Write a Caption or a Story BUT…

  • Please explain what the picture is all about but don’t write “War and Peace” again.
  • If you do want to share a story, learn how to break it up, so it is much easier to read.
  • For example: If my post is a little long because of the story, I will break it up with spacing and periods, as this will cut the story short and if they want to read more, they can.

3. Hashtag. Hashtag. Hashtag!

  • Make sure 7 out of 10 hashtags are related to your business. For example, I will use #RulonRacing #RulonRacers
  • Idea amount of hashtags? You can go up to 30, but I have started seeing 11 is the magic number!
  • Find out what hashtags work with your business and your brand, but also find out which ones do not. For example, I saw #rulonracing2k18 was “hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines.” 🤔

4. Utilize that location on your post!

  • Did you know that 79% of post get more engagement with a Geotag than those that don’t?
  • That is all. Do it!

5. Keep It Real!

  • People want to follow you because of your raw and realness about things. They don’t want things to be fake.
  • People follow you because maybe you are a fantastic photographer, you show people how hard work pays off, or you are a BADASS Mom crushing a YouTube channel among your crazy kids.
  • Raw and Real is the way to go. If you genuinely don’t feel comfortable sharing your story, it is ok!  Please, please don’t hide behind the camera and tell the world that everything is peachy keen when maybe it isn’t. Guess what. It is OK NOT to post!

I wrote an article about “The Love/Hate Relationship of Social Media” at the beginning of the year, and it showcases how social media is suitable for a lot of things but can also mask a lot of things in everyday life.

Are you on Instagram? Do you have tips or tricks for people on Instagram? Share below your username and your advice! Let’s follow each other!

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AUTHOR: Jen Rulon

I am Jen Rulon, a Coach, Kona Finisher and a Public Speaker. I’ve been coaching triathletes for 18+ years and I received my Masters in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. I train triathletes to reach their potential and coach triathlon coaches to successfully grow their businesses using my own proven methods. I currently work with women on finding their own voice and journey to finding their "Champion Status" in their own eyes! My knowledge has been featured in Triathlete Magazine, Runners World, on the TEDx Stage, the Health and Wellness Expo in San Antonio, TX, Men’s Journal Online, and the New York Times. I also practice what I preach — I’m a 15x Ironman Triathlete who participated in the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii on October 14, 2017.

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