While social media might be a place most of us go to unload our thoughts at random, for cycling teams wanting to promote what they do, the scatter-gun approach probably isn’t wise. Followers on Instagram want high-quality images and supporting content which entices them to get involved in what you do, not generic junk.
Developing and managing an Instagram account to promote your cycling team is a team effort. For it to be successful, you need to get many members involved and for all of them to understand what your target audience wants. But how do you do that?
In this post, we’re going to delve into the topic of running a successful Instagram account to promote your cycling team.
Step 1: Set Quality Guidelines
Instagram is replete with cycling teams sharing what they do and where they’ve been with their followers. Frankly, there’s already a lot of choice out there on the platform for people who are interested in cycling and want to see what clubs do.
To stand out, therefore, the quality of your photos must be high. You need to instruct team members to use only quality equipment, to consider the angles and composition of their shots carefully and, if necessary, insist that only a designated photographer uploads photos. Remember, people share more than 80 million photos per day on Instagram, and that figure rises every year.
Of course, it’s not just photos that matter. The content that accompanies them should also be written to a high standard. If there are members of the team who would like to contribute but do not have good written communication skills, you may need to nominate an editor as quality control. The tone of voice should be consistent throughout, and all users of the account should act professionally.
Step 2: Devise A Strategy
Your strategy is your blueprint for winning likes and shares. But what should your approach be?
Strategy largely depends on your niche. All members of your team need to have a clear story in their minds about why your cycling club exists and what you’re trying to achieve. To win an audience, everybody needs to know who they’re talking to and why. For example, if you run a cycling club which seeks out extreme alpine roads and for high-altitude cycling, then focusing on this unique aspect of your activities is essential.
Step 3: Create A Schedule
Your cycling team might meet up on Sunday mornings and post about the ride in the afternoon. But if you want to maintain interest in your account throughout the week, you need to keep drip-feeding followers content daily, even if you’re not out on the road.
How do you do this in practice? Start by making sure that each person in the cycling team is assigned a day on which they should post. Appointing people in this way helps to prevent members of your team posting at the same time. You may want to create a rota where different people post on different days to avoid overlaps.
You can also assign specific people to cover different topics. This helps generate personal rapport and build stories into everything you do.
Step 4: Set Guidelines For What Content To Post, And What Not To Post
It’s important to make sure that all people who have access to the account understand what constitutes acceptable content, and what doesn’t.
Good posts are those which say something different or new, provide a unique angle, or develop a story. Poor posts are those which don’t have a purpose, add little to the user experience or fail to spark interest.
If possible, try to stay up with current trends in bicycling. For instance, if there’s some controversy around using electronic over mechanical gear shifting, throw in your club’s two-cents, letting everyone know what you think about the new technology.
Likewise, if a story develops (for instance a team member is successful in a competitive race), then let everyone know about it.
Step 5: Use Hashtags Effectively
If you want to expand the reach and impact of your cycling team, everybody who uses the account needs to understand how hashtags work. Hashtags are a vital tool associated with Instagram that can help get images of you and your cycling buddies in front of a large audience quickly.
Knowing which hashtags to use consistently can be a challenge. The first step is to brainstorm popular terms that you think might be related to your cycling team and then cross-reference with how popular they are as hashtags.
The next step is to look at images put out there by other cycling clubs to see what hashtags they’re using. (Why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to?)
Then, settle on a list of hashtags that you’re going to target (leaving some wiggle room for new hashtags or photos that don’t appear to fit in any particular category). Remember, you can have up to 30 tags per photo. Then distribute these tags throughout all account holders and tell them that these are the tags that they are to target to build reach.
Finally, it’s well worth your time giving some consideration to sponsors. Tagging helps to show your appreciation to those who financially support your club, and it’s good practice to attract new sponsors in the future.
Step 6: Choose Photos That Promote A Range Of Club Activities
While you might be tempted to focus your photography solely on your activity while you’re out and about, Instagram users often want to see a more complete and faithful recreation of what happens at your club, besides the weekly ride.
Many successful cycling teams on Instagram create content that promotes races, training and sponsors positively – in other words, things that happen outside of the regular meetups. Races and training are often of particular interest to followers. They provide insight into how the club prepares for events and generate excitement around how the club fares in competition. Combining stories with events can be a winning strategy.