Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Using Instagram as a Gear-a-holic

I was never one to use Instagram until I started following Matthews Effects and Pedal Projects. These guys post regularly on Instagram as one of their main communication streams to update customers (and fans like me) on their recent work, news, developments, and general updates. They are able to get instant notifications on comments and can respond very quickly to specific posts. I think it's a novel way to use social media to keep in touch with your clientele, especially since guitarists are naturally tech-savvy people!

How does it work?
Like other social media sites, the @ and # tags are integral to the use of Instagram. @ tags are for users, and adding them into both your caption and your comment section will push them a notification that they've been tagged (depending on how they've set up their notifications on their smart devices). This is useful for starting conversations or to "forward" a post to a friend who might be interested in it.

For example, I post a picture of my rig just before a gig:

And if Friend A wants to let Friend B in on the photo, he'll post in the comment like:

"@FriendB check out this guy's EHX LPB-1 and Mooer Shimverb!" (Ok, terrible example, but you get the picture)

Hash tags (#) are to include topics in a post, which will make it searchable by other users. Gear communities like @Gearaholic, @Knowyourtone and @Toneheaven encourage users to # them, which effectively shares the post with the wider community. # can also be used in both captions and comments. Here's a list that I currently use, and feel free to use them in your own posts!


I see Instagram as a great way to:

1. Get pedalboard ideas
I got quite a few build ideas with my Pedaltrain PT-3 from searching up other users. This can go horribly wrong because it may stir up the GAS in you, so ogle with caution! 

2. Meet other guitarists/pedal makers/manufacturers
I love my country, but it's so small that the gear market only carries "mainstream" stuff. With Instagram, I'm able to contact the makers directly, and they're such a joy to talk to! Notably, Rick Matthews from @MatthewsEffects and Asgeir Helgi from @PedalProjects are great people.

3. Posting/hearing gear demos
@GearDemoGram and @PedalProjects are good examples of how the short video function in Instagram can be used to demonstrate gear, using the iPhone audio as a gauge. I know, it's not the best of audio, but it's decent enough to hear 75% of the pedal's "vibe". It's inspiring me to make use of this medium to 

4. Participate in competitions, give-aways, sales
Boutique pedal makers and mainstream manufacturers make use of the holiday season (or when they're in a good mood) to promote their wares. Most of them require the simple procedure of # the relevant topic, like #trexgiveaway, and tagging other users as a shout-out.

So, if you're a guitarist and want to tap into social media, why not give Instagram a spin? Find me @justicepao (it's the nickname I used when I played DOTA back in my uni days)

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