The Triathletes Guide to Instagram

Instagram is arguably the largest social media platform and one that triathletes have certainly latched onto. The visual ability to share our training, racing and triathlon lifestyle is something that has benefited and been leveraged in multifaceted ways. With some age groupers now having a larger following than several professional triathletes, there is also a very unique opportunity for those who dedicate the time to build a ‘following’ to play a part within the social influencer sponsorship landscape. Honestly speaking, there are plenty of age group triathletes who are doing a much better ‘job’ at promoting themselves and their unique brand than many professional triathletes. Instagram is hugely important for the triathlon industry, and you might be surprised to hear that most professional athletes have a minimum number of social media posts per month written into many of their sponsorship agreements.

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The big drawcard to any social media platform is the ability to share content in an exciting way that is attractive to those viewing it. That said, it is important to always think about what you post and whether it is ‘Instagram-worthy’. The aim should always be to engage and share your perspective with those who choose to follow you. Sharing your morning training session or long ride, or even a spectacular coffee stop are all post-worthy situations. With the majority of our training being outside it can be a great excuse to capture training moments that we can share.

The frequency at which you post is also important, and as a general rule, you should not post more than twice a day. The timing of these posts is also important as you want to capture the attention of your audience at the right time when people are most likely to be viewing. Quick tip: morning and early evening have been proven to be the best times to post if you want to reach as many people as possible.

Looking at the business side of Instagram, there are many people out there doing very well with sponsorship, just based on their strong social media presence. I already hinted that there are a lot of potential opportunities for those who build a strong following and engagement on Instagram. This allows individuals to work with brands who are looking to showcase their products via social media influences if their values and objectives align with a particular target niche. This is why it is important that you always think carefully about what you post and how this fits in with the message you are presenting to your social media audience. A powerful image with a description that motivates and inspires others or tells a story is a great place to start. The role of social media ‘influences’ as a marketing segment is something that a large number of brands are exploring and spending big money on to reach an audience.

Hashtags, when used correctly, can be a great way to help people discover your Instagram profile who might not know you directly. Many people search hashtags to find like-minded people and explore images that appeal to them. For triathletes, there are a few specific hashtags that you should be aware of and can add to your posts.
The use of a hashtag should always have relevance to the image posted and not be overused within the post itself. The description should have a maximum of four hashtags and if any more are needed then add these as a comment on under your post.

The most commonly used hashtags for triathlon are #Triathlete #Triathlon #SwimBikeRun #Tri365 and #TriLife. These are the hashtags, which are the most searched for and most used for any triathlon related posts. However, there are also a few more that you should be aware of.

#WYMTM copy

#WYMTM 

If you are up early and training then the ‘What You Missed This Morning’ hashtag shows others what they missed out on. There are some incredibly beautiful shots that people on Instagram have posted which reference this particular hashtag identifier.

#TimeTrialTuesday 

Rumour has it that this hashtag was made famous by leading sports photographer Korupt Vision and is a way for people to flaunt their time trial photos on a Tuesday. This hashtag also gives you an opportunity to post a great mid-race action shot of you getting down low and aero on your bike!

#BAAW 

This stands for ‘Bike against a wall’ and is a way to showcase your pride and joy. Remember the golden rules for posting photos of your bike, which are: cranks horizontal with the chain in the big ring up front and small in the back. Extra Instagram points awarded to a beautiful backdrop or interesting wall art behind your bike.

#CyclingShots #RunShots 

These go hand in hand with images that you take while out running or riding and are usually shot on a GoPro or other action camera. The great thing about a GoPro action camera is that it allows you take some amazing images and/or videos with a different perspective of your training not usually captured.

On a personal level, and all hashtag and marketing jargon aside, the greatest benefit of Instagram that I see is that it allows anyone (professional or age grouper alike) to share their story and the highs and lows that we all go through while being involved in triathlon. There is also scope to ask for advice and offer advice, which helps with creating a positive environment surrounding the sport.

Images: Rebecca Ohlwein

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sam Betten

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