Social media platforms constantly ebb and flow. Within the latest-and-greatest and on-the-way-out social media tools are a steadfast selection of platforms that businesses should be using. Along with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Instagram has remained a favorite among users. But you may be asking yourself: how can a photo site help my business? Before you start learning how to use it, it’s important to know what Instagram is.
Instagram is More than Photos
Instagram is a way to share your life—or in a business’s case, a story—through photos and videos. It’s a way to let others ‘see’ what you’re experiencing on a day-to-day basis. Further, it’s instant. With a simple app, you can point, shoot and share what’s going on.
So How Does a Business Use Instagram?
Before you sign up for Instagram, familiarize yourself with the Instagram for Business Blog. You’ll find tools, tips, ideas and more to start your campaign. It will also show you how to navigate the site and app. Next, start exploring Instagram accounts of businesses in your industry. Take note as to what works for followers, and how you can transform ideas into your own unique marketing campaign. After you’ve got a grasp on how Instagram works, it’s time to look at how to use it:
- Embed your Instagram account into your website
- Optimize your profile, and make sure it fits within your brand
- Gather followers (and follow your followers back)
- Network with using comments and likes
- Create a posting schedule
- Reward your followers with discounts or special Instagram promotions
- Inspire, excite and delight, all while keeping it relevant to your brand
- Find a way to engage with a new or distinct point of view
- Share things that make you human—photos of employees with acknowledgements of their efforts is always welcome
- If your industry uses hashtags, utilize them
Getting Started on Instagram
Like many things, the early days of using a new tool takes practice. You’ll want to come up with your strategy, and then test times that you post. You’ll discover when your audience is watching and engaging. Make sure to tie in Instagram with your other social media accounts and overall marketing plan. You should have a goal; to use Instagram to increase website traffic, get more sales or increase brand awareness. Even if you have different themes or campaigns, they should always have a cohesive, recognizable underlying brand. Instagram is an excellent way to entice your visually-oriented customers, and allows you to expand your marketing in a creative and fun way.
Still hungry for more information? Here are links to two articles that may help. The first is in the Sprout Social Blog, and calls itself the “Instagram for Business Complete Guide”. The second is in Entrepreneur, called “Why Your Business Should Establish an Instagram Presence ASAP”