Kickstart Your Business'Instagram Account
Statistics show that over 50% of major brands are using Instagram for their business. Because photo and video sharing apps are becoming increasingly popular, it comes as no surprise that marketers are using Instagram to promote their products and services, and to give their audience a taste of their company culture. Visual content attracts all types of audiences and at the same time encourages community engagement.
For businesses that are new to Instagram and are unsure how to use it, here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Brand your page.
If you don’t have one yet, you can sign up for an Instagram account through email or Facebook. Choose the username consistent with your other accounts and add your profile photo or logo, a short bio, and your website URL.
2. Connect other social media channels.
If you haven’t already done so, connect your Instagram to your other social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Flickr. Integrating Instagram with your other social media channels saves you time and makes it easy to share content simultaneously on multiple social networks. There’s also the added benefit of your followers seeing you’re on Instagram and following you there, too.
By adding a few channels to where your photo or video is posted, you’re helping increase your visibility and followers. This raises the engagement rate as well.
3. Share a variety of content.
Visual content gets more engagement than links or text. If you want to get a lot of public attention on Instagram, choose an assorted mix of content that combines different components of your business.
Your business isn’t composed of just your products or services - you have the people behind the brand, your location, and your industry. Whether it’s an image teaser of a new product or service, or a behind-the-scenes video of your employees, making a list of the countless aspects that make up your brand will help you with the initial plan for the types of images or 15-second videos you can post. Get your customers involved by encouraging them to share what they like about your brand or an image of their favorite product and tag you in the post. Ask them to like, comment or share the photo.
For marketers, other than client images, share photos of your team interacting with customers.
For publishers/bloggers/writers, post teasers to web content and include a call to action to visit a link.
You’ll also want to test different times of day to see which times get the most response.
4. Use relevant hashtags.
Accompany every photo or video with relevant hashtags related to the post. This increases your chances of gaining more visitors when users search for specific content on different platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Readers tend to search trends, subjects, and locations. So if you’re posting images related to social media, add the hashtag #SocialMedia. This way, when people search for #SocialMedia, your post will come up in the results.
Don’t forget to keep track of what other people in your industry are posting as it will help you reach new communities and engage with followers. And for company events or contests, use unique hashtags.
5. Engage your community.
An effective way to develop a community is to encourage viewers to post their own photos with a call to action related to your business. Ask them to post and tag, then you respond with a reply and #regram.
Posting your own image with a question also works. Ben & Jerry’s asked a simple question to promote their latest flavor and it received nearly 600 comments. An Instagram photo contest is also a fun way to develop your community.
6. Keep track of analytics.
Monitoring your Instagram analytics helps improve your posts and your strategy. There are analytics tools, albeit paid, available for monitoring post performance, assisting with Instagram management, and helping generate revenue through ads. There are even tools that allow you to compare how you’re performing against competitors. Data and metrics enable you to make informed decisions about the type of Instagram content that you post.