In case you’ve been living under a rock and have never heard the term ‘Instagram’, let’s clear it up here. Instagram is a photo-sharing community that now boasts over 100 million users. That’s a lot of potential customers right there. Instagram is easy to use and in order to be on Instagram, all you will need to get started is a mobile device. If you have that, it’s as easy as setting up an account and you’re ready!
What makes Instagram different from other social networking sites?
Primarily the main difference would be that Instagram is very visual. The photo is the message. It encourages people to share great photos and inspire others to do the same. But you should look at it as a companion or supplement to other social networking sites, particularly for a business. These days, if a person has a Facebook or Twitter account, they will most likely have an Instagram account as well. So if you want to reach more people, choosing to get your business on Instagram is the right way to go.
What should I do first?
You need to create an account with a user that is the same as your business name. If you can’t get an exact name, match it to your Twitter or Facebook user. After that, you will want to upload your company logo as the profile picture to keep your branding consistent. Finally, link your social networks to Instagram to allow them to cross-pollinate and reach as many people as possible.
Here is where the fun starts. Initially, you will want the photos to showcase your business. If what you have are tangible products, take fun, but clear shots of your items to showcase them to your audience. Don’t go all filter crazy either. If you have a colorful selection, for example, let the photo speak for itself. The filter may just distract from the design. These photos will also give your followers a peak at what you are offering- like virtual window shopping.
What other photos or videos can I share?
As you build your brand and your business, you will want to keep your followers engaged. Mix up the photos and videos to keep it interesting. If you want to, show how your products can be worn or used. You can also introduce your followers to the people “behind the scenes” to put a face to the brand. This makes the business a more personable one, more approachable and friendly. Another great way to drum up interest is to get people to comment on an interesting photo featuring your product. Do a “caption this” post and find out how creative your followers can be.
How do I expand my audience?
In addition to linking your social media pages to each other, be sure to carry a link on your website, if you have one, as well. You can also embed Instagram videos on your website. This extends the reach of the content. Use relevant and popular hashtags to make people searching for you much easier. You can also throw in some fun hashtags to entertain the people following you as well. Another way to get more people to follow you is to follow your followers back. In case that sounds crazy, hang on while we explain. Your followers are your target audience. They also have followers. Take time to like and comment on their photos. These could pique the interest of their followers and lead them back to you?
How do I keep it up?
Enabling notifications so that you could find out when someone had commented on your photo is a great idea at the start. It works in the early stages of your Instagram life because it allows a quick response time if there are questions, and it also allows you to send acknowledgements and thanks right away. But as your following grows, you may have to turn this function off to stay sane. It’s a great problem to have though!
Remember to keep the posts varied once you have a significant following. You can post quotes that inspire and are complimentary to what your company stands for. You can also post funny and amusing photos, because those types have high recall value and tend to get shared a lot. Try to keep track of what your followers respond to best and mix up your content but keep that subject at the core most times. But most of all enjoy this platform. It’s fun. It’s easy. It’s a great way to reach a lot of people for very little money. All you need is to get creative and let Instagram do the rest.