Instagram has been around for a while now, since 2010 to be exact, and was bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1bn. It has been a very successful site for photo and video sharing since it began and is ever evolving with new features and updates to keep its 500 million active monthly users entertained. But Instagram can also be utilised by businesses thanks to Instagram business profiles and tools being introduced earlier this year.
Here’s a couple of tips, tricks and benefits I feel are important when it comes to being successful on Instagram
Top Tip #1: Create a business account rather than a personal one
Obviously, creating a profile would be a great start when using Instagram for your business. Make sure you create a business account or switch your existing account to a business profile so you get the benefit of analytics, links to your other accounts, promotions and added contact information such as address, email and phone number.
Top Tip #2: Make sure you take the time to create a great profile
Once you’ve initially created your account, you need to fill in all of your business details. it is very important that you make time do this properly so your customers know exactly how they can reach you and it gives them a full overview of your business. You can link your other social media accounts, add a link to your website and give contact information such as email address, phone number and your business address. There is also a section to include a bio for your business which is limited to 150 characters, so keep it short, sweet and informative. It is best to use it to showcase your unique selling point or to promote a new product or event. One issue is that only one working link is allowed in your bio, you may think ‘well I’ll just link my website’ which you can do, but if you wish to promote an upcoming event or a new product it may be worth having a working link to the event or the new product page to drive traffic to them. You can change the link whenever you like by editing your profile so it may be worth changing it up a bit every so often to provide a new link for your audience/customers to use.
Top Tip #3: Make your content interesting
Once your account and profile are set up, you need to start posting content. You don’t just want to flood your feed with boring, similar images of every product you sell. Get creative! You can post actions shots and short videos of your product being used. There is also an app called Boomerang which allows you to create GIF like videos of a moving object and post them. Instagram has also recently introduced Instagram stories which are only live for 24 hours and consist of a video collage of images/videos that you can edit with various things such as colours and text. You can also add images from your gallery to your story.
People also like looking behind the scenes, so posting pictures of your employees, the product creation process and even if you have just got a new storefront will help to boost engagement.
Top Tip #4: Hashtags
Hash tagging on your posts can seriously expand your reach, just make sure what you hashtag is relevant to what you post so you are reaching the correct audience. You could also make a hashtag for your business such as #yourbrandname, so I would use #blackrebelgroup or #blackrebelmarketing. This can help you to see who is mentioning your business as you can search for mentions of specific hashtags. Some hashtags are used more than others across the site so including some of them in your post will definitely increase the amount of people your post reaches. Some of these hashtags include #instagood #photooftheday #picoftheday #instacool #tbt (throwback thursday) and #instalike. Again remember to make the hashtags relevant, if you’re unsure of what hashtags to use just do a quick search of most popular hashtags for and then your industry and you more than likely get some good suggestions.
One benefit of Instagram I’ve touched on earlier in the post is that you can link to your other social media accounts. Once you’ve linked them you then have the option to post anything that you post on Instagram straight to the other linked accounts, which will save you time. However this means if you’ve linked with Twitter you’re still restricted to 140 characters or the linked tweet will not display correctly. This may usually be due to using hashtags so another of my top tips is that you caption any Instagram posts you are linking to Twitter concisely (in 140 characters or less) and then add your hashtags on as a comment on the Instagram post.
Top Tip #5: Interact
Once your account is up and running you need to gain followers, the easiest way to do this is by following other people/businesses and posting high quality, informative, creative content. The work doesn’t stop once you’ve built up those followers, you need to keep them engaged and talking about your business, you could like their posts and comment on them, mention them in posts you think they will be interested in or if they post using one of your products or services. You could also encourage them to use a certain hashtag so that you know when they are mentioning you/your products and you can respond appropriately, you can even interact with celebrities on the site and they may even share your posts to their followers if they appreciate your content.
Top Tip #6: Monitor!
Instagram business profiles have an added benefit of post analytics so you can see how well (or badly) your posts are doing in terms of engagement and views. You can also use third party analytic software if you prefer it but either way monitor them!! They can give you valuable information and you’ll be missing out if you’re not using them.
Top Tip #7: Don’t over post
You obviously want to be updating your content regularly but don’t overdo it, flooding your Instagram with posts can be as bad as not posting. Keep your posts regular, it doesn’t even have to be every day, quality is better than quantity. Posting well set out informative pictures is better than saturating the feed with badly taken images and rushed posts. Creating a posting schedule can help to keep you on track and it will make it easier for you to monitor what is working as you will know what was posted and when.
There are lots of ways Instagram can be used effectively to boost your business, the ones I’ve mentioned are just some of the ones I feel are important. Feel free to leave a comment with any other tips, tricks or benefits you think make a difference, I’m always looking for new suggestions.