Instagram may be one of the ‘new kids on the block’ in the world of social media, but it’s certainly made an impact on small business…and it’s growing.
In many ways, the photo-sharing app has set itself apart from the likes of Facebook and Twitter, and has become one of the most effective brand-building tools for businesses.
While taking and sharing a photo is a simple concept, it’s power cannot be underestimated.
400 million users (https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/37-instagram-stats-2016/) are getting snap-happy on the social network – that’s 30% of all the world’s internet users.
Instagram is a big deal for millennials too, so if your target market includes the under-35s, read on!
WHY USE INSTAGRAM
Instagram has been named as the “king of social engagement”.
In fact, for the world’s largest brands, Instagram delivered 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter, and 120 times more engagement than Facebook.
So as a small business, why should you be using Instagram?
Well firstly, it’s free (unless you opt for Instagram advertising – we’ll discuss that later), and secondly, your customers are already using it. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of a cost-effective marketing tool for your business?!
Another advantage of Instagram is its ability to raise awareness about your brand or product and create ‘hype’ and interaction.
What’s more, you can also drive traffic to your website by regularly posting interesting, engaging content, and it can work really well in conjunction with your other social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
Oh, and finally, it’s quick and easy to use, so you’ll be able to get on with running your business, while reaching new and existing customers online.
You don’t have to go far to find success stories of small businesses on Instagram! https://www.creativereview.co.uk/launch-small-business-instagram/.
Now let’s look at how to use Instagram for business…
Instagram Marketing fits nicely in your overall business marketing strategy. Reflect & Reshape are opening up their doors to their Business Accelerator Programme to the first 30 people in the next few weeks! If you want to skyrocket your business and become a real success then submit your application now before we close the application process.
To apply for the Business Accelerator Programme click the link below
HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM FOR BUSINESS
Instagram for business – sign-up: Instagram is essentially a mobile app, and unlike many other social media platforms, is designed to to be mobile-only. The app can be downloaded for free, and linked to your Facebook account to make logging-in easier.
Complete your identity: Instagram for business is fairly simple when it comes to your identity, but think carefully when choosing your username. Try to match your username with that of your other social media profiles, or as close as possible. Also try to avoid usernames that are overly complicated to make sure users can find you.
Your bio has to be short, so keep it snappy. Avoid lengthy mission statements, and get straight to the point. Tell users what your business is, and keep it light.
Finally, don’t forget to upload a profile photo!
**TIP** As with all social media, have a plan! Create a social media marketing strategy that clearly sets out your goals. These could be to increase product sales, increase awareness of your brand, or increase traffic to your website. By setting achievable goals, you’ll be able to measure your progress easily.
Create a content calendar: It’s advisable to establish a regular posting routine, and around 1-3 posts per day is plenty. Plan your content according to the services or products you are looking to highlight. This article from Sprout Social has a number of tips for creating your Instagram strategy http://sproutsocial.com/insights/instagram-marketing-strategy-guide/.
**TIP** Be experimental! You can really get creative with Instagram, so play around and see what works for you. You could test posts at different times to see what works best.
Build your brand: Once you have done your research to find what works best for you and your brand, be consistent.
Instagram is a strongly visual app, so think carefully about the visual style you want your profile to have. There’s so many filters available to you on Instagram for business, but many brands choose one set of filters for consistency. This can make your images more instantly recognisable to your followers.
Hubspot has some great tips on how to build your Instagram brand! https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/instagram-build-business-brand.
Share your personality: With Instagram, you can really convey the character of your small business or brand. Users love to see every day content, whether it’s a photo of your staff, the dog, the offices, or even your morning coffee! By breaking up your ‘sales’ posts with lifestyle posts, you keep followers interested and make your business more approachable.
Find followers: It’s a really good idea to target influential figures in your industry (as Instagram influencer marketing), clients, and those in your area when first starting on Instagram. It’s also worth commenting and engaging with other users, as this can expand your network quickly.
You may want to identify key influencers (people with a strong following), who can help to promote your brand or business by sharing your content with their own followers. In many cases, you may need to provide products for them to review and feature, or even agree a ‘budget’, but Instagram influencer marketing can be worthwhile.
** DON’T FORGET **
Know your hashtags: It’s a really good idea to find the hashtags most suitable for your industry or area. Not only will you be able to include them in your own Instagram posts, but you can also search the hashtags to interact with other users.
Tag your location: This is particularly useful for small businesses. It’s important to tag your location with each post, to enable users to find you more easily.
-Instant Tips for Small Business-
- Use Instagram as a user first. Watch how others are doing it, see what works, and find out what doesn’t!
- Coordinate Instagram activity with your other social media platforms.
- Think carefully and strategically about what you post and when.
- Show off your products with sneak previews.
- Announce any news or new products on your profile.
- Don’t forget the power of posting the occasional ‘cute’ photo!
- Showcase your customers and their success – share their images, and engage your customers on your Instagram feed.
INSTAGRAM BUSINESS TOOLS
The Instagram App – As mentioned a little earlier, you’ll need to download the Instagram app to get the most out of this platform.
Posting Photos on Instagram from a Desktop or Laptop: Despite Instagram being a mobile-upload platform, there are now a few ways to upload images from your computer, and these include Uplet and Grambler. You can find out more about these desktop apps here: https://havecamerawilltravel.com/photographer/uploading-photos-computer-instagram.
Photo Editing Apps: Instagram has its own photo editing ‘filters’, but there’s a whole load of apps out there for those who love to get really creative! Whether you want to go monochrome, add a time-lapse, or create short animations, check out these awesome Instagram business tools to take your Instagram posts to the next level;
Video: Instagram has recently allowed short videos to be uploaded, and this has been a popular addition. It can be a really fun way to bring your Instagram feed to life, or you might want to show off one of your products. You’ll find the option to post an Instagram video in the app. Find out more about making killer Instagram videos and using one of the key Instagram business tools here; http://content.photojojo.com/photo-technique/tips/10-editing-tips-for-making-killer-instagram-videos/.
Find Hashtags: As mentioned a little earlier, you’ll want to find the hottest hashtags to make sure your posts are seen. A number of hashtag search platforms are available including All Hashtag http://www.all-hashtag.com.
Advertising on Instagram: More recently, Instagram has added advertising on Instagram to its portfolio. Also known as ‘sponsored posts’, you can create image or video adverts easily, with the potential to reach a new target audience. Simply determine your budget, publish your advert, and monitor results! The whole process is integrated with your Facebook page, and you’ll need to create a free business profile on Instagram too – find out more here https://business.instagram.com/advertising.
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