While Facebook may be the most widely used social media outlet for businesses, the power of Instagram should not be overlooked. Instagram is becoming one of the largest social media platforms for advertisements. Focusing on pictures, rather than words, to capture their viewer’s attention, they have created an easy way for businesses to showcase themselves and attract customers.
Instagram for Business
Many businesses have realized the impact that Instagram has, and have started to create their own accounts; however, they probably are not being used to their full capacity. Here, we have compiled a list of tips and tricks to improve your businesses’ Instagram account.
The first thing you should think about is what type of content you will be posting. Will your pictures be strictly about promoting your business, or will you also incorporate some personal photos as well? These are the questions you need to ask yourself beforehand, so your account stays consistent.
Once you’ve figured out the content, choose an account name that can be easily associated with your business, or just your company name. For your profile picture, even though it is small, try to use an eye-catching brand logo. Writing a short bio is also important as it lets people know who you are and what your business is all about.
Engaging with Others
Notice in the picture above how we have tagged Dominion Enterprises (@DomEnterprises) one of our partners, and placed a link to our website in the bio. If people find our page via Instagram, and want to learn more about our company, they can be conveniently redirected to our site. By tagging Dominion, we have given them exposure that helps connect us to their Instagram account, and as well as showing people that we are affiliated with them.
Cultivating Followers is key to having a successful account. In order to gain followers, you have to start following other accounts. For a business, following friends or family to help promote your company is a good place to start. Once you start gaining more exposure, try to follow potential customers, investors, or other businesses in the area. Some people will begin to follow you back, and from there it’s up to you to establish your company’s page.
@Tagging is one of the most important aspects of Instagram, as it can help businesses engage with customers and other businesses. You can either tag someone in the text of your post, or in the actual picture, as we did below. By tagging someone else in a post, you are giving them free advertising that will likely result in them reposting your picture, thus gaining your business more exposure.
Geotags are another form of tagging that pinpoints a photo’s location. If you post pictures of your business with the geotag on it, you can advertise where your business is located. Many people search location tags so this could give your posts more engagements.
#Hashtags are used constantly on Twitter, and now even Facebook. They act as a way to promote certain words or phrases, and can help your account reach more people. However, be conscious of the amount of hashtags you use per picture. Some accounts try to use every possible hashtag in order to gain more exposure, but it makes their post look messy and distracts from the picture. Instead, be aware of popular hashtags and try to incorporate those into your posts. If your company uses the same hashtags on Facebook or Twitter, try to incorporate that into your posts as well, so you have some consistency across all of your social media accounts.
Likes & Comments are another great way to engage with others. By engaging in this way, it shows that you are interested in other’s passions and what they have to say. They will also be more likely to engage with your photos as well.
Editing Your Pictures
Once you begin posting more often, start to pay attention to the photos you’re producing. Since this medium is mostly visual, you want to take extra time to make your posts stand out. There are countless numbers of photo editing apps and filters that you can download in order to improve your pictures. Some of my favorites include: Snapseed (@snapseed_app), Afterlight (@afterlight), and VSCO (@vsco). These apps allow you to adjust the photo as well as add filters onto the picture. And although it may be fun to edit your photos, be wary of over-editing them, and just keep them simple.
Below is an example of some of the tools Snapseed provides. I took this photo of Ashebrooke and used the app to adjust some of the lighting and colors in the picture. The result makes this photo look more professional and vibrant, two things that can help attract more people to your account.
If you want to learn about making your pictures look more professional, check out this Huffington Post article by Kyli Singh (@kylisingh): http://huff.to/1PLDat2
What to Post & When
As I mentioned before, the content of your account is crucial to establishing your business on Instagram. Some companies consist solely of pictures that promote their company or their services in some way. Other accounts also incorporate fun images that may not necessarily relate to their business. Having a healthy balance of both types of pictures can make your account stand out from your competitors.
Deciding when to post your pictures is also very important, as it can determine how many people engage with your photo. Posting pictures in the early morning or evening may not receive as many engagements because most people will not be checking Instagram. Using the site Iconosquare, you can figure out the best time of the day for you to post depending on when your followers engage the most.
Don’t Forget the Caption
While Instagram is more visually based, do not overlook the caption. This is where you include the tags, hashtags, and description of the post. While captions shouldn’t be intricate paragraphs explaining every detail of the picture, utilize it as a way to give updates about your business. Even adding an inspirational quote that reflects your personal or business goals would work well.
As long as you are consistent and stay true to your brand, your Instagram following will progress naturally. Nobody gets a 100 followers overnight, and not every post will result in hundreds of likes. Just keep posting and sharing your passion with others.
Let us know some your thoughts about Instagram below in the comments. What do you use it for? Tell us some of your favorite things about it and how it’s helped your business.