There are over 400 million active users on Instagram each month (over 20% of internet users). It’s a great way to connect and engage with your customers. Knowing how to use this app for marketing purposes (Social Media Optimisation) can help to increase customer engagement, brand awareness and generate online sales.
But how is it done?
Isn’t it enough to make a business account and post a few relevant photos every now and again?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. To give you a helping hand, we put Instagram under the DMM (Digital Marketing Microscope) to find out exactly what works for businesses…and what doesn’t.
15 Tips to Use Instagram for Business
1. Get the Basics Right
Before diving into the deep end you need to make sure your account uses an appropriate username. If your brand name is already taken, don’t lose hope. Choose an alternative that links to your business. Don’t forget to include a descriptive bio and a link to your main website. A branded photo is another necessity. Connect your Instagram account to your Facebook Business page to get the best out of both worlds.
2. Don’t forget to use Hashtags (#)
Hashtags may originate from Twitter, but Instagram has perfected the use of hashtags for business and marketing purposes. The good news is that there is no character count limit, so you can use as many hashtags as you like. Don’t overdo it though!
3. Brand Specific Hashtags
There’s no point throwing out just any old hashtag. Use relevant and brand specific hashtags to target the right audience. Try using your company’s name as a hashtag to get people talking about your brand. It’s also a good idea to use different tags for individual marketing campaigns. This will help to promote your business.
4. Jump on the Hashtag Contest Bandwagon
In addition to using trending hashtags to stimulate traffic flow, users can take advantage of Instagram’s Hashtag contests. This involves starting a hashtag trend where your followers upload photos with a specific hashtag. These contest entries are then displayed in a type of photo gallery to help you vote for your favourite entry. It’s a great way to encourage viewers to engage with your brand. You can also offer an award to the lucky winner.
5. Engage with your Followers
If you’re followers aren’t engaging with your posts as much as you’d like, consider making the first move. Share your followers posts and photos posted on your own social networking sites. This shows that you have not only seen their posts, but you appreciate the time they have taken to engage with your brand.
6. Like, Comment and Respond!
Nobody likes to be ignored. Turning a blind eye to your followers is a huge mistake. Make sure to pay close attention and acknowledge your customers by liking their photos, commenting on related product photos and responding to any comments left on your photos or posts. This shows your customers that they are important to you and it also raises your credibility as a trusted brand.
7. Post Creative Photos
Take advantage of Instagram’s creative features. Enhance photos by experimenting with different angles, lighting techniques and filters. Update your account with creative photographs to grab people’s attention and encourage them to double tap your pics.
8. Use Videos to Entice Viewers
Learning how to use Instagram for business means making the most out of both photo posts and video updates. Instagram allows users to post 15 second videos. This is a great way to showcase your business in a new light. Make product videos of your products or services in use to share with your followers.
9. Make it Personal
People trust businesses with personality. Post uplifting and laid-back videos of your staff members to make them seem more real. Customers like people they can relate to. You don’t want your business to look as though it is a building of lifeless robots – make your Instagram posts personal to generate interest.
10. Use Instagram to Create Pre-Launch Momentum
Before launching a new product, Instagram is a great way to build excitement and momentum. Release tease videos with sneak peek glimpses into the new release.
11. Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions
Get people talking about your products or services by asking insightful questions. Find out what customers think about your products by asking them when was the last them they used your product and ask them to post a photo of it in use etc.
12. Host Events
You can use Instagram for Business by spreading word about an upcoming event. For example, hosting an Instagram meet-up can help engage your customers with your brand even further. This is also a great way to meet potential customers. Don’t forget to promote a hashtag for any events hosted by your business.
13. Keep your Updates Consistent
Make sure that your Instagram for business account is updated with posts on a consistent basis. Don’t let it gather dust. Even if you don’t have many followers, it’s better to keep posting to build brand awareness.
14. Monitor Results
You can use analytic tools to monitor your Instagram results and progress. This will help you to keep track of likes, comments, followers and the overall effect of your Instagram account.
15. Stay Alert
Instagram for Business trends come and go as fast as lightning. A post can go viral in just a few minutes which is why it is important to keep on top of these new and exciting trends while they last. Improve your posts as your follower base grows and don’t be afraid to try new and creative ways to connect with your followers.
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