How To Use Instagram for business
Since 2010, users have been uploading, editing and hash-tagging images to Instagram. The platform now has 600 million monthly active users (as of January 2019). Is your business tapping into this audience?
What it’s all about
Instagram was designed to be totally image based. At its time of launch, Twitter and Facebook dominated the social media world and both were text heavy. As the saying goes, an image speaks 1000 words and the creators of Instagram wanted to make the most of this.
As Twitter brought back the use of the hashtag (#), Instagram also took advantage of this rising symbol. Just like a tweet, if you want your images to be seen by more people, or you would like to categorise the update, you add a hashtag. Some of the most popular hashtags used on Instagram are; #food, #dog and #love
So, if you wanted to upload a picture of the Chai Tea Latte you could use the following hashtags in order to gain more likes, reach more people and attract new followers;
#coffee #tea #ChaiTeaLatte #Lancashire #break #metime – you get the idea! You can use up to 30 hashtags on any image or video, so there’s a huge selection of hashtags you can use.
It all started with square pictures. In fact, Instagram is probably the reason why you can take photographs in a square ratio on iPhones. When you uploaded your single image you can add filters, initially there were 12 to choose from. As the platform developed more and more features were added.
Fast forward 9 years and you can now add images in any ratio and edit them with over 50 different features and tools. The use of videos was introduced in 2013 to rival Vine, which was a huge success at the time. Sadly Vine ceased to exist soon after.
Insta Stories are one of the latest and most popular features. Designed to take on Snapchat, this feature allows users to upload an image or video that can only be seen for 24 hours! One of the most exciting features, especially for business owners is the ability to tag products.
The platform has been transformed but the initial design remains the same, it’s all image based!
How can I use Instagram for my business
Whether you sell products or services the chances are your target market is already using the platform as there are a huge amount of Instagram users. It’s popular with younger users but the number of users 40 years and over is growing!
If you sell products you can upload images and videos demonstrating the quality, features, size and benefits of the item. You can describe something in words or you can just show the product in action. An image will always be more eye-catching than a block of text.
Don’t worry if you don’t sell products. Service-based businesses do just as well online. You just have to get creative with your posts! Think outside the box and give your potential market a behind the scenes snapshot of the business. Profiling team members is a great way to give your audience an insight into your business, after all, people buy from people. Coffee is a very popular hashtag so share your coffee meetings, you don’t have to reveal the client (unless they want to be featured in your picture).
Take inspiration from other users, search relevant hashtags for your industry and gather some inspiration. One post a day is a good start but if you’re struggling for content, to begin with, try posting just three things a week. Once you are fully confident with your strategy, go pro and try posting four things a day!
It’s really important that you remember this is a social network, so be social! Search hashtags and locations to find new users. It’s a great way to grow your audience so aim to follow 10 new accounts every day.
Where to start
Start with your own personal account to become more accustom to the layout and navigation. Make your cat a model, show off your cooking skills and upload a picture or two. Experiment with all the filters and settings, many users will select a style which makes the images instantly recognisable. Add hashtags to your images and see which ones work, also make sure you search for new hashtags to gather new ideas.
Ultimately you can completely skip this experimental phase and just dive right into creating your business profile. You do get a few extra features with an Instagram Business Profile so it’s definitely worth setting this up. It allows you to add contact details, a website and an address. You can also link your Instagram Profile and Facebook Business Profile which is super convenient and a necessity if you wish to tag products into your images.
Make sure all the basics are in place. Add a profile picture, a good bio, correct contact details, the usual must-haves! You don’t have to use images shot on your mobile device, you can save professional pictures taken on an SLR to your phone and upload those. It’s a little extra effort but it’s a great way to ensure your images are crystal clear.
Add a relevant caption and then you can choose to add hashtags in the update or in the comments once the image is uploaded. This is also the point where you can send your pictures to multiple social networks, which is something to consider. It’s a great way of posting content to multiple platforms quickly and efficiently.
It’s important to be social! So aim to follow new users every day and make sure you engage with your followers. A like every once in a while will go a long way!
This is just a quick insight into Instagram. The theory is great but the best way to learn is to dive in there and try it yourself. Familiarise yourself with the navigation and become more accustom to the terminology in order to maximise the platform.
If you would like help to maximise your Instagram presence, don’t hesitate to get in touch. At Lucky 6 Marketing we offer bespoke training that can be tailored to your requirements. These half day sessions are hands on and intensive, we will even set targets for you and help to establish a content plan. But first, get stuck in and enjoy it!