Instagram continues to be a shining star in the world of social media. Boasting an extensive fan following from around the globe, it has proven itself highly valuable for some businesses, particularly local ones. Large chunks of traffic are driven towards the business, boosting customer engagement while significantly magnifying and bolstering brand recognition.
Here are nine ways of taking full advantage of Instagram to see your business grow like a vine.
1. Build Powerful Relationships With Instagram For Business:
Download the Instagram app on your smartphone. Next, work on a strategy for using Instagram – set out goals and how you’re going to achieve them.
Thoroughly explore the Instagram for Business blog to get ideas and tips for best practices when it comes to strategy implementation. See how the interface works – the diverse photo filters on offer, hashtags and mentions, for example.
Once you have a good idea about how it all comes together, you can start working on great content that awes and engages target audiences.
2. Optimize Your Profile
You’re not going to get much attention on Instagram unless you have a winning profile. Here’s what you need to do:
- Your Instagram handle should always tie in with your brand name and/or service.
- When creating a business profile, your best bet is to use your company logo as the profile image. For a perfectly proportional square shape, the dimensions should be 180 by 180 (pixels).
- Always put your business web address in the URL section; there’s a good chance Instagram will block a shortened URL. Take measures to make sure traffic generated on Instagram goes right back to your blog or website. In this example, you can see how Quoteistan showcases their main asset while providing a link to their main site in the first half of the page.
- The profile description should be kept short and original – you get just 150 characters to make an expression. Keep the buzzword business phrases aside, and rely on relevant keywords only.
- It’s always good practice to add subtle watermarking to your logo – this is a great way to boost your brand profile.
3. Use Ultra-high Quality Images Which Resonate With Your Business
Instagram followers absolutely love photos. Businesses quick to respond with crisp and high resolution emotion-filled photos of their products, employees and business in general, are able to unleash the visual power Instagram offers. This eventually drives the desire to purchase.
When considering what kind of photos to take, you might want to consider how you can give customers a sneak peak of an upcoming product. Perhaps a few “behind the scenes” shots so customers get to know the company and its employees.
Always ask yourself what the photo post might mean for the customer, as opposed to looking at it from a business perspective only. Rely on images to tell a compelling story that also inspires – it’s important to strike a good balance between fun and more business-like photos, try not to share too much though. On Instagram, quality always overrules quantity.
Even though it’s key to have your brand take center stage in these photos, it might pay to experiment with photos that give people a glimpse into the personal life of a manager or CEO. For example, you might dress up in casuals, and have a photo taken of yourself while waiting in line outside a busy restaurant. People are quick to relate to that and enjoy taking peeks into people’s lives outside of the office or business.
4. Make the Most of Hashtags
Unlike Twitter or Facebook, where links are encouraged, Instagram filters out all the clutter by refusing to link up URLs in comments and descriptions.
Instagram encourages hashtags, which are very important as far as connecting followers with your brand’s main marketing strategy is concerned. But, how do you gain followers?
Start by tapping into well-known hashtags like #FollowFriday, #ThrowBackThursdays or #Latergram. Next, use hashtags to establish a vital link between consumers and your brand. Up to 30 hashtags can be added to a photo.
Instagram hashtags have the potential to boost your following dramatically, particularly if you incorporate trending hashtags like the examples above, which can make your posting highly consistent. People are always willing to click these hashtags just to see photos of participants.
5. Seek Targeted Followers, Engage, Follow Back
Smartphone users are already thrilled about having access to Instagram. However, the profiles feature also lets you reach out to laptop and desktop PC users. Why not add them also to your group of followers? Let audiences in on the human aspect of your brand – tell your story with images to give them an up close and personal look.
If you happen to be a retail business, you can certainly reward followers with promos and discount codes. This is an effective way of getting more people to join you not only on Instagram but also your brand in general, which will have a favorable impact on sales. You could keep your audience engaged by regularly posting stuff about shoes, clothes or whatever it is you’re selling, and offer promo codes.
Before you know it, you’ll have a highly active following, as customers post likes and comments that can reach hundreds and thousands of prospective audiences.
Another way to engage followers is by holding contests they can participate in. Photo contests are easy to plan; just ask your followers to use a specific hashtag when they post photos, and you can pick the winners.
To make customers feel really wanted, you can feature them on your site. It turns out that customers, at times turn out to be some of the best brand ambassadors. Share photos of your customers’ experience and your followers will be really excited to see you from a different perspective, for a change. When you’re sharing these images, always keep in mind the underlying brand values.
Stay connected with your audiences, and you will reap the fruits, in addition to improving your social media presence and reputation.
6. Organize and Promote Photo/video Contests on FB and Twitter
One of Instagram’s best features is that it lets users edit photos by adding frames and filters. Users can even edit and upload videos, making it THE social network of choice for folks who like to capitalize on their creative prowess.
You can also monitor entries through hashtags, and photos can be shared on popular social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. These photos reach all your followers.
Here’s what you should do: host photo contests and use hashtags to organize submissions. An RSS feed will help you follow along as new photos are added. For example, Samsung Camera used #LiveInTheMoment to promote their Instagram photo contest on Facebook.
7. Upload Brand Videos – Embed in Your Website, Blog, Guest Post Etc.
Since it is not possible to know who’s viewing your shares on a social sharing platform, embedding your Instagram brand videos in your website or blog can greatly extend the reach of your identity and content.
Check out these detailed instructions to do it the right way.
8. Analyze Brands in Your Industry
It’s practically a no-brainer that you should be following companies and individuals that interest you as far as business goes. Look for brands, celebrities, artists, photographers, hobbyists, anybody at all that appeals to you or who have similar business interests.
Find brands working in the same industry as yours. Follow them. See how they engage their audiences and try to pick up as much as you can from them. You should also be following business partners and companies you’re affiliated with. Not only does it display support and camaraderie, but also lets you see what kind of business practices they are employing.
9. Share Your Company’s On-goings
Instagram is a brilliant way of letting existing and prospective customers take a peek into your day-to-day business operations and achievements. It allows them to see your personality in the flesh, while building long-term business relationships with you.
Post photos of your staff, share comments or other random happenings around the workplace to give people an idea of the work culture in your business. Let people know whose birthday is coming up, talk about which employee came up with the next brilliant idea, share milestones etc., you get the idea.
And here are some great tools to ensure your Instagram’s marketing success:
- Pic Deck
Is there any tip or tool that I missed out? And how does your business succeed on Instagram? Let’s talk about it in the comment section.