Using Instagram for businesses
You may know Instagram because your teenager uses it to post selfies, but did you know many businesses also use it as a marketing platform? We explain what type of businesses should use Instagram, and how small businesses can use the social media platform to their advantage. And don’t worry, there is no need to post any selfies!
Quick Instagram facts
Instagram is a mobile app and website on which you can share digital photos and videos. Images can be edited with a variety of filters on the app.
Instagram has grown dramatically over the last few years, and now has 400 million users worldwide. It is most popular with young adults (18-29) who use it to connect to each other by posting photos. Businesses use it as a creative and engaging tool to connect with their (potential) customers.
You can use the app to follow other users and see their updates in your newsfeed. You can like and comment on a picture from another user or company.
What businesses use Instagram
As Instagram is a photo-sharing app, businesses who sell visual products or services are more naturally apt for it. If you fall into one of the following categories, you should definitely think about setting up an account:
- Gifts and gadgets
- Nature and animals
Even if your business doesn’t fall into these categories, you can still use Instagram. Take a look at the image of General Electric’s Instagram. This company doesn’t necessary sell visual products, but has gained a large following because of its inspiring content and great photography.
Get an Instagram following
To grow your online presence on Instagram, you need to build up followers. This will require a little legwork! If you do all of the below, you will be surprised by how quickly your following on Instagram will expand.
- Strategy: Firstly, you need to think about your strategy for using the platform. What are you looking to get out of Instagram? Do you want to attract new customers, do you want to promote services, or do you want to inform about your products or services? Once your goal is clear, all your content should be linked to this objective.
- Cross-promotion: The easiest way to gain more followers is to add a link to your Instagram on your other social media and website.
- Follow: It’s important to follow users that have followed you, to engage with them. You should also follow current clients and others in your industry.
- Hashtags: Search for hashtags that are relevant to your industry. Comment on these photos and follow people who engage with these uploads. Use relevant hashtags when you upload pictures.
- Engage: Once you get followers, make sure to engage with them by following them back and replying to their comments on your images.
The type of pictures businesses upload
Post photos that fit well with your brand and show your audience what they want. Here are a few examples of images you could upload:
- Process: Humans are curious beings and we love to know how things are made. A picture of how a stone is set in a ring, or a composition of ingredients for your famous recipes give an insight into your business.
- Product: See Instagram as your online window shop. You can show off your products in action or give your followers a sneak peek into your new collection. Make sure the composition is just right, play around with backgrounds, colours and the filters available on the app.
- People: Add pictures of happy customers with their new haircut or finished kitchen. If you pride your business for being personal, you can also share pictures and information of your employees. Your customers may be pleased to hear that one of your employees just got engaged!
When posting, don’t forget to cross-post them to Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. Use hashtags relevant to the image and your industry to reach even more followers.
Engage your Instagram followers
Once you have a group of followers, you should make sure they know you appreciate them. Share some secrets, like a special deal that’s only available with a code you share on Instagram.
And who doesn’t like to win something? You might not be able to give away a cash prize like Starbucks, but a special deal or small free product are great prizes too.
You could open a contest by asking users to comment on your photo, share it, mention a friend or share their own photo of them using your products. Users taking part in your contest will show this in their timeline, and their followers might also want to join in the fun!
Make sure to link to the competition on your other social media, your website and mention it to your customers, to get more people to follow you on Instagram.
We hope you now know the basics of Instagram, and how you can use it to help your business grow its online presence.
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