Instagram for Business
As a social media-marketing consultant I LOVE social media. Having worked for many years in PR during the late 90s and into the noughties I think the evolution of platforms that allow businesses to really speak to and engage with their customers is just fantastic.
Column inches are all good and well but social media is about conversations and getting to know our ‘friends’ and ‘followers.’
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google +, Snapchat……the list of social media platforms continues to grow but the relatively new kid on the block that I’m excited about is Instagram.
Instagram was launched in 2010 – within 2 years it had gained 100 million active users and that number today is around the 400 million mark.
Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 for a cool $1billion and reports state that in 2013, Instagram grew by 23%, while Facebook, as the parent company, only grew by 3%.
So, you get the picture – Instagram is huge!
But what exactly is it and how can it work for your business?
Start by asking yourself this question. If you could express your business visually, what would you create?
Instagram is all about beautiful images and videos and it is a platform that allows you to tell the story of your business, visually.
Instagram is about story telling and it is about brand building.
It’s not right for every business – an accountancy firm, a solicitor a virtual assistant (even a marketing consultant like me!) will find it hard to share their message in a purely visual way but for clients I work with who have a visual message (life coaches for example) or a product to sell (clothing, cars) Instagram is a must!
Stats show that the biggest age group of Instagram users is 16-24 with the 24-34 year old range not far behind…. So it is a young platform. Does this fit with your target audience?
An Instagram Success Story
There are businesses that have pretty much ‘made’ themselves thanks to Instagram. One example is Luxury Lounge Wear by JAYDE @JaydeLJeffries. Jayde has over 24,000 followers and has appeared in the media citing Instagram as a major player in the growth of her fashion business.
Are you tempted to get set up? Go for it, it’s quick and easy.
Keep your account name simple and brand specific. Tie your account name as closely to your business as possible. Your profile picture will be small! 150×150 on most mobile devices so think simple.
Instagram is all about the image but captions are important too. Do use hashtags but aim for a maximum of 3 per picture. Try different lengths of caption but shorter with a click through is best. Ask questions of your followers to encourage interaction and engagement and include web links for more information.
Don’t just post your own pictures – engage with those who comment on your images and also comment on others and tag places and people where relevant.
Filters look amazing on Instagram – mix up how your images look and consider video amongst your stills. Video can be very powerful on Instagram – keep them short and sweet, the first 10 seconds will hook your audience so get it right!!
Before you dash off to get set up……start planning!
As with all social media marketing it is vital to have a plan. Think about your Instagram strategy and how does it fit in with the rest of your marketing?
Here’s our top 10:
- Plan! Plan! Plan!
- Balance ‘fun’ posts with ‘sales’ posts
- Engage with others
- Follow your followers back
- Use filters on your images
- Picture competitions that tie into your business work well on Instagram
- Use #hashtags. A good place to start are the most used ‘days of the week’ hashtags. #mondayfunday #tuesdaytreat #waybackwednesday #throwbackthursday #followfriday #selfiesaturday #selfiesunday
- Reward followers with special offers
- Go Behind the scenes of your business
- Offer exclusive news
As with all marketing activity it’s important to evaluate and measure activity. It’s fairly simple with Instagram, keep track of:
- You can measure engagement by dividing likes/comments by follower count
- Use Google Analytics to measure click throughs to your website
“The essence of social media is knowing your audiences and engaging them in something they love” Unknown