With over 100 million monthly active users and 40 million photos being uploaded everyday we can no longer ignore the social photo giant, Instagram. It is a social media powerhouse and while it is may not be the best for driving traffic back to your site, it has a myriad of other benefits that we shouldn't ignore.
No matter what kind of business you have, Instagram can help your branding initiatives as well as bring in new customers and keep current customers happy and active. Because the entry level for Instagram is so low, (phone & camera and a pointer finger) it is a quick win. And never forget that a picture is worth 1,000 words.
Why is it good for your business
1. Create Personality
Instagram allows you to create a personality for your business. You can take pictures of your work space, of events happening in the office, sales you are having, new merchandise that just arrived, or even the outside view. Whatever you fancy. Just make sure it gives viewers an inside look to what your business is about and who is behind the business.
2. Build Trust
It builds trust, especially in an online world. As we progress into a world where more and more of interactions are based online people are seeking person to person contact. By showing your smiling face in the form of a picture your customer knows you are a legit business with live bodies behind it. If you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is also a good way to get some face time in.
3. Create Community
Instagram allows you to create a community around pictures and your products. I have mentioned this in a previous post and I'll say it again here. Instagram is a thriving community but also an open community. People are sharing things from places to products and everything in between. It is not uncommon for a new person to comment on a photo of yours. You might even wonder how they found you. Embrace it! This is what this community is about and hell, it's a good thing!
4. Unique Content
Instagram gives you a unique opportunity to create content for the Instagram community. Through the use of hashtags, many people and brands are creating exclusive experiences on Instagram. You can do this for your business as well. Create a hashtag and encourage your customers (likely they are on Instagram) to get involved. If you are a pool builder, for example, promote the use of a hashtag like #mydreampool. You'd be surprised to see how many people get involved. And you never know, one of those hashtaggers might become your new customer.
How to gain a following on Instagram
1. Start snapping.
The first rule for any social network is to start doing it! That's often times the hardest obstacle. I don't want to hear that you're a bad photographer either. No one is a bad photographer.
2. Use hashtags .
Hashtags are how people find you so make sure they count. Some good hashtags that you can use on every photo are #instagood and #photooftheday. I have experimented with this and noticed my pictures got more likes when I added these hashtags. Use hashtags that include your brand or product name, but also hashtags that are relevant to your industry. If you are posting a picture of your amazing business lunch, #foodporn is always a good one.
3. Search hashtags.
The hashtags you search should be ones that are relevant to your business or product. If you are a hair dresser, a good hashtag to search might be #braid. You can comment on the pics you like and most likely they will come and check your photos out as well. If they like what they see, you are likely to have a new follower.
4. Search for your business or product.
This comes in handy as a local business. Once you find your brand or business make sure to like the photo and leave a comment. Once you find your exact location make sure you comment on those photos and invite them back.
Connect your photos to a location when it makes sense. You don't have to do this every time, but you should definitely do it if you have a local business.
6. Social Promotion
Promote your Instagram page on your website, in your shop, and on your social media channels. Share your photos when you post them on Twitter and your Facebook business page. This is an easy one. No excuses.
7. Have fun.
The more authentic your photos are, they better they will do. This is true on all social media.
8. Have patience.
As with any social network, you are not likely to be famous overnight. But slowly and steadily you'll be quite happy with your progress.
Have any questions? Talk to us. We manage Instagram accounts as well! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you have any other tips you'd like to add? Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts.