10 tips on how to use Instagram for your business
Are you wondering if Instagram can be a tool to improve your customers’ satisfaction? Have you ever considered to create an account of your brand on Instagram to make yourself visible to new markets and intercept potential new customers? Learning how to use Instagram to do it is easy.
How can you start? You just have to create an account (preferably with the same name used for your business profile on Twitter and Facebook), add a profile picture (in the case of a corporate account it’s your company logo) and link to your company web-site , then connect your account to Facebook and first of all let your followers know that they can follow you also on Instagram.
It’s what comes after that is a problem for many companies. How to behave on Instagram? Which photos is it possible to post? How often? Are hashtags really necessary? And how do I get new followers?
Here I give you some simple tips on how to make the most of your business presence on Instagram.
1. Balance funny pictures with pictures of your business
Take advantage of the wide visibility that Instagram gives you to tell a story with pictures or videos. Alternate funny pictures with pictures referring to your business activities or events you’re taking part in.
A winning idea is that of showing the preparation phases of a dish or an event, or pictures of your employees at work: this not only helps showing the backstage of your business, but it’s also a good way to celebrate your staff and show them how much you take them into account.
Integrate pictures that show the human side of your business to create stronger connections with your followers. Don’t forget to track the engagement of your pictures to find out what your follower like most: to do it switch to the business profile of your Instagram account that makes available also statistics (insights).
2. Use proper hashtags
Post pictures and add hashtags – that is keywords – that describe as specifically as possible what they represent besides popular hashtags in reference to your industry (if you’re wondering whether hashtags are necessary the answer is “yes, absolutely”!).
If you’re taking part into an event or you’re in a location with an official hashtag, it’s advisable to add it to your pictures so that the event coordinators and other participants can spot your pictures. The same if you’ve launched a campaign related to your business: create an original, intuitive and descriptive hashtag, at the same time not too long, and use it on all your social channels.
3. Make the most of interaction
The biggest dilemma about Instagram is obviously: how to get more followers? After linking your Facebook account, start following people who are already part of your network on other social media and add relevant hashtags that can intrigue and bring new followers. But unluckily this is not enough.
The algorithm of Instagram rewards very much interaction. The key issue is to create engagement: follow who follows you, comment and click the “I like” button on the pictures of the people you’re following and do the same with the pictures of people you are not yet in contact with: they could turn into new potential contacts/clients.
4. Follow your followers
People following you on the social platforms make the difference. Curiously, many companies on Instagram (especially those with a large number of followers) do not follow back and this is a bad example in terms of communication.
Don’t do it: show that you are open and communicative. To create strategic relationships on Instagram follow the brands and people/accounts you like and you share the same interests with (for instance if you have a hotel on the Alps it could be a good idea to follow the accounts of mountain or nature lovers).
Try to keep a balanced relation between the number of people/accounts following you (your “followers”) and the number of people/accounts you’re following (your “following”). If you have an account with 10,000 followers and 50 following or vice versa if you follow 10,000 accounts and only 50 are following you back, there is something wrong and you might arouse suspicion.
5. Create a flexible editorial plan
You don’t need to post on Instagram every day a hundred different pictures. Don’t post too much: if you post too many pictures or videos you could fill your followers’ feed too much and be perceived as a spammer (and you don’t want to look like a botherer right?).
Decide what you have ready to post and create a plan to help you remember what to post and when, besides tracking what receives more approval in your followers.
6. Take advantage of the App
There are many apps to improve your photo-sharing experience. On the Internet there are apps of every kind and for many different purposes, that allow the users to print pictures, look for tags and keywords, apply specific filters, resize pictures, subscribe to Instagram profiles by mail, download all your Instagram pictures in one single archive and much more.
Which apps to choose? The best ones are surely Snapfeed, Slow Shutter Cam, Photo Repost, Squaready, Tagstagram, Vsco Cam (but the list is constantly changing). Use these apps to make Instagram part of your social media marketing strategy.
7. Optimize your profile
The profiles in Instagram — like their counterparts on Twitter, Facebook and the other social platforms— need to include every information about your company clearly and exhaustively. So insert make sure to description, address, contacts (obviously your account picture should be your business logo) and commercial information (specifying if you’re a hotel, restaurant, shop, etc.).
Remember that for your business on Instagram it’s now possible to switch to a business profile with specific features for companies (to do it you have to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook page): functions include statistics and the possibility of a direct contact from users with the contact form.
But remember that your profile should be complete, descriptive but also eye-catching and attractive in order to immediately draw the attention of your potential followers. For instance, you can have the description on several lines managing the different lines simply logging in into your Instagram account from your computer.
8. Quantity vs quality
Do you want to know how is your company going on Instagram? There are specific tools for analysis of pictures like BlitzMetrics and Curalate which provide detailed data.
Curalate is able to track the likes of the Instagram posts and comments so that a brand can see how that popularity turns into new followers but also exploiting popularity.
Use insight tools to identify the pictures and videos which your fans and followers like most.
9. Shoot important moments of your brand
Companies on Instagram can share their experiences, highlight the brand advocates, have a preview of products or events, share important news, stimulate promotional awareness, make use of videos on Instagram for video promotion and creation that show how your fans appreciate you.
Catch important moments of your business with videos of 15-seconds and share them with your followers so that they can feel part of it.
10. Have fun!
If running a business requires care, sweat and sometimes tears too, it shouldn’t never be just work and no fun. Instagram is perfect to show funny moments in your office or when you’re out for dinner with your colleagues.
Sharing this kind of pictures it not only suggests that you do not take life too seriously (and therefore you’ll immediately be more likeable), but, first of all, that everyone has to be happy and, is possible, combine success and fun in his career. If you only talk about work issues your activity will make your activity look boring on Instagram.