With more than 400M active accounts, Instagram is without a question a powerful social media tool. Businesses of all sizes are utilizing this visually captivating platform to build their brand and target their community online. Instagram users are key demographics for advertising - according to Pew Research, 55% of Millennials use Instagram.
Instagram is a visual storytelling platform. So, if a picture is worth 1000 words than what better way to tell your story? Instagram’s design is simplistic and is a bit more personal than any other social media platform therefore it resonates with users on a deeper level. If your business has the ability to be visually appealing and your target demographic is likely to be on Instagram, it’s time to join.
1) Create an Instagram account
Sign up using either your email address or linking it through your Facebook account. It’s recommended to link your account through your Facebook profile as all of your Facebook contacts will get a notification that you have joined and will help you start your following.
When picking your username try and use your business name and if not, a version of it so that it’s easy for people to find and remember you.
2) Create a bio
This is your opportunity to describe what your business is all about in a few simple lines. Make sure to include your location, website and upload a profile picture that effectively displays your business, be it your logo or product. Finally make your profile “Public” so that people can see/find you.
3) Build a portfolio
It’s time to put up some photos. Now, it’s important to consider the types of photos you want to display and to ensure that the photos you do use are of great quality. Making your account visually appealing is all about finding ways to depict your brand’s personality and products that will get people to stop scrolling and look. It’s best to have a handful of photos on your profile before you build your following so that when people come to your page they have something to look and a reason to follow you. Don’t post any photo just because. It’s better to post no photo than a bad one so take the time to take a bunch of good quality photos to get your profile started. Try a mix of content that combines different elements of your business so that you can adequately showcase your business in a glance. Having a theme helps to make your photos recognizable to your followers and gets them familiar with your business. Instagram comes with built-in filters and photo editing tools that can help enhance your photos. Play around with them and find the look and feel that’s right for your style.
4) Caption your photo
The caption is just as important as the photo. Describing your content provides context and can offer your audience additional information that may not be offered in the photo alone. Different lengths work for different audiences however, we find that simplicity works best. You can ask questions to engage people as well. Basically, use captions as a way to keep your audience interested once they’ve stopped scrolling.
5) Choose your Hashtags
When you post a photo it’s important to use hashtags. Hashtags are used on Instagram to categorize photos and make it easier for users to find all content related to a given topic. Not sure what to hashtag? Think of hashtags that would be relevant to your business, products, industry, location and the photos that you are posting. For instance if you are a café and you posted a photo of coffee, hashtags you could use would be #coffee #cafe #vancouver #local. Try and limit your hashtags to the most relevant as too many hashtags can often be seen as spammy. Do some research and look up different hashtags in your search bar under “tags” to see what type of content comes up to find the ones that best suit your business.
6) Build a following
Reach out to your friends, followers on different platforms and current customer base. Let them know you’re now on Instagram and invite them to follow you with the link to your profile. You can search and follow people around you by looking through “places” in your search bar and checking out photos taken around you. Make sure your location settings on turned on for the app in your phone’s settings to do this. Find someone with photos that are similar to yours (maybe your competition?) and start following the followers of that account. They’ll get a notification saying that you’re now following them and many of them will check out your profile.
7) Engage with other users
Comment and like on users you’d like to follow you. Keep it genuine and don’t use this as an opportunity to promote your business as this will be seen as spam and people won’t want follow or worse block/report you. Review Instagram’s user guidelines here.
8) Post regularly
Maintain a rhythm for posting so that people don’t forget about you and so that they stay engaged. At the same time, you don’t want to be posting too often. There’s nothing worse than sharing multiple photos at once. This will take up a lot of space in the feed of your followers and will irritate them. Remember quality beats quantity.
9) Mind your manners
Responding to questions, comments and saying thanks goes a long way. Being nice will make you stand out and will build lasting relationships with your insta-community. If you find pictures of your business online and want to use it you can “repost” it onto your own account. It’s always best to ask the user first by commenting on their photo. Once you have the OK to post it, make sure to always credit the photo and tag the user by including their @username in your caption and/or photo.
To learn more about using Instagram for Business, you can browse through their easy to use website - Instagram for Business.