The Business Owner’s Guide to Instagram

Posted on December 5, 2012 
Filed Under Advertising, Brand Building, Content Marketing Strategy, General, instagram, Internet Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Networking, Social Networks

There is a reason why big companies are using Instagram to spread the word about their business; it’s working for them! You can make it work for you too, if you do it the right way.

Instagram

Today we will talk about a few steps you can take to give Instagram your best shot, by creating a win-win-win situation for you, your potential customers and Instagram itself. You wouldn’t want to miss out on 80 million potential customers, would you?

Be social

Social Media and SEORemember that Instagram is much more than a place where you can upload pictures. It’s a social platform. It’s meant for you to interact with other people – a photo that someone uploaded made you giggle? Leave a comment and say it (and Like it!).

Also, make sure to reply to the comments that people leave on your pictures, especially if they are reporting an issue that they are having with a service or product you provide. It’s very easy for people to start complaining about your product on any of their social accounts, and it can go viral if they mention that you’ve seen their complaint on your page, but have ignored it.

Social networks are the perfect place to show that you care about your customers and that you can make everyone happy (or at least try to!) and build trust amongst your followers.

Take people behind the scenes Behind the Scenes

I don’t know about you, but I always wonder what’s behind that “Staff Only” door EVERYTIME I see it – it doesn’t matter which company I go to. I know other people who do too. Chances are, it’s not just them and me. People are curious.

Snap a picture of the “Only Staff Members Allowed” room and share it with everyone. Selling a product? How about uploading a pic of the making of it? Show people your business from a completely different perspective. Some of them will love you just for that!

Create your own hashtag…& promote its use!

Creating HashtagThe generic hashtags are getting tired and old. Create your own; make it your “thing”. If you post cool pictures, people will start looking for your pictures by searching for your hashtag.

Give the users incentive to use your hashtag when sharing your pictures (or pictures of them using your product!). How? Maybe by offering a discount or free gift to each person who does. Some businesses have done it, and it works great!

This also allows you to monitor how much your brand is being shared and talked about (you can’t really do that if you use something generic).

Time your upload time your upload

Like uploading your photos right before bed after a long day at work? Don’t. Other people are going to bed too. Find some time to share your pictures at 5 or 6 p.m. (your local time).

These are not just numbers thrown out there like that; studies have actually been made! It makes sense though; many people check their social accounts right after work. By catching them at this time, you will increase your chances of generating more likes, comments and shares.

Get creative

Be CreativeWhile posting what’s behind the “Staff Only” door is a cool idea, doing it everyday is a less cool one, right? So, what else can you post? If you have image editing skills, try to add some effects to your pictures (and go beyond what Instagram allows you to do).

Bypass the typical square shape that Instagram gives to your pictures. How? By adding 2 stripes of white line at the top and bottom or left and right of your picture. Make sure to do that only once in a while, else that will get boring too!

Instagram Photos

Did you ever see those “text images”? I never got the point of this, but it works on me; I always go and check the picture out. These are the images that have a white background and black text on them (or vice-versa).

Text images instagram

To wrap it up

As you can see, social marketing is really more “social” than “marketing”. This is the right way to do it. Businesses that just do heavy promotions simply lose their followers over time, simply because people go on social networks to have a good time, and not to be presented with offers all the time.

Instagram is one of the many networks that you can promote your business on, but it certainly is one of the most visual ones (together with Pinterest and YouTube) – you may want to start using your camera more often for this one!


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