The Instagram Guide
Instagram is an incredibly popular photo and video sharing social networking site that allows its users to upload digital media and share it on other social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Users can comment on posted video and photos, as well as ‘favorite’ the picture. The more ‘favorites’ a picture or video has the higher in the rankings it will show. This spells critical exposure for your business, so selecting what to post is important.
How many users does Instagram actually have, though?
1. Instagram has 130 million active monthly users and growing.
2. Users have uploaded over 16 billion photos since its launch in 2010.
3. Users ‘favorite’ 1 billion+ posts each day.
Instagram is a force to be reckoned with, and you should make it a key component of your social media marketing strategy.
- The first thing you must do, of course, is set up a business account:
- Use a business name that clearly represents your brand.
- Add the basics: profile photo, biography and a link to your website.
- Connect your account to your other social media accounts, such as Facebook, through the ‘Edit’ section of your account. This will provide a direct link to those accounts, and photos and videos you post to Instagram will appear on those sites as well.
This is an important step in your overall strategy, so do it right away.
Once you have connected your accounts, connect your followers by using the ‘Find Friends’ feature. This creates a news story for anyone who is both a follower on your other social media accounts and has connected their accounts with your Instagram page.
** Notify your followers that you are on Instagram and provide them with your Instagram name.
Set up is fairly straightforward, but use it to your advantage by completing all information possible. An incomplete profile never looks good for a business.
Now, here are some specific strategies you can use on Instagram to advance your social media presence:
Display pictures of your products. If you don’t sell anything, upload photos of your employees at work, or pictures of the equipment you use to get the job done. Showing action shots of how your work is performed gives your followers an exclusive inside peek into your business which, of course, adds to the sense of community and customer loyalty you are trying to build.
Are you relocating or expanding your business? Let your followers know by posting shots of your new building, or action shots of the actual move. Since you can caption the photos, it will be obvious to your followers what the pictures are about.
Tie this together with a Google+ event and you have a great example of cross-platform exposure.
Are you having a birthday party for a staff member? Post a picture of the event. Candid office photos really add to your image as a business that isn’t simply interested in selling your products.
Consider introducing your employees. Show individual photos of your staff members to put an intimate face on your business.
Everyone likes animal pictures, so why not upload photos of your pets, and maybe those of your employees?
Promote photo sharing contests. Ask users to upload theme-based pictures (ex: funniest way to use your product) and provide them with a hashtag. Engage followers by asking them to vote for their favorite, and offer a prize to the winner. Keep their attention by including discount promotion codes in the descriptions of some of your photos.
If you have a customer who has given you a positive response to your product or service, ask them if they would consider giving you a testimonial. It has to be short, but if you can get it done and upload it, their video review will have more power than any written testimonial.
Use hashtags: Instagram is easily searchable, so utilize it. When you post pictures, insert hashtags into the picture descriptions, such as #Mustang or #coldbeer. Whatever it is you’re showing in the product or service-related photo you are posting, you should maximize the exposure potential by using as many hashtags as you deem necessary.
Instagram is very user-friendly and you can connect your images to any other social media sites where you have accounts.
So, definitely use Instagram as part of your social media marketing strategy.