Using Instagram for business

I’ve been using Instagram for a few years now and I love it! Although since I’ve had kids, I don’t feel the urge to Instagram my life as much as I used to (who needs to see me covered in milk, pureed vegetables and goodness knows what else!) Anyhoo… I’ve been looking into how I can use Instagram for the blog and have found a few really good tips that I thought I would share with you today. Firstly, you may need to explain to your Executive why Instagram is a good social media platform to use for business but once you get over that hurdle there are a lot of benefits. Let me give you a few reasons you can fire at them…

  • There are over 500 million users on Instagram (more than Twitter) and the majority are active on the platform
  • 70% of users have at some point looked up a brand on Instagram and 62% follow a brand because they like the content being posted
  • There is no hard sell required on Instagram. If users like the images being posted they will soak up the sales messages.
  • Here is a quote from Mike Hayes, Digital Marketing Manager of Ben & Jerry’s: “Since its launch, Instagram has provided us with an amazing platform to connect with our fans and tell our story visually.” 

So where do we start with Instagram..?

Here is a great overview of how to set up your Instagram account for business. There are the obvious tips like – set up a separate business account rather than a personal account, connect all of your social media channels so that your followers can see all of your content and ensure you have the Instagram Analytics available to track your progress.

Once you have your business account set up the next step is to create a clear strategy. These are my Instagram goals for Practically Perfect PA:

  • To showcase our events
  • To raise awareness of the blog
  • To build the Practically Perfect PA community
  • Share news and updates

I would image your business would have similar goals for their marketing activities. If you are looking after your business social media or your Executive’s it is important that you come up with objectives for using the platform, what you want your Instagram account to look like and the content you will publish. It is also really important that you understand the type of audience you will attract on Instagram. For example, roughly half of internet-using young adults ages 18-29 (53%) use Instagram and 25% of 30-49 year olds use it. That is a young audience – but one that might stick with your brand for years to come if they like what they see.

Instagram tips

After lots of reading, this is what I have learnt about Instagram for business and how to make the most of the platform:

  • Like any social media platform your biography / description is the first introduction to the brand so make the most of this space. Most business’s include their slogan and a brief description.
  • Your profile picture should make it very obvious who you are. Most business’s use their logo. I would suggest you do the same.
  • You are only allowed to use one link on Instagram so that tends to be the business homepage. You can change this if you have a big campaign or product you are promoting.
  • What should you post about? This is the tricky part of Instagram and it really depends on your Organisation and its culture. Some brands focus solely on their products, others like to include pictures of their staff and activities within the business. This will have to be decided by you and your Executive. I’ve noticed the brands that use Instagram really well post a mixture of content including: behind the scenes images, product demos, fun images and inspirational quotes, visuals showing the human side of the business, customer stories and testimonials.
  • What should your pictures look like? The best thing about Instagram is that you can add filters, play around with the composition and generally make a picture look much better than the original. In everything I’ve read the general advice is – don’t post rubbish pictures. Try to make them look as good as possible and ensure your audience can see what you have actually taken a picture of!
  • You can add a caption with every image that you post on Instagram so again this is a space that can connect you with your audience. You can use 2,200 characters. But, most marketing experts suggest no more than three lines.
  • Instagram use hashtags in the same way that Twitter does. You can search for any subject via a hashtag and you will see all of the content related to that subject. Do your research on this one. What hashtags are your competitors using?
  • With everything social media related, consistency is key. Include information on how many times you are going to post into Instagram in your content plan. You can now use Hootsuite to schedule your posts in advance.
  • Remember to follow others, your clients, customers and colleagues. Following other people and liking their content is the key to increasing your followers.
  • You can also post short videos on Instagram. Having a mixture of visuals will help keep your audience engaged.

So these are the tips that I have picked up while sorting out my Instagram platform. I will let everyone know once I go live with it! In the meantime if you would like to know about Instagram for business, check out this great article from Social Media Examiner.

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