Building Your Business Using Instagram

Instagram posts shouldn’t leave you squirming.

While most businesses have moved into the world of social media for marketing and brand awareness, this has largely been through the use of platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

instagramOne of the most under-utilized social media platforms for any small business is Instagram. This is an ideal platform to highlight products through the use of photos and videos, providing your target audience with images sent directly to their news feed. The videos can be up to a minute in length and there is the ability to edit photos or videos through the platform that is simple and intuitive to use.

Your target audience will not only be able to see your images and videos, but they can also follow you, tag and like photos, share photos and interact with. In addition, Instagram now includes stories, which are different from the posted pictures. These cannot be liked or commented on, but they include photos and videos that can include text, drawings and the use of different filters throughout the story. These only are available for 24 hours after posting, but they can be saved and reposted later. Get more info on stories through Social Media Examiner.

Your Profile

Unlike Facebook, the posts on Instagram are all about the images, vs written content. All users will choose their username for the platform (much like a username for Twitter – ex: @smoothbusinessgrowth. The profile allows you to share a short bio, thus information about your business.

The only contact information the viewers can see are the short bio and a URL you list. The picture can be of you or your logo. It will be important to maximize the information in your Instagram business page. Avoid using a personal account but instead, choose a business account to allow you to provide a greater range of information to current and new customers.

The bio is only 150 characters to describe your business in your profile. Choose your words carefully to highlight keywords that will allow new viewers to find your account.

Here is an example:

Building Your Business Using Instagram

Things to Do

It is important for Instagram to do specific things and to avoid mistakes. Here are some of the most important issues to remember:

  • Be active – follow others and be active on the platform. Like other’s posts, comment and share – get engaged!
  • Use tags – you can tag people just like in Twitter to share with their community and get larger reach – plus more engagement with who you tagged – win win!
  • Use hashtags – just like Twitter – you can use hashtags to target folks that are searching for specific products or services. Use as you would in Twitter
  • Tweak your images – yes Instagram is image rich BUT don’t forget you can create text graphics – so add text to images to make a point or share your knowledge and serve your audience.
  • Be creative – when taking photos or videos try making your business a part of the post, but not always the center of the post. For example, post a photo of your corporate sponsorship of an event by focusing on the event with your booth or display area as a background but not the center.
  • Use direct messaging – you can also direct message other users to communicate and share information. You can even do group messages to give a segmented group notices about a new event or product.
  • Highlight product information in a unique way – stories or even a series of posts can be used to show the behind-the-scenes manufacturing of a product. This is ideal for a business with branding and marketing around environmentally friendly or a restaurant offering farm to table menus.
  • Give special offers – offer exclusive discounts, products, events to Instagram followers. You can even share contests to boost engagement and exposure and sales!
  • Use of Links – did you know you can add a link in the ‘image description’ section?

Building Your Business Using Instagram

Most importantly have fun with it – get creative with your images and stories. See what other businesses are doing to get great ideas. Let us know how it goes for you – we love getting feedback!

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