Instagram has over 500 million monthly active users, less competition and a more engaged audience than other social media giants like Facebook or Twitter.1 This presents businesses with an opportunity to market their products to a more targeted and interested audience without spending an enormous amount of money on paid advertising. Whether your strategy needs an update or you’re a newcomer to this social media network, you’ll find these tips on how to use Instagram for business useful.
Focus on the solution you provide, not the products you sell. On Instagram, it’s essential to add value to your customers and look pretty while you do it. Never underestimate the fact that your most important asset (and downfall) on this social media network is visual content.
If your business is service-oriented, focus on showcasing the process behind providing the service. Show your company culture, share your mission with the world, or simply share some tips and how-to’s.
It’s possible to upload photos, short videos (similar to gifs) and videos up to one minute in length. The newest addition, Instagram Stories, is a video collage that consists of images and videos that can be edited with text, colour and the sort. Instagram stories are available exclusively on mobile and are live only for 24-hours (though this can be refreshed, if you choose to keep them for longer.
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As a company, you probably do a whole lot of things and offer even more solutions. Don’t get too caught up in fitting all of that in 150 characters. Focus on your most important USP or your next big thing – be it an event, promotion or product launch.
Since the only clickable link is in your Bio section (right under your name), make a habit of updating it frequently. It’s a shame that most brands use it only to link to their website, but it could do so much more. Think, driving event registrations, app downloads or even purchases.
Instagram has also launched their Instagram Business profiles and paid advertising. The Business profile adds a phone number to your bio and gives access to extensive analytics data.1 This feature is currently only available in USA, New Zealand and Australia – the rest of just have to wait.
Customers have a natural curiosity about where their products come from, and you can use Instagram to show them their whole lifecycle. This is especially relevant for companies that sell environmentally friendly or FairTrade products. Source images to demonstrate how products are made – from the base material, production and distribution.
If nothing comes to mind, you can share something that everyone has – sketches, notes, and filled whiteboards or blackboards. Every business
has brainstormed ideas, it’s up to you to take a pretty picture and upload it to Instagram.
Use hashtags to expand your reach. These can be campaign specific or general – all that’s important is that they are relevant. Make sure to also set up your main company hashtag (#yourbrandname), and use it sparingly across Instagram (Twitter is good too). This makes it easier for people to find content related to you as well as your main account.
It’s best practice to use between five to ten hashtags, despite the fact that the maximum you can add is 30 per Instagram post. Use your own, campaign specific hashtags as well as the more popular hashtags to increase the discoverability of your content. For example, try adding hashtags like #instagood (used is 300 million posts), or #tbt (Throwback Thursday), and don’t forget about industry specific ones. If you are in IT, the hashtag #IT or #tech will do just fine.
Instagram is one of the strongest social media channels for highlighting collaborators and sharing customer success stories. Even if you don’t officially partner with a non-profit organization, you can give to charity or fundraiser a couple of times a year. It’s all good as long as the cause aligns with your brand values and mission.
Another technique involves use ‘shout-outs’. An unpaid shout-out is when you partner with another brand that has roughly the same number of followers as you, to promote each other to your audiences and benefit from increased exposure.
The paid shout-out is for those with a bigger budget. This involves paying a brand (or influencer) with a much larger following to promote your product or service. This is a great way to gain a large number of new followers quickly,
providing that you create a strong call to action.
Keeping your customers interested is an essential part of any effective marketing campaign. Reward your loyal followers with exclusive content. Let them be the first to know about new products, services or events. Create teaser photos that satisfy curiosity, build anticipation for your new releases, office openings or stores. This kind of preview makes your Instagram followers feel special and keeps them coming back for more insider information.
Without taking a step back and analyzing what worked and didn’t, marketing becomes a guessing game. The truth is, you can read all the articles in the world about the best practises and publishing times, but you will only find out what works for your business through testing and measuring results.
Social media management tools can help, though. You can use them not only to schedule your campaigns in advance, but also use social media analytics to measure their success. Make sure to regularly measure your follower count, engagement and clicks, all to refine and improve your Instagram strategy.
These tips will not only improve your channels performance, but also hopefully attract new customers. Please tell us which of these tips were most useful to you, and also let us know about other tactics that have worked. And if you haven’t set up your account yet, we have a handy guide on how to set up an Instagram account for your business.
Social media management software for agencies and businesses
If you don’t have a tool to help you schedule social media posts to multiple social media networks just yet, you can Instamate a try.
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