As defined by Wikipedia, Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter
Instagram is not just for people wanting to take a perfect selfie. It is also a great tool for business.
Instagramers are shoppers – for example, they welcome ads, compared to other social media users on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Plus many people look up a brand on instagram and are influenced by what a brand does on instagram. So make sure you are creating content for instagram and reach out to your customers
Instgram can be a powerful sales tool. Lots of people are on instagram and by putting pictures of your products/services in front of them, you can help drive traffic & sales to your site. Instagram is a great tool to grow your brand awareness. For example, are you a florist? Take photos of the new flowers you have for sale that day. Do you manage a clothes shop? Post pictures of your outfit of the day or new collection, etc. Millions of people are on instagram, so don’t ignore them – try to get their attention – you’re competitors wills be.
Tips for using instagram for business:
Create use engagement – Engagement on instagram is often said to be 50 times better than other platforms such as twitter or Facebook. Also, the more you post, the faster you can grow.
Interact with other instagram users – like, comment, tag and mention them. Be apart of the conversation – not only will it help you get noticed and gain more followers, but by engaging with people you will build trust and gain more loyalty from your followers. For example, if you were to acknowledge one of your followers it could make their day—potentially making that person loyal to your brand.
Ask customers to show off their photos – e.g. of them using your product, etc. For example, restaurants can create an instargram hashtag displayed on their menus, and hopefully it will encourage customers to photograph their food – and encourage others to visit the restaurant. Can you do something that will result in your customers promoting your products/services.
Show off your products/services – People come to Instagram for visual inspiration, it allows captivating photos to take centre stage. Show them what you do and inspire them want what you offer e.g. do you run a travel website? Display pictures of beautiful resorts/hotels that customers can book through you. This is a great way to grow your brand awareness.
Create interest in your products – e.g. by showing how your product is made. Photograph the different stages involved with creating your product. For example, if you have a website for a coffeee shop then add pictures on your instagram account showing the journey of the coffee beans you serve.
Grow your email list – People can link to your website via instagram. By having attractive photos you can capture their email by promising them more content – if they visit your website and signup to your list. Use hashtags to get in front of people that are likely to be interested in your product.
Include a call to action in every post – don’t forget the old sales adage ‘Always Be Closing’ (ABC). Have a purpose behind every photo – make your efforts count. For example, encourage them to visit your website – maybe to a specific product page, or to sign up to your newsletter, etc.
How to start on instagram
You will need a smartphone/tablet to start using instagram, since it’s sign-up is app based – download the instagram app, set up an account and choose your username. Then write a bio and start following people.
Begin by following people who are “influencers” in your industry, plus any customers you have who are already on instargam. Send out a newsletter to your email list (if you have one) which tells them you’re now on instragram and recommend they follow you.
Then start taking photos of your own and share other people – they may follow you back if they see you sharing their photos. Make sure your first 6 photos are really good – since when you’re trying to get followers they will review what you have uploaded so far.
Don’t share too many photos though. Think quality over quantity – and always keep in mind that instagram in primarily a mobile platform – which means most people will be viewing your photos on their smartphone i.e. a small screen.