Instagram has certainly made significant strides within the past year, but the most common question people have is do I really need an Instagram account for my business?… And what the heck do I even post?
Instagram is a unique way to connect and engage with your audience using visual images. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is a more visual experience for users. Here below, I have complied a list of five tips if you’re looking to market your business on Instagram.
- Connect your Instagram account with your other social media platforms.
When first setting up your Instagram account—or if you already have one—be sure to connect your account to your other social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr and Flickr. By connecting to your other accounts, you can post simultaneously to all platforms and therefore syndicate your visual content.
Connecting your social accounts to cross-promote your content is also a great way to gain more followers across all social media platforms. If someone follows you on Facebook and sees you are also on Instagram, they will most likely connect immediately.
- Use Hashtags
The hashtag feature on Instagram is very similar to the Twitter hashtag. I recommend almost every post include a hashtag, especially when you are new to Instagram. Just like on Twitter, when clicking on a hashtag you are able to explore similar posts. This is a great way for your brand to get noticed.
When using the Instagram hashtag, it is important to understand the popular, daily hashtags:
- Monday: #MCM (Man Crush Monday)
- Tuesday: #TransformationTuesday
- Wednesday: #WCW (Women Crush Wednesday)
- Thursday: #tbt (Throwback Thursday)
- Friday: #FlashblackFriday
- Saturday: Hashtags have the day off
- Sunday: #SelfieSunday
These hashtags may or may not be appropriate for your brand, but using them in a playful way is great for engaging and gaining followers.
If you are feeling really brave, I recommend you create your very own hashtag. A great example of this is an Arkansas boutique, Riffraff. They’ve done an excellent job of engaging their customers on Instagram by establishing the hashtag #riffrafflove. When purchasing from their store they encourage you to use #riffrafflove on an Instagram post with you wearing their product. With the hashtag they are able to connect with customers. Just look—there are 8,565 posts using their homemade hashtag!
For simpler hashtag recommendations, stick with three things: location (#Indy), product (#cupcakes), or industry (#bakery).
- Engage, Engage, Engage
Instagram is the most informal social media platform out there. Followers are looking to your account to tell your story. One of the best lessons I learned in my college sales internship is, “People love to buy, but they hate to be sold.” Instagram isn’t the place to post your latest ad, but rather post that “ad” in a unique, visually pleasing way.
- Encourage your followers to post their own photos using your hashtag
- Follow your followers
- Like followers’ photos
- Comment on followers’ photos
- Ask questions
- Run Instagram contests
- Be sure to give call to action!
- Be creative with your content.
As I’ve already mentioned, Instagram is extremely informal—so your content should be also. Determine how you would like your brand represented and run with it. Here are a few content ideas:
- Include behind-the-scenes images
- Showcase employees
- Play into the fun National Holidays
- Show off your product in creative ways
- Celebrate milestones
- Use the video feature
Another one of my favorite brands to follow on Instagram is Jars by Dani. She sells homemade jars with all different kinds of cake flavors. What I enjoy most about dani_beckerman is how she creatively highlights her jars in posts. She makes her product visually pleasing, and her images can make anyone’s mouth water!
Here are a few additional content tips:
- Be sure your posts are creative, playful, and not mundane.
- Don’t get caught up in using the same filters, shake things up every now and then to spark interest.
- Your content should inspire customers and potential customers.
- Master the Caption
Being able to post awesome pictures is one thing, but being able to master your caption will take your post to the next level. Clever captions that make your followers look at your posts longer are essential to creating a successful Instagram campaign.
Is your brand is directed toward millennials? Then you better have an Instagram account. Figuring out what works for your business on Instagram may take time, but once you create your persona and get the hang of posting you can become an Instagram master in no time. However, if you don’t feel you have the time to dedicate to creating a successful Instagram profile, I recommend reaching out to a digital marketing firm to take care of your needs.