Use Instagram Effectively
By: Jessica Chestnut
It’s been said that "A picture is worth a thousand words.” With 40 million photos per day uploaded to Instagram, the wildly popular online photo-sharing/social networking service, these pictures are definitely generating buzz, whether it’s for personal use or business. Businesses can gain instant (and free!) attention by sharing photos of their products, offering promotions and contests and showing the personal side of their business with behind-the-scenes photos.
How can one effectively use Instagram to promote their business and get some of its 90 million users talking?
• Highlight new product arrivals or specials with a photo. Offer a service instead? Show your place of business, photos of completed projects (a painted house or repaired car, for example) or supplies that help you get the job done. Consider using another app that combines multiple photos to show “before and after” and upload those to Instagram.
• Use the hashtags! Hashtags are words or phrases prefixed with the symbol # (e.g. #heroweb). Hashtag your business name, brand of product or related topic in your photo comments so you show up in more searches (particularly to users that are not following you… yet).
• Offer specials in the form of discount codes to customers who follow you. The hashtag #promocode is heavily searched.
• Personalize your Instagram profile by posting links to your website and other social media pages. Also use the photo map option when taking photos at your business. This way it gives an actual map of where you are located. This is particularly a plus for businesses with a local target market.
• Hold contests to connect with fans. Have followers make up captions for photos you share or judge photos that they post incorporating your product (including a hashtag specific to your business or product).
• Go beyond posting just photos of products. Candid employee photos, pictures from events or trade shows, or even snapshots from around the office allow followers to see a more personal side to your business.
• Link your Instagram to your Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages. Utilize the integration of all your social media outlets to share images with all followers in seconds.
• Comment back to specific users (by responding with @username) to engage them in conversations. One of our customers does a GREAT job with this – see for yourself at Best Bully Sticks Instagram page.
• Space out your posts and don’t flood users feeds (especially when starting off). Two to three posts a day is usually plenty for most businesses.
• Understand the limit of your smart phone as a camera. Try a more advanced camera app to shoot and edit photos on your phone, then upload these higher-quality photos through Instagram to reach your followers.
With Instagram’s recent acquisition by Facebook (which is approaching nearly one billion users), as well as its availability on a variety of smartphones and the web, Instagram is only destined to grow. Check out Instagram or download the app onto your phone to join this growing community and show off your business in a unique and fun way.
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