Is your business active on Instagram?

Instagram Basics 

According to Alexander, Instagram is a social media platform used for smartphones and is focused on video and picture sharing. Because of this, it allows the app to have a great marketing opportunity since pictures and videos are much more captivating than texts posts that are widely used on other social apps. Moreover, Instagram allows users to quickly edit photos before posting them, to provide a professional look and feel (2016, November 3). Instagram is a great marketing resource for any type of business whether they are selling a product or service.  You can use Instagram to post videos or photos of your business to generate brand awareness; display what your product or service does and how customers can use them. arity Likewise, you can use this app to increase brand recognition, for example, if your business does charity activities outside of work, you could post photos or videos so that customers will know that your business gives back.

Instagram’s platform also allows you to post contests and giveaways. For example, you can publish on all your business’ social presence about the contests of getting customers to repost a banner of something your business is promoting or selling with a particular hashtag. You could gift the user with the most likes/shares with a free item or coupon; this allows your customers to do marketing for you. With a repost, their followers and friends will see the photos which are reaching the audience of the people that follow all of your customers. With the hashtag feature that Instagram provides, you can search for a product your business offer and see what customers are saying about it whether good or bad and in the near future you could message and comment to offer your advice or thankful words. Using Instagram is primarily for your customers, but also be mindful of your competition(s). You can search for competing products to see what customers are saying about it to improve your product or service. Browse on their profile to see what content is getting most views, shares, likes or comments to improve your Instagram presence as well.

How to create a business Instagram account:

Source: My Video Pro

Exploring features of Instagram:

Source: Techboomers

Developing a Business Strategy for Instagram

The first thing you want to ensure that you are doing is to look at successful businesses’ profiles on Instagram to see what type of content they are posting in order to be so successful. I recently browsed on Vans Instagram page and noticed they have 9.2 million followers. I have also noticed the type of photos they post which are photos of their shoes being worn or by themselves. Moreover, in the caption, they included collection arrivals,  the type of shoe and the different styles they offer.

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They are not only posting photos, but they are also providing information alongside the photo. The description/caption also have the flexibility to add a hyperlink which directs you straight to the website to make a purchase or browse further. If you are a food business with an Instagram page, on your page you should not only advertise your food, but you can also generate ideas of how they can use your product in different meals for different purposes. Focusing on Maybelline’s Instagram page you notice that they have 5.9 million followers which shows how successful they are. As we should all know, they are a makeup brand which is greatly highlighted with the photos of products by themselves and on models. I really like their Instagram page since there are not too many colors being displayed to distract you from what you should be focusing on; all the models have a neutral background and the makeup products are being presented with complementary colors to highlight the product. Also, Gigi Hadid is the brand ambassador for Maybelline, and almost every row has a photo of her with a product. So, without looking for the name of the page you should be able to know what brand it is based on celebrity appearances.

gigi.PNG

Brainstorming is important to do in order to know what type of content you need to post on your profile to promote your business or service. Firstly, you need to list all the products and services you’re offering and then make a second list with the primary benefits that they provide. Try to think of different ways in which your product or service could be used as well. Keep in mind that you should think about when people are most happy when using your product. Make sure that you are not overly focusing on the actual work, but the end goal of that work. Posting beautiful high-quality photos of your business/ service regularly will help you to gain followers from people who are not currently interested in your work, but later will remember you if they decided they needed your service because of the beautiful photos that keep reappearing on their newsfeed.

Remeber, marketing on social media is all about consistency! Being consistent with posts helps to increase user engagement, since they know the schedule of your posts and will be looking forward to your post whether on their newsfeed or go directly to your profile to see what’s the new buzz. When developing a posting schedule, you should use themed days, for example, #TBT, which means throwback Thursdays. You can also create your own themed days like #Sus (Super Saturday) where you show customers ways to use your products on the weekends or different special products for Saturdays. You can also use ScheduGram  to help with posting on specific days of the week or help you plan your postings properly. You have the option to upload the photo(s) you want on a specific day and it will post it for you without you doing anything. How to use ScheduGram:

Source: ScheduGram

Working in the Instagram App

Source: HustleCo Workspace

Ensure that in the first field you are putting the name you would like people to type in to search for you; this field accommodates for spaces. In the second field you put a name similar to the first field, however, there cannot be spaces included but you can include underscores to fill out the spaces. It is very necessary for you to include your website in the third field so that users will know where to go outside of your Instagram profile to view your business/service. In the description field, it should be short and to the point. In the video previously shared from Techboomers it showed you how to upload a photo to your profile and different ways to edit them. You can adjust the size by cropping the photo or by zooming in or out. After you have selected the photo the video also mentioned that you can enhance the photo with the different features Instagram has provided. It is also recommended that you add a caption to all the photos you are uploading, mainly because you are a business. The caption could cause a reaction from your followers, ask a question, or just to educate them about the products or services. Instagram also allows you to tag people or entities into the photo, so if you have a collab with a next business or doing business with a celebrity you could tag them. You can also tag the location of your booths at a tradeshow; this is important because when users search for a specific location, your photo(s) will appear.

Interacting with users on Instagram is just as important as every other social site. Search for businesses that are similar to yours and follow them when necessary. Once you have followed them, you will notice that Instagram has provided additional suggestions for you to follow. To comment on photos you simply just tap the chat bubble; when commenting you can also @ the person you are directing the messaging to, for example, “@ashleypalmer you are a genius!”. Whenever a customer posts about your product or service on Instagram, you could also comment with a thankful gesture. Also, you could upload a photo for a customer you frequently interact with and tag them or include their handle in the caption. Customers will appreciate this as they will think the business knows of them and what they like. Interacting with your followers frequently will develop and increase brand recognition.

How yo use Instagram stories:

Source: JoshSundquist

When modifying your Instagram profile settings, keep in mind that you want to leave your profile public, especially since you are a business so that users can see your appropriate content and learn more about your business. In the comment setting, they have provided you with the option to hide inappropriate content which is very useful since you are a public business and would like things to be professional on your profile.

Fine Tuning Content Posted to Instagram

It is recommended that you add your different social media profiles to Instagram so that when you have posted, on the different social sites it will also appear that have just posted on Instagram. This is a good way to get followers from your different social media profiles to start following you on Instagram.

How to link Facebook to Instagram account:

Source: Spectramynd

Things to consider when adding filters to your photos on Instagram:

  1. Avoid filters that are going to fuzz up your photo. (The Reyes filter).
  2. Avoid filters that are going to add a blur effect to your photos as it takes away the full effect of the coloring.
  3. Use Low Fi, Ludwig or Perpetua to edit your photos.
  4. If you are going for a more historic feel to your photos then you would want to consider using filters that blur your photo or makes it appear more black and white.

Top-Hashtags is a website that shows you the top hashtags being used on Instagram. It is important to add hashtags to your photos as it basically creates a link from your profile to the hashtag, so whenever someone searches for a specific hashtag that you have used, they will find your profile and hat you have posted.

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Adding the location of your photos is so important since users can browse through all the photos that have been tagged with a specific location and this will increase your visibility on your profile and then they might even start following you.

How to add location to current or existing photos:

Source: Sue B. Zimmerman

According to Alexander, a creative way to add content to your Instagram feed without doing a lot of the heavy lifting yourself is to repost photos that other users have uploaded (2016, November 3). How to manually do it is to take a screenshot of what you would like to repost and then upload it unto your profile. You also have to ensure that you are giving credit to the original owner by either tagging them or mentioning them in your caption. If you do not already know how to take a screenshot with your phone it is best to consult Google. Once you have mentioned the original owner of the photo, they will receive a notification that you have interacted with them; this could ultimately lead to brand collaboration. Other than doing it manually, there are different apps to use to repost a photo. A recommended app to use is Insta Repost for Instagram which is available for every device through your play store or app store. 

Utilizing Instagram Business Tools

How to use Instagram insights:

Source: The Brainchild Group

As a business on Instagram it will be necessary for you to consider the blog that Instagram has provided for business users. Instagram Business Blog has tips and case studies for businesses that are actively on Instagram. It also contains a lot more information on photo contests and other great advises for businesses on Instagram.

Recently, Instagram has allowed users to do paid advertisements by uploading promoted posts- these posts will appear on users’ feed even if they do not follow you. This is a good strategy to develop and increase brand awareness for your product or service. Build your business on Instagram has a lot of information about advertising on Instagram as a business. Here’s a nice way to create a business campaign on Instagram (done through your Facebook account):

Source: AdHawk

Also, when creating your campaign this way, you need to make sure it will run on Instagram and not on Facebook.

Integrating Instagram with Other Platforms

Now, if your business has a website or blog, it is a great idea to embed your Instagram uploads directly into your website. Visit Embedding for detailed instructions on how you can embed all your Instagram photos. Here’s a simple way to embed your photos using this website (WordPress):

Source: WordPress

This is a fantastic way to get users who visit your website to now follow you on Instagram since they are on your website and they notice that you’re uploading photos to Instagram.

You can also add the Instagram badge to your website to inform users that you are also on Instagram. To do so you should:

Source: Amy Schmittauer

Lightwidget allows users to create a widget with your whole Instagram feed since Instagram itself does not provide this feature. How to use Lightwidget to include your whole Instagram to your website:

Source: Gary Dufner

Most importantly, this is a superb way to increase the visibility of your Instagram account since you will be featuring all of your Instagram photos directly into your website.

My Future

Using Instagram for Marketing purposes is the first resource I will use since that’s where I know my target audience is most active. Instagram is widely known for photo sharing and that is very much okay for me since I have already developed the habit of posting frequently to my Instagram account. However, what I didn’t know is that I had to follow my competition’s page since I always thought that this is a rivalry relationship. I’ve learned from this video that it is not actually a losing competition but more of a winning competition since you get to see what they are doing to increase followers, likes, shares and comments. Also, I also learned that the different features I use to edit my photos will affect how much views and like my profile will get. I tend to over edit my photos to hide flaws I guess but for my business/service little to no edit is best. I really cannot wait to market on Instagram for myself or someone else since it’s not all about pretty picture, but the quality and substance you provide to the profile- substance meaning (different ways you can use the product, the caption description and users who have used and loved our/my products or services.

Reference

Alexander, A. (2016, November 3). Instagram for Business (2016). Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Instagram-tutorials/Instagram-Business/533221-2.html

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