If any old picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture with an Instagram filter must be worth a million. With over 150 million active monthly users, you can certainly see the potential for connecting with people as your brand.
10 tips for using Instagram for business:
1. Get the most out of your profile
You don’t have much space for information, but you can do a lot with a little on Instagram. Be sure to include:
A high-quality logo or photo for the profile picture.
A short description using targeted keywords.
A link to your company website or blog.
A contact number if you are a local business.
2. Post both fun and informative photos or videos
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and the same can be said about your business. Try mixing it up with photos and videos like this:
Weekly photos introducing new employees.
Short teaser videos for new products or services.
Video updates from company parties.
Photos and videos from local events (charitable events, company outings, etc).
3. Host an Instagram contest
People love winning things, of that you can be certain. Why not try hosting an Instagram contest to help build your brand? Try one of these ideas:
Post a fun photo and hold a caption contest.
Post a photo or video of a new product and ask your fans to help you name it.
Do a simple “like and share to win” contest and give away a prize to a random winner.
4. Post high-quality photos
Instagram is known for turning your average photo into a work of art, but it’s still imperative to take quality pictures. Keep these things in mind as you take photos for Instagram:
Instagram photos are square, so plan ahead. iOS7 has a square camera setting, which will eliminate the need to anticipate cropping photos.
Pay attention to lighting. Smartphone cameras take great photos, but only if the lighting is just right.
Take photos outside of the Instagram app. This will allow you to edit photos using another app and then upload to Instagram when you’re ready.
5. Use hashtags when you post
Who doesn’t love a good hashtag, right? Hashtags are essential for posting to Instagram, but don’t go overboard (i.e. adding 10 hashtags to each post). Need some help with hashtags for Instagram? Try these ideas:
Use related hashtags that are trending on Instagram.
Create a custom hashtag for your brand and use it consistently.
Use hashtags in comments to help keep the conversation going.
6. Post consistently
As with any social network, consistency is important. Instagram feeds tend to move fairly slow so also be careful to not over post. Here are a few rules of thumb to stick to:
Post at least once a week.
Find out the best time to post and stick to that schedule.
7. Follow and get followed
Nobody likes a brand that only posts and never interacts. Stay in touch and reach out to your fans by doing this:
When a fan follows you, follow them back.
Follow businesses you work closely with or would like to connect with.
8. Cross promote your Instagram profile
Your fans will no doubt love your photos and videos, but not if they don’t know you’re on Instagram. Be sure you do these things to cross promote your profile:
Share links to your Instagram account on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.
Include a link to your profile in email marketing campaigns.
9. Engage in the Instagram community
Don’t just sit there. Get out in the community and get involved. Here are simple ways to do it:
Look for hashtags that involve your brand and follow users who post with them.
Pay attention to what others post and LIKE their photos from time to time.
Keep up with trending topics and share photos accordingly.
Look for users who you follow on other sites and connect with them on Instagram too.
10. Have fun with Instagram
Instagram is a platform to have fun! Content should be exciting and memorable. I mentioned a few ways to have fun with Instagram above, but here are a few more:
Show behind the scene photos and videos from around the office or job site. Take note, this does not mean posting photos of what everyone is eating for lunch or employees sitting around the boardroom.
Take a trip back in time with historical photos from your company’s past.
Reward your followers with exclusive content like company news or teasers to upcoming events.
What’s your favorite brand to follow on Instagram and why?