With Instagram, your business can post pictures and video clips for your customer base to enhance their customer experience. Instagram can be linked to your business’s Twitter and Facebook pages, creating a strong social media presence and a culture around your business or brand in an easy, inexpensive way to market your small business.
Keeping an open communication is made even easier when you sign your business up for Instagram because it allows you to follow your customers and comment on their pictures. It even allows your customers to engage with you through comments and likes on your profile, too.
By using Instagram, you are able to connect with over 150 million active users monthly. And there are many effective ways to leverage Instagram for your small business.
How to Leverage Instagram for Business
1. Build an Appealing Account to Attract Followers
In order for Instagram to be an effective marketing technique for your small business, you need to have a decent amount of followers who are being exposed to the content you are sharing.
To get more followers, make sure you have high quality, engaging content in the form of videos and images. This could mean showcasing your products daily or having customers use your products.
Another way to gain followers is to post photo contests on Instagram that reward your followers. Posting contests helps you gain followers because you have to follow the account to enter the contest. Usually “regraming” the image associated with the contest is also a stipulation to entering.
Stay active daily on Instagram to keep your profile interesting. Open communication with followers on Instagram is another way to gain popularity. And commenting on followers’ pictures as well as following back helps keep you in touch with the consumer.
Highlight your customers regularly by reposting their photos. Sustain high quality content for your Instagram account by making images colorful and eye-catching. Keeping the consumer involved in the picture is also helpful, so ask questions in your comments about what they think of the product you posted.
2. Increase Engagement
Likes and comments make or break your Instagram account. The normal distribution of likes to comments on Instagram is 100 likes for every one comment. To reach these types of numbers, many companies have employed techniques to involve consumers themselves.
The swim suit company A Bikini A Day often gives followers the chance to mention their friends in comments by offering contests for best-friends or sisters to win swim suits.
Asking for customer feedback on images increases engagement as does all types of interaction with your audience. Post fun, interesting photos of your business to give your followers an inside look at how it all works behind the scenes. Tell the story of your business through the images and videos you post by showing employees, products, and satisfied customers.
Use hashtags that have to do with your industry, and create your own hashtags to make your business more searchable on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can add a hashtag to any word or phrase, so be creative because it allows your followers to engage with you by posting their own hashtags on your images.
Hashtags are a way of sorting out content that makes it easier to find them on social media platforms. Add a hashtag to your business name on every image or video you post to build up your hashtag content. Post signs in your store or online to tell customers to hashtag their images of your products, so you can see who is satisfied with your services and who is engaging with you on Instagram.
You can use Instagram analytics to track the relevance of your hashtags, as well. Hashtags are a great way of increasing the scope of your images or videos. It even plays a role in crowdsourcing through content posted by other users. No matter what your goal is, adding hashtags to posts makes your content more discoverable.
4. Contests and Campaigns
Running contests and campaigns are effective ways to gain exposure on Instagram.
To run a campaign or contest on Instagram, clearly specify the goals. Are you trying to gain more followers? Do you need to find a creative new way to advertise or drive product awareness? If so, choose an image or video to post, add a hashtag, and call all of your followers to action.
Contests can give followers a shoutout on the company’s profile, a product prize from the company, or their image in an advertising campaign. Promote contests on other social media platforms to drive interest and possibly gain more followers.
Keep followers up to date on the status of the contest by posting entries or news. Most importantly, once the contest has ended, follow up with the winners by congratulating them and presenting them with their prize.
National Geographic, a magazine with over 3.7 million followers on Instagram, launched a campaign where they challenged contestants to capture the most beautiful landscapes all across the world. Winners received a fully stocked National Geographic camera bag.
You can also hold campaigns as easily. Encourage followers to hashtag your brand name, and rewarding them for doing so. Increase engagement with contests by inviting your followers to vote on their favorite entry.
5. Location and Events
Instagram allows you to tag your image or video in a specific location. By using these tags, you can crowdsource by location.
Creating a location tag for your business lets your followers to tag when they are in your store and share that information with their followers. Adding the location of your small business increases the likelihood that your profile and images will be seen.
Events are also a great way to optimize Instagram for marketing. By tagging your event, you can see which followers were also at your event, and their followers can see that they were at an event thrown by or sponsored by your business. Industry events are also great tags that bring in followers. Asking people who are attending these events to capture their favorite moments is an amazing way to leverage Instagram because it engages people in your brand and image.
Leveraging Instagram for your small business marketing is an inexpensive, fun, and creative way to increase your social media presence. By running contests, holding events, sharing interesting content, hashtagging, adding locations to your posts, and staying connected with your followers, you can have a popular Instagram account that helps drive sales.
Instagram is perfect for your small business if it has a strong visual component, a brand culture, and loyal customers. Instagram is now the fourth most used social networking site across the world, which means it is the prime market to share images the define and emphasize your brand. So create an account, follow companies and people that are connected with your industry, get the word out that you are on Instagram, start hashtagging and posting pictures and you will get other people to start following your small business.