As far as social media platforms go, I think Instagram is still elusive for many. It’s not like Facebook or Twitter. It’s similar to Pinterest…but not really. We all know that it’s the coolest kid on the block right now (that could change tomorrow, so beware) but most small business owners aren’t quite sure what to do to utilize it effectively. However, I think everyone would agree that with the rapid growth in 2013 and the growth expected to continue in 2014, it’s definitely something we should be paying attention to. Check out these 5 tips to learn how you can grow your following on Instagram.
Combine fun with business.
When you post images to your business account, make sure you’re posting a combination of fun, more personal images alongside the business photos. Pictures of you hanging out with your pet will let fans see behind the curtain into your life, which is just as important as the pictures of your products in use or photos you take around the office.
I tend to share far more day-to-day life images on Instagram than any other platform. I suppose it’s because I post directly from my phone, like most.
Be easy to find and engage.
Link to your Instagram account from Facebook, and make sure you use relevant hashtags so your content can be found. You can even post your Instagram images to Facebook with the hashtags you want people to use to find your brand. You also must like and comment on the images of other users to get them to engage with and follow you. Just like any other social media platform, you must be sociable and actually engage with your audience.
Create a posting schedule.
Instagram is NOT like Twitter, which requires frequent (think: hourly) posting. Test out the frequency with which you post; maybe start with once a day and see the response you get from followers. You definitely don’t want to overwhelm your followers with constant posting, but you do want to be visible. It’s a balancing act and you’ll have to test to see what works and what doesn’t. The same goes with content — you’ll have to test different content to see what your audience best responds to.
Test out Instagram videos.
Similar to Twitter’s Vine, but with longer, 15 seconds of recording time and the ability to add filters. Use this to post quick tips, share fun happenings around the office, or just catch something that would be of interest to your fans.
If you’re interested, it also has a paid feature that allows you to set up and manage contests for your Instagram account – which can create major buzz for your business should you decide to make the investment and use this feature.
This web-based management tool is designed to provide detailed analytics for your Instagram account. Use this to navigate easily through photos and videos, commenting, sharing or reposting as you go. It’s a fantastic tool since it allows you to put down your phone and use Instagram within your web browser and view multiple photos at one time. Use it to respond quickly and easily to the most recent comments on the images you have posted.
While Instagram does require time just like any other social media platform, the benefit of being there is that it’s still in the early adoption stages for businesses. Most businesses don’t really know yet how to capitalize on the tool. And as I said before, it’s also very much the cool kid on the block right now and definitely a favorite for teens and young adults – and if this is your target audience, you DEFINITELY want to be there.
Another benefit of Instagram, however, is that unlike Twitter and Facebook, which require frequent posting to remain engaged, Instagram is still a relatively laid back environment that requires somewhat less maintenance than other social media platforms (at least for now).
If you want to see the account of someone who’s killin’ it on Instagram, check out Chalene Johnson.
So what do you think? Do you see yourself using Instagram for your business?