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March 2, 2016

How to Rock Instagram for Business!

By Kate Ellis
(This is a follow up blog to our weekly #MagnetMarketers session with Jessika Phillips and Mike Gingerich)

While businesses may not have jumped on board initially, there is no denying that Instagram has been growing like crazy! You’ll find that now, no matter the industry you’re in, there are others using and loving Instagram. All you have to do is search for your relevant hashtags and you’ll find people using that platform for business.

While it may be hard to keep up with all the new social media trends and platforms, Instagram is one you’ll want to be on!

As of September 2015, there were 400 million users, which means Instagram has more users than Twitter! Of course, this means that there is definitely an audience for your content.

You might be thinking, but Instagram is for Kylie Jenner, selfies, and teenagers. But statistics show that Instagram's user base is becoming broader. While 70 percent of Instagram’s audience is under the age of 35, that means that the rest of the 30 percent is 35 and older.

Another reason why you may not think Instagram is for business is the platform itself. As an image based social media, many of us think of Instagram as an artistic platform, with perfect moments captured and shared. But this is a fallacy! Your posts don’t always have to be a picture perfect. Instead, Instagram is all about creating connections through emotion. There are no real rules, you just have to use it with your end goal in mind. It all depends on what you want to get out of your Instagram account. So, how do you use Instagram for business?

Because there are no real rules it opens up many opportunities for photos and videos. Depending on your needs and industry you can make your Instagram really personal and informal. B2B businesses are beginning to catch the Instagram fever, especially with the new ad platform that was incorporated after Facebook purchased the social network.

Instagram is also great for personal brand development, allowing you to take those informal photos that people love. The ability to be personal and share those real life moments drive people to follow you.

B2C businesses are also getting into the Instagram world. Retail stores are sharing their newest arrivals, giving examples of how to style outfits, getting the word out about sales and discounts, and showcasing those behind the scenes moments. Cafes and restaurants use the platform to share their special of the day, the team preparing food and having fun at work. B2C businesses can really draw in people by sharing videos and photos of what’s happening. That’s the beauty of Instagram!

Sharing your posts on Instagram is all about excitement! People are looking to get to know your business and find that emotional connection with your employees. When you use Instagram to really showcase your business and staff, it gives you more of a chance to be seen. Like we said earlier, people are driven to follow the businesses that are sharing those real life moments. This is all about your brand! People want to follow the businesses and brands they love.

One thing that trips people up is the lack of links you can post. Instagram does not allow users to put active links in descriptions or comments. But, one way to get around that is to put a link in your user profile. What many people do, is to put in the description something like, “Check out my profile for more information.” Then in the profile, you can place your link. You should consider changing this link often or having this link to a unique URL and a customized message for Instagram users.

As with any other social media platform, you’ll have to consistently post and share. So, how often do you need to post?

The first thing to take into consideration is your audience. What are they like and what would they expect? However, at the bare minimum, you’ll want to post at least once a day. Of course, more is always better. Because of how Instagram and other social media platforms work, your images and video don’t have that long of a life. Remember, earlier we said there are 400 million people on Instagram? Essentially you’re competing to keep your posts top of mind and seen.

With that said, you’ll want to post when you have good content, not just to make your Instagram quota. If you take five great photos, space the timing out. It looks bad when you post several images all at once. Above all, you want to make sure you’re following your overall content mission. To make your jobs easier, use Instagram schedulers to space out those posts.

Another important aspect of social media (and should be obvious with the word social!), you’ll need to stay active with engaging and following others. Leave comments! Double click on others great content. Again, be social!

You should start following others, people in your industry or similar people. Use hashtags and do some “friendly trolling.” Hashtags can make it easier for people to find you, and you can put as many as you want. When people search those hashtags they’ll find you. If you don’t want to look too spammy, a great trick is to put some hashtags in your description, and then put more in a comment below. We also recommend businesses brand one hashtag for yourself, and then use that hashtag every single time.

Like all social media platforms, the most important thing is to be consistent and make it your own! Have one thing that’s yours, and people will know what to expect from you.

Join us on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. EST on #MagnetMarketers for our next session.

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Tags: Social Media Marketing, Instagram


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