As a small business entrepreneur you need to use every communication outlet at your disposal to connect and engage with prospects and customers. A lot of time is spent on the benefits of Facebook and Twitter, but if Instagram isn’t in your marketing tool kit, you could be missing out on a great opportunity. Instagram is a social networking app which you can use to easily share photos and videos that run less than a minute. It has a newsfeed similar to what you might see on Facebook or Twitter, where your posts are displayed.
Instagram already boasts more than 800 million monthly active users, with that estimate pushing up past a billion this year. It is also estimated that there are already over 25 million businesses on Instagram. In addition to the ease of use, and visual aesthetics, many businesses love the fact that Instagram has just added business profiles with prominent contact information, Instagram Stories, and new advertising opportunities.
The company reports that 80% of its users say they follow at least one business on Instagram, and that 60% have heard about a product or service opportunity through the platform. They will visit Instagram to find a website, get directions, research a phone number, or send an email or direct message. Many have purchased a product for the very first time from seeing it on Instagram. In fact, this outlet works so well that small businesses make up the majority of its profiles and advertisers. Here are some Instagram ideas you can use to get your business growing with Instagram:
• Create a Business Profile: Take advantage of the opportunity to get your contact information included on a reliable platform. You’ll need a Facebook page for your business so you can convert your personal profile to a business profile, and you’ll also need to make sure your personal profile is set to “public.” The “Set Up Your Business Profile” page will take you through the steps to review your business contact information and make any necessary changes. Include a short, informative description and make sure there is a link to your full website page.
• Look Professional: Don’t just post any old photo or video on your Instagram feed. There are plenty of filters and adjustments you can use to give your videos and photos a professional touch. Use the editing features to adjust brightness, contrast, shadows, tilt and sharpness.
• Leverage Hashtags: You can use hashtags to help online searchers find you more easily – up to 30 are allowed per post. Start by thinking of some keywords relevant to your business and do a search in Instagram for relevant hashtags. In addition, leverage trending hashtags and tie them back to your company.
• Tell Your Stories: Instagram Stories is a relatively new feature that is similar to Snapchat. Now you can post several photos or videos for a short period of time, knowing they will disappear after 24 hours. Use this option to showcase some event taking place at your company, or to provide a brief mini-tutorial on your product.
• Analyze and Tweak: As with any other social media channel, it is important to monitor your Instagram activities to see whether you are getting a response, and to make any necessary adjustments. Use Instagram Insights to determine which posts and hashtags work best for your business. You can get information on audience demographics, impressions, reach, clicks, views, likes, shares and comments. If something works, do it more. If something doesn’t work, change it.
• Have a Personality: Don’t be dry and dull, and just post about your products or service. Give your company a personality so users will want to engage with you. Include some posts that are clever, creative and funny and add emojis to keep things interesting.
After all that, it is still helpful to have a Call To Action, or CTA. Ask your viewer to do something, such as visit your website or stop by your store. There are plenty of great Instagram ideas that can help your small business grow, so start taking advantage of them today.