It’s very probable that you’ve have heard of Instagram by now. With more than 77 million users in the US and 300 million monthly active users around the world, this platform is a treasure trove of food, cat, and travel pictures. But that’s not all.
In a world where Facebook is overcrowded and requires payment to show your content; and where Twitter’s posts have a very short shelf life, Instagram has become the place where companies big and small can shine.
Interested in giving Instagram a try? Check out this article for 5 basic but essential tips that will get you started on the right track.
1. Fill in Your Profile
On Instagram, everything starts with an optimized profile.
- Choose a username that represents your company. Use the same as your Twitter account, if you have one. It will be easier for people to find you.
- Upload a nice profile photo — your company’s logo, for example.
- Make the most of your bio. You only have 150 characters. So, think of it as a mini-elevator pitch.
- Include the link to your website.
- Link your account to other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Flickr to be able to cross-post your Instagram content.
Looking for a good example of Instagram profile? Check out Fallen Industry’s below.
- Add an Instagram Feed tab to your Facebook Page. Iconosquare works like a charm.
- Remember that you can edit your bio and website link as many times as you want. So, changing information to reflect your current situation is always a good idea.
2. Take Advantage of Hashtags
If you read the Paper.li blog regularly, you may remember Magda’s recent article on hashtags. In it, she introduces three tools to help you find content on Twitter.
Instagram is another hashtag-centric platform. If you don’t use them, your chances of getting traction are very low.
With that said, relevancy is of the essence. For example, if your business offers legal services, hashtags like #cute, #followme, #tagforlikes, or #follow4follow will attract the wrong crowd. You may be better off using #family or #legalservices. Everything is a matter of context, of course.
To find out what kind of hashtags you should use, visit the Explore tab to research tags, people, and places.
Follow companies in your niche and pay attention to what they use. Then, select 15 to 20 hashtags related to your brand and message and include a few of them in every post. According to Piqora, you should aim for three to seven:
“By using just 3 hashtags, brands can gain a 110% increase in likes on their Instagram posts, while adding 5 results in a 180% increase. So, three hashtags should be considered the bare minimum, but more is better: For optimal levels of engagement marketers should strive to add up to 7 relevant hashtags.”
- “75 Popular Instagram Tags You Should be Using” (Socially Stacked)
- “Instagram Tips: Using Hashtags” (Instagram Blog)
3. Tell Your Story
Look at the two screenshots below. What do they have in common?
(Source: SITU Studio)
(Source: Fringe & Fettle Ceramics)
Answer: They offer a sneak peek of what goes on behind the scenes of each company.
People don’t just buy products. They also buy emotions. If they feel connected to your company, they will not hesitate to support you over competition.
On Instagram, visuals should do most of the talking. Allow people to witness your journey and get to know you and your employees. In a nutshell, leverage “real photos of real things, taken by real people,” as Krista Neher would say.
- Use filters for emotional effects. According to Yahoo, filtered photos trigger 21% more views and 45% more chances of comments.
- Are you about to attend a trade show or special event in your community? Take us with you.
- If you own a restaurant, share your patrons’ favorite dishes or show us your chef(s) in action.
- Has your real estate agency received an award? Time to celebrate with us!
- Are you welcoming a new employee? Let the world know.
- Have you moved to a new office? We want to see!
- Is today a special day for your company? Tell us the story with a short video or a photo collage.
As you can see, things do not have to be complicated. Just ask yourself the following question: “If I were a customer of my company, what would I like to see in my feed?” Spending some time observing competition will also give you a lot of food for thought…
4. Feature Your Products in Context
If you had to choose between these two razors, which one would you pick?
Brand names aside, the second one looks really nice!
I don’t know about you, but I love the angle of the picture and how the dog faces the razor. The caption is also inviting. The result is simple and elegant. And the icing on the cake: The company actually responds to comments!
Also, remember that videos are a powerful way to showcase the features and benefits of your products…
When people look at your Instagram posts, they should be able to identify your company instantly, even if your name doesn’t appear anywhere.
Simplicity often is the best policy. Mix colors to evoke moods. Add familiar elements for comfort. Approach each post as a complement to your company’s message.
5. Make It About Your Customers
Instagram provides a fantastic avenue for self-promotion. However, companies that only self-promote quickly end up hearing crickets. To win on the social platform, you must deliver an unforgettable customer experience.
“You have to give your audience what they’re looking for, while letting them know how and why you can help them,” says Jenn Hermann in an excellent case study on social media agency Social Studio Shop.
Sharing your journey and products is a great thing. But don’t forget to include your customers and fans in the process. Everything can be turned into nice visuals: tips, quotes, user-generated content, etc. UGC is very effective, especially if you acknowledge people. Re-posting your customers’ photos and videos is a great way to build loyalty.
(Source: Bon Puf)
(Source: VALLETO Productions)
- Repost / Regram – Share Instagram users’ posts in a few clicks.
- Canva / PicMonkey – Create great graphics in minutes. The second service is also a photo editor.
That’s all for now, folks! See you next Friday for more social media tips.
In the meantime, if you have an Instagram account, share the link in the comment section. I’d love to follow you there!