Instagram for Business
It’s not just for teens anymore. Instagram was originally believed to be targeted at teenagers and young adults but businesses have also joined Instagram in an attempt to market their products or services.
It makes sense if you think about it. Instagram is owned by Facebook. In the end, the business not only wants to make money but needs to make money to sustain itself.
It is true that a very high percentage of users on Instagram are younger and as such make less money but many of them also have fewer expenditures.
Brands like Levi’s, Ben & Jerrys and GE have already run successful campaigns on Instagram. If these large companies can do it then why can’t your small business?
Stats Don’t Lie
Here are usage statistics from Instagram
There are 200 million active users, 35% of those are in the United States. Over 20 billion photos have been shared, that’s 60 million a day, and there are 1.6 billion likes daily. While Instagram is clearly not one of the top dogs in Social Media it is rapidly growing and should not be ignored especially if your business is one that can benefit greatly from photos and short video clips. Here are just a few examples of businesses I have personally worked with and marketed on Instagram:
- Shoe Store
- Groupon Type Site, mostly restaurant deals
- A Small Business who’s offering is mainly B2B.
As you can see there are a lot of opportunities for small businesses to market on Instagram, and I only named a few types. Let your brain do some work and you will probably come up with dozens that can market successfully on Instagram.
6 Tips for Businesses on Instagram
1. Complete Profile with URL
I cannot stress this enough, and this holds true for all social media platforms. If your profile is incomplete people will not be able to find you as easily. Your profile should include what you do, your profile image and your web address.
2. Use Video
Instagram allows you to record 15 second videos. Videos can be anything, and ARE often anything but I have seen videos used very well to show off products and services. 15 seconds may not seem like a long time but it is definitely long enough to get your message across and tease your audience a little. You can leave more info in the description part of your post.
Today I saw a video from a peer in Australia who was promoting an Instagram for Business Class. That was part of my motivation to write this post. Simply done, it was her standing on the shore telling everyone about the training. I kept waiting for her message to cut off because of the 15 second limit but she was successful in delivering the full message.
We’ve seen them on Twitter, Facebook and most likely on Google+. Some of us like them, some of us hate them but if you’re in business you need them. Hashtags serve two purposes really. The first is people who are not following you may still find your post when they search for a hashtag you used. For example, if I am marketing a restaurant in Connecticut I would use #Connecticut #ItalianFood #Restaurant or other related hashtags. Instagram users often search for hashtags of interest to them, and you will find that you get likes from people not following you if done right. As I advocated in previous posts, and on my Twitter Ask the Expert Call, the hashtag should be conversational.
Secondly, you will want to use the search option to find potential clients. Using the same scenario, if I was that Italian Restaurant in Connecticut I would search for users who use those same hashtags and start following them. They will likely follow you back and now they will see what you post every-time if they are active.
One of the nice things about Instagram is it does not filter outposts like Facebook does. You will see everything that was posted to the public.
As I mentioned earlier you can search for users based on hashtags and/or user info. When you first start your Instagram account you will be asked to import people from Facebook and other resources but you are already interacting with these people most likely. Your ultimate goal is likely to reach a new audience. This is going to require a bit of effort on your part (or your inbound marketer). Searching through relevant hashtags and users is a little time consuming but well worth the effort if you can gain new clients. Once you start building a following you will find more and more users are following you because someone they know follows you.
Another method is to find similar profiles, businesses or brands and follow their followers. While some may not like this idea keep in mind marketing is the act of attaining new clients. It’s up to the business to retain those clients after the marketing efforts.
Without naming apps there are tons of apps out there that can help with your Instagram account. I personally have apps that help me develop my client’s followings, help me edit photos to fit Instagram’s platform, and help me create quotes as images and share them….just to name a few.
There are also apps that help with your marketing and management of Instagram. I can’t say for sure but I do believe that Instagram may have more apps than most of the social media platforms in existence today. Ask around to see what apps work best for what you need. I may create another blog post for that purpose later but in the interest of keeping this blog post somewhat short, it won’t be here.
6. Share on other social media platforms
Cross posting from Instagram to Facebook & Twitter (and others) is very easy. In fact, you have probably seen other people post something to Facebook from Instagram. This is encouraged as part of your social media marketing plan. I recently posted a family picture that generated more engagement from Facebook than it did on Instagram. Without cross-posting, I may not have interacted with all the extra people. Even though it was a family picture it still drew interest back to my Instagram account, and hopefully to my website.
In Conclusion-Beyond the 6 Tips for Business on Instagram
As evidenced by tip 6 I do believe in sharing some personal stuff as part of a small business’ marketing plan. People don’t want to work with big evil corporations anymore. They want to work with a personality, a face, someone they can trust. I tell all my clients it’s OK to blend some of your personality with your business, after all, that’s what you do when you network face to face, isn’t it?
When you’re using Instagram mix in some humor, a few personal photos, motivational quotes and posts that require engagement. I do post trivia from time to time; or thought-provoking quotes. It’s important to have fun.
Some of the information provided as part of this post is from http://business.instagram.com/