Instagram for your Business

Is your company utilizing Instagram? If not have you thought about it? Social platforms are becoming more and more visual making Instagram a major player in the online marketing world.

Now it’s important to remember that Instagram may not be right for every business, click here for help deciding if yours is, but if you’re ready to take that leap here are 4 key steps to get you started.

1. Username and bio — Be sure to create a username that matches any other social platforms you are using for your company. If your regular username is taken, try to create something as similar as possible or something that evokes your business. In your bio be sure to include a short summary of your business as well as any hashtags associated with your brand or that you would like your followers to use.

2. Link — Instagram gives users the option to include one link on their profile. Be sure that this directs people to your website. Throughout the year you can change this link to direct users to different promotions, specials, or information.

3. Profile photo — If using other social platforms be sure to use a profile photo that matches those. You want your customers to be able to recognize you easily. Your logo would be a good choice. It is important to remember that your logo will be cropped into a circle so be sure to use an image that will look good in that shape.

4. Follow people — While it is important for you to build a following, Instagram is a community and it is important for you to build your own corner of it and get involved. Find influencers relevant to your industry, customers, and others brands similar, relevant or related to your company. Search relevant hashtags to help find users you can follow. Make your presence known by commenting and liking different user’s content.

Your Content

Instagram is a visual platform so it is important that you are creating interesting high quality images that accurately portray your company. Photos should be well composed, edited and overall look professional. No blurry, dark or strange cropped photos allowed. Keep these 5 tips in mind as you begin to create your visual content.

1. Visual consistency — You want your Instagram to have a cohesive look, whether it be a filter you use, consistent colors, a frame or similar subject. You want your followers to be able to recognize an image as yours easily.

2. Subject — It is important to choose the right photos for your brand. What images will your posts focus on? For some brands, such as a clothing line, the content may be easy to come up with, for others it may take some creativity. Besides showcasing your product or service, you may consider using your Instagram to highlight staff or volunteers. Instagram can be a good way to offer your customers a look behind the scenes at your company.

3. Hashtags — In order for users to find your company easily, you may want to consider creating a branded hashtag. Now this doesn’t have to be your company name, it just needs to be a hashtag that embodies what your brand is. Be sure to use it regularly, that way when users come across an image of yours they like, they can use the hashtag to find more like it. Also, Instagram doesn’t have a character limit so beyond your branded hashtag be sure to use any other relevant hashtags to draw a new audience to your image.

4. Captions — Instagram is visual, but don’t neglect your captions. Your photo is there to draw them in, your caption is an opportunity to tell a story. Explain to your audience what is happening in the image and why they should care. Captions can also be used to entertain your audience or elaborate on a current offer. You can even include a call to action in your caption.

5. Your Audience — Your audience is unique to you and your area of your industry. That means what works for one company on Instagram won’t necessarily work for your company. Look at the content you’ve created on other sites and look at the sort of content similar businesses are creating. Make sure your content is what your audience is looking for.

Once you have created your Instagram and have started creating your content, take some time to create an Instagram plan. Outline a posting schedule and Instagram policy for your company. Decide what sort of images you will be posting when and how often. Decide how you will handle responding to comments (very important to interact with your followers) and interacting (liking and comment on other accounts.)

Buffer Social has put together a list of 8 surprising Instagram statistics you may find helpful and you can find additional Business Tips on the BBB website.