How to use Instagram for business?

Even though there are many players in social marketing game of thrones, rarely someone is brave enough to question the Big4’s dominance. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are the kings. While forgetting about the other, smaller services would be plainly stupid, establishing your presence with the biggest players is definitely crucial. We already talked about successfully using Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for business. This time we will adventure into the fabulous world of Instagram.

Nowadays not only restaurants and travel companies are using Instagram’s photo-sharing abilities, but it seems that nearly every business that want to survive in the social media, have to use this app. Some people even say that there might be no better place to build your brand ( I’m not really sold on this idea, but still). Let’s move then — “How to use Instagram for business”.

While on Facebook, Twitter, Quora and so on people have opportunity to simply interact with a business by asking question, commenting etc., Instagram is more of a visual portfolio for a company. Since it became one of the Big4 social media players, having strong presence there is a must, if a business don’t want to be ignored by the new generation’s customers. Here are some interesting Instagram numbers — click.

Those are the mains reasons why you shouldn’t miss on building your business presence on the Instagram. In the article below I will try to show you, step by step, how to use Instagram for business and achieve success while doing so.

1. What’s your plan?

This rule applies to every social media platform you are going to use. Don’t start, before knowing exactly what do you want to achieve there. Decide who do you want to reach out to, what are the number you want to get etc.

If you already know those things, now is the time for research. Before starting your company accounts, trying Instagram out with a personal one would be smart choice. Get used to it’s interface, rules, functionalities etc.

Now is the time for a little benchmark. Some companies are just great on Instagram, and learning from them is nothing to be ashamed of. Just look here. Copy what they do best, learn from their mistakes and with time add your own ideas.

So now we know how to use Instagram, and what are the best practices in the market. As we already agreed, before start you have to decide what exactly are your goals on the Instagram. Whether you want to get more traffic to your website, increase brand awareness, reach new clients, or just keep up with the competitor — having plan is a must. Now is the time to plan your social marketing campaign. And here are some of the best social media campaigns of 2014.

There are many conceptions on how a good plan should look. Let’s see, in my opinion perfect social media campaign plan should be:

  • Measurable — great content, photos and videos are of course very important, but being able to measure your success in numbers is crucial for your success. There are many metrics that
  • Precise — know exactly what, when and how do you want to do it. You might even prepare step by step plan, even though it will have to change and adapt with time, having a good, detailed plan is priceless.
  • Realistic — well… dreaming big is cool and all, but you probably won’t become an influencer after 2 weeks of work, with no experience and content whatsoever. Choose an ambitious goal, that won’t be easy to complete but is possible for you.

2. Publishing

After finishing step one, it’s about time to start sharing your content. Right now you should ask yourself a few questions:

  • What will be my content about?
  • When am I going to post it?
  • How often am I going to publish?
  • Will I manage to do it?
  • What help can I get?

When and how often to post? Well, there are some guides on it. When it goes to Instagram, usually brands publish 1–2 times a day. As for ‘when?, it really depends on your time zone, audience and many other details. The best way to choose perfect moment for publishing, is just researching your Google Analytics data etc. After some time, you will know exactly when you should post.

I would also like to encourage you to start using online tools, that might help you be more efficient during social media marketing campaigns. One of the most important tools I’m using right now is Hootsuite. It’s a really great social media scheduler that allows you to save immense amount of time. If you have any questions regarding those online tools, feel free to message me.

3. Interact

This one is actually true for all social media platforms — interacting with people can allow you to acquire loyal and active audience. What I mean by interacting:

  • Follow people — find out influencers in your industry, your potential audience and really active users to follow.
  • Comment their photos
  • Help them, answer their questions
  • Direct message them

At start it is really easy to grow your audience, being active and consistent is all you need.

4. Post

Same as with all other social media platforms, Instagram also has its own meta behavior. How should your posts look like then? Well, there are many options, for example:

  • Show your products/services in use
  • Let people enter the ‘backstage’ of your business
  • Interesting quotes
  • Memes
  • Videos
  • TBT — Throwback Thursdays — share some images from your past, it’s kind of a tradition for Instagram users
  • Cycle of photos
  • Funny materials

There are also many other options, you just have to learn what your audience likes the most, and then post it — as simple as that. There are also some things you should not post on the Instagram, you can see them here.

Well, same as with all the other social media platforms — the most important thing is to be consistent and never give up — this way, eventually, you will get your audience. If you have any questions or tips on using Instagram, please put them in the comments section.

You might also be interested in “How to use Facebook for business?” and “10 best underused social media platforms”.

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