With so many different social applications out there to choose from, it’s hard to know which ones are worth utilizing from a business standpoint. Since Instagram came out in October 2010, the application has quickly become one of the top performing social media platforms available—which is saying a lot when you consider competitors like Facebook and Twitter. As of December 2016, Instagram has over 600 million users from all over the world, allowing businesses of all sizes to tap into markets that were never before thought possible. Below is a brief introduction into the basics of Instagram, as well as how businesses can take advantage of the platform as a marketing tool.
What is Instagram?
In case you’re been living without internet or cable for the past six and a half years, Instagram is a photo and video sharing application. In addition to its original image-sharing feature, Instagram has added additional features like temporary video “stories”, an algorithm-based newsfeed, and albums (among other things) in order to compete with its competitors. Businesses can create a profile with a username, photo, small “About Me” section, and link. The website address you put here is especially important since it’s the only clickable link you’ll be able to showcase.
Many businesses have been able to successfully manage Instagram as an extension of their marketing efforts. In addition to allowing businesses to connect with new and existing customers on a more intimate level, Instagram also helps them to organically generate leads and push traffic to their websites, all without paying a cent.
The profile section of a business’ account is important because it defines the authenticity of their page.
- Profile Picture: Green Group Studio suggests using your logo for your profile picture so that your Instagram page is easily recognizable from the search and newsfeed pages.
- Username: Fortunately, usernames need to be unique so that users searching for a particular account can find exactly what they’re looking for. Unfortunately, this means that your business’ name might already be claimed. If your business name is already taken, we recommend adding the word “official” to the username.
- Bio: Your “Bio” section should be a one to two sentence summary describing who your brand is, although it can be slightly more informal due to the platform. You can also include a callout for specific hashtags utilized by your business.
- Website Link: As mentioned above, the most important part of your profile is the website link as it’s the only clickable item you’ll be able to put up. One trick a lot of companies utilize on Instagram is to update their link based on certain events. For instance, if you’re promoting a sale, you can add a link that takes users directly to the page and add comments like “Link in the Bio” to your posts.
Hashtags are one of the primary tools businesses can use for people to find them. In order to add a hashtag to the description of a photo or video, simply use the “#” symbol directly followed by a word or phrase with no spaces or punctuation. Your photo will then show up every time a user searches that hashtag. When adding a plethora of hashtags, we suggest the new technique of adding them to a separate comment instead of in the original post description.
Hashtags are a fun way to catalog images related to your company and connect with customers. When you’re first starting out on Instagram, it’s a best practice to use a large number of general hashtags related to your industry, like #makeup, #beauty, and #lipstick. Instagram has made it even easier to pick top-performing hashtags because as soon as you start typing one out it gives you suggestions with the number of photos attached to that hashtag next to it!
Just like with hashtags, location services can help businesses gain followers because every time a user searches that location, your photo will show up. Also like hashtags, typing a location into the location search bar causes the most popular locations with the most photos to automatically pop up. Businesses should take advantage of using the most popular hashtags and locations because not only are those the most widely used terms, but they are also the most commonly searched terms.
What really makes businesses and their pages stand out from their competitors is the content they post. In addition to images and videos, Instagram allows you to post up to 2,200 characters in a description box under each post. That’s a lot of room to add valuable content to your followers’ feeds and can really enhance your posts!
Following and Followers
Another easy way to attract followers is to find them yourself. Use the search tool to search your industry hashtags. Once you pick a hashtag, the top nine performing photos connected to it will automatically appear at the top of the results page. The posters of these images are considered influencers. An influencer is someone who has a large following of (typically) like-minded individuals. You can reach out to these influencers to request some sort of partnership or even to use their followers list in order to find individuals who are more likely to follow you back once they see your content.
Instagram is a great marketing tool that can help your business connect with current and potential customers all over the world. By following these simple tricks, your business will be gaining followers and sales in no time! However, most business owners find that they simply don’t have the time to effectively manage all of their presences online. At Green Group Studio, our team of experts allow us to provide a comprehensive suite of design and marketing services, including content and social media management. Call today to speak with one of our marketing specialists at 561-594-7336.