The world is moving ahead with the mobile technology, and social media is playing an important role here. In today’s times where gadgets are getting smaller and slimmer, and almost most of the work is being done through different kinds of handheld devices, it will make any business ponder upon whether to hop on to this train or not. While it does depend on many factors whether a business should have its presence on social media or not, it is a concluded fact that for a business to grow it will need to have some kind of presence on social media, unless you want your business to be the next Kodak or Nokia. While there are different social media tools that you can employ for your business, I would like to focus on one specific tool, Instagram, that brings in the power of using images and short videos.
Either you are familiar with what Instagram is as you have been using it, or you might have probably seen people use it for personal or business use. It is one of the simplest mobile photo-sharing apps that has more than 80 million users around the world. As Instagram defines itself, it is a community built on the power of visual storytelling. It is always a known fact that visual content grabs the attention and also has higher share-ability factor associated with it which Instagram employs. It might come as a shock, but businesses have been a crucial part of this community since its inception. So the question arises, how I can use this powerful tool to make my brand visible, to enhance customer experience, and increase sales. So, if you are planning to use Instagram for your business then here is how you should go about it.
Creating an Instagram account would be the first thing that you must do after you download the app on your mobile device. But, before you create a business account, make sure that you are well aware of what you want to achieve by being on this social media platform. Once you are clear with the purpose, get your business started by creating the Instagram account with the business email id. Let the account name match with your business, as well as with other social media profiles that your business has, making it is easy for the customers to find. The other information that will be available in your public profile is the website and a bio of 150 characters. Since the length is limited, keep this bio short and concise conveying what your business does and the purpose of this profile. If there are any branded hashtags then include them as well. The website link can be updated and used particularly for specific events, promotions or product launches. Last but not the least would be your profile photo, which will appear as a 150×150 pixel image cropped in a circle. Hence, it is best that you keep your logo as the profile photo which will offer easy recognition. It would be better if this profile photo matches with those on other social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
You would probably know, and even the app will suggest connecting your Instagram account to your Facebook account. But if you really want to boost your marketing efforts and make use of it to build your brand and enhance customer experience, then connect your account to Twitter and other social sites as well. This ensures that any image you share on Instagram will be posted to your Facebook and Twitter profiles as well, wherein the viewers can click on the Instagram stream to view it as an image or video, comment on it, and also follow your brand. Nevertheless, stay focused on your Instagram strategy and the way you want to connect with the world using it, by keeping it consistent.
The biggest way in which users sort images and find you through their Instagram searches is by hashtags. The good part about Instagram is that you are not limited by character count and hence, you can include as many hashtags as you would want. However, a common norm is to have few tags and not too many so that it doesn’t make you look desperate and also would help get users to connect with you.
Use tags which are related to the image, along with those that represent your brand. This will give you the opportunity to reach out to more new followers who are searching for relevant hashtags. If there are any specific hashtags that are already in use on Twitter or other social media, then use them on Instagram as well. While you use unique tags for different marketing campaigns, include general tags in the posts as well so that users can easily find them. Also, it is always good to be on your toes when you spot a trend. If the trend fits with your brand, you can use it immediately thus allowing your post to be viewed by thousands within few minutes.
It is obvious that you would want to know how well Instagram business account is doing as per your chalked-out strategy, and for that, you can make use of the Instagram Insights that this app offers to learn more about your followers, understand their behavior, and thus helping you to respond with more relevant content. In simple words, you would understand who your followers are and precisely what content they are interested in. These insights will help you to reach more customers on Instagram by bringing your business to life on mobile devices. You can do this by visiting your Instagram business account profile and clicking on bar chart icon which will show the total number of posts, top posts, and the time in past seven days when your followers were most active. There are several filters and options that you can use to get any particular detail which you would need.
Along with sharing high-quality images that represent your brand, it is also important to indulge in constant engagement with your customers. Every follower would love it if you respond to them and their comments. Another way to engage is by following people, liking their posts, and connecting with them over other social platforms as well. Also, all the images or videos that you put up need not be from you, and you can allow your followers to upload photos to your stream as well, thus offering a great way to engage followers.
So, you can set aside a day in a week to reply and acknowledge what people have to say about your business and brand, and also respond with a similar gesture by liking their posts. If you would like to be more proactive, then you can choose to enable push notifications in the Instagram app which will give you instant updates about the likes and comments that you are receiving. This feature will help in ensuring, you don’t neglect the users that follow and engage with you.
As Instagram is owned by Facebook, the duo offers a great opportunity for promotion to the brands. Instagram videos and images, when shared on Facebook can be boosted into paid media. This will take the post to the Facebook news feed, thus enabling brands to reach millions of users on Facebook. Another way, and perhaps a better and easy one is to promote directly from Instagram that will drive the business goals. For this, you just need to select an already shared post on Instagram and tap “promote”. This will give you an opportunity to choose the business objective for your promotion, which is either to bring people to your website or drive them to call or visit your business. Once done with that, you can choose the audience who you want to reach with the particular post. Instagram also gives you different budget options to choose from that you can select along with the duration of the campaign. Once done, you can view the status of the promotion and the available insights.
Just like how Facebook and Twitter are being used today as some of the powerful social media platforms to enhance customer experience and to grow businesses, Instagram is slowing pacing up to make its own mark in this world. So, before it is too late, it is the right time to evaluate and decide whether your business should take advantage of Instagram or not.
Instagram Marketing for Beginners – How to Build a Brand and Make Your Instagram Business Grow (Social Media Marketing, Instagram Marketing, Instagram Tips)
Instagram Blackbook: Everything You Need To Know About Instagram For Business and Personal – Ultimate Instagram Marketing Book
Make Instagram Work for Your Business : The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business, Generating Leads, Finding New Customers and Building Your Brand
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