5 Ways to Make Your Small Business Shine on InstagramBy: Matthew Yeoman - January 6, 2014
Instagram is one of the hottest social media platforms on the internet. When Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion back in 2012 it not only increased the popularity of Instagram, but it also really showed the true value of the company. Smart small business owners in all industries are noticing Instagram and are trying to capitalize on this constantly growing popularity.
Your business may not be worth $1 billion, but you can get closer to that number if you follow these 5 simple guidelines to maximize the potential of your Instagram marketing.
5 Ways to Make Your Business Shine on Instagram
1. Have a great looking profile
Leaving your profile with the stock image that Instagram provides is a bad mistake. It will only take a little time to customize it with your logo, colors and branding. Taking that time will build trust between you and your potential followers that your Instagram account is legit and trustworthy. Do not ever let your potential customers second guess whether or not your account is actually you.
This is a strategy that you should employ across all of your social media accounts. A consistent look and style will go a long way towards building trust and social credibility. Without that trust and credibility you may never be able to get your Instagram account up and running.
2. Use Instagram badges
Instagram badges are the icons provided by Instagram that allow you to link your Instagram account to your Facebook Page, YouTube Channel, Twitter account and Pinterest boards, all with the click of a button. Being able to constantly provide your customers with new ways to interact with you will help keep them on your websites, reading your content and experiencing your brand story.
3. Post your pictures to Instagram with a plan
Randomly posting photos can be fun – for a personal account! Your business account should only have photos posted with the intent of driving traffic and increasing engagement. Anything else is useless or, even worse – spam!
Before posting any photo on Instagram take a moment to think about whether or not it will actually help you reach your goals. If it doesn’t it may be best to hit the delete button and move on to better uses of your time. Good photos are ones which lead naturally to sharing links to your website and creating discussions and shares. Always have that in mind.
4. Use hashtags and mentions to drive new traffic
Instagram borrows from Twitter with their use of hashtags and mentions. They can be used to generate new traffic when used correctly. They do this by helping people find your brand who are not already aware of it.
Hashtags do this by grouping conversations with the ‘#’ symbol followed by a word. You can join in on conversations or start your own. Mentions do this by using the username of other Instagram accounts, these show up on the accounts of the user mentioned and their followers can see it as well.
Always be sure to use proper net etiquette. Don’t use a #justinbieber hashtag just because it’s popular if you don’t have a photo of Justin Bieber, or if you’re in no way related to the music industry. This is how you become a spammer, and becoming a spammer is a quick way to turn people off of your brand.
5. Take your Instagram offline with real world marketing efforts
Instagram, and all of your other online marketing activities, should not be isolated into their own online bubbles. With Instagram you have unique opportunities to create engagement by taking your marketing efforts out into the real world.
How can you take the internet into the real world? Ask your fans to submit photos of themselves with your product in a competition! A few prizes and a little fun can go a long way to creating engagement outside of the online world while also driving people to your Instagram account and, in time, your cash register.
Having a marketing plan on Instagram for your small business doesn’t have to be complicated. The 5 tips above can be implemented with ease. Take these tips, a little imagination, some consistent hard work and your photos may soon be shared more often than a Hollywood celebrity with a wardrobe malfunction!