800 Million Reasons to Embrace Instagram.
Less than one in ten business users actively use Instagram on a monthly basis. Here's how to maximize the platforms advantages.
Picture success with the wildly-popular photo sharing app.
Instagram may not have been an instant hit in the business community, but now it’s ready for prime time. The world’s leading photo sharing app recently hit 800 million users. And that’s the big reason more than 25 million businesses have Instagram profiles.If you think that means the competition is too stiff, think again. Less than one in ten business users are active on a monthly basis. And of those that are, most are not maximizing the platform’s unique advantages.
But you, smart marketer, are different. Just minutes from now you’ll know how to reach Instagram success. In the in-depth tutorial “How to master Instagram for business in seven easy steps,” writer Brent Barnhart points out that there’s an audience on Instagram for most any kind of business.
Perfect your profile.
Begin with a profile photo that ID’s your brand. (Hint: Use your logo.) Then fill in your account name, e.g., the name of your business. Your username should match the account name. Next, plug in your website address. Please note this will be your Instagram page’s only clickable URL! Use your website address or link to a landing page. Give careful thought to your bio. You can talk about your business, your website, your tagline — or all of these things.
Forget massive numbers. Find your tribe.
True, there are hundreds of millions of users on Instagram. But you’ll only want to attract a tiny fraction of them. Create a mental image of your ideal customer. Then, rather than blasting a message to the millions, think relationships. Build your Instagram page by reaching out, one on one.
Encourage followers to tag you in their own Instagram photos. And zero in on your tribe by researching and using niche hashtags.
Develop — and execute —a clear strategy.
Start with some simple questions: Why Instagram? What would you like to achieve? Is your focus brand awareness? Social selling? Sharing some snappy photos? Whatever it is, make sure your content supports that strategy. Random posting is not the answer!
What’s your story?
Use storytelling — your brand narrative — to paint the picture you want customers to see. Unleash your creativity and let the pictures and captions capture followers’ imaginations. The litmus test is that visitors should get a feel for your brand with a quick look at your feed.
Promote your product or service creatively.
As Brent Barnhart puts it, “show off your products without totally shoving them in your followers’ faces. Creativity counts on Instagram unlike any other platform.” That might mean a straight-forward promotional post, video content, memes, user-generated content or a product shot in the wild.
Influence the influencers.
One of the best ways to get on the fast track with Instagram is to reach out to Instagram influencers with a strong existing following. Being acknowledged by a power user could attract an adoring crowd with a solitary post. Some influencers do organic shoutouts while others expect to be paid.
Add in some ads.One of Instagram’s most attractive features is that it’s easier to reach your audience organically than it is on Facebook. Still, it might make sense to advertise on this platform. Combining one of the platform’s many ad types with Instagram’s ability to target your audience could be just the thing to show up on your audience’s feed.
Ready to master Instagram along with other social media channels for the long haul? Review 7 Social Media Retention Strategies — Tactics for Effective Customer Communication.