Instagram for business
Grow your business with Instagram
Social media has come a long way since the days of (the original) MySpace and there are lots of new platforms trying to get your attention. Although Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are still the major players Instagram is quickly rising to the top due to it’s focus on visual content. For this reason Instagram has become the go to social media platform of choice for many businesses.
Social media can seem daunting at first, especially for people who didn’t grow up with it but it’s not all that scary. In many ways it’s exactly like being social in real life and for this reason there are some key things to keep in mind. Today we’ll look at Instagram and how to use it effectively.
Just as you would speak to a group of children differently than you would a group of friends at a dinner party how you talk to and with your audience through social media is crucial. For Instagram the tone through your images and videos (Instagram also supports small videos) is the key component, while the writing or description plays a close second. Understanding your audience is the first step. Are they largely male or female, young or older, higher or lower income earners? Answering these questions will help you tailor your tone to your core audience. For example an online women’s clothing shop that sells to conservative higher income earners will use a completely different tone to an online clothing shop that sells organic hemp tie dye clothing imported from India.
Using hashtags is an extremely important way to connect with new followers and generate new likes. It’s very simple, just add words into your description or as a comment after you have posted with a # in front of each word. People then have the ability to see your picture or video when they are searching for something. For example if you use #adventure in your post then when people search for #adventure they will see your picture or video. The more popular the hashtag the quicker your post will disappear in the hashtag feed so timing is important. There are lots of ‘trending’ hashtags and it’s important to find ones that apply to your post. You will discover these trending hashtags while you look at other people’s accounts but feel free to invent your own hashtags. Have fun with it!
Creating good quality photos or video can be done successfully using your smart phone camera, especially when paired with Apps like VSCO but using a photo or video created from a Digital SLR camera and then uploaded to Instagram will yield substantially better results. As with everything visual the result lies largely with the operator but the equipment undoughtedly make a difference. Equipment aside, there are other factors involved in creating a quality photo or video such as composition, utilising light especially natural light, subject matter, props, etc. Creating quality images is a skill and as such takes time to develop. Practice makes perfect.
How many people see your posts can be greatly affected by what time you make your post. The go to times are between 7am – 9am and 6pm – 8pm as these are the times that most people have some downtime during their day. Working out when the best times to post are really comes down to common sense and a bit of observation. For example if your demographic is in the 18 – 24 years of age bracket then Friday and Saturday nights might not be as effective as younger people could be out enjoying the nightlife. Videos are best posted at night as the sound can be disruptive in the morning to some households. Timing isn’t everything but it does make a difference.
Connecting with other Instagram accounts
Being social with other people / accounts is important is boosting your likes and followers. Making meaningful comments on other people post can be a great way to expose your account to other potential followers. For example you comment on a post, someone sees your name and comment and is intrigued, checks out your account, likes what they see and decide to follow you which will inevitably result in them liking some of your posts. Their followers will then see that they are liking your photos and could in turn be intrigued to check you out. Instagram like all social media avenues is a digital community comprised of digital relationships. Like any relationship what you put into it will determine what you get back.
Test what works
While the above information will definitely point you in the right direction there is no definitive formula and as such it’s important that you test what works for your business and your audience. You can always go back and delete posts so try a variety of different ideas and monitor what works the best. Likewise try different time slots and hashtags to see what gets the most likes and generates the most new followers.