Instagram…It’s for business too!

If you’ve been living under a rock, in a cave, or somewhere that doesn’t have a good Wi-Fi signal; you’ve probably heard of Instagram. But it’s less certain if you’ve actually ‘hearted’ a few pictures for yourself.

Instagram isn’t just about selfies and cute fluffy dog pictures anymore. Although, goodness knows you can find those in my history list.

Instagram; as with Snapchat can enhance your clients’ experience, grow your customer base, and increase your brands visibility to a variety of markets.

We’ve put together a few tips and tricks that cover the basics, and a little more.

    • Sign up is fairly straight-forward, nothing you can’t handle…unless you literally have been living under that rock we covered in the intro paragraph. Instagram is a mobile phone application that you can download from your phones play store for free. It’s currently just a mobile app, not useable via computer – although there are third-party apps that allow a certain level of access.

 

    • It’s recommended to use a handle, profile picture and bio that’s consistent with your Twitter, Facebook (business/brand) and Snapchat (if applicable). This will strength your brand. And in our line of business, I don’t have to tell you that brand consistency is key. Don’t forget to link to your main website too. It’s all about cross-selling, and driving traffic back to your business. Think of Instagram as the icing on the cake, the frill around the curtain.

 

    • After all of those shenanigans are arranged, you need to spend some time acquainting yourself with Instagram and how to use it for business. Instagram have even created an ‘Instagram for Business’ blog which offers brand spotlights, news/new features and additional tips.

 

    • Next you need to add content! That’s the fun part. You should take advantage of the space and opportunity you have to tell stories with your ‘squares’. It’s important to have a balance of fun and business images. You can track the engagement on your posts by reviewing which posts your followers like most.

 

    • Simultaneously, you’ll be gaining new followers. Our recommendations are to follow others and engage with them by liking their posts. And hey, a compliment and a smile emoji never hurt anyone. Never underestimate the power of the hashtag too. It’s a very powerful tool. Hashtags are like mini portals onto other people’s profiles. It’s what makes you searchable to internal followers, and vice versa.

 

    • Instagram have now added the integration of video and Boomerang (a popular standalone app) into their own. Instagram used to have a 15-second cut-off on their videos, but they have extended this to one minute. Instagram have also introduced a Stories feature, that is similar to Snapchat and Facebook’s ‘go Live’ feature; allowing you to interact with your followers (if you choose), or share ‘after the fact’ photos by uploading directly from your camera-roll…which could be arguably more sensible.

 

    • The more clean and simple you make your profile, as a business – the more consistent it appears, and the more aesthetically pleasing it will be to new followers, and subsequently new potential clients. There are even YouTube videos and tutorials on how best to lay out your Instagram. For example – ‘filler’ pictures, such as an abstract or general stock image help to space out actual product shots, while alternating with far away/perspective shots. The purpose of these kinds of patterns are because if you picture; all product shots on a row and no other types of image, it’s going to look very dry and uninviting. The meaning of Instagram and how/why people use it, is to be part of a lifestyle. So ultimately, make yours look fun, appealing, and like you’re part of the cool crowd that everyone wants to join.

 

    • Follow the pied piper. And by this I mean, follow your followers back. The people that you follow on social networking platforms make all the difference in the world. If and when your brand/business is notable enough – you won’t need to follow others back. You can create strategic relationships and partnerships. For example Nike have a following of 69.6 million people, but are only following 137 people. For the most part, this is cross-branding/selling, as these are often people/sports personalities they are promoting themselves. For example, they’re following Serena Williams, Nike Women, Nike Running, and Roger Federer to name a few. If you happen to be looking at Nike’s Instagram now – you’ll also notice that their aesthetic is that of greyscale imagery and video content with a central perspective to each square…But that’s only a few rows down. They have interestingly recently changed their look as prior to this it was full colour video and picture content. Greyscale/black and white imagery does have a more classic, retrospective feel to them, so you can see why they would choose this move. If you keep scrolling down to 2014, their posts followed their international campaign with outdoor, fresh, action images with motivational captions/quotes and the hashtag #justdoit

 

    • Once you decide on your aesthetic and build a follower base, you’ll be thinking about how often you should actually be posting. And that’s simple: just generate a flexible posting plan. You don’t need to post daily, certainly not multiples per day – that’s actually somewhat of a Insta-fauxpas – nobody wants to be saturated and see your masses of posts streaming down their discovery page when they’re trying to see what Nicole Kidman wore on the Red Carpet, or what Kylie Jenner’s latest Lip Kit looks like.

 

    • Utilise other apps to your advantage. There are lots of other apps that you can use simultaneously with Instagram to assist and enhance your journey and experience, such as keyword generators/hashtag ideas and filter apps for your pictures. You can use these to make Instagram a significant part of your social media marketing strategy.

 

    • A study conducted by simplymeasured.com found that 59 percent of the world’s top brands are now active on Instagram. Their findings also shed light on choices around filtered photos. Filters such as ‘lo-fi’ seem to be the filter of choice for 14 percent of brands.

 

    • Next is to quantify and qualify using analytics tools such as BlitzMetrics and Curalate which can provide detailed insights. Curalate tracks an Instagram post’s likes and comments so that a brand can see how that popularity translates into added followers, but also capitalize on the popularity.

 

  • With your follower base growing and developing, it’s a good idea to reward your followers for following you! Now, I don’t know if you’re bezzie mates with Bono or Anna Wintour but American Express have been known to offer backstage entries to events such as concerts and fashion shows. It’s even a good idea to showcase photos of employees to create a ‘behind-the-scenes’ view of your company, inviting the ‘outside world’ to see how great it is to work there and showcase what kind of culture you cultivate.

Now you have the tips and tricks required to create a solid profile, you can utilise this social networking tool and platform to your advantage. Just knowing that the demographic is 18-34 can help position your brand/company on it. Just because you may not currently use it, or think it’s for the ‘cool kids’…you’d be wrong. As of December 2016, Instagram reached 600 million monthly active users. There have been over 20 billion photos shared on Instagram since the application launched. Officially, after Facebook; Instagram has the most users, beating Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat to the punch.

Use it to your advantage, get out there, post, and contact Omnia to see how we can assist and support with your social media needs!

Plan your project with us.