Social media engagement should be a priority for every business owner. One site that continues to grow in popularity is Instagram. Around since 2010, Instagram grew by 60% in 2014 and its users now represent 20% of the world’s population. So, what is Instagram?
In short, it’s a way for people to share photos and videos with their friends. Accounts can be set to public or private, and users can opt to geographically tag where their photos were taken. The great thing about Instagram is how personal it feels, making it an excellent way for businesses and brands to connect with their audience. So, what are the specifics of managing Instagram for your business?
Here are six steps to building a solid Instagram account:
Step 1: Optimize.
Start by setting up your account. Cover the basics, like securing a username containing your business name, setting your logo as the profile image, and including your website URL and company description in your “About” bio.
Pro tip: Instagram is a less formal platform, which makes it a great place to let your company’s personality shine through. Don’t be afraid of being a little unorthodox so long as you remain true to your brand identity.
Step 2: Strategize.
Learn the basics of Instagram if you aren’t already familiar with the platform. From there, figure out what your goals are with your account. Are you going for brand awareness? Brand community? Increased website traffic? Boost in product sales? Use your goals to drive your posts and engagement. Determine what days you will post, what time, and what sort of content you’ll be sharing.
Pro tip: Make sure your strategy for Instagram reflects your larger social media strategy across all the platforms you manage. While each should be managed differently, there should still be cohesion and consistency in your messaging.
Step 3: Create.
Posting a photo on Instagram is pretty easy, but knowing what to post is a little trickier. As you’re contemplating what pictures to share, think about consistency. If you’re a shoe store, followers will expect shoe-related posts. You can deviate some, but try and keep the majority of your posts consistent with what you do.
Pro tip: some brands even go so far as to create a “look” for their photos; i.e. using light colors or a certain filter for every photo they post. This isn’t completely necessary, but it does create an awesome look of consistent brand messaging.
Step 4: Engage.
The next step is to simply start. Follow your friends, acquaintances, business partners, and competitors. Have fun with it and don’t be afraid of a little trail-and-error until you find the right rhythm of connecting with your audience. As your followers comment, respond to them. When people follow you, follow them back (especially if they’re actively building their own Instagram presence).
Pro tip: don’t lose sight of the fact that all this is for the sake of building community and connection with your followers. Keep it simple and relational!
Step 5: Acquire.
The first way to start growing your reach and infuence on Instagram is by connecting with everyone you know. The second step is increasing your reach beyond your immediate circles. The best way to do this? #Hashtags. Find industry-specific hashtags users and brands alike are putting with their posts to find new accounts to engage with. Leave comments on their photos, and follow accounts in line with your target audience.
Pro tip: Staying on top of what hashtags are trending will be a game-changer for you. Use these hashtags on your own photos so you can be found, and use them to find photos and people you want to connect with.
Step 6: Analyze.
As with all marketing, it’s important to be able to measure whether your efforts are succeeding or not. While the app itself doesn’t have these tools, other apps can do it for you. Iconosquare is a good place to start with analytics. Hootsuite also supports Instagram now, including those all-important facts and stats.
Pro tip: Track your progress so you can see your account’s growth.
Instagram is a fun social media platform to use for your business. If Instagram is not a part of your current social media strategy, get started today! Audiences love a visual brand and Instagram is the perfect platform to show them your business.
- 9 Instagram tools you might find helpful
- How to manage multiple Instagram accounts
- Going more in-depth: 26 awesome Instagram for business tips