The social media is now so big; it’s actually beginning to make the biggest statement on the 21st century lifestyle. In fact research has it that more than half of the world’s total population connects via social media sites.
Yes, the world has indeed become a global village, and rendering our geographical borders and distance almost meaningless.
And for businesses, the good news is that the social media has transformed so many businesses, in fact just having an active social media is a business on its own.
Instagram has played no small part in this too. Jumping on the scene in 2010, Instagram made a first major statement by reaching a million downloads in the first month.
Personally, I merely started using Instagram earlier this year (2016). And like me, many entrepreneurs are wondering how to use Instagram’s images and short videos to enhance business and customers’ experience.
Getting started on Instagram is fairly straightforward. But have you considered creating a brand profile on Instagram to make your brand visible to a new market? Well, if you have already done that you are probably wondering why there are no instant results, right?
Well, it’s what to do next that presents a difficulty for many brands.
To be honest, I’m not an expert yet, but I’m a fast learner. So here’s what we are going to do. I will talk about the little I know so far, and you go ahead and share your own Instagram wealth of experience in the comment section below. Is that okay?
Here are a few tips that will help you optimize your use of Instagram to great extents.
1. Acquaint Yourself With How to Use Instagram for Business
Businesses have been flocking to Instagram in droves. In response, Instagram started the Instagram for Business blog, which offers tips, brand spotlights, API examples and news from Instagram HQ. While I cannot cover too much depth in this article, I can advise you to visit that blog or get proven guidelines on using Instagram for business.
A little study never hurts anyone, at least not someone wanting to succeed in business.
2. Don’t Get Boring, it’s Instagram For Pete’s Sake
If you are going to use Instagram, then you have to balance fun with the seriousness of your business. Yes, Instagram is exciting and fun and easy on the eye. That is its appeal, and that is why it records the highest engagement rate of all major social platforms.
For instance, according to this report, Instagram gets 10 times more engagement than Facebook. As if that is not enough, the average engagement per post has increased by 416% if you compare it to what it was like two years ago.
For example, Adidas put up a particular post on its Facebook and Instagram accounts. Yeah, the post was just about the same thing. Now Adidas, the popular sports brand has a whopping 24 million likes on its Facebook page, and 9.7 million Instagram followers. The difference is clear, right?
But guess what?
Instagram beat Facebook totally with regards to engagement. I mean, the Instagram post had about 130, 000 views, while the post on Facebook had only 78, 000 views.
And not just that, from the pictures above you can see that Instagram had 154 comments, while Facebook was able to garner just 67 comments.
I’m sure you get the point now.
Rachel Sprung advises,
“Take advantage of the increased real estate you have with the Instagram web page to tell a story with the images. Have a healthy balance of fun images and business pictures.”
The idea is to Track the engagement on your images to find out what your followers like best and use these trends to increase engagement by combining their preference with your business information, updates and the general story you are telling… yes tell a story, be creative.
3. Learn To Build A Respectable Following
In another recent study it was discovered that Instagram provides brands with 25% more engagement over other social platforms. This means that Instagram is a prime channel to build your brand.
Like every other social media platform, you can’t just hop on and start posting stuff and hope to get supreme engagement. There are wrong ways to use Instagram, right ways, as well as clever ways to use it in order to build a good following and enhance engagement.
Tim Sae Koo offers 3 helpful tips for getting more followers on Instagram:
- Connect your Facebook account
- Use relevant, popular hashtags
- Engage by following others and liking their photos
When you cross-post selected images to your Facebook page with a hashtag that aligns with your campaign or brand image, you help people who don’t know you’re on Instagram to find you there.
I might also add that you should to post on the right days and time too.
A targeted approach is to analyze what has and has not worked for you in the past. IconoSquare’s optimization section, can give you access to a detailed analysis of your posting history vs. engagement. This report will also highlight the best times of the day and days of the week to post.
Also learn to use the proper filters and try sponsored posts and product reviews and you will even steal your competitors’ followers.
4. Use Videos and Embed Videos On Your Blog Or Website
Instagram introduced the use of videos in 2013 with the release of Instagram 4.1. Since then, instagram’s 15 second videos have given Twitter’s Vine serious competition to contend with. The 15-second, filter-enabled, editable video functionality compared to Vine’s 6.5 seconds seems to be attracting more engagement.
Videos, that talk about a theme in your business, or videos that show what you do, will work. Just make sure that it passes the test of creativity and liveliness, and is not tedious or overly informative. Again, since you never know who will see your shares on a social networking platform, embed your Instagram video in your blog or website to extend the reach of your content.
5. Avoid Becoming the Noise
The ‘feed speed’ on Instagram is still mostly laid back, so you don’t need to post on Instagram every day. It’s very easy to force yourself into the noise if you start posting a lot; you will most likely saturate your followers’ feeds.
Decide what you want to post. Also, create a schedule to help you remember what to post when, and then track what is working once you get going. Finally, keep adjusting your schedule and posts till they are perfect.
6. Optimize Your Profile
Instagram profiles need to include brand information in specific ways (e.g., maximum number of characters, specific image sizes, attention to branding). So, complete your profile with all of the information customers might need to find you and do business with you.
7. Make Use of The Power of Apps
Your profile can be clumsy if you just upload everything from your computer’s memory and make the point you want to make with the posts. Remember what I said about being creative on Instagram, and balancing the seriousness of your business with some fun? Well, Instagram can be a pleasure to use, especially if you use apps like this.
Layout for instance, allows iOS device owners to stylistically combine multiple photographs into one single image. And this can be done before sharing that image to Instagram. Apps like Hyperlapse on the other hand, allow iOS device owners to create amazing time lapse videos using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
So make your choice, and have fun.
8. Perk Up Your Followers
It is advisable that businesses seal off the engagement they receive on social media by giving some perks to those who transform followership to patronage. It mustn’t be the US Open, just do what works for you.
There we have it!
Like I said at the beginning, I just joined Instagram earlier this year. So I don’t really consider myself an expert there, but I believe the tips above are very helpful. But I believe you probably have something to add. So, let’s move over to the comment section and discuss those other points.
By the way, this post is worth sharing. Don’t you think?