Article

Laura Stack
Laura Stack 9 May 2016

Top Tips For Using Instagram For Your Business

Instagram is one of the world’s most popular photo-sharing platforms with more than 400 million active users, and it’s expected to increase with the launch of the Instagram app for Windows 10 mobiles.

Every day, 75 million people take to the app to capture and share the world’s moments. Want your brand to be part of the movement? Follow our top nine tips for Instagram success.

1) Think square

Instagram photos are square (not rectangle), so when composing your shots, think square. Use your thumb and index fingers to frame the shot so you can ensure you getting in all the detail you need.

Also, remember your Instagram profile is only as good as your photos, so familiarise yourself with how to work a DSLR camera to take some professional-looking shots.

2) Track traffic to your site

Instagram doesn’t come with an in-built analytics dashboard, but there are various online tools you can use to measure your engagement, track your followers and find out the best times for you to post.

In addition, you can track referral traffic to your website using Google Analytics. Again, Instagram’s current functionality prevents referral traffic from being measured, so use awork-around to see exactly how much of your web traffic is coming via Instagram.

3) Keep the momentum

In order to generate a following and keep at the forefront of your followers’ feeds, you need to be posting once daily if possible, but at least a couple of times a week. To save time, collect your content in batches, but try to give your followers something new each day.

Use the information from your analytics reports about the best time and days to post for maximum engagement and schedule your posts using a free online tool.

4) Promote your partners

Instagram is all about community, so be a community player by promoting your partners and clients. This can be done subtly by tagging other businesses in your posts or it can be done overtly by making a direct statement about your thoughts or experiences of using a particular product or service.

This strategy isn’t just selfless as it encourages your partners and clients to do the same in return, which will lead to increased exposure for your brand and likely boost your following and engagement.

5) Use hashtags

#Hashtags are essentially search terms that are used to organised and categorise your content to that people can find what they’re looking for. Hashtagging is essential in helping people discover your content and optimising your profile.

Use the explore feature to uncover trending tags that are relevant to your brand and include them in well-timed posts to aid discovery. For inspiration on what hashtags to use, visit Top Hashtags. The more hashtags you use, the more likely users will come across your content.

6) Use call-to-actions

Your bio is the only place where you can include a clickable link so it’s a no-brainer that you’ll put your homepage address here. But that doesn’t meant that it can’t be updated regularly with topical links. Send users to specific pages on your website that are relevant to your most recent content.

Identify ways of capturing your followers’ emails, as email marketing is a more direct and personal way to connect with your audience. Encourage users to sign up for newsletters in the image captions, as well as in the image itself.

7) Do promotions

Boost your following and engagement and reward your loyal customers by doing promotional offers and competitions on your channel. In order for them to qualify for a discount, ask them to submit their email address. To be entered into a competition, get them to like and comment on your image.

Unlike Facebook, you can’t increase exposure via shares, but you can ensure your content is seen by more people by asking followers to tag a friend, or better still, encourage them to upload their own photo, tag you and use your hashtags. This will be particularly effective if you have any influential Instagram followers.

8) Use sponsored posts

At $350,000 plus, Instagram’s sponsored ads price small and medium businesses way out of the market. A more affordable way to get increased brand exposure and following is to pay for sponsored posts on large Instagram accounts that cater for your demographic.

You’ll know they accept sponsors by their bio, which will say something like “promote your brand here”. Remember, your content needs to fit with the style of your sponsor, so have a look at their previous posts to see what gets the most engagement.

9) Use video as well as images

A picture is worth a thousand words and a second of video is worth 30,000. Instagram is all about visual storytelling, so use a mixture of videos and photos to tell your stories. Think about what will engage and inspire your audience, and not what you’re trying to sell.

Capture your videos using Instagram’s video editing features which allow you to record and pause when you want to shoot a different scene. Poor quality or poorly-edited videos may harm your reputation so it might be worth considering a professional pre-made video.

At Bespoke, we use professional equipment in-house for our marketing videos, and we can help you too. Contact hello@bespokeinternet.com for more information.

Interested in how to use Instagram and other social media platforms creatively in your marketing strategy? Bespoke’s team of digital specialists provide Social Media Workshops, tailored to your business requirements.

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