I might have laughed a couple of years ago if someone had suggested I use Instagram for my business. Why would a virtual assistant promote her business on a photo-sharing site? But there’s no denying this simple, easy to use platform is slowly but surely making itself known, and taking its rightful place in the social media realm. And I’ve since found ways to use it by sharing motivational quotes, photos of my office, my family, micro-content from my blog and other things to give a glimpse into my life and business.
If you have a business, you might want to consider being visible on Instagram. Especially if you are involved in food, fashion, any luxury brand, if you’re a lifestyle blogger, or any sort of personality.
Millions of users (present company included) love to scroll through our photo feed during the little pockets of free time that pop up throughout the day.
So what is Instagram used for?
This popular and very visual social media platform allows you to share photos and very short, 15 second videos with your followers. You can also apply all kinds of great filters to your photos to spiff them up a bit and make them interesting. Ideally, people who follow you will be intrigued and engaged enough with your photos to consider visiting your website and move one step closer to working with you or buying your products. But if they aren’t … it’s still fun, and it’s one more place to be seen!
There are a few things to keep in mind when using Instagram for business:
Post only once or twice per day. Unlike Twitter, where multiple posts per day are acceptable, you should only really be posting one or two photos per day to Instagram. If you’re on vacation or traveling here and there, you can get away with a couple more. Just don’t take over and dominate the streams of your followers.
Add a description to your photos. Since Instagram is a platform based on photos. The only clickable link you have is a link on your profile, so you have to be a bit creative with your descriptions in order to drive your followers back to your website. If you post an image related to a blog post or something on your website and want to drive people there via your post, consider swapping out the link on your profile and then – in your description – tell people to click on the link in your profile. This is a very successful tactic for many experienced Instagram users.
Post only great photos or interesting images. People are on Instagram to look at beautiful and interesting things. If you’re just taking crappy shots of random things, save those for your Facebook friends. Using great photos and images doesn’t require you to have a professional photography background by any means, but your photos and images should be of good quality. Use the built-in filters to enhance your images!Use Instagram to showcase your business and personal life through photos and 15 sec videos.Click To Tweet
Use hashtags. The only way to search Instagram is via hashtags, so go ahead and tag your photos with keywords. It’s okay to use several hashtags on one photo – actually 11 seems to be a magic number. I’m not sure why, but that’s what research shows. Users aren’t turned off by #toomanyhashtags like Twitter users are. But don’t just throw a bunch of popular hashtags on there for the sake of using hashtags. Try to use descriptive tags, trending tags, and some of the popular hashtags that are relevant to your photo. #instagood #tbt #nofilter #quote #motivationmonday #wednesdaywisdom are all popular Instagram hashtags, so use those frequently when the tag fits the photo.
Follow other accounts. Social media is a two-way street! Be sure to follow lots of Instagram accounts that are of interest to you, both as a business owner and as a human being. (Business and brands of which you are a fan, products you love, photographers you admire, etc.) Comment on posts when they inspire you. “Like” posts that you…well…like. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Instagram doesn’t (yet) have a built-in share feature, but you can use an app like Regram or RePost to share images posted by other users with your own followers.
Be real. Do try to show your personality and who you are as a person on Instagram. Try not to be purely business – people want to connect with you, the person, not just the business. The whole point of using social media for business is to make it easier for prospective clients to relate so you can form relationships with them. And for goodness sake, don’t make your account private if you want people to follow you. It’s like putting up a closed sign on your door!
Do you have any more tips for using Instagram to promote your business?