Startup MGZN

Instagram for Business

No doubt you want to grow your business and reach new customers and markets. In today’s world, the tools available to help you reach your ultimate goal are countless but we’re going to cover one specific tool, Instagram.

Instagram along with few other social media platforms are becoming a very attractive marketing tools: high reach and easy to use, but is knowing how to use Instagram enough to use it for business? definitely not.

Build a Strategy, Protect Your Brand.

First, create a strategy that focuses on building your brands image. Decide what kind of person your brand should be; arrogant, serious, sophisticated, funny, or what excatly?

Think of your goal, who do you want to reach, what is the best way to impress your target market and get their attention. Build a brand’s personality that will be relevant to your targeted audience. A proper brand personality is important for all your marketing channels.

What to share

If you own a small restaurant and decided to use Instagram, what will you share? Most restaurant owners use Instagram as a way to display the food they offer, like a menu. A little of that will sure get people’s attention, but a lot is boring. Try sharing pictures of customers (permission is required), behind the scenes, restaurant décor, etc.

Instagram content can be very creative and the possibilities are endless. Let me share few of what I liked on Instagram.

Express Your Brand

Each brand stands for something, and Redbull decided to stand for extreme sports and living on the edge. Know what your brand means and communicate it.

Share Your Heritage

Your business might have a heritage or it’s relevant to a cultural heritage. If it does, talk about it. Starbucks have posted a picture of their first Starbucks store in Pike Place, Seattle.

Engage

Use Hashtags to create engagement. After all, social media is all about engagement.

Share News

Make sure to share valuable news. Attaching relevant news to your posts grabs the attention and keep your followers interested in what you share. NBC News collects pictures from Instagram and reposts them as news. Always give credit to original owners when reposting.

Tell a Story

Stories are usually interesting. Try finding a story about your business, or a customer after taking his or her permission. Make it sound interesting and people will love it.

Inspire

Sharpie inspires their followers of using sharpies in art. It’s smart because it makes interesting posts and encourages people to use sharpies more.

Two Rules

There are two rules for Instagram content: creative and relevant!

Share, Don’t Spam..

How can you know you’re not sharing too much? There is no rule, and each one’s tolerance to spamming is different than the other. Based on observing global brands on Instagram, you shouldn’t share more than two posts per day with a couple of hours between them.

If you have to post more for any reason, keep a gap of at least one hour between each post. Remember that you can use facebook as an album.

Descriptions: Add Meaning to Your Posts

Not so many people read Instagram descriptions, but when a post gets people’s attention, they will want to know more about it. Add a nice description that adds meaning and personality to your posts.

Make sure you still sound social when putting words in social media. Remember this is not an advertisement, and if your posts were advertisements, people wouldn’t follow you. Keep social media social.

Getting Followers

First of all, don’t buy followers. There are companies that sell followers, but it won’t add value and will make you look bad if people noticed. Instead, find your target audience and get their attention; following them, liking/commenting on their posts, using hashtags, and reposting. Don’t rush! These ways can do more harm than good if they weren’t used correctly.

Following:

Follow people you believe will be interested in what you share to get their attention, and hopefully get them to follow you back. You still don’t want to follow lots of users because then your follow will show no value to some of them. To keep your following rate down, unfollow the ones who didn’t follow you back, use this tool to help you out: Statigram.com

Liking and Commenting:

Liking is not as sensitive as commenting. Like few pictures that are relevant to your brand to get the attention of their owners. Avoid liking personal pictures.

I do not recommend commenting, only on rare cases. But if you decided to comment, do not ever try to sell something. You are only getting users attention in a social way.

Hashtags:

Hashtags are a good way to draw people’s attention. Make sure you use the right hashtags. Don’t spam hashtags (Three are enough), and don’t use pointless overused hashtags that will only attract random people from other regions. Also, don’t talk hashtags, #it #looks #bad!

Reposts:

Track influentials and find if they have posted content relevant to you. If they do, ‘Capture-screen’ their posts and repost them while giving them credit (mention their name, thank them, or ask others to follow them). Don’t do this a lot and do it only once to each person you want their attention.

Share on other Channels:

Always use other channels to draw users to follow you. If your post is proper, share it on Facebook and Twitter too. Cross-promoting can work on both online and offline. Make sure people who comes to your store or office knows about your social media channels. Do it properly and professionally.

Do Contests:

Contests that are based on visual participations such as photography or art are a great way to increase engagement. Choosing winners based on votes will definitely bring you more followers. Make sure it’s clear and the prize has a proper value. Also, create a hashtag to track participations.

Spelling and Grammar

Everybody does mistakes, but since you’re a brand new, misspells are embarrassing (Don’t take it personal). Recheck the description before posting, and if in doubt, use a dictionary (online or an App) or use Google to check if you’re using the right phrasing.

Graphic Effects, Good or Bad?

Good, but don’t use effects only because you can use them. Use them to make your posts pretty and different. Of course, Instagram has its own filters but I encourage using effects from external applications as well.

Isa Al-Moawda

Isa is a contributor, marketing & branding specialist, and a consultant.