Instagram for Business

Instagram for businessMuch like Pinterest, Instagram has become more and more popular as a place to discover and share visual content.  This makes it an important channel to utilize for your business.  Sure, it’s a great place to share your latest culinary creation or post pictures of that band you just saw (I may be very guilty of doing both of these actions myself), but with over 150 million active users, your company needs to be there as well.

According to Social Media Examiner, more than half (57%) of Instagram users check the app on a daily basis, and 35% check it multiple times a day.  Since user engagement is so high, it’s clear that Instagram is an important social platform for brand marketers.

But how would a business utilize a purely visual social media channel?  There are two tactics that work successfully:

1)      Create a “community and culture” aspect.  Show what it’s like to work at your company.  Take and post photos of that company luncheon you all enjoyed, or the coworker’s birthday party you celebrated that afternoon.  Or, maybe your team is involved in volunteer work. Let people know about it through your photos.  Basically, showing the human side of your company will help drive engagement with your followers.

2)      Market your brand.  Companies like General Electric (@generalelectric) and Cisco (@cisco) have found enormous success on Instagram through utilizing hashtags (that # symbol you see all over Twitter, too) on their posts.  Because Instagram is not a typical blog- it’s a social discovery channel- users are always searching for new content.  Hashtags allow those users to search for specific content, so if you aren’t using them there is no way for your posts to be found.

In addition to these tactics, some other helpful tips for getting your business started on Instagram include:

  • Familiarize yourself with the channel on a personal level first.  Learn what gains the most “likes” by using hashtags on your own images.
  • Be true to your brand. Post pictures that display the culture of your company and be sure to have a unique voice. Use captions that reveal your company’s wit and provide context to the images.  Balance fun images with more serious, business-like images or share your latest endeavor or project. 
  • Inspire potential customers.  Attract your target market with images that start a movement or motivate action.
  • Know your audience . Be aware of what people like or admire about your brand to share relevant photos with them.
  • Create a following by using popular, pertinent hashtags and engaging others by following them back and liking their pictures.  Think of Instagram as a networking site.  Launch a campaign or contest to get your followers interested in your brand and encourage others to get involved.

As a marketer, be sure to use photos that will draw your customers in and encourage a deeper relationship with your brand.  Try to grow loyalty within your community of followers just like you would on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media site.

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