By Stephanie Jones at Social Media Today:
Instagram is possibly the new lifeblood of social media platforms for small businesses. Is that overdramatic? I thought so, but it’s true in a sense. Businesses are seeing a drastic decrease in organic reach to their followers on Facebook, which until the last year or so has been the bread and butter for small businesses. We’re not saying you need to get rid of your account, but it’s a good time to start putting you eggs in some other baskets, too.
Instagram is a great place to start. Just in case you don’t know, Instagram is a social media platform that allows its users to share images with other followers. For now, it is free to all users and is an easy way to get your business’ name out into the universe. And it’s a growing universe; there were 200 million users as of the end of March 2014. What’s more, 75 million are daily Instagram users.
Whether you’re brand spanking new to the world of Instagram or have found yourself unsure of how to manage your account, here are some tips to turn you into a small business Instagram marketing guru.
1) Brand Your Account
The first thing you should do when setting up an IG account is to make your mark by personalizing and branding your profile. Add your logo or headshot as your profile picture, type up a quick bio and include a link to your business’ website or Facebook page. Leaving this information out is a red flag to other IG users as it appears you aren’t a credible source or a spammer.
2) Grow Your Following
The next step is to connect your IG account to your Facebook account. This not only allows you to see who is on Instagram, but it also allows you to cross post your images to Facebook – a great way to drive engagement on both platforms! The area where Instagram is the same as other social platforms: you must engage. Like other users’ images and leave comments. You can also create Facebook Instagram apps via Woobox. This gives your account further exposure on your business page.
3) Follow Back
You don’t have to follow ALL of your followers, but those whose ideas and interests align with your business are exactly the type of folks you should follow. That way you can stay engaged with them and they, in turn, will engage with you and your content.
4) Don’t Over Post
It’s kind of easy to get carried away on Instagram, especially if you have several pieces of content that you know will make your followers go gaga! The great thing about Instagram’s news feed is that it’s pretty laid back, where an image can be viewed in a feed for up to 15 hours. Because of this, it’s not necessary to even post daily, but many brands do. The average amount of Instagram posts by Top 100 brands is 5.5 times per week.
5) Balance Your Images
While Instagram is a fun platform and is a great way to share your business’ story, you have to remember you’re there to engage your customers. Make sure that you have a balance of fun photos with photos that highlight your product or business.
People love visual content, so that makes Instagram the ideal social media marketing platform for small businesses. It’s also currently a completely free way to market your business to potentially millions. Follow people, engage and you will have an impassioned following before you can say hashtag.