When you think of Instagram, the first thing that comes to mind is a teenager’s account filled with selfies, food snaps, and inspirational quotes. And it’s this ‘reputation’ that makes business owners hesitant to fully utilize Instagram’s customer-connecting potential.
Give your Instagram account the same attention and dedication you would to your other social media platforms. Soon, you’ll be on your way to not only in connecting with your current customers, but also gaining new ones.
Maintain a High-Level of Quality
Snap and share. It really is that simple with Instagram. After all, it’s the leading photo-sharing app. But the ease with which a person can share pictures can often lead to low-quality posts. That’s fine for your private page, but it’s absolutely unacceptable for your company’s profile.
You needn’t hire the most expensive photographers or get high-end equipment to take pictures. There are a number of apps available to improve your snap. Using editing features such as filters, captions, and grading can help bring your picture to life and gain more attention. In fact, the app itself is pretty useful for shaping your picture without the need to buy further software. The app has an array of tints and filters available with the ability to crop and adjust the angle of your picture.
However, don’t be tempted to over-edit your picture. If you capture something that is worth posting in its original form, keep it. Only use editing to bring a ‘dead’ picture to life.
Inspiring and appropriate pictures can go a long way to engage with your audience. The chances that a follower will share a post with others will be higher if the quality of your picture warrants it. Get creative.
Never Post a Picture without Talking to Your Customers
Although it is a picture sharing platform, a post uploaded on Instagram without the use of engaging texts and tags is rather pointless. As a business owner, you need to ensure that you take advantage of all of your social media accounts in order to engage your customers. Instagram is a great and easy way to do that.
Be sure to add a caption to your pictures. Don’t just be descriptive, make the user take action by including phrases like: “look out for … ” or “share this … ”
Hashtags should definitely be used. When you add a hashtag to your pictures, be sure that it will ‘reside’ in an appropriate feed. This is your chance to really get your post out there and subsequently your brand name. If you’re posting a picture of your latest product, try these hashtags:
- #(insert the product name)
You are free to embellish these tags slightly to draw more attention. People who posted similar hashtags are all grouped in the same feed and you will get them curious as to what your hashtag will lead them to. A good hashtag is clever, succinct and manages to encapsulate the entire photograph within a word or two.
Have fun with Instagram. Don’t just post mundane, dry pictures that come across too formal. Customers who use Instagram are use to the conversational and laid back nature of the app.
In saying that, you must know your audience. If you provide a service that deals with top-end executives or CEO’s, you’ll probably want to control your desire to upload inappropriately humor filled images.
Social Media Examiner demonstrates this point well using the example of Anthropologie. The multi-channel lifestyle brand has a good balance with its images. Their followers like both their business and ‘fun’ images. Some of their posts include a picture of a puppy which received 7,640 likes whilst a picture of their personal shoppers posing at a company luncheon event received 3,457.
In addition to creating a balance, you should also track the engagement on your images. Doing this will make you discover what your users like the most.
Don’t Be Too Shy to Follow Back
Many large brands don’t follow back. But the whole point of creating your Instagram account is to increase interaction and connection with your customers.
Having an Instagram account is a great opportunity for you to learn new things from your followers. If you can keep a keen eye on your customers’ likes and dislikes, you’ll be able to learn what’s trending and what has passed. If the majority of your customers are following a new service from a different company or are liking the latest craze, take advantage of this information and launch a similar product and service—a better one.
Don’t Post Too Frequently
Don’t force yourself onto customers by posting every day unless you have something inspiring and refreshingly informative each day.
If you post too often, you run the risk of saturating your customers’ feeds with unnecessary images. This will most likely frustrate them and potentially lead to them unsubscribing from your account. A more flexible approach to posting will uphold your company’s credibility and excite followers much more as you’re seemingly posting something “out of the blue”. It gives the illusion that you have something important and ‘clickable’ to say.
Leverage Contests on Instagram with Facebook
Host photo contests on Instagram using hashtags that will organize submissions and create an RSS feed so you could follow along with new photos as they’re added.
As reported in Social Media Examiner, Samsung successfully promoted their Instagram photo contest on their Facebook page, using the hashtag #LiveInTheMoment.
In turn, you can use your Facebook status to encourage fans to enter your contests and hopefully share it with non-followers so that they can be part of the opportunity.
And Finally …
Learn how to use Instagram for business.
Since many businesses have been using Instagram to increase their social media prowess, Instagram started the Instagram for Business blog. Visit the blog to find tips, API examples, brand spotlights and news from Instagram HQ.
Once you get the basics right, you’ll be connecting and interacting with customers in no time!