For many businesses, Instagram takes a backseat to other social media channels. With Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, we often find that we don’t need yet another platform for sharing content. Besides, many believe Instagram is just for the kids and their pictures and that won’t help a business grow.
In reality, Instagram is a very useful tool for businesses and one of the best ways to reach prospective clients. Instagram has the top engagement rates on social media, is the fastest growing social media platform and has more active users than Twitter. It is also the most popular social media channel amongst the all-important Millennials.
The key is understanding how to properly use Instagram as a platform to generate results for your business.
Don’t cross-post the same content on Instagram as Twitter and Facebook. Content on Instagram should be exclusive, something followers can’t see anywhere else. Use other social media channels to cross-promote creating a call-to-action, such as teasing a picture of a new product that only can be seen if they follow your organization’s Instagram account.
Content should highlight the products and services you offer. Showcase your employees, workplace and community involvement to give potential customers and employees a taste of your culture. This can include using behind-the-scenes pictures, popular hashtags such as #TBT (Throwback Thursday) to highlight the early days of your business, or workplace pictures. The quality, not the quantity, of your content is the key to making Instagram work for your brand.
This should go without saying, but make sure photos are as high quality as possible before posting them. The advantage of using Instagram is that it makes it easy to create great looking photos. Using filters will bring the best out of even the simplest of pictures. High-resolution photos will evoke emotion that will keep followers engaged with your brand.
Your captions, like your photos, need to tell the story of your brand. Captions should be descriptive, at least a paragraph in length, but not so long that the picture and the caption don’t fit on the screen together.
Instagram allows for 15-second videos to be posted. This is another great opportunity to use exclusive content to drive more followers from your other social media sites.
Ah yes, hashtags. Love them or hate them, they are here to stay, especially on Instagram. Hashtags are used to help your target audience find you. Using hashtags properly will significantly increase the reach of each post. Make sure your hashtags are relevant to your brand. For example, a tractor company shouldn’t be using #KimKardashian with a picture of their newest tractor just to generate likes and followers. You #also #shouldn’t #hashtag #every #word #in #your #caption — not only is it difficult and frustrating for your audience to read, it makes you look like a social media amateur.
A picture says a thousand words
Instagram is an important tool for humanizing a brand and helping connect you to your audience. Think of Instagram as a way of presenting your brand story in visual form to your followers. It’s not enough to say you do great work, show it!