Instagram for Business: Do you need it?

You are reading this because you’re wondering whether or not you should use Instagram for business/marketing!

There is certainly a ton of social media platforms to choose from. You have Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn, you could also be on Pinterest and Tumblr! Vine even! So should you or should you not use Instagram too?

Numbers speak louder than words in the realm of business so let’s talk numbers: There are more than 25 million companies around the globe which already use Instagram for business, let alone the fact that business profiles on Instagram are visited by at least 200 million users per day and over a billion per month! Engagement levels are high compared to other social networks, so it has a lot of potential for even the smallest of businesses.

Among the most engaged brands on Instagram are:

  • National Geographic with around 112 million followers.
  • Nike with around 83.9 million followers.
  • Starbucks with around 17.9 million followers.

So, right off the bat, it is a definite “Yes!”

Regardless of the service or product you’re offering, you should create a business account on Instagram –especially if it is a visual product that you are selling. Having said that, don’t be put off by the idea that it is only a platform for artists, designers and photographers – with a little bit of know-how and a few answered questions, you can get results too.

But hold up a second! Before you start “publishing” or “marketing” your ideas on Instagram, you need a series of very key questions answered to help you be on the right track and achieve those marketing ambitions.

Here are answers to six common questions about using Instagram for Marketing:

What type of industry do you run?

Instagram is incredibly visual; we all have established that already. However, there are non-visual brands that definitely crushed it! Take for instance, General Electric. These guys who make well… power. It is definitely the sort of brand that you would think is basically not the first choice for Instagram but last we checked they are doing great! With over 415K followers and some beautiful photos.

Another example could be 3M.

With over 127K followers, these guys have decided to make their Instagram full of ‘how our products work’ which is indeed a great way to market something that may be slightly boring if we may say. They also give insights into their science stuff. Yet, if you’re product is highly visual, it would be such a loss not to market it on Instagram. For industries such as fashion, beauty, travel and retail it’s more than likely that you would pull off a successful marketing plan, so what are you waiting for?

Are your customers on Instagram?

Before committing yourself to any new marketing plan, you first have to establish whether or not there is any point in doing that. You need the right people catching sight of your service/product! But worry not since Instagram is one of the top ten sites in terms of visitors and engagement rate. Meaning, it is an easy way to reach your customers and target market.
All you have to do is make sure they know you have a profile that they can visit and follow. You can do that by adding ‘follow buttons’ to your website. Also, fail not to respond to anyone tagging your brand in a post or a hashtag.

How does Instagram advertising work?

If you have pulled off running Facebook ads before then you shouldn’t face any building business on Instagram.

How to make the most out of Instagram?

Instagram enjoys a unique set of features. And though you may not be able to customize your Instagram feed in the same way you customize your website, there are a number of capabilities Instagram has that you use for your advantage.

Here are a few techniques you could follow to make the most out of Instagram:

  • Act smart with the one link on your bio.
  • Share your story: Share collections of dynamic content with your followers.
  • Plan ahead: Schedule your Instagram content through apps like Buffer.
  • Opt for quality images.
  • Make use of hashtags: You could use up to 30 hashtags per Instagram post so use them wisely.
  • Customize your Instagram feed:

    • You could pick a color palette and share content that matches it.
    • Stick to one or two signature filters.
    • Post photos largely showcasing the same physical items.

    Remember: You don’t want to buy followers, you don’t want to act like a spammer and do “original” only. Let your own sense of brand pop up.

    How to make photos look GOOD?

    You want to take amazing photos and to all of us, it sounds easier said than done, but there are simple ways to improve your photography.

    Avoid using filters which are provided by Instagram itself and stick to the editing tools: bump up the contrast, straighten your image, add some “structure” and so on.

    You could also opt for outside apps to create desired effects. When it comes to photo editing, there are apps more than one could count that can assist in the process. Among these apps are:

    • Snapseed
    • VSCO
    • A Color Story

    Fill your Instagram feed with quality images that people WANT to see — which might not always be what you would prefer to post. A thoughtful selection leads to a consistent aesthetic, which will help in attracting a core follower base.

    What is an Instagram shop?

    An Instagram Shop allows you to add a product catalog in your Instagram profile, which in turn, lets you promote your products directly to Instagram users through posts, stories, in the Explore tab, and in a special Shop tab on your profile.

    Instagram Shop product pages’ feature everything a user would want to know before purchasing an item, such as:

    • The product’s name
    • Product photos
    • Description of the product
    • The price
    • A link to view the product on your website

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