By Lindsay Dicks
Instagram was launched less than three years ago, but it’s already amassed over 150 million monthly active users, and over 16 billion photos have been shared. As it expands, first by adding video, and then by introducing photo and video embeds, it’s becoming more and more of an asset to businesses.
If you’re looking for ideas of how you can use it for your business, then look no further! Here are 10 ways to use Instagram to help your business stand out.
1. Share your company culture. People want to get to know your company and who you are. As I’ve said in the past, “people buy people”, so the more your audience connects with you and gets to know you, the more comfortable they’ll feel doing business with you. This could mean anything from posting pics from your company’s holiday party to showing off the office dog; anything that let’s followers see the real you is fair game.
2. Show off what you offer! This could be anything from your new Best-Selling book to the results you were able to get for a client trying to lose weight. You can also show off your awards, newspaper features, and anything else that highlights your expert status!
3. Share advice. People are out there looking for advice, so make it easy for them to find it! You can either post a short, nicely-designed image tip, or post a short video offering advice. You can get as much into a 15-second Instagram video as you can in a tweet, and then you can embed the videos in blogs or another location on your site. If you make these quick clips regularly, you may even be able to add a Tip of the Week video to your front page.
4. Demonstrate a tip. Many people need to see something demonstrated versus just reading about it, and Instagram can be the perfect place to share these visuals. For example, if you’re a yoga expert, then posting an Instagram image or video of the correct position for specific poses would be extremely useful for your followers. If you’re a tax expert, posting a brief image or video explaining how many deductions to select when filling out your W-4 would also help a lot of people.
5. Quotes. People are always looking for inspiration, whether it’s success quotes from a business leader, marriage quotes from a marriage counselor, or wellness quotes from a health expert. You just need to add your quote over an image (try Quozio to help you out) and share it with everyone who follows you. Hopefully they’ll then share the images with their own followers!
6. Pictures from events. If you have an event for your clients, share the pictures on Instagram. Instagram is all about people sharing their lives, so join in on the fun! Just don’t share too many in a row, or your followers will feel like you’re spamming their feed! I’d limit it to 2-3 images per event.
7. Tease new products. If you’re going to be featured in a new book with a high profile expert, have a good time with that on Instagram! Instead of just saying who you’re going to be in a book with, blur out a picture of their face (preferably with you in the picture as well) and post it with a clue about their identity. Let your followers have some fun guessing, all while you get to promote your upcoming project!
8. Respond to follower comments and questions. Clients love to know that companies they support actually listen to them, so make sure to respond to any comments or questions your followers leave below your posts. Even if it only requires a simple ‘Thank you!” engaging with your customers will keep them engaging with you, both online and off.
9. Share your posts on other sites. Instagram makes it really easy for you to share your pictures and videos on other sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Not only does this help streamline posting across multiple sites, but it also let’s your followers on your other social media profiles know that they can come follow you on Instagram.
10. Use the right tags! While tagging is more important on some social networking sites than others, it’s very important on Instagram. You can find posts under almost any tag you can think of, so pick the best tags for your industry to help you find the right followers (such as #retirement for a financial planner). Keep in mind that, unlike on Twitter, you will need to use hashtags even with single words. And don’t overtag! Your followers will get frustrated if they have to sort through lists of 30 tags under every post.
Instagram is all about having fun, so don’t be afraid to have a good time with it! And if you have any questions you need answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
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Known as the “Online Celebrity Agent,” Lindsay Dicks helps her clients tell their stories in the online world using social media powered websites and multi-channel marketing tools. Being brought up around a family of marketers, but a product of Generation Y, Lindsay naturally gravitated to the new world of online marketing. Lindsay began freelance writing in 2000 and soon after launched her own PR firm that thrived by offering an in-your-face “Guaranteed PR” that was one of the first of its type in the nation.