4th November 2016
Instagram for Business
Instagram is a growing platform and has become increasingly popular amongst business. Personally, I love it. It seems to be the most complimentary of all the social platforms, with followers forever telling you how wonderful your profile is and what a great photo you took. However, as with all social platforms, it has its own quirks and etiquettes, and it’s important to follow these if you want to organically grow your following and engagement levels.
Setting it up correctly
To start with, it’s important for Instagram for Business to be set up properly. This allows a direct link to your website from the Instagram app, as well as enabling users to directly call and email via the business Instagram account from a mobile. All good things.
This needs to be set up through Facebook (on mobile, i.e. via the app) and via the Instagram app (i.e. via mobile). Frustratingly it can’t be set up via desktop, but you can follow this video for a comprehensive guide.
Instagram only allows you to post via the app, i.e. you can't post from desktop. However, you can use a free tool called 'Gramblr' to upload and schedule posts via desktop.
Posting daily, no more, and using the correct hashtags
Posting more than once a day can begin to saturate your follower’s newsfeed and can cause you to lose followers as a result.
Hashtags are the way to get seen on Instagram, so using the right ones on each and every post will ensure you’re consistent and visible to people with those interests.
The below hashtags are popular, well used hashtags that would be appropriate for every business-
Hashtags need to remain relevant, meaning research needs to be done into high volume hashtags that relate to your business and theme. Aim for 15 hashtags per post, at least to start off with. You’ll find the higher profile accounts hardly use hashtags at all, but with hundreds of thousands of followers already, and no doubt plenty of sponsored content too, their need to hashtags is much less. As a new business account however, hashtags are very much your friend.
Posting quality images
Every image needs to be bright, colourful and in focus. It makes for a more aesthetically pleasing profile if you stick to a loose colour scheme too. For example, sticking to autumnal shades during autumn months, and blending this to a winter colour scheme as the year ends.
It’s also advisory to mix up the images between close ups and distant shots, as well as a few ‘behind the scenes’ photographs too. Photos with a clear focus and bold colour statement tend to do the best. The photos that get the most likes, typically, use the ‘Mayfair’ filter. Using this consistently, or not using a filter at all (#nofilter), on every image will keep the profile consistent. You might even want to throw in the odd video as well if you’re feeling particularly adventurous.
Each post will need a meaningful caption. Captions are seen as just as important as the photograph itself, so their tone must reflect how your business wants to be seen. This needs to have a ‘non-corporate’ feel to it, but still be descriptive.
The focus on Instagram is about quality images, not so much for pushing sales and promotions, therefore pushing a link in the photograph description is ill-advised. However, linking the business website in the profile is a must.
Following relevant profiles
Using the hashtag #follow and #followme fairly consistently will also help in boosting followers – though these do not need to be on every post as they could draw attention from spammers.
When following a new profile, it’s advised to like approximately 5 of their recent photos, and comment something meaningful. This begins a positive relationship with that user, and with their followers. If you don’t do this, or unfollow profiles after following them (a trick used sometimes to gain followers whilst keeping your own following low), it’s seen as really bad practice and you’ll be known as a ‘spammer’. People may even make negative comments on your images, so it definitely pays to be polite, complimentary and abide to the Instagram etiquette of both appreciating your followers and not being a ‘ghost’ follower by ignoring those you do follow.
Consistently liking and making positive comments on your followers’ posts is to be encouraged. Be meaningful with your comments; simply writing ‘nice photo’ won’t build relationships. Instead take the time to comment on an aspect of the photograph and make them feel appreciated.
Boosting customer engagement
Creating a brand specific hashtag will allow followers to share their photos with your business, that you can then feature on your profile. This is something seen with profiles that have a strong following, and encourages people to send in their photos, with the hope that they’ll be featured.
Put a sentence on your profile saying, ‘Use the hashtag #mybusiness or tag us @business in your photo description for a chance to be featured on our page’. We would also send a few posts a month with this sentence in our photo description so followers are reminded to keep using these tags in their photographs.
Engaging with comments
People like to comment on photos, and simply saying ‘thank you’ to these people will create a sense of loyalty to your followers, showing that your business appreciates their comments and is willing to engage with them.
Once you have built a strong following with regular engagement, you can run competitions via Instagram.
These would follow the outline of: “Use the hashtag #business123 in your photo description to win a £50 voucher to spend with us”. The competition could ask followers to send a themed photo, for example. Winners would be chosen and featured on the business profile, with details sent to the winner via private message.
So, there you have it - a starter’s guide to setting up and managing your Instagram Business account. As always, if you need any help with a start-up account, or an already established one, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!