what to do with INSTAGRAM
One of the reasons people love Instagram is its ability to edit images to convey emotions or connotations beyond the original image. The filters that Instagram provides can allow you to really enhance your images to coincide with your branding. For example, if your business has a vintage focus, you can use certain filters to add antique effects or vignettes to highlight the subject. Likewise, if you are a more modern focused business, you can choose filters which highlight bright colors and enhance modern lines.
Photos also disclose a whole new perspective of your business. Whether it’s behind-the-scenes images or before-and-after images, sharing these images can really enhance your branding. Develop a strong brand appeal on Instagram to show your audience who you really are.
User Generated Content
Many people assume that a photo based platform like Instagram is only for businesses that have products to sell. But this is really not the case! In fact, I am a service based business and I use Instagram all the time to grow my business. Obviously, product based companies have more “product” which can be photographed and shared on Instagram. But service based companies have a lot to offer too. It just takes a little more creativity.
Share images of projects you’re working on, client locations, cities you visit, your office, your staff, or any other aspect of your business. In all reality, everything you do everyday could be documented through photos. You just have to find creative ways to showcase it. You can also use short videos to answer questions or make announcements.
Another big trend right now is incorporating user generated content (UGC) into your content. This means using images or videos that your customers have already created. Instagram easily enables you to access this content to repurpose or use in your own strategy! You can use hashtags, contests, tags, and other means to have your audience submit content to you. And best of all, you get great content to share with your audience that you didn’t have to create!
Unlike it’s giant parent company, Instagram doesn’t utilize Edgerank or any other algorithm to determine what your audience sees. Every post shows up and every post remains active in your gallery for future views. The newest feature, Instagram Direct, is a direct messaging function within Instagram. This tool could be used creatively to address customer service or support issues directly with your customers in a private conversation rather than publicly on your accounts. The introduction of ads (currently still in an early release phase) will also allow businesses to reach out and target even more users.
Instagram is also a very interactive site which allows you to connect directly with your audience. Asking questions and getting feedback is really easy to manage on Instagram and can really help you target your posts.
Obviously, the ultimate goal of any social media presence is to grow your traffic and your business. Every week I am able to drive traffic to my blog directly through Instagram. While it’s not as easy to drive traffic directly to your site as it is on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. it can be done. On Instagram, you cannot share active hyperlinks in your comments and captions. The only place you can list an active link is in your bio. Make sure you use this wisely! Then in your comments, tell people to click on the link in your bio in order to direct them to the page you have linked there.
Whether it’s to your home page, your blog tab, a contest page, an opt-in form, or another page of your choice, putting the right link in your bio can drive traffic where you want it to go. You can also change this link as often as you like. This allows you to strategically utilize posts to drive your audience in whichever direction you choose.
The final reason why I love Instagram for business is that it is just plain fun! If you have to “work” all day, you may as well enjoy it, right? Instagram allows you to engage with your audience and create fun, exciting content. Just make sure you don’t get lost in the fun for too long and get distracted from everything else you have to do!
So there you have it, my ten reasons why I think you should use Instagram for business. As I said above, it may not be for everyone, but I do believe that any business can use it successfully. Each month I will be sharing another Instagram related post to help you better understand how to use Instagram successfully. I hope you’ll stay tuned for the following posts!