Overview of Instagram
Instagram is a popular social mobile app that is focused on sharing images and video. For companies, you can share your day-to-day happenings and behind-the-scenes moments of running your business. Instagram is mostly about sharing your own content although you can “regram” or repost other people’s images as well.
Instagram now offers business profiles, and you can easily convert your current personal account to business in Settings on the mobile app. Setting up a business profile is advantageous for company’s because you can include a direct way for people to reach you by adding your phone number, email, or location. You can also access analytics to better measure your Instagram marketing results.
When you set up your business profile, Instagram pulls some information directly from your company’s Facebook page – both should be linked. This includes your business profile category so if you need to change it, do so in the Settings of your Facebook Page. Double check your business profile Contact button to make sure you’re providing the best way for people to contact your company.
Posting to Instagram
You have several options for posting to Instagram.
- Uploading square, vertical or horizontal photos or “regramming” from other people’s accounts.
- Uploading videos or “regramming” from other people’s accounts. Videos can be up to 60 seconds.
- Creating and publishing photos or videos for Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories is similar to Snapchat, the social mobile app where content is posted and available on a temporary basis – for 24 hours – and then it disappears. The benefit of using Stories is that it is immediate and perfect for spontaneous posting that gets more interactions. The Stories feature appears at the top of the app, giving you more visibility. The downside of Stories is that the demand for more content is higher than regular Instagram posting.
Hashtags are an important part of content for your Instagram captions. Most popular social networks use hashtags to some degree. Hashtags are used to group together similar content or to designate content as part of a specific online “event” such as #MotivationMonday, #ThrowbackThursday or #FridayFeeling. On Instagram, using popular hashtags such as #love and #photooftheday can help your content be found by users.
Using hashtags on Instagram can be quite a science similar to search engine optimization keywords, and understanding the proper use of hashtags is key to expanding the reach of your posts. The Instagram community has created many hashtags particular to the app from #instadaily and #instacool to #dogsofinstagram and #goatsofinstagram. You can also come up with your own hashtag to tag your posts and hope that others will pick up on it to extend your brand. Examples include #optoutside from REI and #winesister from the Wine Sisterhood.
Here are some specific ways to strengthen your Instagram presence:
- Fill out your bio. Include a URL to your website but not necessarily your home page. Link to a page within your website where you can more directly explain to fellow Instagram users who you are and what you do or where you are running a promotion or providing special content.
- Establish your key messages. As with any marketing, start with your goals, the audience you’re trying to reach and the actions you’d like them to do. Focus on messages you can convey that don’t require clicking on a link to another web page for more details. Or direct them to the link in your bio.
- Come up with a look. Use consistent branding on some – but not all – of your images. While you want to use visual clues to showcase your brand such as your logo, posting to Instagram should be more genuine and less commercial. Choose a filter or set of filters to use on images to help create a recognizable and cohesive look for your account.
- Peel back the curtain. Take pictures behind the scenes to make your Instagram account more intimate and personal. Tell the stories behind your company, products or services, and your people. Give your followers an insider glimpse like the making of your wine or your jewelry-making studio, not just the jewelry.
- Upload more than one image at a time. Posting multiple times in a row may not be acceptable on all social networks, but it is fine on Instagram. If you’re attending an event, wait until you have several images that tell a strong story about the event and post them one after another. Posting images after the fact is acceptable on Instagram, and there’s even a hashtag you can use on images uploaded later: #latergram.
Instagram-style images and video attract attention and provide you with compelling imagery for the rest of your social media marketing. Leverage distinctive Instagram images on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and even LinkedIn, as appropriate.