They say a picture is worth a thousand words… And it’s true! People like to see things visually and if you are able to present images of your business, people will feel more inclined to engage with your brand. Being on Instagram gives you the opportunity to show people your brand’s unique view of the world and create a stronger brand identity.
Instagram is the visual app that is best known as a place for perfectly polished models, hot dog legs, gym selfies and healthy food snaps. But it’s actually much more than that. Instagram is now a fundamental social media platform for all businesses.
It is worth noting that the average age range for those on Instagram is much lower than Facebook and Twitter. 72% of online 50 – 64-year-olds use Facebook, and only 18% use Instagram. If you are targeting a primarily older audience, and you have limited time to spend on social media marketing, Instagram probably isn’t the way to go. However, 59% of online 18-29 year olds are on Instagram and that number is growing.
How to use Instagram for Business
Instagram is optimised for mobile devices but has recently started to add more features to its full site. However, it is best accessed through your smartphone. It offers a number of ways to edit and improve your images in a very simple and easy to use process.
The primary function of Instagram is of course to share photos. The great thing about it is you can edit images with a number of different filters. So an image that looked OK, can be made to look amazing. It’s a really basic simple to use photo edit feature, even for total beginners.
Your images should all represent your brand and your brands unique view of the world. Try to keep your images consistent and alternate between product images and images of people or places. Instagram isn’t a shop its more about lifestyle and aspirations. Show people enjoying your products or services and show people connecting.
Once you share a photo it is added to you profile and will appear in the news feed of your followers. Make sure you use hashtags so that you can be found easily. With Instagram there isn’t a word count and the more hash tags the better. It is always a good idea to see what is trending and if it is relevant to your brand then using a trending # will ensure your posts are seen by thousands. Hash tags can be used to describe the image, but can also be used to give an idea of the feeling, location, emotion and events.
Creating videos on Instagram is a great way to showcase your products to potential customers. You can create a simple video in Instagram simply by holding down the photo button.
If you are thinking about showcasing a product on an Instagram video then I would suggest including a products clip, a product benefit clip and a product lifestyle clip. So firstly, just show the product clearly to your customers, then show it being used, then show someone enjoying life with it. This is a advertising tactic used in lots of adverts. Also ensure you get your logo in the clips so people know what you brand is.
Creating a video on your phone is easy. All you need is an editing app such as Imovies of Adobe Premier Clip. You can then take short video clips and put them together to make one longer video. Add music, slow bits down or speed them up and cut parts out. This edited video can then be uploaded to Instagram in the same way your photos are.
Instagram video is also great for “how to” videos. Show people how to make something, make the most of your product or use a special feature.
Layout on Instagram
With Layout you can arrange multiple images into one. So for business this is useful for showing a process such as making a smoothie, ingredients shot, blending shot, drinking shot. Or for showing the number of ways something can be used such as 3 different ways to use a make up brush. Layout is just another tool to make your photos unique and special.
Boomerang is a great feature. It creates a GIF or 4-second looping video from your images so that you can show off a bit more than you can with just a static image. The Boomerang feature can be accessed when you add a new image, and looks like a sideways figure of 8 or eternity symbol. In business, it can be used to give your brand a bit more personality than a photo. You could even use it to showcase a new product.
Instagram stories are very similar to Snapchat stories. They are limited time images, which don’t go onto your timeline and disappear after 24 hours. Access Instagram stories by tapping “Your Story” in the top left-hand hand corner of your screen. Once there, you can take a photo as normal or you can add a 10-second video by holding the photo button down. You can edit images and draw on them and if you have old photos you want to choose just swipe down from the top of the screen. Then tap the tick to complete the process. As with video the story is a great feature to showcase new products, events and make announcements to your followers.
If you are serious about using Instagram for business then you should set up a business profile. Now that Facebook own Instagram you can connect with Facebook “pages” and link to your ads account there. It also unlocks your audience insights so you can track how well individual posts are doing and set a location to help people find your easily.
If you have a business which sells a range of products or if you have multiple businesses or services you should really consider opening multiple accounts. With Facebook people share everything in one place but with Instagram people want to be able to search one thing specifically. This will keep them coming back.
For example if you are a mummy blogger but you also sell women’s fashion. Set up 2 accounts and have once for each. This way your brand image will be stronger and people will know what to expect from each page. When they want mummy tips they will go to your mummy Instagram and same for when they are looking for fashion tips.
As with all social media running competitions is a great way to engage with your audiences. On Instagram photo competitions work really well. Here are some competition ideas for Instagram.
- Encourage your followers to like, share and comment on your photo to win.
- Create a # and ask people to share a photo using the # for a chance to win.
- Ask people to post a selfie with one of your products to win a prize.
- Run a photo competition such as a best wedding/party/gym photo – something that makes sense for your brand.
- Post a number of images and ask for people to vote for their favourites. This can be used to help you choose a new product design etc.
I hope this has been helpful to you! Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts and if you liked it then it would be great if you could share it with others. If you would like to follow me on Instagram you can at @millennialmuminbusiness.