Instagram is a rapidly growing photo and video sharing platform with more than 150 million users and 16 billion photos shared. Over 55 million photos are shared on Instagram to a very engaged community every single day. Instagram can be an excellent branding tool for companies and social businesses, as it engages customers in an attractive visual experience, that can be meaningful.
Instagram is a photo and video sharing mobile app, very easy to use and free and it can be an excellent tool for customer engagement, and a way to showcase your company, dedicated to social business. But how to use this photo and video sharing application?
In this post I will outline 10 ways on how to use Instagram:
1. How to Start
To get started with Instagram imeans taht you need to get a smartphone to your company. Then, sign up for an account (you can use the same name as your Twitter handle) add your company´s logo as a profile photo, and then link your Instagram account to your website. Connect your account to Facebook and let your followers know they can follow you there. Don´t forget to optimize your profile: Instagram profiles—like their counterparts on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking platforms—need to include brand information in specific ways (e.g., maximum number of characters, specific image sizes, attention to branding). Check out regularly the Instagram for Business blog, which offers tips, brand spotlights, API examples and news from InstagramHQ.
2. Show your products
Instagram can be used either if you procude products or if you are a company that provides services. If your company produces products, Instagram is the perfect app to showcase a collection of your products. You can either display photos of these, or take snapshots of details. You can engage with your clients, by asking them to take photos of your products and submit them to Instagram. Besides displaying the photos, you can make comments and engage in conversations with the customers with this app, which is great. Nice photos attract users, but conversations engage them. If your business is service-oriented, you can also show off the supplies and equipment that are essential to the services you provide, or show symbolic images of what your business is providing society with.
3. Get Instagram Apps
Customers in general are becoming visually more sophisticated. It is important then to be sure that you are sharing beautiful content that resonates with your audience. Even though you might not have a professional photographer in your company, there are now various apps that help you give your photos that sophisticated touch. You can get various apps that will help you imnproving your photos. Examples of these are Photo Editor Aviary. Aviary offers a complete range of effects and color correctors. Its smart “one-tap auto enhance” will help you turn a regular photo into a fantastic one in a question of seconds. Other possibilities are afterlight more dedicated to the nostalgia touch. Snapseed lets you create artistic photos.
4. Expand your audience and cultivate a following
You just don´t open a Instagram account and take photos once in a while! You should as well engage with the Instagram community, by following other “instagrammer”, commenting on nice pictures, and taking regular ones. It´s important as well to connect Instagram to your other social networks and use relevant hashtags (#yourbrandhere) to make it easier for people to find your account. Connect to your Facebook account, and use relevant popular hashtags. You can cross-post selected images to your Facebook page with an hashtag, to help people who don’t know you are on Instagram to find you there. Statigram can help you finding brands and hashtags that relate to your brand. Simply enter the brand name or hashtag into the search box and click Search.
5. Engage directly with users.
Use Instagram to engage your followers by facilitating user-generated content, by inviting them to post pictures of creative uses of your products. You can also ask questions in your photo captions, and make sure to allways answer your followers comments. If your business is service-oriented, show the impact of your work with before and after your intervention.
6. Use video
Instagram has a 15 sec video function that you can use. To use it might be great as to use more videos to your account can give you an advantage over other brands. Your Instagram videos can be embedded to your blog or website to extend the reach of your content. This post by Mike Gingerich provides helpful instructions and examples of ways to use Instagram videos.
7. How to use Hashtags
With Instagram you can and should apply as many hashtags as possible. Some data has given evidence that using four to 11 hashtags can increase up to on average 77 interactions per Instagram post. When you’re incorporating hashtags into your Instagram post, try to integrate them seamlessly into your post caption as opposed to writing them all at the bottom.You can track the relevance of your Instagram hashtags with Nitrogram, the Instagram analytics and engagement platform that provides key metrics on hashtags, including contributors, content, engagement and context.
8. When to Post
It´s well known how there are optimal times to post on social media sites but with Instagram it´s different. Instagrammers are on the platform interacting at all hours of the day and every day of the week, and that is because of they interact with the platform through their mobile devices. People are seldom away from their phones, so posting at different times of the day it´s prefect to attract to your business various audience segments.
9. Provide your followers with a visual experience
Depending on your company, you can find creative ways to showcase your products and services. Sharpie, a company that makes markers and pens, posts to their Instagram account pictures of drawings done with a myriad of colours. Another case is Puma : Puma did not have the strongest Instagram following, so it decided to outsource its advertising. Rather than to depend on their own following, they selected a group of influential Instagrammers to promote Puma´s shoes by sending some of these “photographers” overseas to places like Abu Dhabi under the theme that they were chronicling the “awesome places that shoes take you.” Puma guaranteed that many people would see these photos by using the aid of successful ’grammers; smart move, Puma.
10. Quantity and Quality
It might be useful to know how your brand is doing on Instagram, and image analytics tools such as BlitzMetrics and Curalate can provide your business with detailed insights. With these tools you can identify images and video that resonate with your fans and followers.
Maria Fonseca is the Editor and Infographic Artist for IntelligentHQ. She is also a thought leader writing about social innovation, sharing economy, social business, and the commons. Aside her work for IntelligentHQ, Maria Fonseca is a visual artist and filmmaker that has exhibited widely in international events such as Manifesta 5, Sao Paulo Biennial, Photo Espana, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Joshibi University and many others. She concluded her PhD on essayistic filmmaking , taken at University of Westminster in London and is preparing her post doc that will explore the links between creativity and the sharing economy.