Best practices for using Instagram for your business:

What you first need to know about Instagram: It is an image centric social network, a social marketplace.

What does this mean?

That pushing for hard product promotion won’t work. You use instagram as a soft selling method.

How? You share UNIQUE photos that are attention-grabbing and full of personality. It directs traffic to your website, which turns into sales.

Easier said then done! Here are five steps to follow:

1. Start with the basics (Image, biography +link)

– Start out with a neat biography and link to your website.

– The name and image should be consistent throughout your usage.

– Take your time to set up an editorial aesthetic that matches with your overall brand image.

2. Post creative and high quality photos

– Your brand should have an aesthetic that users want to interact with. This is your chance to be creative!

– Utilize types of visuals that resonate with the Instagram users and gives them a reason to follow your feed:

  • Product photos displayed in a creative way
  • Lifestyle content: backgrounds, scenery, outdoors, indoor, with people. The idea is to create an environment where the user can see himself/herself using your product.
  • Behind the scenes, inside peek, special events.
  • A look at your company culture & team

Bonus: Monotony kills, add variety ! … an editorial calendar organizes all your ideas.

3. Grow your Instagram following

– Use hashtags; research hashtags relevant to your brand/products, trending hashtags, and come up with your own, but please don’t overdue it.

– Look for brand ambassadors & influencers that share the same interest or/and have the same aesthetic than your brand. You can start by shouting out to them. Collaborations are a good idea, since they themselves have already established a number of followers, but don’t be surprised if it comes with a hefty price.

– You can also UGC and regrams (again don’t over due it). The idea is to create your own content that followers want to interact with.

– Shout out to followers (good idea!).   You want to be a brand that interacts with its followers and acknowledges their interest.

4. Engage, engage, engage

– Keep posting with captions: Not only they give the visual a context, they are part of telling your brand story. They can be funny, or informative; the tone of voice should fit with your brand overall tone of voice….and you can always add an emoji. Apparently it is a big thing with Millennials, in case you didn’t know !

– Contests! Who doesn’t like contests? There is a gamification aspect, and users can engage with your brand in a fun way. Many types of contests you can set up:

Like to win: Post an update and ask users to like the photo and/or tag a friend. You also ask them to repost a visual from your feed. They enter the contest and you select a winner.

Hashtag UGC: This is quite popular! Create a contest hashtag and ask users to post their own photos ( utilizing the product, a selfie or a visual related to your overall theme) with this specific hashtag. To increase engagement, You can also ask them to vote for the winner.

5. Measure all this fun stuff

– Analyze what worked and what didn’t and repeat it or don’t. Metrics to look for:

– The day you post and the time; when most followers engage (like and engage) – enables optimized posting schedules.

– Type of content (visual) that attracted the most followers- this is an indication you are doing something right, and you can make new posts with the same direction.

– Loyal fan base- find out who they are and interact with them- by recognizing them as valuable consumers and shouting out to them, you will improve your relationship with them.

We know way too much information for one day… hopefully it was all useful 🙂