Are you looking to use Instragram not for personal purposes, but to promote your business, product or brand?
Well you are not alone. Some of the most followed Instagram users are brands, and in fact 40% of the Top 100 brands are using Instagram to promote their visual content. It’s important to remember Instagram is a visual feed of imagery and photography. On iPhones and Android devices the picture takes up most of the screen but you can’t view larger images on phones, so bear this in mind when posting photos to the app. If users have to zoom in to view your pictures then you are posting the wrong type of content.
How can businesses begin marketing with Instagram?
1. Full commit to using the App
If you are going to use Instagram to promte the visual imagery of your business, uploaded atleast 1 or 2 photos per week. There is no point having a blank feed with little interaction. Keep the conversation flowing with your followers, show them pieces of your work, products or services. Show them what you are working on and give them a glimpse into the future if possible.
2. Go to the effort of taking your own high quality photos
I would recommend that you don’t post other photos, even if they are of high quality. Instagram is all about the iPhone Photographer so go to the effort of taking your own high quality photos.
After all your followers want to see what you are doing, not recycled photos from across the internet.
3. Be Subtle with your Marketing Messages
Don’t bombard your followers with product photos, price tags and links to purchase. Be more subtle in your strategy – sure give them photos of what you sell but don’t push the sales spiel.
4. Talk to your Followers
If people are going to the effort to like and comment your photos, say thanks and answer any queries they may have.
5. Create your own Hashtag that your followers can join in on
A good idea to boost your branding is by creating your own hashtag. That way people who search your brand as a tag will still find you. You can also invite your followers (if they have your product) to post photos of it and tag accordingly.
6. Use the Geotag functionality
If you are a physical business use the Geotag functionality when uploading new photos. This is good for several reasons: mainly so your followers know the exact location of your business. Also you can cross post your photos to Foursquare which opens up your Instagram pictures to a whole new audience.
7. Link to your other Social Networks
To further increase the exposure your photos receive, post them to other social networks that Instagram supports – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr (and as mentioned, Foursquare).
You can even link your Instagram account to your Facebook Page so your fans can see all your photography.
8. Choose the right time to post your photos
Generally in the morning between 9-11am and afternoon around 2-4pm are the best times to get views on Instagram. In the evening can also be good but don’t post photos too late or you may miss a lot of your audience.
9. Space out your uploads
If you do have lots of photos to post, you should avoid posting them all at once. I would recommend one photo a day if you have many to post. Or you could stretch this to 2 per day (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). If you post too much in one go some of your users may miss photos and they won’t receive the desired effect.
10. For advanced use, look at the Instagram API
For example – if you are a fashion company in New York, you could write a script to access the Instagram API and like photos tagged #fashion and #newyork. This would bring increased visibility to your account and brand in your desired target market.