How Small Businesses Can Use Instagram To Gain Customers
Instagram is a great place to start for small businesses looking for ways to connect with a wider audience online. This social media platform that allows its users to share images with their followers is a free and easy way to get your business’ name out into the universe. With over 200 million users, 75 million of which use Instagram everyday, it is no doubt that Instagram is a social media channel that can help give exposure to your brand and get potential customers interested in what you can offer.
Here are some tips to help promote your startup business and engage with prospective customers on Instagram:
Connect Your IG Account with Other Social Channels
Integration is key in social media marketing. When you connect your Instagram account to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, any image you share on Instagram will also automatically post to these channels. With just one post, you are able to share not only with one pool of followers, but to your entire social media community. Something that is very helpful for busy people like you who value time efficiency.
Don’t Aim for Perfection
You don’t have to limit your posts to professional product shots. In fact, most people prefer candid photos of what’s actually happening at the moment, such as behind the scene shots of a photo shoot or real people using your product. Even rough smartphone shots with filters will do. What’s important is that your stream offers value in visual content which your followers may not get anywhere else.
Instagram also allows users to upload videos 3 to 15 seconds long. You can also present a collection of products or a gallery of photos as a series of slides. There are several mobile apps that you can download for free and use to edit long videos so they fit within the length allowed. You can also cut the video using your Instagram app and choose a filter to enhance it.
It is very convenient and helpful for people to search using hashtags, so make sure that you add relevant and popular hashtags on every image or video that you share so you are able to reach more users. You can also search relevant hashtags to find people to follow. You might want to consider getting a ClickMinded SEO Certification to help you learn more skills and techniques for online marketing strategies.
Respond to Comments
Like any social media platform, Instagram is all about engagement. Raving fans do more than just double tap, they comment about how much they love your business. So create some rapport by showing them that you appreciate their feedback. Make it a habit to check in several times a week to respond to your followers’ comments, follow people back, and also connect with them on other social sites.
Crowdsource Your Images
Make your stream more interesting by extending your posts to include photos and videos from your followers. This is a great way to engage your audience. Encourage your followers to upload photos to your stream with a contest that rewards the best image. Or, you can simply showcase your fans while they are using your product or as they are enjoying services at your business location. Check out Starbucks’ IG account. You can see that most of its posts are from its fans.
Express Your Brand
The confinement of Instagram posts to images and videos makes this social media platform an ideal setting for portraying your brand through photos and clips that show your business’ personality. One good example of a brand that is able to effectively visualize its branding through Instagram is Burberry. From its account tag line "A 156-year-old global brand with distinctly British attitude." to the iconic London shots and merchandise photos, this company is able to communicate who they are through their selection of images and videos.
Measure Your Likes
Examine which posts are getting more likes and post more of those types of photos and videos for better engagement with your followers. You can also use this type of approach to do a little market research to help you decide what products to produce. For example, post two separate pictures of the same item in two different colors and ask your followers to double tap the one that they like better. The photo with more likes will be the one that you will be producing.
Just like with any social media channel, consistency is key. Make sure you allot a few hours every week to post interesting and relevant images and clips, and engage with your followers so they are kept connected with your business.
Michelle Rubio is an experienced SEO copywriter and blogger since 2010. She has been working with various businesses, big and small, in the United States, UK, Canada, and Australia. You can see more of her works and experiences in her LinkedIn profile.