DON'T IGNORE INSTAGRAM!
If you're a small business you ought to consider incorporating Instagram into your marketing strategy.
"Each day the Instagram community posts more than 70 million images and videos" - [Social Media Today]
Cast your mind back just for a moment to when you first started a new school, a club or a group. Do you remember that feeling of being the 'newbie', knowing nothing and having to work hard to catch up with everyone?
It's hard work!
Will you ever feel like you 'belong' and be as knowledgeable as everyone else?
When I started my own small business it seemed like I was constantly playing catch-up with other businesses. I wondered whether I'd ever reach the stage where I'd feel 'comfortable' with the knowledge I had.
So I understand how you might feel when presented with yet another social media platform to get to grips with. Did you get that 'deja vu' feeling?
However ... Instagram may surprise you.
Take just a few minutes and let me explain.
In terms of business users, Instagram is still young enough for you to make your mark. But hurry: big changes are afoot!
Benefits of Marketing your Business on Instagram
"Engagement on Instagram is about 15 times that of Facebook", according to Leah Spector of Bigcommerce.
According to eMarketer, Instagram is expected to top 100 million in the US by 2018. Instagram even beats Twitter when it comes to the rate of engagement!
Whenever I post an image on Instagram, the reaction is instantaneous. Users are incredibly generous and engaged, as Forrester Research noted in April 2014,
"Users on Instagram were 18 times more engaged with brands they follow compared with Facebook."
Can you afford to ignore these kind of positive statistics?
It probably won't surprise you to learn that Instagram is a favourite among youngsters aged between 18-29 as they turn their backs on the more 'traditional' channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
35% of Instagram users were aged between 24-35.
According to eConsultancy, there's a pretty even split in percentage terms when it comes to male: female Instagrammers.
So you might want to bear these facts in mind when marketing your business.
How to Set up an Instagram Profile
Getting started on Instagram is pretty straightforward. Simply set up an account (use your brand name if you're intending to use Instagram for business purposes). Be consistent and upload the same personal photo as you use on your other social media platforms; think carefully about the wording you include in the Bio section so that it's relevant to your business.
❗️ Point to Note: your website the only clickable link at the current time.
Creating Visual Content for Instagram
There's no doubt that businesses which sell products as opposed to services have a real advantage on platforms like Instagram where engagement depends entirely on the visual content produced.
However, if you're in the B2B category and have a talent for visual content creation (or you know somebody who has) then you can do equally well.
➤ Image Size
To avoid having to crop your images before uploading them onto Instagram, try using images which are 640 px x 640 px. Use the pre-formatted template on Canva to help you.
➤ Visual Content Ideas
Consider some of the following topics for B2B visual content:-
- Motivational quotations (these are always good on a Monday morning!)
- Behind the scenes photos (everyone likes a sneaky peek behind the business curtain to see what's going on)
- Team photos
- Client testimonials
- Business tips
- Promotional images
Take a look on the Instagram Blog for some inspiration: these April Fool's Day photos were a great idea!
➤ Instagram Image Apps
There is a huge choice of apps available to get you in the creative frame of mind.
● For quick image creation and text overlays, consider Word Swag (the latest update now allows you to upload your business logo, a great marketing bonus). Use Word Swag to create and share motivational quotations.
● Afterlight (for iOS and Android) is a powerful app that allows you to edit photos with a huge range of beautiful filters, textures and frames. Sharing to social media is extremely easy.
● Share or 'Regram' images on Instagram with InstaRepost for Android and iOS.
❗️ Point to Note: if you do regularly use text overlays, colours and filters, for example, make sure you stick the same ones for each image so that your brand becomes easily recognisable.
How to Generate Engagement on Instagram
Images will generate interest in your brand.
In order to to get some real engagement with your followers start using contests, for example.
Start a 'Like it to Win it!' contest or 'Like and Re-Gram it to Win!' and select a winner at the end of the day.
Boden Clothing recently did this with their Mini Boden range -
Note how Boden mixes up their visual content on Instagram by posting the occasional quotation -
Choose an inexpensive 'freebie' to give away. Invite followers to tag a friend and share the product image, then pick a winner at the end of the day.
Video Marketing & Instagram
I'm sure you're aware that video marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of marketing strategies for business. Get in on the action by posting short videos for your small business (remember: you're engaging with a younger generation on Instagram so keep content fun and fluid).
Consider recording short, snappy videos using apps such as Snapmovie for Android. Select your file format (MP4, FLV, AVI), your chosen resolution for the final output and how long you want to record for (1 - 6 seconds). Edit the file with filters and overlays, and even add music from a selection.
The All-powerful Instagram #Hashtag
The hashtag is King on Instagram!
Use up to 30 hashtags to make your images and brand searchable. However, if you're using Instagram for business, make sure you keep the hashtags relevant and avoid getting carried away!
Sue Zimmerman, Instagram expert, suggests creating your own hashtag which is unique to your business and invite your followers to use it! Sue's own business hashtags are #InstaGal and #InstaExpert.
Follow Sue and get some inspirational ideas about marketing your business services. Note how she uses text overlays on her images to include her Twitter handle or a web link.
❗️ Point to Note: I previously mentioned that, at the current time, the only clickable link on Instagram is your website URL in your Bio. However, this can be changed at any time.
If, for instance, you want to ask your followers to click on a specific link, simply update it in your Bio and save the changes. Use the text below your image or the image itself to direct people to click on the link, as Sue does -
Don't be afraid of using this 'Call to Action' on Instagram: it's commonly used.
I've already mentioned that Instagram is still relatively new and you have time to make your mark and get your brand noticed.
However, I also mentioned that exciting changes were afoot but, once implemented, will mean that there will be more competition for 'eyeballs'. Instagram will soon open its doors to advertising.
Instagram announced very recently that they are about to allow 'Carousel Ads'. These are sequence of 4 images which can be scrolled through horizontally, ending in a final and clickable link to "Learn More", sending followers over to a brand's website or landing page, for example. Watch this quick video from Instagram for details -
[vimeo 121179555 w=500 h=281]
If you'd like to receive information tailored specifically to your brand simply email me so that we can schedule 30 minutes' FREE tuition to get you up and running.
DON'T WAIT AROUND FOR THE BIG GUNS TO TAKE OVER - GET STARTED NOW!!