How to Use Instagram for Your Business

February 12, 2015
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You’re already using Facebook and Twitter, but customer engagement isn’t what you’d expect it to be. There are at least six different social media websites that are relevant in today’s business world, but if you’re looking for one more to complement your Facebook and Twitter accounts, sign up for Instagram and start promoting your business with pictures. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Increase Your Customer Base

There are roughly 150 million users everyday who sign on to Instagram. Whether they’re sharing pictures they like or posting new images of their own, that’s a huge, untapped audience waiting to be engaged.

Like every other business, your account will start at zero followers. This can be a scary number to look at, but the best way to get started is to share a link of your new Instagram account on your Twitter and Facebook feeds. You’ll likely get at least a handful of followers the first day. You can increase this following by updating your post everyday with a funny, unique or intriguing picture that relates to what product or service you offer. The more shares you get, the more exposure your business has.

Photo Contests are Great

Once you have at least a few hundred loyal followers, create a photo contest. Create a hash tag for people to use and follow during the contest and allow your followers to vote on a winner. The winner of the contest can enjoy discounted services offered by your company.

Offering an Instagram photo contest is a great way to increase your following. Users will share information about your contest with their followers and friends, who will in turn follow your account.

Use Promo Codes

Loyal customers will view your posts at least once a day. Reward these customers by giving them promo codes to use at a future date on your business.

The best way to do this is to post featured pictures of your products. For example, a clothing store would post pictures of someone wearing an outfit that they sell on their website. With the outfit, the company would include a special promotional code for their followers to use to receive a discount when buying that particular product.

The code should be valid for no more than 24 hours. Putting a time clock on it creates an urgency to buy among Instagram followers.

Use Current Social Media Trends

Remember the ice bucket challenge? This unique online trend generated millions in donations for a non profit organization, and many corporations and celebrities used it to boast their public image.

As a business owner or marketing manager, keep in touch with current social media trends. If you find a viral issue that you can harness and make it your own, use it to your advantage. Instagram is one of the best viral tools available online.

Network With Others

Similar to other forms of social media, you must follow, engage and leave comments on other profiles and pictures.

Find your most loyal followers and be sure to check in with them at least once a week. This can be as simple as leaving a comment on one of their images or sharing a picture that you like.

Networking through social media is also the best way to increase your own customer base. Look through each of your followers to determine who has the biggest fan base. Connect with them personally and try to create a working partnership on Instagram. The more photos they share of yours, the larger your customer base will become.

Use Metrics

Everything is measurable, even social media. The best way to track current trends for your business is to use a social media metrics tool.

These tools will help you identify areas that are succeeding, where you need improvement and how to capitalize on your current fan base. While many of these online tools are free, they can be an invaluable part of your Instagram marketing strategy.