Instagram is the clever merger of photo-sharing and social media technologies. Instagram.com is an essential component of many small business’s marketing strategy. If you are not using it yet, here are some ideas to keep in mind as you get started. If you are an Instagram business user, look here for a few tips that may improve your effectiveness.
Instagram allows you to quickly enhance and caption photos, and share them. It has its own social media platform, and you can also share your Instagram photos to Facebook, Twitter, etc. Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion (with a “b”) so there must be something to it!
Do not mistake Instagram for an advertising medium. There are no formal ad services in Instagram, and even clickable links are not possible. Instead, Instagram is a way to visually enhance your brand and awareness of your products and services. Your Instagram presence should tell stories about your products and how they are being used. Hard selling runs the risk of alienating the people who use Instagram for a pleasant and informative visual experience.
Select your photos for their beauty or humor, as well as their representation of your business. Do not fall into the trap of publishing large numbers of mediocre photos that will only diminish the impact of your message. And space your postings over time. Your followers will not appreciate their bandwidth being hogged by a single user, and may “unfollow” you in response.
Be cautious using hashtags. Because Instagram captions do not have the size limitation of Twitter, some businesses and other users pack in too many hashtags that are at best only vaguely related to the subject matter. This type of flooding is not well received. Better to use hashtags to target your photos toward an audience that will appreciate them.
To maximize the impact of your Instagram photos, share them on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and other social platforms, plus email. You can set up your account to share automatically or you can choose per photo.
Practically every article about Instagram will remind you that a picture is worth a thousand words. And no doubt it’s true — the impact of an instant visual representation of your business has as much value as many lines of textual copy. And Instagram, if used carefully, is an excellent medium for visually presenting your business at its best.