If you’re a small business looking to get started on Instagram, here is a list of things you can do. Like all things, creativity, humor, charm, uniqueness, and the power of being part of a community will all work in favor of any business or organization considering Instagram.
Remember that the most important thing you can do on any social media channel, including Instagram is be engaging. If you are posting content like a one-way news dissemination device, you will not build engagement and community. Ask questions, post topics people want to share opinions about. Get creative so followers want to tag their friends or feel compelled to leave a comment.
Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Instagram
- Make sure your Instagram account is set up as a business, and not a person doing business on Instagram. This is critical.
- If you have a Facebook page, take the time to connect the two.
- Identify your key target market for your business. Next, what segment of them is on Instagram? If you know the majority of your customers walking in your door (or checking out on your website) are on Instagram, then make sure your content is tailored to what they care about.
- Follow as many other local businesses and people you can on Instagram. Set a daily goal to follow 10 Instagram accounts.
- Make a genuine comment on at least two other Instagram accounts every day, and make sure you’re interacting with different people/businesses each day.
- Spend some time researching the highest used hashtags used on Instagram. People can search by hashtag to follow others on Instagram, so it’s important to know what you’re doing and use them.
- Make a list of highest used hashtags that could be remotely related to you or that you could figure out a post and use, and then make sure you use hashtags on every post.
- Make a list of industry- and location-specific hashtags that relate directly to your business and include them.
- Depending on your industry and business, there are certain days and times that are better to post than others. Get to know your audience and try a different time or day.
- Take LOTS of photos, and take them ALL the time. Get in the habit of capturing everything and anything, and eventually you’ll get an eye for what will work well on Instagram. Pay attention to what gets the most engagement and then take more of those. As a rule of thumb candid (real life) photos and photos of people do better than stock images (of people posing) or products. If you take images of people make sure you tell them (get permission) you’re posting on social media.
- Because you’re spending so much time connecting with other people and businesses on Instagram and taking photos, look for opportunities to tag (@) them on Instagram as a way of getting their attention that you’re posting about them.
- If you can use a picture of a real customer using your product, some studies indicate you can receive almost 40% more engagement on that photo.
- Be consistent – Whether your goal is to post daily, weekly, or monthly, make sure you are doing it on a consistent basis.
- Do your research! Look at your competitors or others in a similar industry as you and what types of content they’re posting. While you can’t copy someone else’s images or words, you can draw inspiration from it and model after what you feel is working well.
Follow some thought leaders on the platform and subscribe to their blogs or email lists to keep learning. There are lots of free webinars and learning materials out there. When you’re ready for the next level, check out Sue Zimmerman Instagram advice.