How to start a business on Instagram…

In our blog a couple of weeks ago we spoke to you about building a business using Facebook and this week we are looking at another social media platform, Instagram.

If you use Instagram correctly it can be a really effective visual channel for getting your product out there. A recent study discovered that Instagram provides brands with 25% more engagement over other social platforms. This means Instagram is a prime channel to build your business. 

So let's get started…

First off select an account name. Choose a name that's easily tied to your business. Your company name if available works great but if you need to, add location into your name or something as simple like “hq” (for “headquarters”) as mentioned in our previous posts.

Next add a profile photo. Simple is best. We recommend using your brand's logo. Keep in mind it will be cropped into a circle and appear quite small on most phones.

Now your bio. Your bio is the one place where your link is clickable. So always include the link to your business, online shop or a targeted landing page in this spot. Different text and caption lengths work for different types of accounts. Maybe you have a slogan? If so add here. You can even incorporate a hashtag (eg #freetrial or #mybusinessname) too to categorise your content and make it easier for non-followers to discover your business.

Next link Instagram with any other social media accounts: If you have a Facebook page or Twitter account for your business, link it to your Instagram account (Profile > Edit sharing settings) so you can share your pictures to other social networks. This is great for cross pollination of content and saves valuable time. Promote your Instagram username on your Facebook page or tweet about it to help build up your followers. You can also include in other placements including email signature, on your website and in any print material. 

Now you’re set up. Next, we need to start creating some content and community.

Commenting & liking…

You can use the search feature to discover people, locations and posts that may be relevant to your brand.

You need followers and one of the best ways to find and attract new followers is by looking at your competitors' Instagram accounts and engaging with their audience. There are three ways to engage on Instagram: by liking a photo, by following someone and by commenting on a photo. 

So start playing an active role within your community. Engage with comments and questions on your own posts and use hashtags, location tags and make it personal with photos of you and your business! This gives it a personal touch and lets your community see the journey your business is going on.

Join the conversation on other community members' posts about your brand to help build relationships and increase your position as a thought-leader.

Creating cool content

You'll need to start creating images to promote your business. You can start showcasing your products by creating professional photos that ultimately enhance your brand with a simple filter applied. The power of product photos has always been essential to online businesses, and Instagram’s visual platform takes this power to the next level!

Your goal on Instagram is to engage your current audience while also growing your following. Posting regular interesting and engaging photos will satisfy this requirement but to begin growing you'll find hash tagging your posts to be really important.

You can edit images and videos with filters and other creative tools (like Layout, Hyperlapse and Boomerang). These effects ensure images have a filtered "Instagram" look that people often respond to.

Instagram has just launched its “business stories” feature which offers greater power to you as a business. Instagram stories is about asking businesses to share their stories. Think about how you could inspire people with your business story? Try out the stories feature here.

The key to tagging

Just like Twitter and other social sites, users on Instagram use hashtags. Hashtagging your photos makes it easy for people to find your photos that are searching for those specific terms. So if you use the right hashtags within your photos, you're much more likely to reach new users and your product or brand to be discovered.

If you want to tag your photos properly, you'll need to find and use the most relevant hashtags. This means keyword researching and making sure you're using the most relevant hashtags that not only describe your business, but is also being searched for on Instagram.

Goals

Set yourself some challenging but realistic goals in terms of followers, engagement and sales.

Obvious ones would be;

    1. Increase product sales
    2. Increase traffic to your website
    3. Increase brand awareness

 

Breaking down larger goals into smaller, reachable milestones, can help keep you motivated.

Lastly make sure you measure and monitor your results! Track how much traffic you are converting, if time of day can affect engagement, discover who uses the hashtags that are relevant to you, and create lists of accounts to follow and engage with.

Instagram is a social marketplace that directs traffic that turns into actual sales. So how do you do it? Well for one you have to start, share photos that are, unique, full of personality, that grab people's attention! So start now and let us know how you get on.

Hello@smarta.com twitter.com/smarta facebook.com/smartahq

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