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Instagram For Business

Published: 19/11/15

Instagram began five years ago with 25,000 users on its first day; now, thanks in part to its Facebook deal, it has 400 million people using the site every month, with 80 million photos shared every day. Instagram allows users to post/share photographs of themselves as a visual representation of what is going on in their life and as it is happening. Perhaps more crucially Instagram enables its users to add a number of different filters to the image to enhance or alter the picture as they see fit. It was April 2012 when Facebook announced its intention to buy Instagram; at the sale they paid $735.5m for a company, which at that time had only 13 employees.

Demographically, currently the largest percentage of users fall into the 18-34 bracket, with more women than men, but do not switch off if your business doesn't happen to target this audience. Instagram is relatively 'young' and like Facebook before it, older people will undoubtedly come on board. Our brains are primarily visual, making Instagram accessible, with the potential to have a very wide appeal. The fact that Instagram is owned by Facebook is likely to speed-up the growth process; Facebook has over 1.3 billion monthly active users and it's still expanding at a rapid rate.

A recent article in The Guardian Saturday mag tells us:

“The rapid growth of Instagram and its popularity with everyone from designers to photojournalists and politicians is one of Silicon Valley’s favourite fables. Its followers include President Obama (advocating Obamacare), David Beckham (berating the Daily Mail for criticising his parenting skills) and Kim Kardashian (trying to break the internet). It makes room for the mundane: plumbers sharing their latest jobs, teachers sharing the delight and horror of the classroom. It features bad taxidermy and horrific autopsy shots. It hosts millions of us, snapping our holidays, our children, our shopping and a disproportionate number of sunsets.”

Where to start?

For any business new to Instagram – the first step is to explore the Instagram for Business blog, created by them to showcase just how companies are using it. Obviously viewing what others do is an excellent and quick way of seeing how it could work for your organisation http://blog.business.instagram.com/.

Next might be to perfect your Instagram company profile – Gerry Moran at marketingthink.com has basically set out everything that you need to do on this infographic; this is part of a bigger article with a bit more explanation if you feel that you need it.

As you've done with Facebook and Twitter, link your Instagram account to your website, email sign-off, promotional material etc. Connect to your Facebook account and use relevant/popular hashtags. Be social; engage by following others (start with Facebook friends and Twitter followers) and of course – like their pictures and make comments. Look out for trending hashtags and match with relevant imagery to try and get more exposure. And don't forget to add relevant hashtags to any pics taken at social or industry events that also have their own hashtag.

Again, as with other social media – do mix business and pleasure by balancing your business postings with other fun and interesting pics. Be creative and post quality imagery, with eye-catching captions. You are trying to capture the imagination of your target audience; so keep this in focus. An excellent tip from one of the many social media experts is to shoot square photos (this can usually be done on your phone settings), which should save you time, by eliminating the need to crop the photo.

Another good tip is to use an app such as Camera Awesome to edit your pics and then feed them straight to any/all of your social media accounts. Camera Awesome is produced by SmugMug – an on-line portfolio service that can be used on a personal level to keep all your phone pics in one secure place or in a business capacity it's often used by photographers, graphic artists etc.

Mix videos and photos – Instagram allows you to edit (including filters) and post a 15 second video to literally bring your story to life. You could also video your company's special moments to give customers an insight or a behind the scenes look into your organisation.

Once you've started and got some activity going you can use Curalate; an analytics suite that helps you evaluate how you're doing. Curalate can track an Instagram post’s likes and comments so that a brand can see how that popularity translates into added followers. Statigram is the Instagram tracking service, it can be used to see the number of likes generated, but also be used for contest monitoring such as the hashtag created for the contest and how many people have submitted photos for the contest. Statigram is also a great tool for searching out other brands and hashtags that relate to your company – you need to know what the competition is doing.

As regards how often to post, it's generally agreed that Instagram is a little more relaxed than other platforms, so you don't need to do it quite so regularly; use the time to plan properly, spread them out, but always make them great!

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