Instagram is a great tool for both brands and businesses, especially if your product is visual and your employees are creative. Small ventures like hairdressers and restaurants can really benefit from growing their following on the photo-sharing app, just as much as larger, more corporate companies. We’ve rounded up our top tips for using the site and boosting your customer engagement.
Post eye-catching photos
Stick with good quality and visually appealing images. Remember that your Instagram account is a reflection of your brand and business, so how it looks is how your customers will see you. Compare it to a shop window: the app allows you to create a digital version to entice online customers and interest.
Using a mobile to snap a pic is absolutely fine, as most smartphones nowadays have high quality cameras built into them. A good tip is to be sure that your subject, whether that be a product, person or process, is in focus and well-lit. Natural light works wonders for these mobile cameras, whilst simply pressing the screen where your object appears will usually focus the image. Remember to declutter backgrounds for a clearer photo – lots of white space is huge at the moment.
You can also seriously up your Insta game by investing in a digital camera, and transferring your photos to a mobile device via a USB cable or sharing sites like Dropbox. Many new models have built-in Wi-Fi capability, which allows you to instantly send across your pics to a tablet or phone.
As with most social media networks, it is vital to upload or update your account on a regular basis. Posting daily on Instagram is the best option to quickly grow your following, with the general rule of thumb being no more than three posts per day. That's unless you’ve got a good reason, such as an event or promotion.
We understand that this may seem daunting, if not impossible, especially when you’re busy running a business. However, tools like Hootsuite allow you to schedule snaps in advance, meaning you’ll have more time to concentrate on the day-to-day running of things.
Engage and interact
Be sure to share the love with your followers by liking their images and leaving the occasional comment. Interacting with your audience can really make a difference to your reputation, as well as driving people to use your service.
Remember to always reply to customers' questions and comments on your posts too; it’s just polite and a great example of responsive service.
Stick to a theme
An Instagram theme is when an account follows a certain colour palette or visual genre. This could be anything from pastels to black and white or even dark and grungy, and has quickly become a trend amongst many users, businesses and bloggers.
At first this may seem tricky, but it’s actually really simple when you think about it. By sticking to a simple selection of colours for your images, you can create a well-curated selection of content. Brick-and-mortar businesses with an already established theme in their buildings will find this very easy to put into practice.
If you struggle to achieve this, try using the same filter or editing process for all of your image, making your feed feel more like a gallery, rather than a jumble sale.
Instagram Stories are a great way to engage followers and give your customers insight into your business. We’ve written a whole article about why they’re so cool, so please check that out here. Stories allow you to post the ‘in-between bits’ of your brand, lasting only 24 hours and freeing up your profile for more visually appealing, permanent images.
Post a quick video of you attending an event, or maybe a cheeky photo of a staff night out. By including your customers in the behind-the-scenes part of your business, they’ll feel more engaged in your brand.
Hire a professional
If all this seems a little too time-consuming, when you’re too busy with the nitty-gritty side of your business, why not hire a professional? Likewise, if you don’t know your Insta from your Twitter or your likes from your retweets, be sure to reach out to someone who loves the power of social networking. That’s where we come in, so get in touch today and we'll create a bespoke plan to suit your unique requirements.