Using Instagram to Create Opportunities for Your Business

Ever since it was bought by Facebook in 2012 Instagram has gone from strength to strength, continuing to roll out new updates and features to stay ahead of the competition. In fact, last year they released a statement revealing they have 250 million daily users, and provided us with some figures showing how long users are spending on the app. For those under 25 it was 32 minutes per day, and for those over 25 it was 24 minutes.

These figures highlight the considerable amount of time we all spend on the app each day – so of course it makes sense to place your business where your potential customers are. Instagram users are consuming content from people and businesses every day, so by not being present on the platform you risk falling behind the competition.

Before we start, consider: is Instagram right for your industry?

How useful Instagram can be to your business is largely dependant on your industry. As a highly visual platform for sharing photos and videos, the better you can showcase yourself and your offering in an appealing and creative way, the more effective Instagram will be as a business tool.

Some industries that thrive on Instagram are hospitality (restaurants, bars, hotels), independent craft shops and retail. However, businesses in other industries can also do well if they present themselves in an engaging and visual way. For example, as a digital marketing agency we’re able to make Instagram work for us and have seen other marketing and technological companies do the same. Check out our Instagram to get an idea of the kind of things we share with our followers.

           

The age of your target audience also contributes to Instagram’s effectiveness for you, as it has a younger demographic than some other social media platforms, such as Facebook.

After considering these factors you may conclude that Instagram isn’t right for your demographic or industry however, which sometimes can be the case. If you think it could it be though, there are several ways that Instagram can benefit your business.

Show your brand personality and connect with your people

By sharing your business’ personality and making the effort to follow your customers on Instagram you’re making a more personal connection with them, which helps cement their loyalty to you. This also helps turn potential customers into loyal ones.

Instagram is a great way to engage with your stakeholders of all kinds as well. Presenting your business in a positive light will also make potential clients want to work with you, and help you attract new talent.

You can also post about meetings with clients or suppliers, and comment on and like each other’s posts which raises both of your profiles and solidifies the relationship.

How to create dynamic content that people want to see

It sounds obvious, but the trick for the content you’re putting on Instagram is to create something your stakeholders want to see and read about. If they’re following you, you already know they’re interested in what you do – so you’re already halfway there.

The questions to ask yourself before you post are: is this post beneficial to anyone? And is the imagery strong?

It’s key to remember as well as well that your posts are helping your customers. For example, if you’re an activity centre – people want ideas of fun things to do on weekends or with the kids, so you’re helping them out with suggestions.

As far as media goes, you can use images, boomerangs or videos to promote yourself. A mix of all three is what we’d recommend to mix things up and keep your page dynamic.

There are many opportunities for creativity here, as if your company makes something, like glass figurines, furniture, or food, sped up videos of these being made are usually a hit, or you could take photos throughout the process or share specialist tips and insights.


Instagram stories get you to the top

Developed to help Instagram compete with Snapchat, Instagram stories also allow you to share what your business is up to in a very immediate sense, as they appear on your profile for just 24 hours to tell the story of your day.

These provide a daily insight into the company, and pages with stories appear at the top of your followers’ feeds. It’s been shown that one in five organic stories from businesses also get a direct message in response, which shows the real results than stories can generate.

As of last year, businesses can also put links in their Instagram stories, which increases traffic to your website and takes users to the next step in the sales process.

Your stories and posts together will then keep you at the forefront of your followers’ minds, helping you win business over the competition.

Find new customers, or even better – give them the opportunity to find you

By using hashtags, you can put yourself on the radar of someone who might not otherwise have known you exist. For example, if you’re a garden centre, you could look through hashtags of flowers, or hashtags for the local area to find potential customers nearby.

You can also add hashtags to your own posts which means that people looking for images similar to the ones you’re posting will find you – which is a great way to find new customers or clients with minimal effort on your part.

Your Instagram page can therefore really showcase the products or services you offer, and you can put a link in the bio of your page to your online shop – again encouraging traffic and sales.

Your customers can also tag your business in their own pictures – so that all of their followers know where to go if they like the look of the place.

Ultimately, the best way to get started on Instagram is to throw yourself in wholeheartedly and get to know what works and what doesn’t for you. And once you’ve got to grips with the basics, if you’d like help devising an effective social media strategy with goals and direction that’s tailored to you, get in touch with us to find out how we can help.

 


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