Instagram is a mobile photo-sharing app and social network owned by Facebook that boasts more than 400 million users. With a mobile phone or tablet, Instagram is easy to use. Snap a photo of a product, a landscape, of special customers, and within a few clicks, the image is view-able by the many Instagram users. Gain followers and grow brand awareness with Instagram.
GETTING SET UP
Instagram is primarily a mobile app. To get started, download the free app from either the Apple App Store or from Google Play. Open the app and you’ll be prompted to either sign in or create an account. If you already have a Facebook account (which I hope you do) you’ll have the option to sign in using your Facebook credentials. If you wish to keep the account separate, use your email address to create the account. Here is video help to get set up. Input your business information, including your website address, and start sharing images.
Start by posting high quality, interesting images that reflect your business. Add a line or two of descriptive text as a caption and be sure to ‘Add Location’. Use your business as the location if appropriate. Use hashtags in in the caption field after the photo description. Like photos from users in your target audience. This helps you be noticed and potentially followed. Be sure to promote your Instagram account on your other social media profiles. Tell your Facebook and Twitter followers about your Instagram account an encourage them to follow you. Tag people in your photos if it is relevant. Hopefully they will share your photo exposing your business to their friends. Post great images on Wednesdays as Wednesdays tend to have the highest post engagement.
A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic. Hashtags help your content be found. You can create your own hashtag, such as your business name, or find popular hashtags relevant to your business or offerings.
For instance, if your business is located in Ennis, Montana, use the hashtag #EnnisMT in some of your posts. Folks who click on the #EnnisMT hashtag will see images from everyone who has shared an images and used the #EnnisMT hashtag, including yours. But don’t stop there. You can use several hashtags describing the image.
For the image to the right, one might use #FlyFishing #MadisonRiver #GuidesLife #Fishing406 #RainbowValleyLodge #DirtyMikeElliott #GirlFishing #AdiposeBoats #Orvis. Each one of these hashtags, when clicked, will bring you to a collection of images. Hashtags help users find related content on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
I capitalize each word in my hashtag to make it more readable. You can use all lowercase, all caps or a mix, it doesn’t matter. It’s your personal choice.
INSTAGRAM IS NOT GOOD AT…
Instagram is easy to use, perhaps the best social media platform for exposing users to your brand along with brand building, but Instagram is not good at driving visitors to your website. I manage several Google Analytic accounts for clients, some who post regularly on Instagram, others who seldom post, and the results are dismal. Instagram does offer advertising which can drive traffic to your website. This can be done through the Instagram app or through Facebook advertising (which is recommended).
The value of Instagram is creating followers and brand awareness. Everyone loves to see images. Create great images that inspire users to follow your brand and do business with you.
Good Luck! ~ Lisa