Numbers don’t lie: Instagram is one of the biggest, most important social media tools at your disposal. As of September 2015, there were 300 million active Instagram monthly users who have managed to share more than 30 billion photos while averaging 70 million shared posts daily. Not surprisingly, over 70% of Instagram users are from outside the United States, but this don’t negate the high number of loyal Instagram users living in other countries. It’s estimated that foreign Instagram users will be an estimated 111.6 million by 2019.
More importantly, Instagram now has the potential to earn and gain your business global fame – so, let’s start at the beginning, by taking on a basic but very important question: How do I set up my Instagram account, and make that account as appealing/useful/popular to as many consumers as possible? Studies have proven that Instagram has a higher follower engagement rate than Facebook and Twitter, so it makes sense that marketers are putting 40% more time and resources in Instagram than any other social media platform.
Ready to set up your Instagram account? Here’s a peek at mine. It is specifically targeting people who have chronic illnesses, like me.
How to Grow Your Business with Instagram
There are so many ways to promote your business with Instagram aside from posting bland and repetitive product photos. Here are a few practical ways to boost your business brand and revenues.
- Create a biography of your business using photos and quirky captions.
- Choose your hashtags well. The right hashtags will add numbers to the people following you and sharing your posts. You can search online for the high traffic hashtags. Also, be sure to use several hashtags with every post. Studies show that those who use 11+ hashtags get an average of 77+ interactions provide the hashtags are relevant.
- Respond to any comments you get but make sure to be positive and respectful at all times. Remember, you are in a public forum representing your business. Instagram is not the proper venue for resolving issues with customers. Any negative feedback should be resolved through email and Live Chat.
- Post photos that your market would want to see, but be sure not to turn your business Instagram account into your personal account. Keep the accounts separate. Be as personable and intimate as you can with your customer base while still maintaining a professional demeanor and attitude.
- Periodically review your profile page and keep a keen eye on always having this page optimized with updated bio and photos.
- Integrate your Instagram account with your other business online accounts.
- Use offer giveaways and promotional materials in exchange for getting people involved in a promotion or contest.
- Create videos to draw in more viewers and increase brand awareness.
Final Tips on Building your Business Using Instagram
- Don’t forget to test photos you post and make changes if necessary. Try to make your posts as memorable as possible: One way to do this is to capture your products and/or events from different angles and in unique settings. The photos also should be well executed and readily understood by anyone who views them. Always make it a point to follow back those customers who follow your business. In the Instagram community, it is seen as a form of respect
- Engage with your followers — and have fun with it! Learn to create shout outs and engage in some “re-gramming” although do be sure to ask permission to re-gram if you don’t know the person personally
Finally, make sure that your photos are safe from being offensive. The backlash – whether it be a loss of followers or even worse, loss of revenue — from a controversial photo is difficult to reverse. Remember, in the age of screenshots, anything you post on social media has the potential of going viral at any time, even after you’ve deleted it. At the end of the day, while it’s important to build your brand via social media, it’s just as important to protect your reputation, so exercise caution before you hit “post” button.