Should your business be on Instagram?

Instagram is a powerful social media tool. The fastest growing social network in Australia, the image sharing platform has seen a re-positioning in the social networking market in the past couple of years, beginning with the launch of Instagram ads in late-2015 and the roll-out of Instagram For Business throughout early to mid-2016.

With the advancements made to establish Instagram as one of the strongest player’s in digital marketing, it is a platform that should be taken advantage of. Many small to medium sized businesses have already jumped on the bandwagon – specifically those whose core business consists of ‘visual products’: food, fashion, fitness, lifestyle, entertainment and so on – and this is where they develop their brands.

If you’re a bit late to the Instagram game and don’t know how to compete with the established presences, with limited time and a limited budget, these 5 tips are a great way to get started…

1.    Get your followers to engage: 

Easier said than done, I understand – but don’t underestimate the fact that your customers are always your biggest asset. Encourage customers to tag your account or use your business’ hashtag in their photos. You can even offer an incentive to get them sharing, such as a discount off their next purchase or a giveaway competition.

2.    Play to your followers’ vanity: 

This may sound harsh, but it’s true – Instagram users love opportunities to boost their own profiles. When they share photos of your products, ask if you can share their photos on your own profile and tag them back. If followers see an opportunity to increase their own profiles by having their’s shared on yours, it will encourage more and more to do the same – therefore increasing your viral brand exposure.

3.    Mix it up with your content: 

Only posting photos of your products pushes users to think your business is only self-focused; they want to see that you are customer focused. Integrating your own photos in within a mix of customer and lifestyle photos will help to establish your brand’s personality. Play on current events, jump on a trending topic, find some really amazing and free stock photography (there’s plenty out there!) and use the top Instagram hashtag topics (#qotd, #potd, #ootn, #wcw).

4.    Frequency is key: 

Despite Instagram’s recent change from a chronological news feed to an algorithm news feed, you can still achieve fantastic results by posting frequently – 2 to 3 times each day is ideal. Take half an hour out of your week to source and create some great content and schedule your posts using a social media management service, like Hootsuite or Latergramme, to make the best use of your feed.

5.    Give your posts the boost that they need: 

Nothing grows organically overnight and it’s naive to think that it can. As with all social media strategies, paid ads should be incorporated to increase engagement and conversions; the result of this is stronger viral reach and impressions, and increased relevancy to the algorithm that determines which posts are shared to who.