How To Use Instagram for Business

I LOVE INSTAGRAM. It has become a miracle tool for many like me who like to pretend they’re arty photographers, but lack the actual skills to produce such beautiful photos otherwise. It has also become a key media-sharing platform for businesses – small, large, sellers, service providers, and everything in-between.
Some may not immediately see the opportunities that Instagram can bring their business when compared to other social media platforms like Twitter, so here are the numbers…
  • Instagram has 200M monthly active users
  • 60M photos are posted per day
  • Instagram’s year on year change was 66% last year, compared to 36% for Twitter and 27% for Facebook
  • Levis and Taco Bell reported a 24-29 point lift in ad recall
  • 40% of people respond better to visual information than plain text
Some tips to get you going:
  • #hashtag! Using popular yet relevant hashtags will be essential in increasing the reach of your content and consequent engagement. If you don’t actively promote your posts this way, how will anyone know you’re there?
  • Some people recommend certain days or times to post (apparently Sunday is the most effective in terms of interactions), but I believe that it is completely dependent on who your audience are and what you’re taking about. But it’s always a good time to post pictures of baby animals.
  • That said, out of work hours will be the most effective time generally. Reaching out to people on their way to and from work is a good place to start if you don’t already have any ideas for what time of day is most effective for you.
  • The size of an Instagram photo is 612 x 612 pixels. Of course you can shrink photos to fit and crop them into a square, but if you were designing a graphic or shoot for this purpose, then it’s good to be aware.
  • Get creative! If you’re selling a product, think outside the box. Think about how it can be shown in a humourous or novel way, or link it to current news or holidays. Intel are a great example of how a a business can use Instagram to communicate their culture and values, which ultimately makes them seem far more approachable and human.
  • Engage with your audience. Instagram is a great way to reach out to the public, be it through responding to comments, liking followers posts, holding competitions, or providing an incentive for them to re-gram your post. Wishpond has developed a helpful app that allows you to run Instagram contests, managing them and instegrating it with your other social media accounts.
But how will you know if it’s all working?
You can manage, measure and optimise your Instagram activities easily using tools such as Iconosquare. Log in, and you will be presented with a dashboard allowing you completely manage you Instagram account and activity.
The statistics area is particularly handy, as it allows you to see a summary of your account over the last 7 days as well as more detailed reports concerning engagement (growth history in terms of liked and comments, most liked media and commented posts), optimisation tips (media lifespan, filter impact, tag impact, and best time to post), and community (followers/followings, reciprocal relationship/one way following or follower).  All in all, it provides a very thorough idea of how well people are interacting with you on Instagram, and offers key insights that will allow you to deliver a more targeted content strategy using this platform.
In terms of benchmarking audience engagement, Fast Company found that for every 1000 followers a company had, they received 37 likes and comments. So by using that ratio as a rough guide, you can set goals for your content.
We don’t have the space to cover all the bases in this article, but hopefully this will aide you in your quest for Instagram stardom!
Find out more about the benefits of using Instagram by clicking the links below:

Posted: 11/11/2014 16:46:25