How to engage your audience with Instagram
Like most small businesses, you probably already use at least one of the major social media outlet, such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter or Pinterest, to network and improve customer or client relations. You might even use all of them. So when deciding whether your business really needs to join the cultural phenomenon that is Instagram, you might find yourself asking, “Do I really need another social media account that will just add more work to my already overloaded day?” The answer is simple: you can never have enough tools that allow your business to connect with its target audience, and Instagram allows businesses to engage and interact with their customers in a wholly unique way.
Creating an account for your business is simple. The key is to create an account name that clearly reflects you as a business. Another important step is to have a link to your website URL in the bio box. That way you can connect Instagram to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, so you can easily post your Instagram photos on either account to maximize exposure and to gain followers. For specific details on how to create an Instagram account, click here.
SHOWCASING YOUR BUSINESS
It’s extremely important to consider your business’ identity when creating your Instagram account. Who are you? What is your history? Who is your target audience? Instagram is a great place to tell stories, so utilize this strength to build the story around your own brand. Posting photos of your employees hard at work or your products being developed can feature a behind-the-scenes look into the business and establish a closer connection with your audience. Photos of your employees volunteering shows your company’s commitment to the community, while a photo of the annual company holiday party shows the lighter side of your business. And if your business sells products, taking creative photos of those new products before their release is a great way to showcase them to your audience and build buzz.
STAY TUNED WITH TRENDS
Ever heard of #tbt, or Throwback Thursday? Being aware of new trends on Instagram gives you an opportunity to take part and expand your reach. An old photo of your company’s early stages would be a great way to expand your story to followers. Just don’t forget to add the hashtags! Using relevant hashtags for your business can help users find your company more easily, and tools such as Iconosquare can help you identify key hashtags, while also tracking and accessing your account activity.
Every time a user comments on a photo, reply. Every time a user follows you, follow them back. Engaging and interacting with your followers this way serves to demonstrate that your company is actively working on building relationships, which can help your Instagram feed grow. Following the competition can also help you see what kinds of outreach they use and its effectiveness.
REWARD THE FOLLOWERS
Why should a user follow you? An easy way to create interest in your company is to create Instagram campaigns. Start a custom hashtag and encourage your followers to post the best photo of them with one of your products along with the hashtag. Award the user with the best photo with a special coupon, or you can give your followers special discount codes or exclusive information about new products as a reward. Give your customers an incentive to follow your company and to discover all that it has to offer.
Finally, don’t forget to have some fun with Instagram! Post cute pictures of the company dog. Take goofy photos of your products. Interact with your users and show them that you are a company that they want to connect with.