Instagram is a high-speed train charging down the social media tracks. You need to get on board for the wild ride right now, because studies suggest most of your competitors have yet to buy their tickets. Here’s a quick guide for launching an Instagram campaign.
We’re going to assume you have already set up an Instagram account. Once that’s done, your first stop should be the “bio” section of your account. Many of your visitors will take at least a brief look at it, so spend some time considering the message you want to send. Because of Instagram’s informal nature, it’s important to add a bit of personality to the text. “We’re a plumbing company in…blah, blah, blah” is not going to bring in many followers. Spice it up a bit by adding humor (the edgier, the better), which will help set you apart from the crowd in your niche.
The second key step when setting up your bio is to add the details of your other social media accounts so people can follow you on Facebook, Twitter and so on. Once you’ve done this, use the “Find Friends” feature to let people who you already know that you are now on Instagram. Many will follow you, which will give you a nice initial bump of followers as you build your account.
Instagram presents a tricky question for businesses. Do you share images that are humorous or ones which are relevant to your business? The usual answer you’ll hear is that you should share a mix of funny and relevant images, but this can be a mistake. The better answer is that you need to consider your target audience and what they expect from your company. Let’s consider an extreme example to show how this might play out.
Assume you are an accountant. It’s probably not the best idea to post images of you and the girlfriend or boyfriend partying like wild animals at a resort. That’s not likely what people want in an accountant. On the other hand, a photo of you and your staff gleefully toasting the end of tax season would be cute, and something few would find objectionable.
The one thing that is very clear is Instagram should not be viewed as a product platform like Pinterest. If you just post images of your products and nothing else, people will tune you out quickly and your campaign will be a bust. Mix product offerings with light-hearted images as much as possible.
Finally, incorporate hashtags into every image you post. Believe it or not, studies have found five hashtags per image is an ideal number. But regardless of the actual number you choose to use, make sure you use a variety of hashtags so people can find the images you share.
An aside on hashtags: use the same hashtags on all of your social media accounts. To say it another way, the hashtags used on your Instagram images should also be used on your Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest or other social posts. This uniformity of tags makes it easier for people to find you across various platforms, particularly if you include a tag for your business brand.
Instagram is becoming a major force in the social arena. Learn the basics and get involved quickly, so you can stake out territory in your niche before one of your competitors beats you to it.