Simple Ways to Improve Your Use of Instagram

November 10, 2014

Instagram should be an important component of any online business’s social media strategy. Many, however, are either not using Instagram or doing it improperly. Here are a couple of quick and easy tips to turn an Instagram account from a lazy cat sleeping in the sun into a charged-up puma chasing down gazelles.

Don’t Just Post

Do you just post images to Instagram and hope that likes and comments will come rolling in? This is the wrong approach. Social media is not about posting content to various sites. It is about engaging with others. If you just upload images and wait, your account is going to produce very little engagement unless you are already well-known. Since you’re probably not that famous, you need to go the extra mile to pull in followers.

Fortunately, fixing this issue is pretty simple. The solution also will help you with the often tedious task of content creation.

To do well on Instagram, you need to post a minimum of five photos a week. Where do you come up with all this content? One answer is to search for people posting images related to your products or brand. If you can find them, simply reshare the images.

It’s easy to see the problem with this approach. Most businesses are not big enough that people will be mentioning them. In that case, search for images which apply to your niche and reshare them. A travel agency, for example, might repost images people have taken on vacation while they were at destinations the travel agency serves.

This strategy is more than just a way to come up with content. Each reshare sends a notice to the original poster. That person can then click through to see what images you have posted, and then may reshare them or follow you. The more this occurs, the more followers you pick up.

Customer Service/Reputation Management

Companies are realizing they need to manage their reputations online. Large companies actually have entire teams devoted to responding to negative comments on Twitter and Facebook. The one downside is that the entire conversation between the business and customer appears online for everyone to read. That’s fine if things work out well, but it’s not ideal if the customer remains unreasonable – as we know they can often are.

Instagram is an entirely different beast when it comes to reputation management and customer service. That’s because the comments exchanged are private. While you and the customer work out a problem, you don’t have to worry about others joining in and taking potshots at your business. If you’ve ever been stuck in a Twitter conversation with an out-of-control customer, you can see this is a valuable feature.

Do most people go onto Instagram to talk about companies or complain? No, but that doesn’t matter. You can post a page on your site and other social media platforms inviting people to share feedback. This helps convert what could be an unhappy customer into a satisfied one, and turn a potentially uncomfortably public conversation into a private discussion. It also boosts your image as a company concerned with customer satisfaction.

Instagram is not going away any time soon. Many businesses have resisted getting involved with it, either because they don’t see the platform’s relevance or because it seems too frivolous. Don’t make this mistake; learn to take advantage of the possibilities Instagram offers small businesses.

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