Welcome to our quick guide and overview of Instagram, a must have app if you are serious about building a brand and being ‘heard’ online.
In this guide we will show you how to easily market your business using one of Social Media’s fastest growing networks. We will explain what Instagram is in simple terms and why your business must be using it to market your online presence.
We will show you step by step how to download the Instagram App and how to create the perfect business profile. Need followers? We will cover that as well and show you how to post images and videos that will help you grow your brand. Not only that but we will show you some top tips and tricks to get the most from marketing your business on Instagram
So What Is Instagram?
Instagram is simply a social networking site for sharing photos and videos using mobile devices. It’s the perfect opportunity to capture fun, quirky pictures and videos and share them on other social networking site such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Instagram was launched in October 2010 and now has over 200 million active monthly users and it’s still growing, 90% of US department stores used Instagram to promote products in 2014 and 57% of US Instagram users visit the site daily, with 35% visiting more than once a day.
Instagram is popular with everyone from teens, to moms, celebrities and businesses, and especially with female users. Since its launch it’s been a hugely popular way of sharing fun pictures / videos of almost everything, family days out, baby pictures, wedding pictures, food, DIY, pets and architecture. This means that not only is there a variety of images and videos being shared every day but that there are several different niches for brands to target.
And naturally, Instagram’s success brought a lot of attention from the other social media big hitters and in 2012 Facebook bought Instagram for a reported $1 billion.As a result of the Facebook buy out, Instagram seems to have been touched by the ‘Facebook Marketing Magic’ and in the 4 years since the takeover has reported a 6x growth rate and it shows no sign of slowing!
Why Your Business Should Be Using Instagram
OK, so now we know we know what Instagram is, we now have to look at why you should be using it for your business.When Instagram first launched it was deemed more a personal social media platform and businesses struggled to see where it would fit in their social media marketing campaigns, however thankfully things have moved on and there are more new businesses using Instagram each and every day.
So why should your business be using Instagram? Well let’s take a look at what Instagram is doing for businesses just like yours! With its growing number of users (89.4M in the USA alone!) and the number of shares every minute Instagram is a key player in helping us decide what the latest trends are.
40 million photos are posted to Instagram each day and this is what makes it great for marketing. What is so great about Instagram is that it uniquely focuses on images and videos which makes it the perfect place for visual marketing. In fact 59% of the top 100 brands are now on Instagram, sharing pictures of their products and services.
So much of marketing is visual and that’s what makes Instagram perfect for businesses. Sharing Images of your products will help you boost brand awareness and once users start sharing your images it will create the type of hype most business can only dream of.
The great thing about Instagram is that it is so easy to use, you can create awesome images that you can then share easily to not only Instagram but to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr etc., helping you reach more people over more networks with your images.
Another massive benefit of Instagram is that it is mobile, allowing you to combine both social media marketing and mobile marketing using images as the connective between the two.
Marketing on Instagram can give you greater reach, it allows you to drive more traffic to your website and offers. It lets you increase interaction with your client base and build trust along the way! But the best thing about marketing on Instagram is that it allows you to combine social media marketing, visual marketing and mobile marketing all in one place!
It’s for all of these reasons that you can’t afford to ignore Instagram when it comes to marketing your business! So now we know why we should be using Instagram as part of our business marketing, now let’s take a look at how to do it!
How to Set Up Instagram
1. Download The App:
OK so the first thing that you have to do is download the App. To do this you need to go to The App Store or Google Play Store and search for Instagram. Or you can go direct to http://www.Instagram.com and you will see the option to download from either store.
From there you will be taken through the download process for both devises, we are going to look at the android version first on Google Play.
The first thing you will see is the option to Install the App:
Then you will be given the option of which device to install on and then all you have to do is click install again and wait a couple of minutes while the App installs on your chosen device.
Once the App is successfully installed you will see the Instagram Icon appear on your device.
So now that you have successfully installed Instagram the next stage is to open an Instagram business account.
2. Opening A Business Account
Once you have signed up you will be given 3 different options as shown below:
If you were only using Instagram for personal use then I would say it’s OK to go ahead and sign up using Facebook, however for business it’s always best to register with an email address.
Use the email address of your main website to add credibility and trust factor to your profile.
Then its time to set up your user name and Log in details. For your User Name its best to use your business name where ever possible, again to help add credibility to your account.
Step 3: Setting Up Your Business Profile
Once you have chosen your user name and set up your login details then the next stage is to create your business profile and this is one of the most important steps you will take in the whole process.
The first thing you will want to do is add a profile image, this could be your logo or if you want a more personal feel to your page then it could be a professional image you have had taken of yourself.
Once you have set your profile image the next thing you should do is add your website URL.
Once your website has been added it will be time to write your BIO, now keep in mind that you only get 150 characters, so make sure it is to the point and captures a user’s attention.
How To Find Followers
Finding people to follow your business really isn’t that hard. You can follow people who have interests similar to that of your business.You will be able to search for these users in the explore tab of Instagram:
When you are in the explore section of the App you will be able to search for users, images and videos from around the world.
You will use the little magnifying glass image to search images and video and you can use the user sub tab to find other Instagram users.
So that’s how you search for other users who you could follow in the hope the then follow you back, however there are obviously many other ways to attract Instagram followers
- Share Images That People Can Connect With –
Make your images personal, unique and original that way you will build a connection with your audience more easily.
- Use Popular And Relevant Hashtags –Research themost popular hashtags and then use them in your posts, find ones that relate best to the image you are going to share. Some of the most popular hashtags I have seen are #Love, #me, #like, #follow, #tbt (throwbackThursday), #cute, #followme, #photooftheday, #tagsforlikes and #instagood.
- Host Contests –One of the most effective ways toboost engagement and gain new followers is by hosting a contest. It’s a proven tactic on any social media network. Contests are easy to create and get up and running. Take an amazing picture and add captions that inform people that there’s a contest under-way, like a give-away. Also, make sure that you also use #contest to make your contest easy to find. Don’t forget to share your contest on other social media sites like Facebook.
- Ask Questions –A simple method to gain more likeson your photos is to simply ask a question in the photo’s caption. Not only will this increase your amount of likes, it can increase comments. And, as we’ve mentioned numerous times already, engagement is the best way to increase the amount of followers on Instagram.
- Post Frequently-If you want to retain, or attract, new followers, then you have to be able to keep their interest. One of the easiest ways is to post relevant and attractive photos on consistent basis; usually a few photos per day is more than enough. If you have hundreds of images to share, spread them throughout several days. Don’t flood your followers’ feeds, if you do they will simply un-follow you and it makes your account less attractive for others to follow.
How To Post Your Images And Videos
Posting on Instagram is really simply and thanks to the tools within the App it can also be a really fun and unique way of sharing your images and videos.
Instagram has a grid function that you can put on or off, its purpose is to help you centre your picture and take your picture straight on.
You can also choose a pre-existing picture if you prefer from your mobile gallery. Of course if selfies are your thing you can rotate the camera to face you!
Instagram offer you a wide range of editing options that will allow you to change the look of your image. You can edit the colour, the shading the brightness, you can frame your picture plus lots more. In fact these editing tools are part of what makes Instagram so great!
Once you have finished editing the videos then you can add a description to the image, you can tag in specific followers or you can even add a map, most important of all don’t forget your call to action!
To post a video on Instagram you essentially just follow the steps that you took for posting an image. The great thing about posting a video on Instagram is the editing tool, you can edit the video from within the App.
Instagram Marketing Top Tips
- Take care of your followers –The better you treat the people who follow you, then the more likely they are to share your images, join your mailing list and more importantly become customers in the future. Treat your list well, offer them special offers or a sneak peek at your newest products first. Run a great competition that’s just for them, and of course don’t forget your manners if they interact with you or your images make sure you thank them!
- Use #hashtags- Hash tagging pictures on Instagramis a MUST, and means you are filing that image in a larger folder where the contents all share the same hashtag- BRILLIANT! This is a no-brainer for businesses that aim to be associated with industry-related keywords and trending topics. Duringthe beginning stages of your account, try to use the most popular, yet relevant, hashtags that will draw visitors to your account and hopefully increase you’re following.
- Follow Your Followers Back– This is a really obviousstep but it’s one that people often overlook in many social media platforms not just Instagram. If some has decided that you are worth following then you need to follow them back! Not only is it good manners but they have deemed your page and therefore your business as something worth following which means they have an interest in what you have to offer. So the first step in building that relationship is to thank them for their follow by following them back.
- Understand Who Your Customers Are– This willhelp you post the correct content, follow the correct people and know how, when and what you should betargeting with your images. Getting the correct target audience will be vital to your success so do not overlook this step!
- Post quality, personable visuals – make sure the content you are posting is of the best quality. You want to make sure that it is eye catching and will really capture people attention.
You need to be able to make your followers feel connected to the images and videos you post. Never be afraid to introduce humour to what you post, some of the most shared images on Instagram are funny pictures and remember to take full advantage of Instagram’s video options and post both photos and images.
Mark Hartfree is an Author, prolific
Blog writer, World Traveller and Online
Entrepreneur who divides his time between
the UK, South America & the Costa Blanca
Coastline in Spain.
His spare time is taken up between his
children and volunteering for local charities.