How Instagram can help boost your business

Woman taking a photo of a hot meat dishes on the wooden background with smartphone. Grilled chicken wings with red spicy sauce

Launched in 2010, Instagram has always been synonymous with tech-savvy teens, fans of selfies and food lovers keen to document every meal. But in recent years, it’s also become a strong visual marketing tool that harnesses a power that has never been seen in business.

Through photos, videos, captions and hashtags, companies can tap into people’s passions and engage with customers on a whole new level. Best of all? It’s completely free.

With 800 million active monthly visitors and 500 million active daily visitors, the social media site shows no sign of slowing down and is still in a rapid growth state.

What type of business is Instagram best suited to?
While social media is a great tool for any business, Instagram is fundamentally visual and so it’s important to have consistent visual content on your feed if it’s going to harness any real marketing power.

If you are product-based, or if your business is about architecture, travel, fashion or food, then an Insta-strategy could be the ideal solution to keeping your advertising budget in check while gaining some real traction. However, for not-so-glam companies it could actually have the opposite effect.

If you specialise in automotive parts, legal services or similar, then your feed could be filled with samey, dreary posts of not-so-thought-provoking imagery. It’s not to say it can’t work, but to get some momentum you are going to need to think laterally creatively, or at least have someone creative who can come up with some ideas to visually capture the essence of your business.

Getting started
Writing your Instagram bio is probably one of the most important steps your business can take in its foray into the Insta-sphere.

You’ll have to get creative if you want to get across what your business does, what your brand is about and who your ideal audience is in just 150 characters. Remember…

• emojis are your friend – why use 10 words when one symbol can say it all
• use line breaks – Write in a notepad or work processing programme and paste into the bio. This makes all your information clear and succinct, in easily digestible bullets.
• to have a brand hashtag – what better way to engage customers than to follow how they’re interacting with your brand.
• make sure your customers can contact you – phone number, email, street address; whatever your preferred method is.
• always include a call to action – a CTA provokes an immediate response, so your bio is the perfect place to put it to good use

Case studies
The Insta-success of brands such as Adidas, AirBnb and Samsung can be sung from the hills, and there are lots of brands that are doing great things with little-to-no budget.

Influencer marketing focuses on leaders rather than followers; people to look up to, admire and emulate. And fashion retail giant Asos is a leader when it comes to harnessing influencer power and captivating its audience.

Instagram page of Asos

Asos “Insiders” say they give style and image advice to followers, but in actual fact, they are designated savvy sellers and influence marketeers.

Offering tips, advice and inspiration, the Insiders steer customers towards the site; their favourite items, go-to brands and curated lists – which are effectively a pre-determined shopping list that you can copy piece-for-piece.

Top tips for using Instagram for your business
There’s no fool-proof way of getting social media to work for your company and contribute to its growth. But there are a few handy tips that may help…

• Have a strategy – we can all post randomly and hope something sticks, but if you’re serious about making Instagram work for your business then it’s important to have a plan for how you’ll post, when you’ll post and how you’ll monitor your engagement levels.
• Use high quality photos – anything less and you’ll just appear amateur and fail to build trust with your prospective customers
• Be entertaining – if your feed is self-involved or a hard sell then you’re not going to engage followers and turn them into leads or customers
• Use hashtags well – Use a few hashtags within your caption that link to what you’re post is about, but use any others – such as those you place to gain followers or join a conversation – and hide them in a comment with line breaks or dots to keep them hidden.


Posted by the Secret Businessman