Apparently, a picture really IS worth a thousand words—or in this case—“likes.” The picture-based social platform Instagram is fast surpassing other more established social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, in terms of consumer engagement and traffic.
In a recent study by Forrester Research, Instagram was named the most effective social network for consumer engagement. It has consistently outperformed all of its competitors, delivering “58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.”
But what does this mean for your small business? The answer is simple: If you’re looking to engage consumers, imagery is vital—and Instagram is where you need to be. So, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, here are five quick and easy ways your business can win on Instagram.
1.Pick a Username That Reflects Your Brand
An effective username should be familiar to those who know your business and enticing to those who do not. If possible, include the name of your business and—ideally—a physical location (e.g. @HarrysHardwareChicago). Incorporating the name of your business ensures that existing customers can find you and new customers will already be familiar with your brand.
2.Be Strategic With Your Bio
In social media it’s important to always put your best foot forward, and your Instagram bio is no exception. Don’t just copy and paste from an existing “about us” page. Take the time to write something thoughtful and always check your spelling. Be straightforward, be succinct, and link to your business’ website. The bio is the only place on Instagram where you can include a live link. Make the most of it.
3.Think Before You Post
Before you start sharing pictures, think about the message(s) you want to communicate and the types of consumers you want to engage. What does your company offer? What is your mission? What is your product? What is relevant about your industry? Answers to these questions—and any others you come up with on your own— should determine the types of Instagram posts produced by your business. Be strategic.
4.Use (Don’t Abuse) the Hashtag
In social media, a hashtag is a word—or phrase—used to categorize content. Aside from usernames, searching for hashtags is the only way to filter content on Instagram. Before posting, think about your business’ intended demographic: which words will they search for? Do NOT be excessive. Aiming for quality over quantity will make for a more engaging user experience.
5.Stick With It
Once you’ve set up an Instagram account, use it or lose it. Social media is all about timely, relevant content. Don’t expect users to stay engaged with an account that hasn’t been updated in several weeks. Make sure your business posts in a timely manner. Don’t shy away from engaging your followers. Many businesses field support questions and take orders via social media. Follow up if you receive these types of inquires. Don’t be afraid to seek out your competitors, follow them, and engage with them too.
What do you think? Did we miss anything? If you have an Instagram tip to share with us, we’d love to hear from you.