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January 30, 2013

Best Practices for Using Instagram for Your Personal and Business Brand

instagram

Social media has proven to be a fast and efficient marketing tool for businesses of any size. For individuals, it is a savvy means to stay in touch with family, friends and acquaintances.

Instagram is one of the more popular new kids on the block as far as social media is concerned. One of the reasons Instagram is so popular is it uses photos to convey a message. This is a marketer’s dream as photos and pictures tend to attract more attention and draw more people compared to textual content.

As a person, you may also benefit from growing your profile by using Instagram. Using Instagram on Facebook will increase the visibility of your profile because people share and interact with photos more than any other content that is available. The app allows you to run your photos through a filter that, in essence, edits them so they look more professional. You can also share photos on your Twitter account to garner more interest and obtain more followers.

Everything is more visually focused

As a small business owner, social media is one of the most effective marketing tools you can use without spending too much. Instagram allows you to keep your clients updated on what is new. You can upload many photos in a day to keep people interested in what is new with your business and for any new developments. However, ensure you do not share too many photos — give people enough time to see them and respond to them. It is important to be consistent in posting photos, new information, or any other news so your clients know what to expect.

You can also share some behind-the-scenes photos of your business so your clients and customers feel like a part of your business which, in turn, will make them more likely to become loyal customers. You can also show them how to use a product, photos of an event or something more personal, such as photos of your office or employees. This shows people the human side of your business —and it will make them want to check in regularly or follow your profile to see what new things they can learn or discover.

As a personal brand, give them insights into how you think, decide and discern

Instagram is also a great way to share some of the work you have done. This, in essence, shows others what you can do and will sell your work to potential clients. Engage your followers to promote brand loyalty; for example, responding to a comment made on your product. This also works for a personal profile; to get people to follow you and interact with your Instagram profile. Of course, you also have to interact with them, follow them and comment on their photos.

Because your Instagram profile can only be viewed by the people you are friends with in your fans and followers list, it is best used with another type of social media such as Facebook — so many more people will be able to see and respond to your photos.

First point of contact

You can use Instagram to direct people to your personal blog, other social media such as Pinterest, or your company website. In both of these cases, the photos act as a bait to get people interested in you so you can then introduce other content. You can also use hashtags to trend a photo or connect different photos that are related in some way that you would like people to see. It also attracts like-minded people because they will gravitate to hashtags on things they are interested in.

It is best to take good, clear photos on Instagram. A badly taken photograph cannot be salvaged by the filter function in Instagram. People will respond more to high-quality photos. You also need to keep abreast of what is relevant and interesting to your followers, so ask for feedback and understand what they are saying so you can post photos that keep them interested in your profile. You can also make your photos fun by experimenting with creative photo shots.


Maria Elena Duron, CEO (chief engagement officer), buzz2bucks, a word-of-mouth marketing firm, is skilled at making networks “work” and harnessing powerful online and offline buzz, she facilitates online visibility services and word of mouth coaching and workshops — taking companies and professionals from buzz-worthy to bucks-worthy, buzz2bucks.com.

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