August 19, 2016
We have all heard of social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Vine and many others have become the most-used tools of the day.
Understanding how to use these social channels is the first step in harnessing the power of marketing and networking to grow your business.
You might think that using all of them will give you better results but, the truth is, you are better off choosing one or two that has your targeted audience. It’s not just your audience either you want to find other users who are in the same business or a business that is closely related to yours.
Did you know that Instagram gets more activity than Facebook or Twitter?
First set up a personal account not a business account and hover to see who is talking about what.
Once you are sure that this is the channel for you, it is time to set up a business account. This is where you will do your marketing, run contests, and so on.
Follow those who are in the same industry or an industry that is closely related to yours.
To achieve a following, you will need to post interesting topics and pictures on a regular basis. You should try to include some humor as well. Just make sure that the topic has to do with your business or industry.
Tips for boosting your engagement on Instagram
If you need a full tutorial to learn how to use Instagram see the above link. What we are going to give you now is tips for boosting your engagement (or following) on Instagram.
- Use hashtags. When you post a picture or anything else use hashtags such as #instagood or #cute. Using the # allows people to search more quickly for what they are looking for.
- Highlight user-generated content. By highlighting user-generated content you will get more followers because they will tell their friends to check it out and then they will tell their friends. You get the idea.
- Post consistently, some say once a day, others say three to four times a week. Whether it’s once a day or three to four times a week, do it consistently. If you are going to do three to four times a week, make sure that it is the same days of the week such as Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you can post every day, however— even if it is just a good comment on someone else’s post — even better. Just make sure that your posts are relevant and current.
- Optimize your Instagram profile. Put a link in your profile back to your blog or website. Add quality photos to your portfolio. The photos should be in your niche and each one should contain a brief compelling description that will make people want to follow you. Then of course before you post your pictures use the correct hashtags.
- Host a takeover. No, not a hostile takeover. A takeover is where you invite a person of influence to take over your Instagram feed for a day. An influencer in your industry can help add followers, boost audience commitment, and build your brand voice.
- Host contest or giveaways on Instagram. This will also help build followers, get the targeted audience involved, and build your brand.
- Ask questions in the captions of your photos. This works well if you have a new product or two, you can ask which one your followers are more excited about.
- Promote your Instagram on your other social media channels with a sample of what they will find there. Also be sure to have your bio filled out, use keywords so people will know what they will be seeing for both Instagram and the other media channel that you are sharing on.
- Keep your online profile the same no matter what social media channel you are using. That is fairly easy with Facebook, Twitter, and even Google+; when it comes to Instagram it is suggested that you use your logo as your profile picture and your company’s name as your username. This will make it easier for people to find you.
- Use the right filters as well as the right hashtags. Photo filters can have a great impact on your users. Some of the filters are; Valencia, Amaro, and Sierra to name a few. When used correctly they can really engage your audience.
- Ask users to tag a friend. This works well with events. Share a photo of a product or service that will be at the event (example cupcake pans) send the photo to your users and ask them to comment and tag a friend they would like to bring to the event with them. This tactic works well for things other than events as well.
- Do not forget to engage your followers. If you write them back, reply to their comments and feedback so they will not forget who you are. You can also be sure they will tell their friends that you take the time to engage your followers and get to know them.
- Share video; a good video of ways to use your product or service, even tutorials are a great way to engage followers. When you post the video of ways to use a product, ask followers to post how they use it.
- Use geotagging if you are a local business so others in your area will see your picture or video. This is a wonderful way to grow local interest in your business.
- Show off the talents of your company. What talent does your company have that no one else has or does as well? Post a picture or video of it.
- Post at the right time. This will require you to use an analyzing tool such as the optimization section at IconoSquare. This will show you when you post, when your followers engage, and when you should be posting to get the most engagement from your audience. There are schedules that can be used for posting so that you can have your content posted at certain times.
- Host a photo contest. If you are unsure how to do this, here is a great tutorial from Instagram. Reward the best photo.
- Use quality photos and good content when posting. Quality not quantity is best. If the quality is good and the content informative, people will share it. Quality is better than posting every 30 or 60 minutes all day long. If there isn’t quality or value, people will not follow your posts they will just skip them or unfollow you.
- Ask your followers to try your product and give feedback. What would they like to see added or removed from the product to make it work better?
- Do not forget emojis, they are all the rage today. Even Pepsi is using emojis now.
- Send followers to your site. Although you can’t add a clickable link in your Instagram, you can add “link in profile” if you wish them to go straight to a particular page, add that page in the bio instead of the main page for a few days. You may have to change the link in your profile often, but it can get followers to your site.
- Help other people to leverage their followers. There are people who always want more followers, present a way that you can help them and use it to leverage their followers.
- Engage your competitor’s followers. You will be surprised how many of your competitor’s followers will start following you when you engage them on your competitor’s channel. Answer questions, ask questions and comment on their posts.
Other tips on how to use Instagram can be read here.
There are so many social media channels out there, it can be confusing on which to use. Instagram, however, has more engaged users than the other channels; that doesn’t mean you can’t use other channels but start with Instagram and cross post to others such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Vine.
Video and photos garner more follower likes, shares, and comments than other types of posts. Just make sure they are relevant, have the right filters, hash tags, and captions that call for an action.
You may need to brush up on your social media skills, but it will be worth it once you understand how Instagram and other social media channels work.
When used properly, you can garner many followers that will convert to customers.
Michael Harred is a writer, who contributes to the national Florida Review and the university magazine Cypress Dome. He also writes for Lord of Papers. To find more about Michael – check out his Twitter.