We originally wrote this article on 8th September 2014 and happily it is all still relevant- the simplicity of Instagram is potentially what has made it’s rise so unstoppable. A very creative, visual and easy to use platform. It has recently led to an article by our friends at iDigic called The Meteroric Rise of Instagram As A Marketing Platform and a fact filled infographic.

So I am updating this blog to reflect their findings and give you even more advice on making those instagram accounts work for your business. Enjoy!

Instagram for Business

 

in 2014 we said:

Instagram is on the verge of officially being crowned the next big thing…maybe. You know what trends are like it is hard to gauge anything for sure.

Well it has indeed been a huge success and is still growing now. In our recent case study at SpringFair16 we asked exhibitors which social media platforms they use most and Instagram came at the top with Facebook. Of course, 2016 is all about video so again Instagram is positioned well for that trend, as are Twitter Vine, YouTube and Periscope (the latest real-time social media platform offering). With the addition of live streaming to Facebook and every major platform increasing their video functionality it is going to be a big year for this great medium.

Instagram has a lot going for it and teens seem to be flocking to it, why? Let’s take a look:

  • In harmony with the smartphone because it was built for the mobile device
  • Hashtag linking
  • Video and Image focus
  • Micro video – short and to the point
  • No long text waffle or laundry!
  • Group orientated like-minded networking

You have to work hard on Instagram to get a following and that means that the content has to be good, your socialising has to be consistent, and you have to reach out to new and interesting people every day to make it work for you. It is almost less about the individual and more about the content that has to hook you in all of its own accord.

So how do you nail Instagram?

#HASHTAG

This is the first port of call for any newbies. Check out the different hashtags and find those that are relevant to you, your business and your content. Find the most popular hashtags and really look at what the members are doing to engage their audiences. What kind of content is doing well? Monitoring this content will give you a good idea of what you need to contribute to the conversation. Make sure you are part of the hashtag groups you choose to join and not just a user. Liking and commenting on other material makes them aware of your profile and at the end of the day everyone is on Instagram for coverage so the more sharing and taking part you do the better your reputation will be.

BE SOCIABLE

Being sociable is really easy on Instagram. You can comment or you can just give people a like. Reaching out makes a huge difference to how well you do on this platform. If you do not like and comment on other people’s posts then they will not return the favour. Build relationships and don’t just sit back churning out content or you will be ignored and quickly forgotten.

ENGAGE  

This is the perfect platform to be bold on because it is relatively new and building so there is space to be creative. Don’t be afraid to get people talking by asking them questions, requesting their opinion, or involving them in a fact finding mission.

BE VISUAL

Isn’t this what it all comes down to at the end of the day? Posting lifestyle content that represents your brand’s persona is a great way to market the ethos of your brand on Instagram, but sometimes it’s not enough. There are certain threads on Instagram that leverage a lot of traction and they are extremely simple really. People like looking at sunsets, cute animals, breath-taking scenery. This is one of the approaches that made Google+ popular from the outset because images were larger and given priority within posts. Instagram takes that a step further.

A sure-fire way to attract a ton of likes is to post come so-called Instagram clichés like #sunsets and #recipes. People like visually stimulating images. They like quirky videos. They like to laugh and they love to be wowed. Rather than thinking about what content you think they might like, adjust your thought process to finding out exactly what they do like and aligning your content to that.

Ok, so far I have gone through the run of the mill essentials for getting your Instagram channel out there. Now it is time to look at why Instagram could sprint before it has even begun to jog.

MICRO-VIDEO

Think of it like dinky donuts. The idea is that you get the same great taste, more compacted, just as much effort to produce but bite-size so you don’t get too full. Micro-video lends itself to the short concentration span and also demands highly tuned levels of creativity to pull off.

Click the view full screen buttons to view.

 

Instagram allows 3-15 seconds per video while Vine allows precisely 6 seconds. What is possible in this short space of time I hear you ask? Take a look at these for a spot of inspiration. They were all nominated for a social media shorty award:

 

 LIVIASALA’S RAVIOLI

 FRUIT NINJA

 “LET IT SNOW” #CHICAGO #HDWINTERTOUR

Instagram is refreshingly simple because it combines all the functionality of Facebook and twitter and then eliminates what isn’t needed for instant interaction. There is something rebellious in its ‘here’s my photo or video – what do you think?’ premise. It is #arty, #personable, and you feel the need to be #talented on there. If Google+ is for the geeks and entrepreneurs then Instagram is for the artists and artisans. And like all social media platforms if it is carving out niches then businesses are sure to flock over to grab those niches attention…watch this space.

 

#quicktip – If you want to add it to Hootsuite so you can surf your stream, like and comment, then just go to add social networks and add apps – choose the Instagram app and sign in. Hey presto – Instagram on your computer screen as well as you mobile.