For small business owners, Instagram can be an extremely powerful social networking platform. It can be a way to build brand awareness, interact with customers, or showcase some of your new products and services in a very visual way. Here are five keys to keep in mind as you go about creating a new Instagram account for your small business:
Key #1: Decide on an overall strategy for your account
Too many small business owners think that posting photos of the office or of what the CEO had for lunch counts as an Instagram strategy. You need to be more strategic than that. For example, if your goal is to interact with customers, you should be posting photos of your products – and, preferably, photos of your customers using and enjoying those photos. If your goal is to raise brand awareness, then you should make sure that your Instagram reflects all aspects of that brand – from your profile photo to the types of photos that you are sharing.
Key #2: Give your audience what they want
If you’re not sure what to post, take a look at what your customers are posting. See what your rivals are taking photos of as well. Ultimately, engagement is not just the result of posting really beautiful photos – it is the result of posting content that inspires your customers and fans, and makes them feel like they are part of your business.
Key #3: Experiment with hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to discover new content on Instagram, and they are also a fantastic way for your fans and followers to find your content. One little trick is known as the “seed keyword.” For example, if you are a small business selling an organic snack, you might realize that your customers are searching for #healthy – and that might lead you to other hashtags as well, such as #healthyeating or #healthylifestyle. In this example, #healthy was the seed keyword.
Key #4: Check out what your rivals are doing
This is business, after all, so you have to know what your rivals are up to. So check out their Instagram accounts and find out what type of photos they are sharing, and what types of photos are getting the most engagement. You don’t want to copy what they’re doing, of course, but you can learn a lot about what works – and what doesn’t – on Instagram.
Key #5: Interact with your Instagram followers
Your goal should be for people to like and comment on your photos. This is what people in the marketing industry refer to as “engagement.” The more engagement you have, the more passionate your customers are. As anyone who has ever experimented with social media knows, though, you can’t fake engagement. But there are some tricks that you can use to boost engagement at the outset. For example, always reply whenever someone comments on your photo. And always “like” a photo when your company or product has been mentioned or tagged in another Instagram post.
By keeping these five points in mind, you will have the basis for a successful – and engaging! – Instagram account that you can use to help drive the future success of your small business.