Have you discovered Instagram yet? It is a social media network where you can share photos from your phone. It started as an iPhone only application but is now available for Android phones as well, and can also be accessed online through various sites. You can follow other users, comment and like their photos, and they can follow you to view your photos as well.
As with all social media networks, there is an opportunity to share your business with your clients and potential clients, and build relationships with them. Many smart businesses are setting up a free account in the name of their business or blog, and sharing images on Instagram.
What kind of images could you share?
- Images of items you sell
- Images of your workplace or store
- Images of your staff and even clients – with their permission, of course.
- Images of events your company hosts or attends
- Images of your website or blog updates to remind clients to read them
- Images that you think will capture the interest or imagination of your clients.
The key is to share images that people will connect with for some reason.
Some more ideas:
- Offer items for sale on Instagram – perhaps that are not available in your store
- Offer discounts to users with a code posted only on Instagram
- Encourage clients to post their pictures of your products and tag you (You can tag other users by putting @ before their username, just like Twitter.)
- Host a Photo Contest related to your business type or product
- Give your followers an inside peek with behind-the-scenes type photos
- Chronicle an event with photos on the day
- Ask questions to encourage interaction
Make sure you…
- Respond to questions and enquiries promptly.
- Monitor who is “liking” your pictures and perhaps follow them back.
- Thank readers for their comments – this encourages more interaction.
- Post new pictures consistently – perhaps have a regular time or day.
- Stay on track – if you use your Instagram for business, your clients may not want to see pictures of your lunch or kids! (Set up a personal account for that if you need to. You can have two or more Instagram accounts by setting them up with two email addresses, but if you have only one phone, you will have to log out of one then log into the other to post pictures.)
- Show off your Instagram feed on your Facebook page and blog – see tools below.
- Use hash tags for key words so your pictures get found in the search function. (Just add a # before the key word)
To set up your free Instagram account:
Download the application from the iTunes store or Android Market. You can choose “Sign up” to set up an account, then enter an email, username, password, phone and picture.
Once you have set up your account, you can choose to import your profile picture from Facebook or Twitter which is a great choice for building consistency in branding. (To do this, go to your profile and tap on your profile picture, then choose an option from the list.)
See your Instagram pictures online and share them with your readers at Statigr.am. You can set up an account in Statigram for free linked to your Instagram account. Statigram has a whole section called “Promote” where you can find an URL to link to your account, buttons, and options to display your photos on your Facebook page.
There are a number of tools to display your Instagram pictures on your blog or website. On my blog I use a widget from Snap Widget. You can set up the widget on their website by choosing colours, size, how many pictures to display and so on. Then you can copy the HTML to put into your blog sidebar or website.
Want to know what some big businesses are doing with Instagram? Check out this article on Business Insider
Find some of the Mum’s Business Contributors on Instagram: