Contrary to what you may know about Instragram; it’s not just for fashion bloggers and food pics. This photo-sharing app has millions of businesses using it to promote their products and brand voice every second of every day. There’s companies focusing on everything from in-home entertainment to education, and travel brands to sports beverages. Still wondering if it’s really thatpopular? Here’s some usage data for Instagram:

  • 400 million active monthly users
  • Users share an average of 80 million photos per day
  • Over 75% of users are outside of the U.S.

So if you’re trying to grow your business globally, sharing great pics on this photocentric social media platform is a definite next step for your marketers. It’s easy to sign up for an account and even though business and personal accounts function the same, Instagram is primarily a mobile app, so you’ll need to sign up for an account through your smartphone. Now check out our quick guide to start sharing great photos and grow your customer base today!

1. Get the balance right

Instagram is all about the pictures, so you’ll want to share what makes your brand unique and speak to your users through great images. Create and cultivate a dynamic brand voice with a balance of fun shots of products, some behind the scenes business images, and staff profiles and milestones, too. Giving your followers a sense of what happens at your company is a great way to build trust with your audience. Your distinct visual sense should try to capture the attention of your core target customer, so always keep that at the forefront of your posting activities.

You know that phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Well it’s definitely true on Instagram – followers love pictures! Although those 15 second videos are gaining popularity on Instagram, photos and still shots generate 36 percent more likes than videos(Instagram). So definitely get a good photographer and entrust your Instagram presence to a social media marketer in the organization who understands how to align images with the interests of your target customer.

2. Follow for follow

You’ll definitely want to cultivate a large following on Instagram, since “more followers = more exposure”, and that’s always a good thing. But to really get the most out of Instagram, you will want to engage by following others and liking their photos, too. To create strategic relationships on Instagram, find the brands, influencers, and people that resonate with your brand and follow them. It’s that easy! And mention these other users in your posts, too. Did you know that simply mentioning another user in the caption of your Instagram posts can result in 56 percent more engagement? This stat illustrates a huge opportunity for brands, so get to it and start creating those posts.

And speaking of posts, connect your Facebook account with your Instagram profile since their partnership offers brands a unique opportunity for promotion. Sharing your Instagram posts on Facebook, enables brands to reach Facebook’s 818 million monthly active mobile users, which dwarfs Instagram’s 130 million. You’re easily profiting by distributing your brand voice on the world’s largest social network.

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3.There’s an app for that!

Of course there is. Using apps to make Instagram a significant part of your social media marketing strategy is definitely something that your business should consider. There are apps that let users print images, search tags and keywords, subscribe to Instagram profiles via email, download everything into a single archive folder, plus many more. A few of our favorites are highlighted here.

Gramfeed allows you to browse Instagram on a web browser with links to user’s profiles and you can quickly follow, comment, and like other account images. If you’re running a print ad campaign, trying integrating some of your Instagram feed with the Prinstagram app. You can make mini albums, posters, and stickers to distribute at a trade show or other event where you’ll be targeting current and potential customers. Or how about using the simple Instarchive to help you download all of your Instagram photos in a single archive folder? Whatever you want to do with your Instagram for business account, there’s probably an app out there that does it!

4. It’s not a pound sign

It’s a hashtag! At least in Instagram lingo, and you’ll definitely want to use them since this is what drives this photo-sharing app. Use relevant, popular hashtags that your buyer personas and target audience will be searching for, and even using themselves. If you’re at an event or location that’s designated by a hashtag, add it to your photos so that event coordinators, sponsors, and other attendees can find your photos in the feed. You might even want to create your own company specific hashtag that you include on every post. Make it something catchy and encourage followers to use it in their images of your product, too.

And don’t forget about that cross-promotion with Facebook that we mentioned earlier. Share selected Instagram images to your Facebook page with a hashtag that aligns with your marketing campaign or brand image to help people who don’t know you’re on Instagram to find you there. It’s an easy way to get more Instagram followers from the folks on Facebook who wouldn’t otherwise know about your brand!

5. Schedule & Track

Take a look at your photo arsenal and decide what you have ready to post. Do you have great, high-quality images that speak to your buyer personas? Do you have a list of trending hashtags? Well then get going and create a posting schedule. Just don’t go post crazy and flood your followers’ feeds. Space out your posts so that you stay in front of your audience, but that you don’t inundate them with too many filtered angles of your new product!

Once you’re on a schedule, you’ll want to use image analytics tools such as BlitzMetrics and Curalate that will provide detailed insights as to how your Instagram account is actually performing. Tracking an Instagram post’s likes and comments so that you can see how that popularity translates into added followers is great, but these tools also allow you to capitalize on that popularity. If you find that an image is resonating on Instagram, push it out as a Facebook ad and watch your numbers soar.

This quick guide to Instagram for business should get you up and running with this extremely popular social sharing app. Get started and work it into your marketing campaign today!

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