Let’s face it – we live in a photo-centric world. From the food photography our Facebook friends can’t seem to stop posting to the barrage of snapshots crowding our Twitter streams, it’s clear that the social web has gone into a photo sharing frenzy.
Still the world was shocked when social media giant, Facebook, acquired photo application, Instagram, for a cool $1 billion back in April, demonstrating once and for all the value of image sharing. With over 80 million users, Instagram continues to rise in popularity, and small businesses are quickly discovering its wide-range of marketing and promotional benefits.
But before we dive into the wonder that is Instagram, let’s make sure we’ve covered the basics. Check out this quick guide to setting up your company’s Instagram account:
Step 1. Download the Instagram app on your smartphone.
Step 2. Choose the “sign up” button and register for an Instagram account.
Step 3. Choose the phone tab in the upper right hand corner and select “change profile picture” to add your company logo.
Step 4. Select the “Camera” button to take or upload a photo. Once a photo has been uploaded, several filters will appear on the page. Select your favorite and upload.
Step 5. Catch your favorite memories on camera and share with your customers.
Once you’ve successfully set up your account, it’s time to start using Instagram to its fullest potential. There are a number of ways to do this, so here’s a look at a few of my favorites.
Show off your product
This one might seem pretty obvious, but it’s so important that it’s worth mentioning. Don’t be afraid to give your “instafollowers” a sneak peak at a new product line or a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes of your company. They’ll appreciate the exclusivity and feel a personal connection with your brand. Plus, a great product photo will stay in their memory all the way to checkout page.
Hashtags aren’t just for Twitter and Pinterest anymore. Once you’ve uploaded a photo, be sure to include a caption with a pound sign in front of important words that potential customers could find in search results. For example, if you’re showcasing a t-shirt that your company sells, a good caption with a hashtag would be, “Check out this cute new top we’ll be selling as part of our fall line. We love #fashion!” Including hashtags in your captions helps make you more visible via search on Instagram for new and returning customers.
Follow your Customers
Create a survey via email or social media to ask customers if they’re using Instagram. Once you receive the results from the survey, find them and follow their pages. You can choose to “like” or comment on a customer’s page, if you deem appropriate. Otherwise, simply following a customer will let them know you’ve joined the insta-network and encourage them to follow you back.
Share on social
Yes, that’s right. You should be using this social media platform to share to other social media platforms. Your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and especially your Pinterest friends, fans, and followers all want to see what you’re up to, so don’t forget to enable your page for sharing. This is a great feature, especially when you’re just getting started, as it helps spread the word about your account and increases engagement with customers. Sharing Instagram photos can be especially beneficial on social networks like Facebook, where the more images you upload, the more likely your page is to appear in your fan’s newsfeed.
Are you insta-ready? We’d love to see how you’re using this platform to show another side of your online business. Feel free to share a link to your favorite Instagram photos in the comments section below.
Lauren Hill, Social Media Associate, Volusion
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