The era of Instagram has began about four years ago, and already it has changed the landscape of photography. Anyone with a smartphone is automatically now an amateur photographer, able to take and share quality pictures wherever they may be. Instagram has become vital for promoting business on the platform.
For the most part, Instagram is used for foodies to share what they’re eating, narcissists to share selfies, and spammers to beg for followers.
But Instagram can be used productively as well. Many businesses use the photo sharing app to promote their product, and some succeed – gaining thousands of followers. In all likelihood, you’re not looking for hordes of fans. You may be trying simply to draw potential customers or provide information and easy access to your services.
As with all social media, care must be taken so as not to do your brand more harm than good. We’ve listed four dos and don’ts below, to help you promoting business on instagram.
1. Make sure your content is entertaining and beneficial
Let’s take a moment to ask what should be an obvious question: why would anyone voluntarily choose to have advertising in their feed? Who watches adverts on tv if they can skip through them? And does anyone actually appreciate targeted advertising on Facebook and other social media?
If all you’re doing on your account is posting adverts for your products, no one will want to follow you, no matter how loyal they may be to your brand. Therefore, it’s vital that there’s actual, tangible benefits to following you. This may be because you provide entertaining content – giving users a good feeling about your company is more effective than bombarding them with catalogues and sales. You can also encourage customer participation – you could ask them their opinions on what you can do better, or simply about whatever topic is trending at the moment.
Or, in addition, you can offer specials and giveaways exclusive to those who follow your account. People go for that stuff – especially in the early days, when you’re just building a following and you’re providing a feeling of exclusivity.
2. Don’t overdo it
The main reason for people to unfollow you, business or individual, is because your content clogs their feed. Even if your content is good, social media users want variety, and also to see what it is their friends and acquaintances are doing. Not loads of creative ways to promoting business.
3. Build bridges to promoting business
When you’re starting a business, it’s better to make friends than competitors. Social media provides a good opportunity for this. If you show support for promoting businesses at a similar stage to yours – those still trying to gain traction – they’ll appreciate it and reciprocate.
Furthermore,your followers will pick up on the feeling of community. They’ll associate you with honesty and ingenuousness, rather than ruthless capitalism.
A lot of musicians do this to great effect – they create small communities, all supporting each other, and fans of one band or artist quickly become fans of the others.
4. Keep up to date with trends, stay relevant
Internet users love nothing more than trends. Browsing social media, you’ll come across the flavour of the month very quickly. Whether it’s a public figure being ridiculed over an unfortunate gaffe, or a celebrity being celebrated for a publicity-friendly move, or just a humorous reference to a meme, users love it.
They also love it if an organisation joins in the fun. The merging of a seemingly formal enterprise and a trendy topic delights many.
On the other hand, if you come late to the party, you’ll seem like a teenager’s dad trying too hard. Cringe.
So start an Instagram account with caution. It can go far to promoting business, but can also become a PR blunder.