By Matt Foster of Distinctly
After being introduced in 2010 Instagram has become one of the most popular and most used social media sites with 600 million users, competing with Twitter to be one of the key platforms for business users. So how can Instagram benefit you as a small business?
Target Your Content
After setting up an Instagram account it’s time to post content, but where do you start? The key to success on Instagram is knowing the type of content you are going to post to capture the attention of your audience. It is important that as a small business you know who your target users are and then tailor the content to meet their interests. Begin by looking at your current customer base and decide who they are in terms of age, location and gender. Once this information is clear it is much easier to know what to post and what is popular among that Instagram community in terms of hashtags.
Hashtags and trending topics are important on Instagram and many will be relevant to you. Using these when they are popular great way to reach a wider audience, as well as your current followers.
Keep your Instagram content related to your company branding. This allows followers to know what to expect and that they can rely on you for posts they are going to enjoy and find interesting.
Phone case design company Case Hut tailor their content around lifestyle choices and it’s extremely effective. With the need to stand out from the crowd, phone cases can be a key part in representing you as a person and your personality. Case Hut’s Instagram profile displays the diverse range of lifestyle shots mixed with product images.
Engagement Is Key
Engaging and being active is one of the most important parts of having a successful Instagram account for your SME. Start by letting your current customers know you have social media accounts by putting a link to your Instagram account on your website and advertising it on other mediums like Facebook and Twitter. Plus, include all social media links in your email signatures to drive traffic.
Consistency is key to having a successful Instagram account and content should be uploaded frequently. There are optimum posting times for Instagram so try and post during these and with a routine. Social Insights and Iconosquare are both tools available to help you find the best times to post for maximum engagement, and both offer analytical tools to guide you.
Be Unique and Stand Out
In order to create an engaging Instagram account, it is essential to stand out from the crowd. So where do you start in terms of generating unique content? Your business likely offers a product, service, or experience that is sold to customers through having a unique selling point and you can use this to attract followers.
The London Helicopter has unique access to bird’s eye views of the London skyline every day. The company’s USP lies in offering an experience that people want to see something that very few people have. As a visually led platform, Instagram is the perfect place for the company to showcase these unique views of London and share them with their followers.
Consistency is key with all forms of social media and Instagram is no exception. Followers begin to expect content at regular times and have expectations as to what they want from you as a user so it is advisable to provide consistently new posts.
Instagram is More than Just Gaining Customers
Though one key benefit to using social media is that it can help you gain new customers, it isn’t just a quick way to boost your business and market your products. It works just as well when it comes to showing off excellent customer service.
Instagram has introduced a number of features that makes it easier than ever for customers to communicate with the brands that they follow on Instagram and users can now contact a company directly from the Instagram profile page.
Research from J.D Power highlighted that 67% of customers use social media for enquiries and complaints. Occasionally customers will have something negative to say about a brand on social media, but the key is to deal with that negative comment in a professional way to highlight how you deal with customer service, how you acknowledge complaints and how you work to fix the issue. Customer advocacy can be increased by up to 25% if complaints are responded to quickly.
With the number of users on Instagram exceeding that of many other social platforms and only continuing to grow, a small business can make use of what is essentially free visual advertisement. Knowing what appeals to people in order to make this a tangible marketing tactic is the biggest obstacle to overcome, though this is easily found by looking at existing company Instagram profiles. There isn’t a one size fits all tactic to Instagram – be true to your brand, keep consistency at the centre of your posts, and have fun with it!
Matt Foster is Content Strategist at Distinctly.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.