With 1 Billion people using Instagram every month, business leaders cannot afford to ignore it, but less have chosen to adopt Instagram within their business? However, things are changing! Businesses large, small, B2B and B2C are choosing Instagram to deliver their message.
As the name suggests, Instagram or 'Insta', 'The Gram' or just 'IG' (as it is called in the lingo) is 'instant' and visual with more and more people, companies, brands getting involved. With 500 million using Instagram every day (and counting), read our 13 Helpful Tips to help you either get started on Instagram or help with your existing account;
#1 - Great for events –
Events are visual, interactive activities, so what better way to get involved than to 'follow', 'share' and 'like' your event build-up, during and post event activities? Our suggestion is, don’t just take a group shot in front of your stand and expect people to turn up – the social channels are full of this! Instead, tell people what you are about, what you care about, what they could expect to see. Tell potential visitors what they are missing out on and, even if they haven’t managed to get to your stand, encourage questions via the comments panel below your post on Instagram. If it is an event you are attending, find out the relevant event hashtag beforehand. If it is your event, then you can even invent your own hashtag and get people to follow it. Try not to make your hashtag too complicated and long though. Try it at your next event, opening or product launch. It will cost you nothing and you might just have some fun along the way! There are agencies that can help with your social profiles around events and planning things out. Secret Source Marketing assist our clients to position the right messages in a timely manner and plan it out in advance. We've experienced how it can work positively and expand reach or strengthen a message.
#2 It is a B2C thing right?
Our business audience isn’t on Instagram, that’s not for us! Guess again. Instagram can equally be used for B2B. Your business audience are people too - they have interests, hobbies, sports, favourite products, celebrities they like (and dislike). Evidence of your audience being on Instagram comes from a real-life success story. One of our clients' CEO told us that his audience were just not on Instagram, but he was willing for us to prove him wrong. Three months later he was asked to attend a pitch presentation through his company website. The CEO travelled over 150 miles to get to the appointment where he was greeted like a long-lost friend by the group of very influential people. The meeting was a huge success and the CEO just had to ask why his company was chosen out of the hundreds of companies and some strong local competition. The answer came from the most senior person in the room: “Because I’ve been following you on Instagram”. It turned out that he liked the company ethos, he liked the quality and had decided that this was the company he could partner with. The moral of the story is business people are using this platform, so ask yourself, do you want to be visible?
#3 Keeping it real!
As well as photos, you can post videos. You will need to keep them below 60 seconds to be able to post them, so remember to keep your messaging succinct and on message. Remember to leave plenty of room for the message and calls to action at the end. Not being too polished is fine on Instagram - why not show the things happening behind the scenes at your business, sharing the culture and what it means to be part of your business? It can be a great tool for HR and recruitment people to get across the environment you have built for your employees as well as the products and services you offer.
#4 In frame?
A common mistake is taking a photo from your phone and adding it into Instagram. The platform will re-size the image so be aware, if you were planning to include messaging or showcase that amazing product of yours, then it might not be in shot! While there are many free and paid apps out there to help, this can take time and it is just better to be aware from the outset to make your life easier. We will be reviewing some of the best Apps in another blog so please subscribe.
#5 Going Live!
You can even live stream via Instagram. It’s a great way to instantly get in front of your audience, but remember to keep it on message. You will get comments coming in thick and fast, so make sure you capitalise on this. Watch some other people doing it first by joining in on their live feeds to help build up your confidence. We can recommend Simon Sinek who is both natural and informative in his live feeds (we remember his first one!). Subscribe to our blog where we will be reviewing some of the best ones.
Hashtags and the correct use of these can get a little confusing for a new member of Instagram. If you use Facebook, Twitter and/or Linkedin, then it is just the same. If not, then here are some useful tips to get you started. Use hashtags to attract your prospective audience and educate your existing audience. Make it relevant or you will lose credibility. How many hashtags are enough? Anything between 10-15 is our advice, but don’t go too crazy. On autocomplete look for #hashtags that are more widely used, unless you are niche and want to keep it that way. It is perfectly acceptable use low followed hashtags because you might want to actually build your own following. As a Growth Agency, Secret Source have various tactics we use, so we can get you in front of your audience through using hashtags, so follow us to learn how?
#7 Who and what are influencers?
Affectively, these are the stars of the Instagram. They have built up a group of followers who hang on their every post, photo, video or comment. They will usually have an angle or speciality that differentiates them. These superstars of Instagram might have a genuine interest in an item or activity which is of interest to their followers. These people are of interest to brands and companies because of the size of their audience mainly but also because of what they represent. You can easily find these people due to the nature of what they do, so why not invest the time to search them out and make contact with them if you feel they are relevant to your values.
#10 Robots are taking over the world!
Watch out for bots! As with any free, inclusive platform there are ways to manipulate the system. bots are not real people; they are accounts set up to skew the real followers. Followers can also be bought, so watch out for this! After a while you can start to tell who a bot is and who is a real person by investing time to examine their profile. If they like 'follow' thousands of accounts but post very little or the posts are bland, generic content you can tell has been produced en masse to look like a real person, then it is a good chance they are a bot!
#11 - It is not all about you!
Remember this a social platform, so invest some time liking content from others, not just your followers or people you follow. Make comments, get involved. Answer comments made about your posts, get involved and be social.
#12 – Instant Success?
You will hear about the superstars and brands that have made it on Instagram alone, but be prepared, these companies have worked this channel hard with a well thought our plan to get to where they are today! Instagram does not necessarily mean instant success, it takes time to build. Savvy companies have carefully thought about how to plot their path, moving amongst their followers and potential followers, navigating through influencers. It has not been as random or ‘instantaneous’ as most people would believe, but then ‘Plannedgram’ isn’t as whizzy a name for a social platform!
#13 - Can I get someone to do this for me?
Taking the time to make Instagram work for you is your biggest challenge. Making it engaging by thinking about what you are going to write, post, designing posts and making them look good or investing in searching Instagram to build and keep your audience may sound like #hardwork, so companies ask for outside help to do it properly as a sustained effort. If you do look for outside help, then why not ask the company for accounts they currently manage and follow them to witness the quality and frequency of their posts.
& Finally, remember to:
- Always 'Insta' responsibly and report any abuse to Instagram
- Make sure that you have a social media policy in your business
- Layout some ground rules and strategic direction on its use, whilst keeping it fun!
Secret Source Marketing work with CEO’s, Sales Leaders all over the world, helping them with their social media content and digital platforms. The above list comes from first-hand experience and there are tons of other tips the Secret Source Marketing Team would love to share. So to find out more, then follow us or drop us a line #secretsourcemarketing