instagram-logo-2Instagram is great for businesses that want to tell their story in pictures or short videos. Nothing sells an event or product like pictures of people having fun at the event, how good your restaurant’s food looks and tastes, or how the product makes a difference in people’s lives. Instagram calls it visual storytelling – to an international audience.

Picture and video details.

  • Pictures and video can be shot with any camera and uploaded to your smartphone.
  • Filters can also be added to pictures and video through the Instagram app.
  • There are also many other apps you can use to preprocess your pictures and video before using the Instagram app.
  • Instagram videos can be up to 15 seconds long.
  • You also have the ability to pick the best still from your video to be the cover photo for your video.
    Instagram videos will play in-line on Facebook when viewed on a desktop computer.

Pictures and videos tell your story.

  • Show how to use your product
  • Promote an upcoming event
  • Promote a contest and invite fans to post their own pictures or videos in response.
  • Answer questions about your product or event.
  • Carefully plan your captions. Try asking questions to attract attention to your post.
  • Include your company’s website or any other relevant information in the comments.
  • Showcase your employees or customers to show the human side of your business.
  • Think of ways to differentiate your company from your competitors and inspire your customers and potential customers.

Start with clear goals that outline your objectives.

  • Do you want to create or increase awareness for your event or product?
  • Do you want to change the perception of your target audience?
  • Do you want to reach a new audience? Be specific when you outline what you hope to achieve.
  • Make a plan to align your pictures and videos with your target audience. Originality is key.

Don’t oversell.

  • Balance fun pictures with pictures that show your business or products. Instagram is a fun environment where sales happen.
  • Reward your followers with discount codes and promotions.
  • Monitor how many likes and comments you receive for your posts to see what kinds of images and posts your followers respond to best. Use this information to help define your goals and strategy.

Engage your followers.

  • Connect your Instagram account to your other social media accounts.
  • Cross-post some of your pictures to your social media to encourage your followers to join your business on Instagram.
  • Include hashtags can help people find you on Instagram.
  • Be sure to include any hashtags you use on your other social media.
  • Like your follower’s pictures and following them back.
  • Reply to people who comment on your picture or video.
  • Try asking a question to start and continue conversations on your posts.

Make sure you spend time creating a great profile for your business.

  • Include your logo. This is a great way to extend your branding and logo recognition.
  • Try and select a username close to your company name and Twitter handle.
  • Explain your business and let people know how to engage your business. Nordstrom does this in their profile by adding “Join the conversation: #nordstrom”. Target does this by adding “Follow for exclusives, tips and more” followed by the url to their website.
  • Include your website url and other social media.
    Make sure you remove all privacy barriers so your customers and potential customers can find you.

Don’t forget to add a link to your Instagram account to your website. There are also many plugins to display your Instagram feed on your WordPress or Joomla website.

As with all social media, I recommend starting with a personal account to get the feel of Instagram. Check out other companies, follow those you like and see what they post and how they engage their customers.