Instagram…it’s not just for selfies anymore. Since its inception in 2010, Instagram has grown from a fun way to share photos with friends, to a platform to reach 700 million of your closest friends. With so much potential to tap, it’s easy to see why it can be a great tool for promoting your business. Want to grow your Instagram? Here are ten tips to try.
1. Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag. Yes, people really do search hashtags, so use them to your advantage. Using a variety of hashtags that identify your photo will reach a greater audience, some of whom may not be familiar with your business.
2. Post quality photos that portray your business in an interesting and professional light. Keep in mind that good photos are sometimes shared on Instagram, which can put your business in front of an entirely new audience.
3. Watermark your best photos in some way. If your photo ends up being shared, your watermark can bring you new followers. Watermarking also ensures that no one can try to pass off your photo as their own.
4. Be creative with your captions. A clever caption can make your photo (and your business) more memorable.
5. Post at various times of the day. Remember that many people are not on Instagram during business hours, so schedule some posts early in the morning or at night. Keep track of the most successful times, and post the bulk of your photos during those times.
6. Include an occasional photo of yourself to personalize your Instagram account. If you choose to post a “selfie,” make sure it is relevant to your business, even if only loosely. Avoid car or bathroom selfies!
7. Experiment with filters, but don’t get carried away. Unless your goal is to make a photo appear surreal, stick with mild filtering. The same goes with Photoshop. A little touch-up can be a good thing, but avoid making yourself or other subjects, appear decades younger or even unrecognizable.
8. Don’t just “like” other users’ photos, but comment occasionally, as well. While a “like” can get lost in hundreds of others, a comment is more likely to stand out, increasing the likelihood that the user will follow you back.
9. Try reaching new followers with an Instagram giveaway. Post an interesting photo, and offer a chance in a drawing for anyone who tags a friend in the comments. If your business involves selling products, give away a small item to the winner. If you provide a service, offer a discount off the service. While you don’t want to lose money on a giveaway, you do need to offer something enticing enough to generate interest. Assuming your giveaway is effective, users who were tagged will become new followers.
10. Promote your Instagram account on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media you use. You may have followers in other areas that are not familiar with your Instagram account. Make sure your Instagram is different enough from your other accounts that they gain something from following you.
Good luck, and happy ‘gramming!