Growing your following on Instagram
Instagram isn’t just for celebrities and beauty bloggers. It can be a great way to show off the lighter side of your business and help you reach new audiences.
For many businesses, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are where they limit themselves when it comes to promoting themselves on social media. That’s a shame, because despite its associations with fame and glamour, there’s a lot more to Instagram than initial impressions might suggest.
That’s not to say using Instagram for promotional purposes doesn’t have it pitfalls – and I’ll be outlining those in a later article – but used right, it has plenty of benefits for your brand.
It’s all about image
Instagram is all about beautiful photography and interesting images, and that gives lots of businesses a real chance to shine. Of course, this does depend on your business but as an example, if you run a B&B or glamping site in the countryside, you’re likely to have stunning scenery around you. Use this to your advantage and let your snaps sell your business through the power of imagery. If you run a restaurant, take photos of your most mouth-watering looking dishes, and post them preferably just before lunch time when stomachs are rumbling!
Expand your footprint
Instagram has a cool factor and for many people, it may be the only social media channel they engage with. By using Instagram to promote yourself you’ll get a wider online audience reach, enabling more people to see your great products and services.
A loyal following
Once you’ve gained a loyal following by getting your tone right on Instagram, good engagement should follow. If your followers are intrigued by the products and services your business offers, they are likely to comment, like and re-post images from your feed.
One of the great business applications of Instagram is that it allows people to see your products used by real people, and the hope is that your product’s users will post photos of your products in use, tagging your business. This means that your audience is even larger, their friends will see these images, who then may repost onto an even larger audience. It’s a never-ending snow ball effect.
A great example of this is our client Mr Fothergill’s. At Gravity Digital we run the Mr Fothergill’s Instagram account. The majority of our posts are re-posts as the platform has a large gardening collective who enjoy sharing their allotments and progress. Often if they’ve used Mr Fothergills products in their garden, they will tag us and we get to share it, showing how wonderful these products are in real life situations.
One of the reasons why people engage with Instagram is that it’s a more relaxed platform than others. This allows your business to show a bit of personality. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are more formal but with Instagram you could, for example, take a snap of your team enjoying a zipwire experience on a team-building day. Using the app like this is a great way of showing users that you are real people behind the business, not just robots.
A bonus to doing this comes when recruiting new employees, as they are likely to look for you online, through your website and social media channels. When they notice that you enjoy a sociable work environment, they are likely to be interested in vacancies you can offer.
Keeping it real
A new feature recently added to Instagram is called live stories, a very similar concept to Snapchat. Real time stories allow you to directly engage with your audience. People can ask questions about your products and discover in real time what new ranges are.
Getting to know your followers
You can use Instagram as a business page. This allows you to connect with your Facebook business page and gives your account a different appearance. It offers easy access to your email, phone number and directions. Users can click on any of these buttons and the action is easily carried out for them.
The clicks on these are also monitored in the insights part of the app – these are similar to those shown on Facebook, offering you the opportunity to see which posts work well with your following, therefore helping you gain a larger audience. Plus, it offers the demographics of your follows to ensure you are attracting the people you want.
It’s all about promotion
As Instagram is linked with Facebook, it allows you to promote posts and pop on timelines of those who don’t follow you – yet. This will enable you to reach a wider audience and gain further engagement on posts, similar to the effects Facebook adverts have.
Instagram has a collections feature that is ideal for gathering groups of Instagram accounts that you like and interact with. The feature keeps these all in one place so they are easy to find. You can also save posts you like the style of, which you can then use later as an inspiration for your own feed.
The newest feature on Instagram is the archive facility. This is an area on your account that only you can see. Here, you can archive any posts that may not have performed well but you may like to keep for posting at a later date. Or, you can keep them so that you can check them again later and try to work out why they didn’t perform well.
So, Instagram, as we have seen, can be a great app to engage with for your business. It can boost your profile and reach people you didn’t before. However, nothing is without its downside. In my next article, I will be outlining the pitfalls of Instagram so that you can reap all the rewards without any of the negatives.