How to Use Instagram in Your Business
Instagram is the latest social networking site to hit the scene and it’s done it in such a big way that it’s generating a lot of buzz. In simple terms, Instagram is a photo editing and sharing site that has caught the attention of the 18 to 24 year old group with over 80 million users and counting, registering in a very short time.
There’s no disputing the fact that social media is here to stay and if you’re not taking advantage of it in your business, you’re not only missing the boat, but you may just find yourself stranded all by yourself on a deserted website.
But as a business owner, time is limited, so you have to ask yourself if it’s worthwhile to get involved in yet another social network. Well the fact is that you’re already creating written content for your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Photo content is at least as important when it comes to branding your business and that’s what Instagram is all about.
But if you’re still not sure about whether or not Instagram is for you, here is more information to help you decide.
Why Get Involved In Instagram
For starters, Instagram has made a big enough splash to be acquired by Facebook. That in itself should be enough to get you as a business professional excited about climbing onboard because if Facebook is in, then Instagram may just be the next big social network to take the web by storm.
At the very least, you can bet that there are going to be lots of opportunities for integrating it with your Facebook account with your images being shared and liked by others.
Then there’s the fact that it’s taken off so quickly. Even though things change quickly on the web, Instagram’s almost overnight success is amazing.
Think Pinterest and you begin to get some idea of how popular photo sharing is and how important a marketing tool this is becoming, for businesses working to expand on their brand recognition.
And finally, since Instagram is still the new kid on the block, as a savvy business owner, you are in a position to establish your brand and make your mark before others in your niche do.
Those are some pretty compelling arguments for why Instagram is worth your time and effort. But you may still have some questions about what Instagram is all about and how you can use it to boost your business.
Basic Instagram Information
Essentially, Instagram is a social network like Facebook, but unlike Facebook, on Instagram the only sharing going on is with photos, although you can add a caption and a hashtag to your photos.
The Instagram photo enhancement app, which is available for Smartphones, iPads and tablets, allows you to use numerous interesting filters and add some cool effects to your photos, and do it right from your mobile device. You can then share these modified photos with others on the Instagram network or on other social networks.
By the way, an important point to note is that even though Instagram is owned by Facebook, they will not be limiting your ability to share your photos and captions on other social networks like Twitter, Tumblr or Flickr.
It’s easy to set it all up to do this sharing too. When you install the app, hook up your other social media profiles as well as your online business listings with your Instagram account. Then when you share images on Instagram, you automatically share these same images and/or captions across all of your other networks.
The thing that holds many business owners back when it comes to social networking is creating content to share with their customer base. The expression ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ becomes very meaningful if you are one of these business owners because with Instagram that is pretty much all you are allowed to do.
So the pressure is off to have to write lengthy posts for your Facebook page, for instance, since you can post your Instagram pictures on your wall instead.
Enhancements have already been made to make Instagram accessible to virtually anyone. While initially, Instagram profiles were only viewable on a phone, recently the company has rolled out web profiles.
This means that users can now browse these photos on their computers as well as with mobile devices. That immediately opens up the application to a lot more people and potentially expanding that portion of your customer base that you reach through social media.
How to Use Instagram in Your Business
Instagram is a natural fit for business owners wanting to get started branding their businesses. As a business owner, you can go right ahead and use the name of your business when you set-up your profile, instead of having to take the time to set-up a personal profile first.
With Instagram, you are able to update your brand by sharing information visually. And you can do it on the fly. Using the free app on your Smartphone, you can quickly snap a picture, edit it, add a comment, upload it and then share the photo from your business profile almost instantly.
Keep in mind that you’re walking a fine line when you’re posting photos to advertise your business. Rather than plain ordinary product shots, try shooting photos which demonstrate how to use a product or show off a service
In a way, Instagram is like Twitter in that people can choose to follow you. When they do, they are able to see your photos and captions. Used right, this can be a great way to introduce a new product or service, or share features about other products, while at the same time being a platform to give your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your business.
Also like Twitter, Instagram makes use of hashtags. These are like important keywords that are related to your business and should be used to label your images. The right hashtags can make it easier for people to find your brand when they do a search on the Instagram network.
As with any type of social networking, site interaction is a two way street. If you take the time to follow others or interact with comments, you can quickly build a large fan base which can even extend beyond Instagram to other networks.
Don’t forget to ask your followers to share pictures they’ve taken which show off your products. This is the image equivalent of a comment but more fun for many people.
For a new and different way to promote your business and build brand recognition, why not give Instagram a try. It may turn out to be the final piece of your social networking picture.