Thursday, March 17, 2016

Using Instagram for Your Business

With more than 400 million active accounts, Instagram is an exceedingly engaged global community. The creative context and visual language of this photo-sharing app is a great way to inspire countless individuals and influence customers or clients in regard to your brand.

Businesses that use Instagram are able to showcase their products and services in a rich, visual and viral environment. There are seemingly endless opportunities for businesses to use the brand-building app effectively. Take our tips into consideration when looking to shape your company’s Instagram strategy and presence:

·         Establish What Your Company Wants to Achieve with Instagram:
o   Start off by researching and creating a well-formed strategy. You should create clear goals and concepts that mirror your company’s campaign goals.
o   Develop a schedule that suits the needs of your intended followers, industries and sectors.
o   Brainstorm lists of ideas, concepts and imagery to fulfill the schedule as well as engage and involve your B-to-C and / or B-to-B audience(s).

·         Cultivate a Following:
o   In order to gain followers, you have to follow other accounts and “like” their posts. Influencers in the same industry, clients, and engaging users are a few suggestions to increase your followings. Create two-way dialogs in this way, inviting and encouraging others to do the same with you and your business.
o   Follow and interact with others on Instagram specific to your marketing objectives; work across all of your sales and prospect segmentations to ensure you leave no important sector unattended.

·         Set a Tone:
o   It is important to choose a visual style for your account, such as certain filters to use, what content each image will focus on, and common language / hashtags to use for captions. For example, by sticking with the same filters, you establish a style that becomes recognizable to your followers.
o   Conversely, plan posts and content that is flexible, ultra-creative and interesting. This involves photos that showcase your business’ brand persona- meaning its would-be personality or interactive and lively role within your scope of work or areas of expertise.
o   Generate strategic messages and sound bites to be used in captions and a list of best practices and posting standards your entire team can practice and implement to create a cohesive brand-voice.

·         Captivate Your Audience:
o   Each post has a story to tell. Use a high-quality image and captivating caption. You can also cross-post with other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, which becomes an easy source of visual content and connectivity throughout social media platforms.
o   Possibly like no other social media channel, Instagram is shaping up to be the customized or bespoke online networking tool. Proactive and tactical Instagram managers create posts that are completely tailored to their brands; unlike Facebook and twitter, these posts tend to feature a more personalized “day-in-the-life” view of a business’ inner-workings, news, happenings, and achievements.

·         Monitor Achievements:
o   Tracking the performance of your account will help you and your team stay in tune with what resonates with your followers. This allows room for improvement; a chance to evaluate ongoing content goals your company is achieving; and a hands-on look at that which needs to be achieved.
o   As you develop photo and caption content, experiment with applicable hashtags. Keep them on-topic and one to two key words most of the time. Don’t forget to check the general content to which hashtags lead. You may be surprised at which ones do and do not echo your brand’s messages.
o   Monitor captions with and without hashtags to see which prove successful in gleaning interaction, likes and online dialog. As you learn what makes your Instagram effective, repeat the pros and revise the cons.


Remember, with Instagram now considered the hub where people view the visual identities of businesses, products, services, and brands- it is a crucial consideration to effectively promote your business on Instagram.

Instagram has been a great way for the Eberly & Collard Public Relations social media team to successfully promote our services and news throughout the fields of architecture, construction, interior design, horticulture, and our other industries. We are helping many of our clients kick-off their own Instagram accounts and other social media accounts as well. Check back to our blog for updates and additional social media insights from our team, and follow our Instagram: @eberlycollardpr.


For even more Instagram tips, check out Instagram and Hootsuite.