How to Make Instagram Really Work for Your Business

Christina Diecidue

Senior Content Strategist

Instagram is one of the most popular social networking sites in the world. There are over 200 million monthly active users who share tens of millions of photos each day. As if this wasn’t impressive enough, engagement rates are through the roof. According to a 2014 Forrester study, Instagram engagement was 58 times higher than Facebook.

Are you ready to tap into some of this engagement? I’ll teach you how to make Instagram work for you - not against you. By following the tips below and adding your brand’s own spin on them, you can take advantage of all that the platform has to offer.

Participate in popular conversations.

One of the best ways to get noticed on Instagram is to make your presence known. You don’t need to be loud. Contribute to conversations surrounding trending topics and hashtags. Some of the best include #tbt, #photooftheday and #instagood. Joining these conversations instantly brings more exposure so that people are forced to think, “Hey! What is this company?”

Get creative with hashtags.

Like Twitter, Instagram posts benefit from hashtagging. Hashtags allow you to categorize your content and take part in relevant conversations. Common one-word hashtags are important, but don’t be afraid to get creative with them. For example, Starbucks’ #AfternoonMade campaign encourages customers to visit in the afternoon and post pictures of their favorite drinks. The hashtag is simple but classy and gives the company a push for those less busy afternoon hours.

Cross-promote your branded hashtag.

If you happen to create your own branded hashtag, take it off Instagram and cross-promote it. Print it on your receipts and store signage. Add it to blog posts, email blasts and your website. You can even have it printed on promotional products.

The goal is for your hashtag to be synonymous with your brand name so that when people post on Instagram, they naturally include it. Examples of successful branded hashtags include Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke, Always’ #LikeAGirl and ALS Association’s #IceBucketChallenge.

Use your profile real estate wisely.

Your Instagram profile is a promotional tool. Use it wisely! Your bio URL doesn’t have to link to your homepage. Change your link often to drive traffic to new, featured content. When posting images, include valuable content for your followers. Not only is this prime real estate for sharing news and updates, but also it reinforces your brand’s tone and messaging. Also, I suggest changing your Instagram settings so that tagged photos won’t show unless you approve them. Save yourself the potential embarrassment. Stuff happens.

Tap into influencer marketing.

Influencers are people who have good relationships with your audience and can influence them to try new products and services. One you identify influencers in your space, work on building a relationship with them. For example, select “Turn On Post Notifications” so that every time an influencer shares new content, you are notified. In time, you can ask these individuals to promote your products and services, which is excellent PR placed strategically in front of your audience.

Instagram is an engaging, active platform that your audience is surely enjoying at the moment. By applying the tips above and developing your own recognizable style, you can make Instagram work for your business.

About the Author: Christina Diecidue

Christina Diecidue is the Marketing Project Coordinator at SEMGeeks.  She holds a B.S. in Business Administration, with concentrations in marketing, advertising, and web design from Rider University.  Known to be a meticulous worker, Christina values each client's individual goals and works to meet their digital strategy needs accordingly.  With valuable knowledge in higher education, alumni engagement, and leadership, she provides an array of skills to the SEMGeeks team.  In her free time, Christina can be found binge watching repeats of Friends and spending time with her family.

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