Instagram is one of the newest platforms to hit the social media realm, but it’s popularity continues to catch on fast. If you’re interested in getting your products and brand seen by more people, growing a strong following of customers who really relate to your brand, and getting paid—Instagram should be your new best friend. Instagram has over 300 million monthly users and counting. Many brands are finding ways to interact with the Instagram community and earn personally invested customers who keep coming back for more. But it’s not just the numbers you should care about. It’s the people using Instagram. So, if you’re interested in getting started with Instagram for your small business, here’s a few things to keep in mind.
Benefits of Using Instagram for Your Small Business
If you’re going to use Instagram for your small business, your account must be separate from your personal one. Remember that marketing is all about the audience and not about you, so selfies and snapshots of your family’s Sunday dinner or a date night with the significant other should stay personal. They’re not relevant to your customers and won’t get you sales! In fact, “you” should rarely appear on your brand’s Instagram page, or even not at all. First, let’s start with how to optimize your professional Instagram presence for greater customer appeal.
Include a Link to Boost Traffic to Your Site
On Instagram, you have only one opportunity to directly lead a click over to your website. Your bio is the one place where your link is clickable, right under your name and description at the top of your Instagram page. Always include the link to your online shop or a targeted landing page in this spot.
All your Instagramming for your small business will be for nothing if the pieces don’t easily fit together to show what your brand actually is. The key is to stay recognizable and be consistent! Choose an Instagram name that’s the same as, or related to, your business’s name across other social media channels. Keep your business profile image consistent as well. All your interactions and engagement on Instagram will be accompanied by the little thumbnail of your profile pic. Of course, make sure it’s something recognizable and professional.
Share Interesting Photos
You’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, so use this power to its full, customer-hooking advantage. Harness the beloved and effective visual world of Instagram and post some product photos that really make sales! But remember that while Instagram is full of shoppers, it’s not necessarily a shopping destination. Instagram has a specific culture, so be sure to understand how not to annoy your followers. This means walking the line between wielding your influence and coming off too pushy, which means you’ll need to get creative with your product photos.
Size Your Photos Correctly and Look Professional
Avoid an awkward crop or blurred image that loses you professionalism points. Instagram’s format automatically makes your images square, within a 612 x 612 pixels frame. Consider the square shape when choosing a picture, or the whole appeal of the photo might be lost. Make sure your images reflect professionalism. This means they’ll need to be high quality. A safe estimate for preserving quality is to save your photos at double the resolution size.
In Photoshop, you can adjust the size of your image to 1024 x 1024 pixels, and the quality will remain crisp when reduced to Instagram’s parameters. If you just can’t work with the square, free apps for iPhones and Androids that allow you to keep photos in their rectangular dimensions and still post to Instagram, which is great for panoramas.
Your Instagram feed will change fast, and your content can get buried quickly. Hashtags are the only way to increase the shelf-life of your Instagram posts. They lump your posts together into communities linked by a keyword, remaining discoverable forever. Most posts include at least one hashtag, but don’t go overboard on a single post. Engagement has been shown to go down on posts with more than 5 hashtags. Plus, it’s a cluttered look and risks coming off too salesy. Creating your own unique hashtag can also help to lump all your content into an easily searchable collection. Plus, users can then place your unique tag on their own photos.
Finally, there are options for advertising on Instagram for your small business. There are three different formats for advertising:
- Photo Ads: These look like regular photo posts, but they have a Sponsored label above the photo. They also have a Learn More button in the bottom-right corner, under the photo.
- Video Ads: Like the photo ads, these look like regular video posts, but with a Sponsored label on top.
- Carousel Ads: These ads look identical to photo ads but feature multiple photos that users can swipe through.
For additional help with these ads, or for advice on any of the topics we’ve mentioned, don’t hesitate to contact our Marketing Gurus at Revved Business.