This article is part of SmartBiz Loans’ series to highlight topics of interest to our community.
Instagram, the online photo and video-sharing app, has exploded in popularity. With more than 500 million monthly users, the Facebook owned platform could help you reach your businesses target audience with new tools recently rolled out for businesses.
From the Instagram Blog:
“With so many companies using Instagram, and many people on the platform interacting with them, there was a desire from our business community to do more. So we listened. And, after hundreds of interviews with businesses, three key needs became clear—stand out, get insights and find new customers.”
Small Business Instagram Superstars!
If you’re looking for proof that Instagram can be a good promotion tool, we’ve scoured the site for small businesses doing it right. Take a look at the following profiles for ideas and inspiration.
Camp Brand Goods has shunned the typical product shot to inspire followers with outdoor lifestyle images. They post photos of road trips, hiking & fishing trips. They created a hashtag #keepitwild that’s become popular for the typical Camp Brand Goods customer. Nature lovers, dog lovers and fans of the great outdoors will love this account.
This account promotes a unique product – premium letter boards for the home. With just one product (different styles but basically the same), the company has amassed a lot of fans – 183k followers and counting. The posts are simple: Letter boards in distinctive places with unique – and often topical – messages. The husband and wife team that owns the company has definitely carved out a niche and each post is beautifully staged, some with people, some without.
The description of the account grabs your attention – “Bee Farmer” is generally not a well known profession: “Artsy Bee farmer meets passionate entrepreneur, together they create sustainable family farm selling raw honey and beeswax cosmetics direct to buyer.”
In an interview with digital marketer and TED speaker Ernest Barbaric, company owner Stella Sehn describes her unique Instagram strategy. “To keep things unique, I take photos in groups of 3 so when a new follower goes to check out our story, it has a running theme. If they follow me because I used the hashtag #honey, I better have some honey pics as well!”
The variety of posts keeps the feed fresh and interesting.
With 13.9k followers, the Infuse Instagram feed gets likes and comments right and left. The photos are staged beautifully and feature locations where the company distributes their goods, product shots, recipe suggestions and destinations where their product is available. No drinking memes…this account looks 100% professional.
It’s no secret, Instagram loves dogs! #DogsOfInstagram is a wildly popular hashtag that Instagrammers love to use and follow.
Sarah Brasky, The Dog Matchmaker, makes sure to capitalize on the dog photo trend with lots of pix of furry friends up for adoption. She also posts photos of happy families with their new pet and information about upcoming adoption events. Popular posts are montages of successful adoptions showing the dog with its new owner having the time of their lives! She personalizes the feed by including photos of herself working with animals. Scrolling quickly through the account, you can tell that Sarah loves her job and goes out of her way to successfully run her matchmaking business.
Are you convinced that Instagram could work for your business? Read on to learn how you can make the most of your profile.
Instagram Tools for Business
Business Profiles – Like Facebook, businesses can now set up accounts as a business complete with a map and directions. Contact information is dynamic; customers can reach out via phone, email or text with just a tap. Note: Not everyone will qualify as a business on Instagram. Only those who already have a Facebook Page for their business will be able to convert their account.
Insights – Similar to Twitter and Facebook, small business owners will have access to insights. This feature gives you demographics of users as well as information about which posts are performing well. Instagram says, “By learning more about the behavior and demographics of your audience, you can create more relevant and timely content.” It’s a win-win for the business and consumers.
Promoted Content – Business profiles will now have the ability to promote content from within the app. (for a price, of course) Users can pick a post that’s preforming well. With the touch of a button you can select a target audience and promote that post to those users as an ad. There are several types of ads you can select including photo ads, video ads and carousel ads with multiple images. You can choose a specific goal for your ad including clicks to your website, page post awareness and getting people to install your mobile app. There’s also an action with the catchy name of “mass awareness”.
These business tools are currently being rolled out and are expected to be available to all business users by the end of 2016.
If you don’t have the bandwidth to develop and execute a social media strategy consistently and effectively, consider a freelancer. We have tips for finding and hiring someone to help out here: Small Business Marketing Tip: How to Hire a Social Media Strategist.
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