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How to// Instagram: A Beginner’s Guide for Business

SMPerth // 05th June 2017
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If numbers are anything to go by it seems people love Instagram, according to the platform there are more than 400 million daily active users!

Being that we are constantly using our mobiles to access information it’s only fitting that the mobile-only social media platform Instagram is growing in popularity with brands and users alike.

Does your business use Instagram?

In case you haven’t heard, Instagram has the fastest follower growth of all the social media platforms. (source: TrackMaven 2016 Social Media Inflation Index)

Is your business a good fit?

Before you go launching into setting up a business profile on Instagram its worth deciding if the platform is actually going to work well for your brand.  Ask yourself a few questions; Why do you think you should be on Instagram? What is your strategic reason for marketing on Instagram? Do you have visual content to share? Who is your target audience? Are they active on Instagram?

If you don’t know, find out! There is no point using Instagram for your marketing if all of your audience is hanging out on Twitter or Pinterest.

According to Pew Research Center in the US, Instagrammers tend to be female, and the largest age group is between 18 and 34.

You now should have a clear reason for being on Instagram, know that your audience is active on the platform and have a good idea about what you are going to post so that you reach the goals set out in your strategy. Sounds like you’re ready to get Gramming!

The basics

Get the app

If you haven’t already got a personal Instagram account then you will need to download the app from iTunes or Google Play.

For those of you who already have the app you can add a new profile by tapping the cog in the top right corner of your home page and scrolling down to ‘add account’.

Create an account

When signing up you will be required to enter a email address and password. Alternatively, you can link it to your Facebook business page. This will also give you access to valuable analytics and insights about your account.

Next you will need to enter your user name, this will be seen publicly and is how people will find you so make sure it reflects your business name as accurately as possible.  When it asks for your full name you can enter your business name.

Your profile

Enter a short description about your business, there is a 150 character limit so there’s no room for fluff. Focus on the key points, let people know what you do and who you are and your location. State your industry, your location, list your services, opening hours and/or include your brand’s tagline or slogan.

There is an option to include a link to your website or blog if appropriate, this is a good idea as you aren’t able to add links in the individual posts.

It is important that the photo you use for your profile is clean and clear. It needs to be easily recognisable, therefore your company logo would be the ideal choice. You’re also going to need to upload it using your phone, there is the option of import it from Facebook or Twitter otherwise you’ll need to have it somewhere you can access it.

Build your profile

Next you need to start following other accounts. Start adding users that you know and use the search tool  (at the bottom of the screen) to discover others that you’d like to follow. You can also search for hashtags and places, this can be a very helpful way to find relevant connections.

Start engaging with the accounts you’ve followed. This can be simply liking by double tapping on the image or leaving a comment and opening up the conversation.

People generally reciprocate follows with a follow back, but you’ve got to make sure they have an idea of what you’re about…and that means content!

You can share your Instagram posts on your Facebook and other social profiles by linking the accounts in the settings. This allows you to invite your friends from Facebook to follow you. That said, we do not recommend pushing your content between platforms all at once.

Content

Instagram allows you to add photos and videos straight from your mobile/tablet. At the bottom of the screen you’ll find the camera button, you can either choose a photo/video from your camera roll or take one live.

There are a number of predefined filters to choose with different effects or you can edit them yourself with options to adjust settings such as saturation, contrast, brightness and warmth. You can also crop and straighten images.

You’ve got your image looking great but before you share it you need to enter a caption and relevant hashtags. You might also like to add the location or tag people. Remember this is how people are going to engage with you so make it interesting.

Remember to be social

You need to be active on Instagram and show your followers that you care. This includes liking and commenting and more importantly responding to comments that are left on your posts. Showing your followers that you care and making them feel special will help to grow your Instagram profile.

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