Social media continues to evolve as a business tool. Different platforms have followed a similar path. Facebook, Google+ and YouTube all began as social sites, but are now crucial to marketing as well. Twitter hashtags allow companies to quickly connect with consumers. Job searchers create picture resumes on Pinterest that get noticed.
The business aspect of Instagram is also being realized. As a fairly new platform, the benefits of Instagram are also challenges.
Pros/Cons of Instagram:
- Pro: Nearly anyone can join and the service is free.
- Con: Low barrier to entry means a flood of profiles, which makes it tough to set yourself apart.
- Pro: You can quickly post the most current pics and videos.
- Con: Your videos and pics may get lost in scores of others.
- Pro: Most mobile devices shoot quality images and videos. You don’t need to invest a lot of time and money to learn the platform.
- Con: Best practices for using social media often change. You need to adapt accordingly.
So, how can entrepreneurs maximize their Instagram ROI?
Here are 5 tips to stand apart from the herd:
Write A Great Bio:
You’re given 160 words to write an Instagram bio. Many business owners overlook their bios and start posting. However, a biography gives users a clear idea of your services.
A popular photo has little benefit if visitors don’t know what your business does. This is especially important for blog owners, consultants and other services with intangible value.
More bio tips include:
- Include a link to your website: In the end, a business wants to convert on customers. Your website is most often the means to do this.
- Define Conversions: Conversions vary greatly. Your goal may be sign-ups for a newsletter. A business bio should mention what your conversion goal is. (see below)
- Call to Action: Your finance blog can invite guests to “check out my site for a money challenge.” A restaurant may ask you to “Check our amazing lunch specials”
- Use an App to Format: There aren’t many formatting choices on Instagram. The result is odd spacing and blocky sentences. Solutions? Write your bio on “Notepad” and paste. How about a custom font to match the theme of your business? Effective apps, such as ‘Font Maker’, create cursive letters and other styles. Your call to action may be in a separate font.
Know Your Hashtags:
Proper hashtags help users find your business. Hashtags should be specific and set the tone of your picture or video. Limit yourself to 5-10 quality tags for the best targeting.
- Know the Hashtags of Your Followers: How about some market research? This is the equivalent of “How did you hear about us?” Take the time and review 25-30 followers. What are the common and relevant hashtags? As examples, #swag, #fashionista and #shoes may be recurring tags for a fashion blog’s followers. You can then add these to future posts to gain followers.
- Research the Most Popular Tags: Check out popular hashtags to add for your photos or videos. Of course, keep the tags relevant to your objective. #photoftheday is a safe choice for most, but grief counselors should avoid #lol.
- #shakeweight: Get creative! Have fun connecting the dots of popular culture and your business. A fitness site may use #shakeweight with a photo of the iconic widget to ramp up followers. Your caption could be: Drop the #shakeweight. Get #6packabs and #workoutideas at #yourblogname.
- Include a company hashtag: Consider adding #yourblogname with each post. Your followers will share and your blog’s URL will be more recognized. By doing so, we can develop a niche identity. Executive Producer Elliott Broidy uses specific hashtags to market separate films. As a result, his movies ‘Sugar’ and ‘Snake and Mongoo$e’ each built unique brands in 2013.
Embed Instagram Videos on Your Website:
Content is the big buzz in marketing circles. Embedding videos creates a more robust and user friendly site. Videos help keep prospects on your blog or company page. Using a desktop, you can quickly embed videos into your blog, website or articles. (Sorry, you can’t do it from a smartphone)
To embed videos: Click ‘Share’ on the right side of photo or video>Copy embed code and paste> Click Publish
- Embed photos or videos of followers into your site, as well. Be sure to get their consent ahead of time. They’ll appreciate the gesture and champion you further.
- Don’t forget to connect Instagram with other social media for maximum reach.
Reciprocate and Follow Back:
Follow back! Don’t forget to reciprocate interest with your followers. Be careful to avoid controversial profiles, though.
Comments on Instagram tend to be scarce. Your business can stand apart with comments on related videos or pics. By doing so, you can gain followers. Much like networking, the best way to get a referral (follower) is to give a referral (follow).
Photos and videos are concise ways to convey lots of information. Instagram makes it convenient to tell your story.
Great Unrelated Reads From The Personal Finance Blogosphere:
Stop Blaming Credit Cards For Your Problems – Debt Roundup is one of my favorite blogs. I really enjoy the no BS stance Grayson takes on a lot of his work. This article is a great example of that!
Small Baby, Small Apartment, Small Budget – Living Rich Cheaply is another friggin’ awesome blog. In this post, Andrew talks about his struggles with living in a small apartment with a new baby and having to stick to a relatively modest budget. It’s definitely a great read!