How can Instagram help your business?

Instagram is booming. With new features popping up all the time and algorithms changing left right and centre, Instagram seems to always be in the news and perpetually on people’s phone screens. You may know it as the place to go for recipe ideas, fitness inspiration and holiday destination drooling. But Instagram can also be a great place for your business. Here’s why:

Behind the scenes

Social media is a great way for your customers to get a peek behind the curtain of your business. More so than Twitter and perhaps arguably more than Facebook, Instagram is seen as less informational and more an engagement channel for brands. Images can still focus on your business and impart information, but they are able to give more of an insight into the character of your business. This is both good and bad – it depends on the character of your business and how you choose to portray it! Some brands have a hard time letting go of the more formal, corporate style that Twitter and Facebook can allow. Whilst working at a university I certainly had to do some convincing that an Instagram channel with a dedicated plan and strategy was essential. To them, they couldn’t see how nice pictures of campus got bums on seats in their programmes. I had to convince them that it was all about showing the student experience – something that seems non-advertorial, organic and ‘behind the scenes’ but still has impact.

Engagement

It is easy to engage on Instagram. You can comment, like or watch. On Twitter you can retweet, share or like; Facebook you can watch, comment, like, laugh, be angry, love…knowing Facebook it’s only going to get more complicated. But for now Instagram plays to people’s desire to see things easily and to interact easily. If you’ve ever used Instagram before you’ll know how quickly your thumb can move to double-tap an image, until it becomes such an ingrained movement that you barely even realise you are doing it. Once you have followers then, no matter the algorithm, it is easy for your followers to engage with you. And there is nothing more engaging than a beautiful photo to show-off something key to your business.

Broad audience and communities

Instagram is full of communities. They can be found in the wonderfully varied world of hashtags, melting into pots of people interested in a particular topic. Think #yoga #teacher #recipes #healthyliving #crafts. If you are able to tap into these communities your Instagram can really thrive among people who might become your customers, or those who just become great business allies.

Not only by interest, but by generic hashtags that can bring people to your business. Things like #Friyay #tbt #MondayMotivation can really get you visible to people who may not be following you or ever find you any other way.

New features

Opening your Instagram and finding a new feature is part and parcel of life on Instagram. That means that as a business you need to keep on top of what is new and fresh. Instagram stories are becoming a regular thing now, but did you know you can do multiple photos within a single post (like a Facebook album)? Or that there is Instagram Live, which allows you to transmit live to your followers (and potential to be featured in others’ ‘Top Live list’) and then share on your Story? No doubt Instagram will come up with many more in the future, so there is always a way for your Instagram account to evolve.

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