Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard of Instagram. Like Facebook, the photo-sharing website has now permeated every layer of society, so much so that it is difficult to comprehend how we survived before it existed!
From its humble beginnings as yet another social network platform, it has since carved its place as a powerful promotion tool for businesses. Its usefulness for geo-targeting is evident, but it isn’t only restaurants and clothes retailers that can benefit from using Instagram. As Google now includes pictures in search results, any business can use the platform to raise awareness of its brand. And it is particularly essential for those selling to the next generation who has whole-heartedly adopted Instagram.
For many businesses, the site is a gold mine of information. Sure, people like Google can provide you with a wealth of data too, but you need to invest serious time as a business owner to really understand it and use it effectively. Instagram, on the other hand, offers tools and analytics that are easier to digest.
Very wisely, Instagram has recognised the all-importance of New Zealand, which was in the first wave of countries to benefit from its improved tools. What can we say, even Instagram likes us Kiwis, better!
Now, before you rush to your tablet, mobile or computer, you know what we’re going to tell you, don’t you? Instagram may not be appropriate for all businesses. And it’s not just about opening an account and adding any old pictures. You need to set goals and develop a strategy which will support them.
First, you should decide the specific purpose of your Instagram account. It could be increasing traffic to your website, increased sales or to raise your company’s profile. Whichever it is, remember to make your objectives measurable.
Your strategy will set out how you will present your business and reach those goals, by deciding not only how often you will post but also at which time of the day depending our your audience’s web habits – more on that further down. There is nothing worse than posting once in a blue moon, so make sure you do commit to your schedule, but don’t overwhelm followers with too many posts either. You also need to develop a clear editorial plan for at least three months to support your strategy. And paramount to all this, you need to stand out from your competitors.
Now that we have set the basic rules, let’s have a look at the tools that will help you reach your goals
You should think of your business profile page as your shop window. It will be one of the very first impressions you make so it has to answer the same basic questions that any material of yours should answer: who are you, what do you do and who do you do it for? It should also make you memorable so make sure to choose some striking pictures.
Rolled out recently, business profiles are a vast improvement over the previous template. Before they were created, customers could get in touch with a company through a button that would only take them to their website without any other options to contact them. Now, by clicking that same button, they can choose between calling you, emailing you or seeing your location on a map, all this with a few taps.
Being easily contactable should always be a priority for a business so it is a fantastic improvement from Instagram.
Understanding your customer base is the cornerstone of business. Although Facebook and Google gave access to viewers’ data a long time ago, there is such a thing as disinformation through over-informing and you would be forgiven for finding it hard work to use the wealth of data provided by Google Analytics. Insights by Instagram are refreshingly easier to decipher and give top-level data.
They give businesses information they can action to promote their business to their followers, all from a mobile app. For example, you will get a breakdown of your audience’s location by countries and cities; their activity by time and date – which enables you to determine the best time for your posts; gender, demographics and more analytics based on impressions.
Promoting directly from the App
There could hardly be a more convenient way to promote your business.
You can now pick popular posts that you have already shared, and add a button to encourage people to take action. You may select a target audience yourself or let Instagram suggest one, and you can choose the length of time you want it to run. From there, your post will be promoted as an ad for your chosen period.
Viewers allows you to see who you are connected to as well as your feed. Following this web of connections is a very useful tool and it makes it easy to navigate images and videos, likes and comments and to share or repost them. It also allows you to remove or add new followers.
Instagram is a very active community and to sit at the table with the other grown-ups, you need to participate continuously. Of course, it is easier said than done and that’s where Viewers is really useful, as it shows a gallery of thumbnails, making it easy to catch up quickly on hot topics and write a few posts yourself.
If you are planning on running contests, then this tool will be just right for you. As a species, we like to play and light-hearted competitions or games are a good way to engage an audience, especially the younger generation who grew up on video games.
Instagram has always been a great platform, but those improved features make it much easier to manage your account. If you would like to know more, contact us on 09 360 2299 or send us an email.