There is no question that we live in highly visual times but what does this really mean for your business? If you are product or hospitality based you have an abundance of opportunities to capture images. If you offer services it is a little more challenging. Conceptional photographs, showcasing customer stories, or behind the scenes look at your staff, office life and company culture will have to do the work.
The huge popularity of Instagram is not surprising. I hear a number of business clients say “Everyone tells me I have to be on Instagram”. Two things are at play here. ‘Everyone’ is usually people with a personal account and businesses who start an account on spec tend to add a couple of photographs here and there ‘when they remember’ to but the page is mostly flat and dormant.
Instagram appears deceptively simple; you post a photo or video which instantly shows up in your feed to be commented on, liked and shared. The process is straightforward and fun but a successful business page is going to take the strategy and time which is not required for a personal account.
First, what do you want to accomplish with Instagram? In order to attract, retain and inspire followers you should have an understanding of who your audience is. What kind of content do they want to see from you? Instagram is a busy place with lots happening in everyone’s feed so while family and friends will wait for updates from your personal account; people expect a company to post on a regular basis in order to earn and maintain their interest and loyalty.
Well-developed branding will be key to growth on this platform. An Instagram bio is only 150 characters long and your words need to tell users about your business and company’s personality succinctly.
Your branding strategy should also carry through in your imagery. Companies with successful Instagram accounts are consistent in the colours, filters and themes of their photographs this makes it easy for fans to spot them as they quickly scroll through their feed.
Experienced companies know there is more to Instagram than just photos; compelling captions, relevant hashtags and emoji’s plus taking the time to engage with followers, influencers and other business’s all count towards their success on this platform.
Again don’t be deceived by how easy it is to get a reaction to your vacation photos, a business page needs to be engaging, interesting and most of all it needs to be kept up-to-date and this takes time and a plan. If you already have a business profile make sure it isn’t just getting attention from family, friends and a few followers picked-up along the way.
Success comes from being unique, creative and authentic on Instagram. Showcase your company, tell stories, communicate well and yes, have some fun along the way.
Jill Crossland is a business and marketing consultant who can take your business and social media to the next level.