Many of my clients are so busy doing what they do well that they look to us for guidance on how to tell their story on the most relevant social media platforms. I have been using a personal Instagram account, @judiknight for some time now and using many of the photos I take there on my Urban Oasis Website. In fact, I set up a feed so that every time I take a photo on Instagram, it automatically creates a blog post from the image and caption and saves each one as a draft.
I’ve gotten a discouraged over the last couple of years about the lack of engagement most of us get on Facebook and Twitter. But, I recently read (research in 2014 by Forrester), Instagram posts gets 58 times the engagement of Facebook posts and 120 times the engagement of the Twitterati. Facebook liked them so much they bought Instagram in 2012 for a billion dollars.
Reading all that was enough of a kick in the pants to have me decide to make an Instagram site for New Tricks (@newtricksweb) while I wrote this post. It sure makes sense. In addition to sharing images to our Instagram followers we can also choose to send them to Facebook Twitter and our blogs at the same time. What are you waiting for?
So if you aren’t on Instagram yet, now is the perfect time to start a personal account or Instagram for business! If you have a personal account, now is the time to set up a separate account to tout your brand to people that are looking for your products.
First Things First: Set Up Your Company Account
Whether for business or personal you have to install and use the app on your phone or tablet and you get the app free from the App Store or Google Play. But do keep the business and personal in separate accounts. The people that follow you on the personal account may not be interested in your business and vice versa. I won’t go into the mechanics of setting up your business account here, since you can get them on the Instagram Business site. You’ll also find some tips and inspiration, including how to do ads on Instagram, which is conveniently managed by Facebook ad pages.
If you have a team, decide who will be responsible for taking images for the company’s Instagram account. If you or your team member already has a personal Instagram account, it presents a logistical problem since you can’t be logged into two accounts at the same time. Some companies even get an extra phone to use specifically for Instagram.
How it Works
Click the Instagram icon on your phone to bring up a camera and you can take a photo or a video, just like you can with the camera on your phone. If you’d rather share an existing image or graphic that you created on your computer, transfer it to your phone’s image library by email, Dropbox or AirDrop (if you have an IPhone). Then you can:
- Open Instagram.
- Press the camera icon.
- Your camera’s image gallery will open.
- Select your photo.
Once you have the photo you just took or uploaded from the image gallery, Instagram allows you to edit them using various filters. You can also write a caption and share the photo with your Instagram followers. You can also choose to share it to Facebook or Twitter after you set up the links to the social media accounts. By default, Facebook will send to your personal profile but you can choose to set it to go to your business page.
Create a Brand Hashtag
Since you want people to be able to spread the word about your business you can create an “official” brand hashtag for your business. When my friend Robyn Elliot of Bicycle Tours of Atlanta went to start her Instagram account, she found to her surprise that her customers were already sharing their fun using the hashtag, #biketoursatl.
When you begin to use your brand hashtag with images about your company, products and services, encourage your followers to use it too. Your brand hashtag helps people identify your business and helps you show your business to the world.
Reaching Out and Getting Found
You can get someone’s attention on a post by adding their @instagramaccountname to your comment. You can also use hashtags to get on the radar of people who are searching hashtags with their interests.
For example, when I post photos of my basset hounds, I tag them with #bassetsofinstagram. People that search on that particular hashtag will see a stream of images of basset hounds.
Veronica’s Attic, a fun, stylish boutique and client of ours, is a role model for using Instagram for their business. Their @veronicasattic Instagram has over 1200 loyal followers who check them out to find out what is new at their shop in Sandy Springs, Georgia. If anyone not following them were looking for #eyebobs, a product images from Veronicas Attic’s Instagram account may come up.
Don’t have Instagram followers yet? Follow some people from your Facebook account or your email contacts. They will see that you followed them and will likely follow you back. You can see, like and comment on their images. The more
you engage with others, the more followers you will get.
Managing One or More Accounts on Desktop
Although you can’t add or edit Instagram photos on your desktop, you can keep track and manage your account’s activity there. Just type in http://instagram.com/yourusername to the browser to see the photos you’ve posted, your profile, recent comments, and so on. There are several workarounds to the computer versus mobile device issue. Each solution offers different features that may or may not work for you. To get the whole scoop, read this article about posting to Instagram from your desktop. When Louise Myers hears about a new option, she tests it and adds ones that work.
The Instagram app will take an image 640px square. If you upload an image from your image library on your phone or post images using one of the desktop programs, Instagram will allow you to post larger images with higher resolution. A good size to use for maximum efficiency is 1080 x 1350.
Ways to Grow
This infographic from Buffer App has 10 quick tips to use to increase the number of followers for your account!
I love my personal Instagram account @judiknight, and hope you follow me there for a look at—among other things—what goes on at the Urban Oasis, what I am cooking/eating and the antics of my dogs. I just started an account for New Tricks after I wrote this. You can follow us @newtricksweb
Let me know how it goes. I hope you join me! I will follow you back.