Thursday, July 17, 2014

Instagram: a good friend for small business

Instagram is quite possibly the thing that could breath new life into an already established social media strategy for any small businesses. Organizations are seeing an exceptional decline in organic reach to followers through Facebook, which until recently has often been the lifeblood for reaching followers.  You have to dispose of your account with Facebook yet,  but it is a good time to start looking at other avenues for reaching your target audience and followers using social media. 

 Instagram is a free online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.  The number of users of Instagram is growing steadily, with over 200 million monthly users, and 75 million daily users. 

If you are new to Instagram, or unsure how to make the most of it, here are some useful tips for promoting your small business:

1)  Account branding
The main thing you ought to do when setting up an  Instagram account is to personalize or brand your profile by using a headshot or logo for your profile picture and then write a short bio and leave a link to your website or Facebook page. The process of personalizing your profile is important for  credibility, and shows that you are not a spammer. 

2)  Grow Your Following
Now link your Instagram account to your Facebook account.   This not only allows your to determine who else is on Instagram, but encourages engagement on both platforms.  It is important to engage with others by 'liking'  images posted by other users, and leave comments.  This will drive traffic to your Facebook business page.  This not only permits you to see who else is on Instagram, but  additionally permits you to cross post your pictures to Facebook – an extraordinary approach to drive engagement on both stages!  
Using Woobox, you can  set up an Instagram app on Facebook that allows you to easily post from Instagram to Facebook. Cross promoting your social accounts can be a terrific way to let your audience know the many places you can be found online. If you already have an established following on your Facebook business page, adding your Instagram feed is an easy way showcase your Instagram account and possibly increase your Instagram following.

3)  Following your followers.
It is not necessary to follow everyone who follows you, but take care to grow your following by following others who are aligned with your ideas and interests.  This will enable you to stay engaged with their content, and they with yours.

4)  Don't Over Post

Unlike Twitter accounts, the news stream in Instagram is quite slow.  An image can be viewed in Instagram for up to 15 hours,  which is a great news.  So it is important not to over post in your account.  In fact it is not even necessary to post daily, although many big brands do tend to that.  The average posting rate on Instagram by Top 100 brands is 5.5 times each week.

5)  Keep your Images Balanced.
While it can be fun to share your images and business story on Instagram, you need to keep in mind that you are there to build and maintain a relationship with your customers.  So balance your photos so that your are promoting your products and services as well as sharing fun stuff.

People love pictures, so this a great tool for small businesses to use for promoting their own goods and services.  And, given that it is actually free (at least for now) this represents a terrific opportunity for small budget businesses to communicate with potentially millions of people world wide.
If you are consistently posting, and engaging with other users,  you will grow not only your following, but your brand as well in no time.


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