“Not another one?!?”
This is what I thought many moons ago, when Instagram showed up on the social media landscape. My company…heck, even my career…is largely based on the management of social media marketing for business. I get paid to do this stuff, yet already feeling burdened by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogging, et al., I certainly wasn’t instantly on board with Instagram.
Oh, how times and perspectives change!
Today, I find Instagram to be a vibrant, useful, important platform–professionally for my clients and personally for myself. What changed? I’ll spare you all the compelling stats that you could easily Google and find for yourself. What I will tell you is that I first embraced Instagram on a personal level while attending a music festival at which most attendees were exclusively using Instagram. To stay in the social mix at that event, I had to dive into Instagram; after that, I was hooked. Nearly in tandem, Instagram was proving its undeniable relevance for my clients, so I and my team got our bearings and led the way into a realm that is consistently proving to be worthwhile on a business level. I’ve seen good connections and real business moments happen thanks to the wonders of Instagram.
As you attempt to not sigh and roll your eyes at all this, please…at minimum…slowly nod in acknowledgement that you should give Instagram some time, attention, and consideration for your business. Then, take these nuggets I’m about to share to heart as you decide why, how, and when to dive in.
– Separate business and personal Instagram accounts? Make your decision and stick with it.
– If you set up a business account, you do not have to associate it with your Facebook account, FYI. When the mobile app prompts you to “find Facebook friends,” simply don’t do so if you’d like to keep the two worlds separate.
– Managing more than one account on your phone? Simply log in and log out of the app as needed (presently there’s no mobile or desktop app for easily toggling between accounts).
– Commit to posting regularly–not too much, not too little. As with any social (or life) endeavor, you’ll get out of Instagram what you put in.
– Follow accounts that are relevant to your business. Find your connections from other social platforms on Instagram, and connect accordingly.
– Like and comment on others’ posts. Be part of the conversation.
– Post good stuff. Post unto others what you would hope they would post unto you. Instagram is a great place for pretty images, funny or inspiring quotes, quirky visual moments; add likeable imagery to people’s Instagram feeds.
Instagram was born for mobile, so the desktop version of the site is clunky with limited capabilities (namely you can’t upload images). That might be no biggie if you’re only using Instagram for personal enjoyment, but if you’re in it for business, you’ll need more.
– On a Mac? Purchase the UP! app for Mac. It’s about $15, but it will allow you to upload images in the moment. Mind you, you won’t be able to add filters, but nonetheless, It’s really handy. I promise! (Side note: You can log in and out of it in order to use for multiple accounts.)
– Consider ScheduGram, a subscription-based service that allows you to queue up Instagram posts for auto-posting. It’s the closest thing to a Hootsuite-like solution for Instagram. Because my company manages multiple accounts for clients, this service is a godsend—seriously. It’s changed the game dramatically for our business and for our clients’ Instagram engagement. Side note: Though Hootsuite just announced Instagram integration, the service doesn’t actually allow for auto-posting. You can queue up posts, but the service will only remind you when that post should go live; you still have to manually make it happen (much like the mobile app Lategramme).
– Check out Iconosquare. This service offers free and paid levels. It’s a good way to get snapshots of your followers, those you follow, and you can engage through the site, as well.
If you only know hashtags as they exist in the Twittersphere, then you really don’t know hashtags. The use of hashtags within the instagram ecosystem is a whole other level of effectiveness. The use of the right hashtags will get more eyes on your posts. Without them, even your most wonderful Insta-offerings may go relatively unnoticed.
Frankly, this topic of Instagram hashtags deserves its own blog post, so I’ll sum up this point by suggesting you start finding your ideal hashtag mix by learning from others. There’s no crime in borrowing the tags that you see are effective for others.
In the meanwhile, #staytuned for more on this topic at a later date.
Please know you’re welcome to reach out to me/my company anytime; I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading, fellow business people!