USING INSTAGRAM FOR BUSINESS: 6 STEPS and FREE STOCK PHOTOS TO GET YOU STARTED
It’s becoming clear that for us small business owners, a strong online and social media presence is important for moving our businesses forward. It doesn’t matter whether we’re service or product based, do online sales or own a brick and mortar store; using social media strategically holds massive potential for building our brand image, engaging with our audience, and gaining new clients and customers.
If you’re just starting to get your business up and running or if you have an established business but haven’t yet dove into setting up social media accounts for it, the number of platforms can seem overwhelming. With Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pintrest, and more, where do you start?
I’m certainly no social media expert but in my experience, choosing one platform to start with, and doing it well, before adding other platforms to your marketing strategy has worked the best for me. And if I were to choose a specific starting point, it would be Instagram.
If you don’t have an account yet it’s super easy to create one. You’ll need to download the app to your mobile device (it’s free), sign up, and fill out your profile.
Instagram has changed since it first came on the scene in late 2010. It has shifted from a way to share snippets of your everyday life with family and friends to a legitimate vehicle for small businesses looking to drive engagement. Instagram has huge audiences that log in every day. With over 800 million monthly users and over 500 million daily users Instagram can be used to get huge reach and make big gains in fulfilling your brand awareness goals.
In order to take full advantage of this awesome platform it’s important to have an Instagram marketing plan in place. Haphazardly scrolling through Instagram randomly liking pretty pictures while waiting in the checkout line and posting pictures of your crazy cat 5 times a day might work fine for a personal account but as a business you’ll need to be more deliberate in your approach if you expect to see real results.
An Instagram marketing strategy may sound daunting but it’s really not that difficult. If you’re planning on using Instagram for your business here are a few things to keep in mind as well as a link to sign up for some some FREE stock images to help you get started.
1. Create a Kick-Ass Bio
You want your bio to stand out and get noticed. It takes just two-tenths of a second for someone to form an opinion of your brand online. First impressions count.
To start with, your profile picture should be eye-catching. If you’re a soloprenuer it’s a great idea to have a photo of you as your profile picture. These days it’s really important for the owner of a small business to be visible as the face of their brand. As the saying goes, “people want to do business with people”.
Next be sure that your bio description clearly explains who you are and what you do.
2. Tell Stories
Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell. – Seth Godin
Try focusing more on the solution you provide and not so much about the products you sell. People love stories and telling an interesting one is a great way to create an emotional connection with your audience. You could show your company culture, share your mission, share some tips and how-tos, or showcase your process behind the service you provide or the product you make. Letting your audience know what you’re all about will encourage an emotional response to your brand and will have a positive impact on your business.
3. Use High Quality Images
When someone clicks over to your Instagram profile, they’ll see a “grid” of images that you have posted. You want this collection of images to look cohesive and pulled together. Stick to a consistent style to ensure your Instagram feed reinforces your brand identity. Some people find it helpful to think of Instagram like a magazine where each image is a page.
This is where stock photography can come in handy. Stock photos are professionally shot images that can be licensed for creative and commercial use allowing businesses to create high quality designs that represent their brands at a reasonable cost. Using stock photos can take the pressure off of you needing to produce outstanding images, saving you time and money and letting you focus on the parts of your business that you are passionate about. Go ahead and try out some FREE STOCK PHOTOS optimized for Instagram and see if having them on hand ready to post makes life a little easier for you! 🙂
4. Use Hashtags
Hashtags play a huge role in the search function on Instagram and act as a way of gathering relevant content into one area. When posting on Instagram, hashtags are the best way of getting your content out there and in front of the right people. Think of hashtags like you would keywords for search engine optimization (SEO). What words would people use to find you? Use these terms as your hashtags on your posts. Without hashtags your content is nearly impossible to discover. You can use up to 30 hashtags on each Instagram post.
5. Engage With Your Followers
Instagram has been shown to have the highest average engagement (likes, comments and interactions) rate of all the main social channels but it doesn’t just happen, you need to put some effort into it. You should aim to spend some time in the app each day simply interacting with people in your target audience. Like their photos, leave comments, and follow them when you genuinely like their feed. Doing this will help you attract the right followers to your account. Make sure to reply to every comment people make on your images so that they know you care and you make real connections.
6. Write Captivating Captions
Your content is enhance by captions and they are essential to telling your brand story. There are many ways to use captions, including sharing stories or mini-blog type posts, adding catchy headlines, or asking your followers a question. Just make sure that the copy has a consistent voice that is aligned with your brand. A great picture will grab your audience’s attention but it’s the caption that will keep them there.
If you missed the link above to get your FREE STOCK PHOTOS click here to get them now.