How to use Instagram for business (Infographic)

A 10 step plan to succeed on Instagram

Instagram began as a simple photo sharing app in 2010 and has grown into a global community of consumers and brands. A colleague recommended I get in quick as it was sure to be big. Now it’s by far the fastest growing network with over 300 million members (which is bigger than Twitter).

Instagram is home to images of everything from sunsets to people using fashionable brands. As the user base increases so do the benefits for businesses like yours.

Here are the steps I recommend to start using Instagram for business.

Setting up an account on Instagram for business

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Registering for Instagram is unlike services such as Facebook where you open a personal account and then create a Page for your business. On Instagram there are no sub-pages so from the outset aim to create a business presence. Determine the details that reflect your business for inputs such as name, profile image and bio. Optimise for keywords you want to rank for on Google as well as in Instagram search.

If you’re using Instagram for business then a business account is the obvious thing to have. You need the right account to take advantage of developments that Instagram is planning, such as advertising.

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Consider what your goals are before you begin posting images – product images may be most appropriate if your aim is to increase sales whereas to gain brand exposure you may want to concentrate on wider areas of your business.

Jeff Beyers uses Instagram as a showroom for his business services – this adds a modern image of style to a focus on getting the job done, much more than a glossy brochure could ever achieve.

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On business accounts you can set up automatic sharing with your Facebook page. Instagram also lets you connect other social media channels to easily share your images. Enter the details for a range of ‘Linked Accounts’ and the share buttons will appear on the mobile app. You can also copy automatically the url of an image to use elsewhere.

Take a look at this short post for an IFTTT recipe to copy Instagram images to Google Plus.

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You can create a stronger message by using the same styling across all channels. This may mean a consistent font style, recognisable backgrounds, distinctive image dimensions or including a brand logo.

Most Instagram images don’t include text so create a cohesive look by applying consistency to other elements. Consider possibilities such as photographic filters (which are built into the app), borders (likewise built into the app) or photographic style. ‘Photographic style’ can be pinned down to specific techniques, e.g. the use of a colour palette consistent with the brand or a black and white reportage look.

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A photo posted by Donald McLeman (@crosswebideas) on

In the PC version just copy the embed code in the menu at the bottom of the page. On the mobile version you also have share buttons to spread the story across social media. Sharing brings important benefits when you use Instagram for business. Sharing a quick snap adds a touch of immediacy that a status update can’t convey.In addition I’ve often downloaded an image to use on Pinterest and other networks. When it’s on your hard-drive you can add text to make the message stand out.Use these features for a more ‘joined up’ presence across social media.

Content ideas on Instagram for business

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Instagram has been trialling a new advertising option where businesses can create sponsored posts. A business will be able to buy ad space for targeted keywords so their photos show up in search results for specified lengths of time. You can find some more information about advertising on Instagram prior to a full roll-out.

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The way to grow your followers on any channel is to offer exclusive deals. It’s an upfront way of increasing user engagement. Offers work particularly well if the rest of your offering is attractive to followers. This means posting images that are attractive and relevant, regular posting and engaging with your audience. Don’t just post, look at what your followers are posting, comment and respond to comments!

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‘Regramming’ means re-posting pictures that others have shared. It shows your followers that you appreciate them and you’re interested in what they do. It can also be a great way to show how people are using your product.

How to regram images on Instagram

On networks such as Twitter re-tweeting is a simple click of a button but on Instagram you have to download a separate app to ‘regram’ images. Perhaps this will change as Instagram evolves – it’s certainly an essential tool to use Instagram for business.

  • Download and install the Repost app for Instagram on IoS or Android.
  • Log in to the app using your Instagram account.
  • Tap repost under a picture to include a watermark of the user’s name.
  • The app adds a small ‘recycled’ logo in the picture which can be removed by an in-app upgrade.
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Instagram is the ideal platform for a photo contest. Of course the platform is based on imagery and users are there because they’re attracted to the medium. On other channels users may find it a chore to add a hashtag but on Instagram this is the standard method for sharing an image. Users are in the habit of seeking out new inventive hashtags. A personalised hashtag is a key way to gain huge traction for a business. Coupled with a contest it makes a great opportunity for brand exposure.

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The greatest benefit of social media is the ability to engage with your customers on a more human level. Instagram enables you to not only show the faces behind your business but uses the very medium that followers use themselves. This helps create a strong connection your customers can relate to and trust.

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I follow the Instagram for Business blog. It keeps me up to date with new developments. You’ll find more tips and the latest examples of how other brands use the platform.

We keep seeing reminders that the internet is an increasingly visual medium. Images are perfect fodder for the short attention span that the internet encourages. In an instant they engage a deeper level of understanding. You can explore the value of images in Unlock the power of infographics. You may want to use Instagram as a shop window but it can be much more. In the spirit of social media use Instagram to share the widest range of images from across your business life. Instagram for business is more than a communication channel – you’ll be participating in an activity that your customers already connect with in their own lives.

Donald

You can explore the full infographic on the next page or download the original.

Title:
How to use Instagram for business (Infographic)
Description:
How to set up Instagram for business as more than a communication channel. Connect with customers using the medium they use themselves.
Author:
  • Great post, Donald, packed with lots of information and tips, thanks for sharing your knowledge and I shared your content on G+, Pinterest and twitter!

    • Excellent, Barbara, I’m so pleased you liked it. Thanks for commenting and sharing :)

  • Kaycee

    Thanks for all the tips! Will get to work on my new page now…

    • Cheers, Kaycee, thanks for commenting, good luck!

  • Hello, Donald,

    Now what a useful infographic! Love it! Simple 10-step plan to succeed on Instagram. I’ve neglected Instagram, and want to start utilizing it more, so this came at a really good time for me. Thanks!

    You got me on number 1 lol…Need to check to see what sort of page I have.

    I do not like number 5, however, as I think all our best content should originate on our authority site and then be shared out to social media.

    Will definitely be checking into the ads, super exciting! :-)

    I’m sending my VA over here to follow this. Thanks for sharing!

    ˜Carol

    • Good to see you, Carol.

      I think number one is likely to catch out a lot of people, it’s easy to assume that all social media will use the same model of private account first then set up a business page. I expect a lot of people will have to check how they’ve set it up!

      I admire how you’re always consistent about how you use social media alongside your own site. I don’t know of anyone else who sees it this way but it makes a lot of sense, especially when we hear of social media channels closing down – that’s a lot of content to lose. I’m going to think more about this…

      You use a virtual assistant? I hadn’t thought of that but it would definitely be useful. Let us know how you get on in a post :)

      • Thanks, Donald!

        Well, it’s a challenge on Facebook, that’s for sure.

        I have a personal profile, as everyone who uses Facebook must have, but I have a business page where I do post business-related things.

        My “Friends” list is associated with my personal profile where I just want to keep it family and friends and no links and business stuff. However, I’m getting tagged constantly because I am usually logged into my personal side because that’s where my friends are. I do have a lot of likes on my business page, but only log in there once per day.

        So, I’ve had to resort to ‘hiding’ posts I’m tagged in from my timeline so my personal Facebook timeline is not clogged up with tons of links and business things.

        There is no workaround. I do post some to my business page so wondering how this would be on Instagram. We shall see.

        Oh, yeah – have had a team for several years (1 full time, 2 part time and a team for SEO occasionally). I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t outsource a lot of my work. :-)

        Many of my friends/colleagues (high earners) have the view that our authority site is the place to put your best content (images, articles, quotes, etc.) and then from there we share it out to social media – because we need to rank for our content and benefit from it FIRST, and not give that privilege to someone else. In the blogger ’blog commenting’ circles, you’re right, it is seldom followed.

        Have a blessed day, and I’ll be talking with you soon.

        ˜Carol

        • Hi, again, I remember talking to a blogger on Instagram who decided to create an entirely separate account for his personal stuff, so that’s an option you don’t get with Facebook or Google Plus.

          I seem to be deleting posts too all the time, that must be how Facebook thinks people want to use it!

          I never realised you had a staff! You’ve opened my eyes to a whole new way of doing things…

          • I thought it was Facebook’s policy that you could only have one account (personal profile account, and a business page associated with that)…If I’m not mistaken.

            Yeah, I have never regretted hiring folks to outsource to… :-)

            Sent you a PM on Facebook because I had trouble getting through on your contact form.

            Thanks,
            ˜Carol

          • Interesting message, I’ll get back to you later. Thanks for thinking of me.

            And thanks for the heads-up about the contact form, I’ll have a look.

  • Hey Donald,

    I’m not on Instagram and I really have no intention of getting on there. I heard about it of course but knew you could only use it through your mobile device. At that time I hadn’t even upgraded to an iPhone yet, I was still old school with my flip phone.

    I’m not real big still with using my cellphone. The reason mainly is because I’m home all day long working on my PC so I don’t even think to take pictures. I have done much better over this past year but after hearing about all the sharing issues they were having that turned me off.

    I think that most of these sites that are popping up are becoming huge but I also think we don’t have to be on every single one of them in order to have some success. There are several I’ve got an account with but I’m just not active. If there were more of me to go around then maybe but there isn’t.

    Thanks for the tips though and I know Instagram is huge. Good to learn more about it though and I’ll be sure to share this as well.

    ~Adrienne

    • Hi, Adrienne, Instagram is definitely a thing for the mobile generation. It’s true you can only upload pictures via your smartphone but for everything else such as seeing what other people have posted or making comments there are desktop applications such as Websta.me. I must say I use the desktop most of the time because I’m ‘not great’ at texting…

      It’s good to hear of someone in business who uses their phone as a phone! Even when I’m out and about I would never answer an email on my phone, I just wait till I’m on my desktop or laptop. I do know people who are the complete opposite, they forward emails to their phone rather than waste time on a desktop.

      It looks like you knew straightaway that Instagram wasn’t the right social media for you. I think Instagram is most useful for people in a busy office or always out and about. If you work from home there’s just not the same subjects to snap.

      Thanks for dropping by :)