Instagram September 23, 2016 Share 7 Pin 1 Share 1 Instagram is a popular social media platform that was initially created for sharing of photos. However, the Instagram has now evolved to include many more functions such as the recent Instagram Stories where you can share a 10 second video in a period of 24 hours. Instagram have also increased their daily active users up to 300 Million and monthly active users of up to 500 Million in 2016 (source: expandedramblings.com). With almost 20% of internet users are using Instagram as social media platform, it is critical that businesses to fine tune their marketing campaign and brand recognition and leverage on Instagram. Here are the 5 ways you can use Instagram for your business. 1. Use of Hashtag in Instagram If you are a complete beginner, you might be wondering what a Hashtag is. A Hashtag symbol ‘#’ is commonly used in many social media platform as a mean to spread their post or shares to an even bigger audiences. Hashtag can be seen as an indexer for the internet. You index your post using hashtag and your post can be seen not just by your followers but also other internet audiences as well. Therefore you need to hashtag your post well. Hashtag allows a dialogue or communication to reach a global scale. Let’s say you want to talk about a certain TV series such as Game of Thrones. You can just post some comments on that show and hashtag it with #gameofthrones. Once you hashtag it, the post can be seen anyone who also wants to join on the conversation that relates to Game of Thrones. So how you can use this simple yet effective tool for your Instagram? You can use the hashtag to reach communities or group that is not in your circle of friends. If you are selling some supplement products, you can share a photo of your product and complement it with hashtags such as #healthyliving or #looseweight for example. This will allow other people that is not in your friend’s list to discover your account as well as pick up new followers. 2. Use Competition or Contests Mode in Instagram Even though Instagram prove to be a popular social media platform to share and post, the average engagement rate of a typical Instagram posts is only at 1.1% (Source: Expandedramblings.com). Therefore it is crucial to be innovative and stand out from other post in Instagram if you want your business to be noticed in this platform. One creative method is to create competition or contest in Instagram using the Hashtag as the tool. Here is an example how you can do it. Create a competition in which people can posts their best moment with your product or most creative ways they used your product. The post or shares that get the most likes or shares will win the contest. You need to provide the users the exact hashtag such as #yourbrandname or #yourcompanyslogan for them to qualify for the contest. You can easily see the entries by typing the hashtag in the Instagram search column. However, for this type of contest you need to be specific in terms of the hashtag and not a very general and broad hashtag. This type of contest is very effective as it allows the users to add their own personal experience with your product with an image or video. This will create an emotional attachment to the brand as well as giving a social proof to others who sees the image or video. It humanizes your product brand or image. It also helps your brand to be associated with certain positive image or identity. 3. Post often but do not flood your followers’ Instagram wall If you are familiar with Instagram you will know that you will miss some of the post shared by the people you are following. The average amount of Instagram user feed that they missed is at 70% according to Expandedramblings.com. Therefore it is crucial that you need to post often so that your product or brand is noticeable to your followers. However, it is also crucial to balance the need to post often on your product and also to avoid the annoying feeling your followers will have of being bombarded by your product or brand. So how you can avoid this? Here are some tips. Try to schedule your post. To post each and every hour is a definite no-no. However, you can schedule to post one in the morning and one in the afternoon. But make sure to vary your post creatively. If a post in the morning is specifically about your product, the second post in the afternoon might just be an information or benefits from using your product that you want to share. Use also different type of format post. Using images as well as videos will help your product or brand to be noticeable by your followers. Make sure the images and videos are of high quality. Here are some bonus tips, use a white background for your product as it will stand out more and also looks more professional. 4. Use Instagram to build a community Do not treat your followers as only leads to your business. Treat your followers as a community of like-minded followers with your product or brand as the commonalities. Once you take that approach and mind-set, your followers will then thrive and contribute positively to your brand or product. The advantage of building a community to your brand or product is that you will create more trust with your followers. This trust will translate into loyal followings that will grow into a sustainable customer base for your brand. Here are some guides on how to build a community using Instagram Follow your followers back and interact with them on their post or shares occasionally. This creates a relationship that goes beyond a seller and buyer relation. When you post or share your product, take note and listen to what your followers are saying about your product or brand. Give valuable information to your customers consistently and this will in the long term create a loyal sustainable followers that will not just buy the products you offer but market it to others as well. 5. Use Instagram Stories to promote your product The new feature introduced by Instagram and that is the Instagram Stories is something new and worthwhile to test it out. It is perfect to market your product as the stories will always appear at the top of your followers Instagram feed and will stay there until 24 hours. You can post a 10 second video to that feed and your followers can also send their feedback. There are many creative ways of using the Instagram Stories. Read here on our previous post on how to create Instagram Stories. Here are some creative ways you can use Instagram Stories for marketing your brand and product. Use 10 second video to capture behind the scene of your brand or product. A candid moment shared with your followers normally will generate more response and feedback Use series of images – The advantages of Instagram stories compared to the normal share posting is that you can create a series of interconnected images. Therefore you can share more information about your brand or product using the Instagram stories. So, there you have it. The 5 ways you can use Instagram for your business. Check also our previous articles on Top 5 Instagram Tips and Tricks. Share..