16 amazing entrepreneurs share how to use Instagram for business.
There’s so many Social Media choices for small business owners it can be difficult to choose which ones to add into your marketing strategies.
These entrepreneurs below share how they use Instagram for business and I can also agree that done well this is a great Social platform.
Instagram is no different than any other Social site. “Saying hello doesn’t have an ROI. It’s about building relationships.” Gary Vaynerchuk
You need to engage and connect with people on Instagram. I’ve only recently added Instagram to my marketing strategy but in a short amount of time I’ve had some great conversations offline and new clients because of this platform.
One last piece of advice before sharing these 16 amazing tips and this is another quote from Gary Vaynerchuk that summarizes all Social Networks:
“The Best Marketing Strategy ever? Care.”
Sue Zimmerman | Captain of Online Branding | Sue B. Zimmerman
Instagram is THE place to be!
If your business is not on Instagram then you are missing out on huge opportunities to build a solid following, create authentic connections, and share your visual content to the world!
Fact is, people are visual and they react to images. When you use Instagram right, you can expose your business to hundreds, if not thousands of people you might not normally reach on other social platforms. Plus, sharing your beautiful and creative images on Instagram allows you to cross promote your content on other social media stages like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google+ and more!
Use Instagram daily to grow your business and connect with your ideal customer.
America Foy | Top Producing Realtor | America Sells
I have managed, pretty well, my entire career without social media. I am a top-producing Realtor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Even though tech companies surround me, I have resisted using their products because I felt that I have managed pretty well my entire career without social media.
Imagine my surprise when I engaged the services of a local public relations firm because I wanted to appeal to the millennials and the very first thing they said to me was, “You need a social media presence.”
Grrr, kick rocks.
To my surprise, after a few months of watching the results of using social media accounts, not only did I find them helpful in expanding my network and business opportunities, but I actually liked using the sites, especially Instagram. I have a lot of fun with it while I’m technically “working.” I have been experimenting with what does and does not work as far as promoting my business through Instagram.
This is what I have found to work:
Show what you are doing.
People like to know what you are doing at work or behind the scenes at work. Try to give people a taste of what it is you really do at work.
Occasionally advertise what you are selling, but keep it personal.
I dislike seeing pictures of inspirational words, or worse an ad. I try to keep it personal by using a picture from my phone if I am showing what I am selling.
Engage people. Ask for responses to your pictures and use Instagram’s ability to caption the photos. Connect with the people who follow your account.
This is what does not work:
Spamming. No one wants to see a million pictures day after day after day of your TV set, Weight Watchers Franchise, or credit repair graphs.
Overwhelming your followers with too many pictures isn’t good.
Keep the posting to a minimum, a couple of pictures a day at most.
Here are a few more tips I’ve learned to get the most out of Instagram:
People are on Instagram to see pretty and funny pictures of people doing typical things. Keep that in mind and you can’t go wrong.
To find more followers, use hashtags for you pictures, follow and like other user’s pictures.
Comment on other user’s pictures. If you think someone has posted a funny/beautiful/amazing picture comment on it. It only takes a few seconds.
I now love using Instagram as part of my job. I don’t feel like I’m working, but I know that all of the activity I’m generating is working for me.
Bill Flitter | CEO/Founder | dlvr.it
One of the best ways for a small business to use Instagram is to create an RSS feed to boost traffic. With an RSS feed, you can now use your Instagram images and video as a marketing asset on your blog, website and social media.
Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t support RSS feeds. However, third parties using Instagram’s API have made it easy to create an RSS feed.
Simply add your Instagram username (or anyone you want to use) to the end of this URL: http://widget.stagram.com/rss/
The RSS feed will automatically update anytime you take picture or video with Instagram.
Four ways to boost traffic with your new Instagram RSS Feed:
- Display on your blog. These services make it easy to display Instagram content on a website: Instapress is a plugin for WordPress
- SnapWidget works on any website
- Share on social. Use dlvr.it to share your Instagram RSS feed on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and more.
- Boost SEO. Create a Storify or RebelMouse page to make your Photos and Videos visible and searchable.
Lastly, create a visual newsletter. Use Mailchimp’s RSS to newsletter feature to create a stunning visual newsletter.
Lisa Parkin | Social Media Consultant | Social Climber
One way small businesses can use Instagram is by searching for their city or related keywords under hashtags and joining the conversation. This isn’t as creepy as it sounds (I promise), and will generate awareness about the business among locals.
The best way to engage in Instagram – and any social media site for that matter – is to be proactive instead of reactive. Don’t post photos and wait for the masses to flock to your account. Find influencers in your city and start a conversation. It’s more fun and will generate genuine relationships much more effectively than any forced marketing material will.
Lisa was kind enough to share a recent post she wrote with Huffington Post: How to Use Instagram for Business: Stop Talking and Listen
Richard Storm | Photographer | NyPhotoNy
I use Instagram as a photographer to showcase my work.
HOWEVER, I will make the most out of the 30 hashtag rule and populate it with relevant tags in order to get more likes and make more connections.
I have actually scheduled a lot of bookings through Instagram.
Crystal Cantabrana | Director | Grizzly Group LLC
Don’t use Instagram for your products or services exclusively.
Use it as a way to show customers your company culture as well.
Post pictures of your cool office, your fantastic co-workers and how you get along so well with each other, your goofy office moments, etc.
Let your customers see you as people, not just a company out to make money. Using Instagram this way also provides the opportunity to use popular hashtags that none of your “business” photos could ever capitalize on.
Food pictures are favorites, so post a photo of your office mate’s delicious enchiladas, even when you are an interior design company. How else would you capitalize on #foodie and #nomnom?
Parisnicole Payton | Publicist | The PNP Agency
Today, many companies are utilizing social media as an advertising platform, like Instagram, to reach their consumers in marketing their products and services. The social media spectrums that are growing rapidly to reach a large target audience are Facebook, Tumbler, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Companies are becoming more creative with their marketing campaign in using Instagram by demonstrating short brief video clips to showcase their product and services.
Social media is a huge venue in reaching a large population “live” and all at one time.
As a publicist, I heavily utilize Instagram to market myself to potential clients such as athletes and celebrities. I display public relations, marketing and customer service billboard pictures as well as sharing event pictures when I am working doing public and media relations. This has enabled me to receive new prospective clients who are impressed with my PR expertise and would like to hire me for my services.
Chris Daughtrey | Community Manager | Dragon Search Marketing
One aspect I like about Instagram is the element of spontaneity.
Small businesses can instantly share their greatest, funniest or most inspiring moments.
If you’re just opening, Instagram a pic of your very first customer. Celebrating an anniversary? Do the same with your “10,000th Customer”. Post a pic of the perfect pizza pie you just pulled out of the oven. Let your Twitter & Instagram followers know that you just got in a shipment of those hot new shoes.
All are examples of how small businesses, who might not have time or money to arrange photo shoots, can leverage the social marketing value of image sharing.
Paul Maleno | Creative Director | Mantisray Studios
Here are my tips for posting Instagram:
When posting an image or video, use hashtags that you want people to see specifically. As well as research what are the popular hashtags that are trending; it changes daily.
On Mondays, I sometimes like to post #motivationmonday. Since it’s the beginning of the week, what a way to start off with some positive energy. It could be inspirational messages, images or even quotes for you to share with the people following you.
Another one of my favorites, is posting on Thursdays and Fridays. On Thursdays, you can use #throwbackthursday & for Fridays, you can use #flashbackfriday. These I use whenever, I have something that I have previous done for a project.
Nidhima Kohli | Founder | My Beauty Compare
At My Beauty Compare, we found that Instagram is very useful for keeping up to date with audiences and the beauty trends they are most interested in. This in turn helps us to know what topics to write about in our daily blogs.
Another way we use Instagram is to promote our competition. We upload our competition image on Instagram to get those who miss it on other social media pages to apply.
Nick Brennan | VP | Janice McCafferty PR
I like to think of Instagram as a social media platform that is still fun, informal and somewhat unencumbered by marketing ploys.
Because of that, I think Instagram can be used as a great way to highlight company culture.
Small businesses are like families, so I believe grabbing great shots of happy hours, company events and the things going on in employees lives is a great way to show some personality.
RuthAnn Wiesner | Founder | Raw Marketing LLC
If ‘Content is King’ then Instagram is it’s Castle!
From teens to major brands, food to luxury destinations, never before have small businesses been given the opportunity to reach such a diverse segment of marketing mixes as those offered on Instagram. Would you like to know how your small business could have the proverbial “keys to the Castle”? Here are a few easy steps to get you well on your way:
KEEP IT REAL: That’s right, Instagram is no place for the hard sell…your audience doesn’t want to see product placement, they want to see HOW the product is made, what is happening behind the scenes WHILE it is being made. Tell the your businesses story through pictures…if you’re just starting out, don’t worry about how great the picture is, the artistry will come with practice.
KEEP IT CONSISTENT: Do you sell shoes? Donuts? Clean Houses? Whatever your niche is…THAT is what you need to keep it related to. If you sell shoes and I land on your feed, only to find 15 pictures of trees and cats…you’ve lost me. I can see trees and cats on the feeds of people who are experts on the topics of cats and trees. But SHOES…you know shoes and THAT my friends is what you need to stick to!
Deborah Sweeney | CEO | MyCorporation
Instagram is a great way for Small Businesses to connect with their customers and community.
Taking extreme close ups is a fun way for small businesses to highlight the attention to detailing that goes into their products, whether they’re creating them on the spot (like the ingredients and step by step process that goes into baking cupcakes) or have the finished work already in front of them (zoomed in look at stitching or beadwork on a dress, for example).
Natasha Case | CEO | Coolhaus
Coolhaus has a huge following on Instagram and definitely values the opinions of their customers. Here are a few examples of how Coolhaus uses Instagram and other social media outlets to continue to build their business.
Coolhaus uses Instagram and other social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.) for their truck locators for fans and to get feedback from their customers.
Pictures on Instagram and Twitter that are live/up-to-date show Coolhaus in real time. If a product is melting on a hot day in NYC, for example, or if portion sizes are too big—social media is an incredible management tool.
The Coolhaus fans/customers are able to post their favorite flavors and treats and tag (@Coolhaus) in their photos which allow Coolhaus to stay on top of what’s popular with their customers.
Dani Walker | Owner | Miss Icon Pageant
We use this as a tool to connect with our potential contestants. If a business is looking to use Instagram to boost sales, I would suggest several things.
Post good content! Think of your account as a magazine, 80% should pics related to your industry/business, the other 20% can be about your products. No one wants to follow an Instagram account that is just trying to sell them stuff.
Be consistent. Choose what is manageable for you and stick with it. Post each day, once a week, bi-weekly, etc. When ever you post, make it consistent so followers know you exist.
Learn how to hashtag! Hashtaging is a way to help others find your account. If you want to gain photo likes, then hashtag about 20 of the most popular hashtags of the moment. You can find those in a simple Google search, don’t forget to hashtag things relevant to your business. I.E. if you run a retail clothing store, you’ll want to include #fashion #style #shoes, etc.
Be an active follower. Follow your customers/potential customers Instagram accounts. Like and comment on their photos. Start a conversation and build a relationship with them.
Use other apps to boost Instagram account performance. Apps like Statigram, Instolver, and Kik, provide tools to connect with other users, upload multiple photos, and track statistics.
If you use these tips, they will help to boost your photo likes, gain more followers, connect with customers, and attract more attention to your business.
Scarlet Paolicchi | Founder | Family Focus Blog
It should focus on the focus of the business. An Etsy jewelry maker can use their account to show the process of making jewelry and final pieces. A family blogger like myself can show what we blog about from pictures of food, to family moments.
The main idea is to captivate the interest of the viewers rather than to hard sell them.
16 great marketing strategies how to use Instagram for Business. Share below your thoughts and any questions lets connect!
Wishing you Entrepreneurial Successes ~