How to Use Instagram for Business
As Virgin Media Business launches VOOM Mobile, mobile bundles designed specifically for Ireland’s small businesses, we’re exploring the role of mobile for trades and small businesses and we’re kicking off with the opportunity that awaits on one of Ireland’s most popular apps, Instagram.
Instagram is a social network on the rise in Ireland.
In fact, the latest IPSOS MRBI stats on social media usage in Ireland show that since August 2017, Instagram has overtaken LinkedIn and Twitter in terms of account ownership, making Instagram the logical platform for Irish businesses to at least consider adding to their marketing plans.
You only need to look at Facebook’s quarterly earnings reports to see that social media marketing is a lucrative channel for businesses, who are flocking to buy ad space on the platform, resulting in 50% year on year growth in advertising revenue for Facebook in Q1 2018.
While social media offers an incredibly attractive opportunity for business, many of you will know (and may have learned the hard way) not to be fooled by the smiley faces and cat pics. Experimenting with social media marketing can’t be taken lightly.
We spoke to our partners in this area, Wolfgang Digital, about this. Michaela Simpson, Head of Content at Wolfgang Digital stresses the importance of having a plan.
‘I think initially, lots of businesses jumped into social media without really knowing what they wanted to achieve or how it fit into their marketing plan, which was totally understandable really. We were coming from an era of traditional channels like print, radio, TV and leaflets which of course, were incredibly slow ways to get your message out there. Social media gave businesses the ability to instantly communicate with whoever they wanted, whenever they wanted.’
‘But, as many found out, if you enter into the world of social media without a plan, you’ll soon start realising things like “No-one is engaging with my posts”, “I can’t think of what to post” and “How do I even know if this is working?”
‘Whereas, if you take some time to think and build your plan, you have the potential to open up a whole new avenue for business growth. Planning isn’t sexy. But let me put it this way, Irish consumers are spending more than just time on their mobile devices and social media. They’re spending cash, and I think that’s worth planning for.’
Instagram for Business
Being a visual and mobile platform, Instagram has proved to be a natural fit for those in the trades from hairdressers, beauticians and personal trainers, to carpenters, builders and landscapers.
In these cases, it’s often the business owner who takes on responsibility for social media channels. There’s no marketing team to lean on. You are the marketing team.
But just as we believe you, as a small businesses shouldn’t be denied great business mobile offers, we also believe there’s no reason for you to miss out on the Instagram opportunity. In fact, your size and ability to move quickly without needing approval from layers of management means you are potentially in an even stronger position to win on social media…and we want to help.
With that in mind, we’ve worked with Wolfgang Digital to create ‘The Business of Instagram’, your guide to getting started and succeeding on Instagram.
Whether you’re just starting your Instagram journey, or need some guidance to help drive better business results there, download ‘The Business of Instagram’ now.
We’ll deliver your ebook to you right away. In the meantime, keep reading below for some quick tips for your Instagram marketing.
1. How to set up your page.
There are 3 basic steps to getting your Instagram profile set up.
Step 1: Download the app
Choose for your operating system below.
- App Store for iOS
- Google Play for Android
- Windows Phone Store for Windows.
Step 2: Create Business Account
Instagram has now made it simple to identify your page as a business. In the Settings, scroll down to ‘Switch to Business Account’. The benefit of this is you’ll now have access to all-important analytics so you can understand how your posts are performing.
Step 3: Build your profile
Describe your business and choose a recognisable profile picture, your company logo for example.
Learn more about setting up and optimising your profile in ‘The Business of Instagram’.
2. Create a strategy
Your strategy document does not need to be an epic thesis. It can start as simply as setting aside some time to think about what you want to achieve and how you will use your new social media power to get there.
Exploring the points below will get you off to a solid start.
Do you need to raise brand awareness? Or perhaps you need something give bookings a lift? Be specific about the main outcome you want from your Instagram efforts.
Learn how to set actionable goals in your ebook.
- Target Audience
The key to social media is respecting that it’s not about you, it’s about them. When you venture into Instagram you are entering a space where your audience likes to spend its leisure time. Make sure you know who you are trying to communicate with and what you can share that’s going to appeal to them, while also remaining relevant to your brand.
Learn how to build a clear picture of your target audience in your ebook.
- Build Your Brand
Not only do you need to know your audience, you also need to know yourself. This is easier said than done for a surprisingly large proportion of businesses.
Having answers to questions such as the below are critical to your brand identity.
- ‘What does my brand stand for?’
- ‘Aside from ‘making money’, why does my business exist?’
The answers to these will help you to answer questions in relation to your Instagram plan:
- ‘What should I post?’
- ‘How often should I post?’
- ‘What is my brand’s style?’
- ‘What hashtags should I use?’
Learn how to clearly define your brand, how to use hashtags and how to create your own branded hashtag in your ebook.
3. How to take great photos for Instagram
Now for the fun part!
For some, spotting a great photo opportunity is almost second nature. For others, it might not be so easy. We reached out to the experts within Wolfgang Digital and asked for some pointers on how to capture attractive Instagram photos that your business can be proud of.
- Avoid placing the subject against the light source, e.g. person in front of a window.
- Natural daylight is always best.
- Take multiple shots. Even when you think you have ‘the’ photo, take a couple more just in case.
- Don’t use Instagram’s camera, the camera app on your phone will likely be better quality.
- Use an app like Snapseed for editing.
- Try using a little phone tripod.
- Not every photo needs a filter!
- Never zoom.
- Understand ‘the rule of thirds’ and place your subject on one of the intersects.
For more tips and advice from the experts, download your ebook companion ‘The Business of Instagram’ now.
VOOM Mobile offers small businesses the flexibility and connectivity they need, whether it’s to break free from long-term contracts or unlimited international calls.