Instagram might seem like the easiest social network to manage.
You post a picture and that’s it, right?
Many businesses see it as a pure platform to post photos that represent the company in some way, but they don’t dive deeper into it to get the best use out of it.
Since the eCommerce world seems to be focusing on photography a lot – because we all want to know how something looks like before buying it – Instagram seems to be the social platform of logical choice.
However, only publishing one product photo after another won’t do much good for you, because people aren’t that likely to interact with the same photo they can find when looking at a product on your website.
This is where creativity steps in! Instagram is one of the least formal social networks and over half of its users fall into the 18-29 age category – this allows you to be your most original and creative self, showcasing that there is a personality behind your business.
Here are top 8 ways to make Instagram your best asset!
A picture is literally worth a thousand words
On Instagram, everything starts with good photography.
And no, you don’t need to be (or have) a professional photograph to achieve that – smartphones can make some fantastic photos.
From the technical side of view, make sure your photos are always bright and clear.
You can upload them as square, horizontal or vertical, but square photos seem to bring the most into the frame (since they cannot be zoomed).
From the content side of view – showcase who you are and what your business is about.
Connect with your followers emotionally, show them who stands behind everything that’s being done in your company and what is going on behind the scenes.
Think further than only your product range.
For example, you might post a photo of packing your product, your creative space or anything else your potential customers can resonate with.
Showcase your products through real people
Unless your (ideal) audience is completely made of models, you should always rather show your products through real-life people who genuinely enjoy them than through a model you hired.
For example, if you are a fashion online store, you could work with fashion bloggers or simply even people you know personally that love fashion, in order to show your products.
This will make your products, whatever category they fall into, much more closer and desirable to your audience.
And that’s exactly what we aim for, right?
Hashtags are your friends!
Hashtags can go a long way when you are trying to spread the word about your brand or a particular product.
However, if you type any hashtag into Instagram’s search bar, you might notice there is a number of existing photos using that hashtag.
And even though you might be tempted to use all those hashtags that are used over a billion times, think again.
Every photo with this hashtag stays on top of the search for less than a second.
That won’t help much, right?
Instead, run a little hashtag research and write them down in categories, based on the amount of existing media using that hashtag.
Once you have these lists, test them over a period of time and see what gains more interactions.
Instagram lets you use up to 30 hashtags per photo/video, but if you use that many, you might look spammy.
Instead, keep it under 10 hashtags.
Oh, and #please #don’t #write #like #this.
Leverage customers who mention your brand
If someone posts a photo with your product and tags you, respond to that.
It’s simple as that! Even more, if this person is posting about a great experience they’ve had using your product, they are basically doing some free marketing for you.
So talk to them!
Thank them, ask them about their experience while purchasing or using your product – make them aware they matter to you.
And if what they are posting is suggesting they plan to buy from you?
Well, then jump in this conversation and direct them the right way, making sure you bring value to your product and help them decide what’s best for them.
Integrate Instagram galleries to eCommerce
This goes back to the point of showing your products through real people.
Let your customers know you want to see them enjoy your products and feature them on your product page.
You can create a specific hashtag for it and explain how are you going to use these photos.
If you want to take this direction, make sure to always comply with Instagram’s terms of service and, as Kissmetrics advises, always display photos directly from Instagram rather than saving them, as there are privacy restrictions on profiles.
Always be open with your followers and make them excited to be associated with your brand!
Run a promotion, giveaway or contest
Who doesn’t love a contest?
Free products, free shipping, free anything – we all enjoy being a part of it.
This is a great way to engage your audience and gain more followers, and it is very simple to run it.
As always, make sure you comply with Instagram’s promotion guidelines and musts.
Increase engagement through short videos
This one is simple: videos are very engaging!
It’s a great way to avoid monotony in your followers’ Instagram feeds.
They play automatically (without any sound until the viewer taps the video) so they are easy to notice.
Use this to talk to your audience!
Ask them a question, show them what’s going on in your office or simply wish them a great day.
This is your best shot to let your personality and authenticity shine through your brand.
Discount codes on images
The final important thing on Instagram is the fact that links are not enabled in captions and comments, and the only place for a clickable link is in your profile description.
This leaves very little space to direct your followers to your website in order to purchase a product, but a great way to entice them to visit your website on their own is to include a discount code on an image.
Make this code unique to Instagram and don’t promote it through other channels, as this gives your Instagram audience some power.
Once you post such photo with a code, make sure to include a clear and descriptive caption so they know what is the advantage of using that code.
Once you do that, you can make their path easier by including a link in your profile description that leads them to a page where they can use the code you listed.
To make the link short and memorable, you can use a free account on Bitly to customize your link!
This is it!
These tips might seem like a lot of work, but once you start doing them frequently, you will easily get used to managing your Instagram presence.
As always, make sure you track the results of your actions – amount of engagement and new followers – and tweak the steps accordingly to adjust them to your audience and your company’s needs.
And don’t forget to have fun!