It is no secret that Instagram is one of the best social networks for connecting with your clients and customers and building a community around your blog or business. It is my go-to social network for sharing the happenings of Intentionally Designed and connecting with my followers. It is also one of my favorite places to connect with other creatives and build a community. But like any form of marketing, the key is knowing how to best utilize it for yourself.
I wanted to share some basic tips for getting started with Instagram and to help you boost your following. These 5 tips will give you a general idea of how to use Instagram for business, but I encourage you to dig in to each area individually and how to tailor it to your specific niche and audience. Over the next several weeks, I will post more detail on using Instagram and how it can benefit your business. But for now, here are my top 5 tips for using Instagram for business.
1. High quality images
Instagram is all about images so this is one of the most important things to work on when trying to up your instagramming game. Find your style and stick to it. Being consistent with your images and making sure they stay true to your brand will help you connect with your follows, attract more followers, and establish your authenticity. You don't have to be a professional photographer to have high quality images. Most images that are shared on Instagram are taken with phones, so it is possible to get those bright and clear photos with just your phone. Be sure to take your time when taking your photos and set up your desired shot. Take your picture in a bright spot with indirect sunlight if you can too. I also recommend taking a couple of shots so that you can choose the best one to share. Once you have the photo you want to use, you can edit it with a photo editing app or directly in Instagram. I use Instagram to edit 99% of my photos and I up the brightness, boost the saturation a tad, and decrease the warmth to remove any yellow overtone. This helps me create the bright, clear photos and keeps them all looking consistent.
2. Find your optimal posting times
This is different for everyone, so you have to use some trial and error to determine what works best for your audience. There is no magic formula, so you just have to test it out. Try posting at several different times during the day for a week and see when you get the most interaction from your followers. You also have to work with your own schedule and know when you will be able to post and interact with your followers too. Using apps like Latergramme are extremely helpful in scheduling your posts ahead of time so you have them ready to go when you need them.
3. Post often
I find that when I post often I get more interaction from my followers as well as gain new followers. I can go days without sharing and post the most amazing image ever and get nothing. I could probably even say that everything in the shop was free and still not get much. But if I stick to a pretty consistent posting schedule of 3-4 times a day at my optimal times (see how that works) then I get good interaction with likes, comments, and new followers. There is a fine line between posting often and posting too much though, so don't go sharing everything just for the sake of posting something. You still have to focus on quality posts that are of interest and value to your followers.
4. Use hashtags
Hashtags will help your images to be found. You can use hashtags to group together certain things for your business or life so that they are always together. For example, I always use the #printedink hashtag when posting about a product in the shop and encourage any customers to do the same so that all shop images are grouped together. You can also team up with others to use a community hashtag or jump on one that is already being shared frequently to help your images be seen by a different audience.
5. Build a community
Remember, it is a social network so you have to be social. Simply posting your photos and never coming back to it won't get you very far. If you want to grow a loyal audience and build a community with your Instagram account, you have to interact with your followers. If they comment on a photo, reply to them and start a conversation. Be friendly and open so that they feel like they know you and they will keep coming back for more. You can also connect with other business owners in your industry and form partnerships, collaborations, and friendships.
Instagram can be a great way to grow your following and connect with your audience. Put these simple tips into action for your business so you can take your Instagram to the next level and connect with more people. Follow along with @intentionallydesigned on Instagram for more.