Instagram has 150 million users. Thatís more daily mobile users than Twitter. Are you ready to tap into that audience? Instagram can be a powerful marketing tool because your community loves to get a sneak peek into your company’s “real” every day. Why not give them that with pictures? For example, you can
- Show your personal side. If you’re a blogger, you’re likely building your community based on sharing you. Only you can determine the level of sharing that’s appropriate, of course. Depending on your type of blog, Instagram is a great way to let your readers have a glimpse of what’s interesting or important to you. That can mean anything; it doesn’t have to be pictures of your family.
- Report your company news. Did you get a new shipment in? Do you have a daily special? Or maybe you have an event coming up or just had one? Bring your community into the fold with pictures.
- Share behind-the-scenes happenings. If an impromptu battle of the bands breaks out in the office (or living room), you definitely want to share that. But even mundane stuff like creating an end-of-month stats report can be interesting to see — even if it’s just to reinforce that even the fun offices have work to get done. You’re relating to your community and letting them become familiar with you and your employees.
How Do I Get Started With Instagram?
First you need to download the app for your smartphone (go to your smartphone’s application store). Once you’ve installed the app, follow the instructions for creating an account:
1. Click the Register button. A new screen appears.
2. Type the Instragram username and password you’d like. Or, you can click Use Your Facebook Info to sign up that way.
When you sign up with Facebook, you’ll be asked to allow the Instagram app to have access to your account. You need to allow this so Instagram can create your account and allow you to post photos to your Facebook Timeline.
Note this little menu next to Who Can See Posts From This App on Facebook.
You can click that and see a full menu. From here you can choose who can see things you update to Facebook from Instagram. You can set it to Public (everyone can see), Friends (only people you’re connected with), or Only Me (if you don’t want anyone else to see your photos on Facebook). It’s important to note that not every picture you take will be sent to Facebook. I’ll explain how that works in a little bit. Let’s get back to registering your account.
3. Click the Done button in the top right corner.
Ok! Let’s get started! Now that you have an account, let’s talk about how Instagram works. When you fire up Instagram, you’re taken to your main Instagram feed and you see five navigation icons at the bottom of the screen:
- Home: This is your where youíll see the pictures from people you follow.
- Search: Use this page to search users or hashtags (#keyword).
- Camera: You can take a new photo or use an existing photo from your camera roll.
- Likes: A list of people that have liked your photos. This can be a good place to find new people to follow.
- Profile: Establish your settings, share settings, and see the photos youíve uploaded.
When you’re ready to take a picture and post it, you’ll click the center camera button to take a picture. If you want to use a picture from your camera roll, click the double squares icon on the camera page.
Instagram Tip: Bright and sharp photos have the most engagement, so keep that in mind as you’re deciding what to share.
After you’ve taken a photo, Spice It Up! You can
- Add one of the 17 filters to your content.
- Use the bright icon to enhance the image.
- Use the frame tool (only available on some filters).
- Use the blur tool. You can choose either the round or horizontal blue, depending on what you want to do. You can even change the size of the focused or blurred part of the photo.
When you’re done editing your photo, click the green checkmark. A new screen comes up where you can write a caption about your photo, add it to your photo map, and share it to your other social networks. When everything’s in place, click the green Share button at the top of the screen and your photo shows up in the Instragram stream!
Instagram Tips For Business
- When you create a caption, you can tag people if you know their Instagram username. Just type @username and they’ll get a notification that you tagged them. Of course, you don’t want to tag people unless they’re actually in the photo or somehow related to it. You wouldn’t tag people just to get them to look at your stuff — that’s spammy and people don’t like it.
- If someone comments on your photo and you want to respond, you can touch and hold the username and a new screen appears with that username already tagged and ready for your new comment.
- Establish a basic hashtag that everyone can use when they post. A hashtag is a number sign (#) with a keyword or phrase attached to it (#Summit). Used consistently, people will start to associate that hashtag with your business and may start using it themselves for relevant photos.
- Be sure your Instagram profile shares your Facebook page, website, or online store address.
- If youíre set up on Foursquare, integrate that with Instagram and use the location tagging feature so people will know where the store is.
- Create a page on your website with Instagram so you can pull the photos in as you take them. That allows you to do all sorts of things with search, hashtags, contests/giveaways on your website.
- Check out statigr.am and set up an account. Youíll be able to see basic stats and analytics; find the best times to post; analyze which photos are most popular; add follow buttons to your website and blog; break down how your hashtags are being used & compare them to the most popular hashtags on Instagram; check out the engagement youíre getting on photos; and use the contest toolkit. That’s a lot of bang for your buck — especially since statigr.am is FREE!
Do you have a favorite Instagram tool or tip? Tell us in the comments!