Posted: Sat 5th Nov 2016
Alison Battisby, social media consultant and founder of Avocado Social, shares advice on how to maximise the marketing potential of Instagram.
You've probably already heard that Instagram is the fastest growing social media network, but you might not know that it is now in fact larger than Twitter. That's right; more than 300m people access Instagram every month, compared to Twitter's 284m.
The success of Instagram lies in its focus on photography rather than text, as you don't need to write much, and the filter options mean you can transform your photos into masterpieces with just a few touches on your smartphone.
Instagram is perfect for small businesses with lots of visual content at their fingertips. If you are a food-based, fashion or beauty startup, then Instagram is a must! Download the app for free on your phone and follow my top tips for getting started with Instagram:
1) Search for what's already out there
You can find hashtags and people in the search box on Instagram. Make a list of hashtags that people might be using that relate to your business, and understand what kind of pictures people are resonating with by seeing how many likes they have received.
2) Establish a style
A great technique on Instagram is to establish a particular style and stick to it. This means that you become more memorable within the newsfeed, and all your posts remain within your distinctive branding. Whether that's picking the same filter and border every time like Deliciously Ella or whether you use similar colours and angle in your shots. A great example of this is Lucky Dip Club on Instagram, who use bright, fun and retro images that are completely on brand.
3) Use it for exclusive content
Make sure you use Instagram for additional content that's a little bit special. If you are just posting the same thing to Facebook and Twitter as well, you are giving people less of a reason to follow you on Instagram. Think product launches, behind the scenes, a look at life running a business, and places you are visiting for inspiration.
4) Choose the right hashtags
If you are confused about which hashtags to use, have a look in Discover in Instagram first to understand which would be best. You can use up to 30 on Instagram, but I'd recommend a maximum of five otherwise you begin to look a little desperate! Hashtags are a great way for people to find your content so it's important to at least put a few in. Take a look at Tags for Likes for the most popular hashtags to use, by category.
If your customers decide to snap your products, then reward them by sharing their images to your own account. This is the same as doing a retweet, but Instagram hasn't invented a button for it yet. I use the Repost app, which is free, and gives credit to the customer too so there's no copyright issues.