For any business with a strong visual element or that targets smartphone users, Instagram is the perfect option. With a reported 300 million active users, this social network is a mobile video and photograph sharing app that – in order to create an account or post photos – must be downloaded on a user’s smartphone.
Instagram claims that more than 70 million photos are shared every single day on the network. If your company is ready to jump on board and start telling the story about your brand through videos and photos, here are basic instructions on how to set up Instagram for your business.
Though you can manage your account on a desktop browser, you must download the Instagram app on your smartphone to sign up and interact with others. Once downloaded, select “register with email” or “register with Facebook” to start the signup process. If the account it being used to represent a company, we suggest registering with one of the primary business email accounts. Choose a username that reflects your organization and that – if applicable – is known on other social media networks. You’ll also be prompted to add initial contacts if you wish. Select done and you’ll be ready for the next step.
Beef Up Your Profile
After signing up, you’ll find yourself on the main page with 5 navigation buttons near the bottom, including home, search/explore, camera, notifications and profile. To finish setting up your account, touch “profile” and fill in the details like a website link, a 150-character description of your company and add a profile photo. This photo typically displays as 150 x 150 pixels on most phones, so make sure the photo or logo is slightly larger, simple and easy to read.
Know the Instagram landscape
The navigation buttons at the bottom of your screen as used as follows:
- Home: To see the latest posts from people you follow
- Search: To look for specific people or places
- Camera: To snap photos and start sharing
- Notifications: To view the most recent people to follow your account and any who have favorited your photos
- Profile: To edit your account, view setting and see everything you’ve posted.
Make sure you have identified the objectives for your business account – is it to recruit potential employees, establish a positive public perception of your brand or something else? Once you know your overall purpose on Instagram, you’re ready to start interacting.
Before you start following others and others begin following you, it’s best to have a few posts on your Instagram, so they have something to look at and interact with. Touch the camera button at the bottom of your screen and take a photo or two or your company, staff, staff interacting with clients, etc. Instagram also has multiple filters and editing options you can add to your photos to make them pop; try out some of the filters to see what you like.
Before posting, make sure you write a caption. Keep in mind that long captions can be difficult to read on a mobile app. In addition, include hashtags (#) to help identify and organize your photo and you can mention another person or company in the caption, and that person or company will be notified of your posted photograph.
If you fall into a rut and are unsure of what to post, try these suggestions:
- Post photos of your product or of the production process
- Tease upcoming product releases
- Introduce employees
- Promote company blogs
- Highlight company events, parties or awards
- Post a photo with a question to allow interaction
- Use a call to action to encourage followers to post their own photos related to your business
Find Others to Follow
When you’re ready to find some people, businesses or topics to follow, press the search/explore button at the bottom of the screen. Here you can search for various users, popular hashtags, and other organizations. Though there’s no limit to how many people can follow you, you are limited to following 7,500 other people at any given time.
Once you’ve found accounts to follow and others begin following you, be sure to post photos and video (up to 15 seconds) regularly to keep your business involved. You’ll also want to interact with others by liking photos and commenting, to create and encourage participation.
There are paid tools you can use to keep track of how your posts are performing, allowing you to make better informed decisions about what works and what doesn’t. They also allow you to compare your account statistics to your competitors’ stats and help you determine in which areas you should put more focus. If you’re serious about your Instagram strategy, using analytics tools are worth it.