Instagram is the One Social Network Every Entrepreneur Should Use
Instagram is the number one way today we engage with our audience for SportsEpreneur. It consists of distribution of content, replying to comments, researching other great content, direct messaging, and overall branding. It’s one of the best tools available for social media. It works for us—it can work for you
Why Should You Use Instagram for Your Business
Business owners often focus Return on Investment (ROI) when it comes to social media marketing. When it comes to Instagram (Insta or IG are both used names), these business owners ask how can I make any money using this tool? It’s a good question.
One thing that stands out when using this application is that unless you have 10,000 followers (no easy feat) there is only one link out (and that is in the profile). Within an image post and caption, links are not clickable. While there are ways to message (there’s a way to make connections) or to receive a call (another way–more passive, but it’s something), it’s not the easiest platform to drive sales that you can instantly measure.
In business, while ROI is always a hot topic, it’s not always about the ROI. But there is absolutely branding opportunities within Instagram. Images are at the heart of this social network. And images can drive engagement that leads to curiosity and interest.
In a recent survey it was found that 60% of Instagram users say they have learned about a product or service on the Insta platform. That is the main reason you should use it for your business. It means there are ways to create new opportunities and find new clients using Instagram.
That is a large number of people that are finding out about new businesses. Maybe they don’t buy right away, but how many of you are selling a product that is bought at first sight? People need to get comfortable with the product, service, and business. After learning about business through say an Instagram search, direct message, or some other kind of engagement, the intrigued person may see you again on another social network or perhaps a connection happens within Instagram.
Regardless, real people are finding out about businesses on Instagram–it might as well be your business.
The Hashtag on Instagram is the Window into Your Business
Now that you are using Instagram, how do you acquire opportunities within the platform. One way is using the hashtag. The hashtag on IG is a great tool for drawing attention to an article, a post, or a topic—and ultimately your business. But you do have to use it right to get the best results.
As many people know, adding the pound sign to a word, or a string of words with no spaces, in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram automatically converts that word in to a hashtag: #hashtagsaregreat. Then, anyone searching for that term will have a chance to see your post. If the hashtag is trending, that translates into a massive audience—free advertising, in other words. Often times though, you don’t need a popular hashtag – you just need a hashtag that fits into your narrative and a word someone who you are targeting may search.
While hashtags work on multiple platforms, they do not work equally well on all of them. Facebook, for example, has relatively weak search capabilities for hashtags and this will limit your potential audience for any hashtag posts.
You will likely get the best results from your hashtags on Instagram.
Hashtags are widely accepted on Instagram and a primary way people will find your posts. Also, unlike with other platforms, where hashtags can make posts look messy and cluttered, Instagram allows you to hide your hashtags for a cleaner look.
With Instagram, a post consists of a picture with an optional caption. However, if you write a caption that is too long, the excess text won’t show. Take advantage of this limited visible space by pushing all your hashtags at the end of the caption and out of view. The search feature can still see them, so they’ll still work, but your post will look neat and professional. You can also post hashtags into the first comment after your post.
You can use up to 30 hashtags this way, each one of them having the ability to draw in hundreds (or thousands) of viewers.
Also, if you don’t know what hashtags to use, search a hashtag on Instagram to check how it is working.
On Instagram and elsewhere, you do have to make sure your hashtags are relevant to your post. However, don’t use random hashtags just because they happen to be trending (like using #hockey in a automobile post) and don’t manipulate hashtags that usually belong in some other context (such as the slogan of a political campaign). Either could push people away thus leading to negative impact on your business.
When used correctly, the hashtag can help you develop new relationships with people around a specific topic. These hashtags can also allow you to generate a larger audience by connecting your post to thousands of people who might otherwise not have seen it. With practice, the hashtag can be used in many ways and on many platforms (but for now focus it on Insta) and it can become a major marketing tool for your business. If you’re not #usingit, I suggest you start.
Will Your Brand be Discovered on Instagram
You are using Instagram and you are armed with hashtags, but will your business be discovered on this platform?
We know Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms and we also know brands are discovered on Instagram daily. As we discuss social media with entrepreneurs on our podcast and in are meetings, it is clear Instagram is a favorite. There are currently over 400 million active daily users and there are no signs of slowing down.
The platform is structured something like a simplified version of Facebook (which owns Instagram). You have a profile and a news feed, you follow or are followed by other users, and you can like, comment, and send private messages. The big difference is the pictures and the overall simple look of it.
The reason Instagram has become so popular so quickly—and the reason the service is so important for marketing—is that it is designed specifically for visual sharing (pictures and short videos). Images can captivate in a way simple text cannot. Images can communicate so much more in a simple manner. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that is sometimes literally true; try describing an image thoroughly, and you could end up using a thousand words. Pictures are literally eye-catching. If you want to connect to potential clients quickly and powerfully, if you want to really put who you are and what you’re about out there, pictures are the way to do that. And you can still use text to add context to the image. We do just that within the SportsEpreneur profile. And the best part of that is it is native content which we discussed in a native content article on KazCM.
The bottom line is Instagram is the way to do pictures.
Of course, there is an art to using Instagram well. For example, if you create a consistent look by using the same filters for all of your content, you’ll be more recognizable to other users scrolling by. People will be more likely to notice your content and engage with it. That’s just one example of a way to use Instagram in a unique way.
It’s important not to treat Instagram like just another version of Facebook or Twitter, as if all social media platforms were the same. Get to know Instagram through your own personal account first, before creating your business’ account. That way, you’ll learn how to use the platform’s features and tools and understand what makes it distinct. Or hire a content marketing company or person to do this for you. Either way, the key is to develop a specific role or mission for your business’ Instagram account that fits within your overall social media strategy.
As Instagram continues to grow, more and more people will find out about brands through this platform. Make it yours they find out about.
Instagram is Here Now
Instagram is an amazing tool, today. This could change tomorrow. Instagram could re-design its platform, it could change the way you can use it, or it could create a new focus. That and the overall popularity of the network could change overnight. But today, it works. Take advantage.