I remember the good old days shortly after Myspace when Facebook was THE main social media place to be. Like … as a small business owner you really didn't need to worry about being anywhere else!
Those days are gone.
Facebook is becoming more and more consumed with adds and people becoming frustrated that they never actually get to see the posts of their friends in their feed. (I mean seriously … I see the same posts from the same people for like 3 days in a row! Just say'in.) And while Facebook provided great free marketing for businesses in the beginning, they've now made it extremely hard to reach an audience. I mean I get it … they had a bazillion people marketing through them for free so why not start actually charging people to be able to "reach" their audience?
Yesterday I posted something on my Facebook business page and it literally reached ONE person.
So. This is where Instagram comes in to take over! I started an Instagram account two years ago when I first got my iPhone, but now I'm realizing that it's important for businesses to use as well and I think that every small business should have one! Here's why ...
- Your images are GUARANTEED to be viewed by ALL of your followers! (Unlike Facebook. Boo.)
- Instagram gives you a lovely opportunity to share bits and pieces of your personal life in addition to your business!
- Younger people use it more than Facebook. Seriously it's true. Facebook is becoming an old, outdated fart like Myspace.
- Instagram is SO simple to use. I don't even like looking at my Facebook business page anymore because it's so darn complicated now! And they recently just changed it (for the millionth time) again yesterday. New layout, stats everywhere, messages hard to find, ugh!
So here's a few tips on using Instagram to make it more effective for your business!
1. Get an account if you don't have one already!
Even if you don't use Instagram right now, at least create an account RIGHT NOW so that your business name doesn't get taken! Do it. Now.
2. Provide a link to your blog and include your tagline!
Once you have an account, make sure that you provide a link to your blog (or if you don't have a blog, your website,) underneath your profile! (Like in the photo above.) It's great to announce blog posts using Instagram, but if you don't provide people with a link to actually GO to your site, they're probably not going to look. So don't forget to do this okay?!
3. Keep your selfies under control.
I think it's awesome to post photos of yourself every now and then for your viewers to be able to actually see YOU but … not every day. This is just my personal opinion!
4. Post business behind-the-scenes peeks!
I think these are fun. Let people get little glimpses into your business. I love to post a photo or two while I'm doing a session or wedding as well!
5. Follow vendors, companies and brands that you adore and actually LIKE their posts!
And leave a comment on occasion, too. The more you interact with people, the more they will interact back with you. Also don't forget to tag whoever you're posting about that way they can be sure to see it!
6. Follow your clients!
It's a great way to keep in touch and to get little peeks into their life. And if you post a photo of them be sure to tag them in it! If you're a photographer and shooting a wedding, post a behind-the-scenes wedding shot and tag the bridal party. Or post a little teaser photo on Instagram for them to see before they receive their photos. (The photo below was a shot of the groomsmen that I found to be hilarious! I was editing it and decided to post a quick little peek just for kicks.)
7. Link your Instagram posts to Facebook and Twitter!
(And whatever other social media you use.) There's really no excuses NOT to do this because it is SO easy. Instagram gives you this option every single time you post a photo! So do it.
8. Use HASHTAGS!!!
I'm not always great about this one, but I'm getting better at it. Hashtags allow people to find your photos by searching for keywords! On the same note, don't go OVERBOARD with hashtags. Using 2-3 hashtags is perfectly fine. Using 10-40 hashtags on a single image is just pure overkill, in my opinion.
9. Host some fun giveaways on Instagram!
A great way to gain followers would be to host a giveaway or contest and have your followers repost your photo (while tagging you,) to enter!
10. Find a balance between posting business photos and personal photos!
I LOVE my cat Mr. Purrie and I think that he is THE MOST ADORABLE THING IN THE WORLD, but I also don't post like 15 photos of him a day. (Which is hard … because he's so damn cute.) Choose the best one and post it … think QUALITY over QUANTITY.
11. Post "real" images too!
If you use a camera besides your iPhone, post some awesome shots from it every now and then. If I've just shared a fabulous photo from a recent wedding or engagement session on Facebook, I'll simply save the image from Facebook and repost it on Instagram!
12. Aaaaaand finally, stay positive!
Especially as a business owner, it's really important not to air your dirty laundry on social media. Or to post rude or mean photos. No one likes to follow some one who is negative, so try to keep your posts uplifting and engaging!
I hope you find some of these tips to be helpful! And while we're at it, you might also enjoy this post that I wrote on 11 ways to grow your Instagram.
And on that note … it's time for coffee.