Instagram is a visual social media platform that allows you to take a photo on your smartphone or tablet, apply a filter to improve the mood of the photo and instantly share with friends, family and followers, essentially it is a world more connected through photos. But because Instagram is a relatively isolated social app that lives inherently on mobile, it’s important to connect social accounts to get the most out of the experience.
Three key features of the Instagram platform
Instagrammers are passionate about the platform and their love for amazing imagery. You'll reach people who are open to new perspectives.
A visual medium
Instagram's simple design allows captivating visuals to take center stage. Each image or video fills the screen with nothing to clutter the experience.
On Instagram your brand's story will be surrounded by other beautiful content in a creative and inspiring environment.
Let’s look at a quick snapshot of what Instagram brings to your online presence.
Who should use it: Lifestyle, food, fashion, personalities and luxury brands
What to share: Share visual content, including short videos (less than 15 seconds)
Post frequency: Once a day
Instagram invites brands with visual content into their customers’ zone-out time. Create and post content accordingly.
You’ll want to experiment with your own userbase and followers, but it’s likely that the best time to target your posts will be to get to your audience’s eyes during their commutes, nights, and weekends.
Useful tools: While hashtags are clickable and useful for search purposes, links in comments and captions are not. Instead, use the integrated sharing functions for Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter to repurpose your Instagram posts for more shareable media. Include a relevant hashtag to become more discoverable on Instagram and to track engagement across sites where you share the content.
So how do you get started on Instagram?
1. Sign up for an Instagram account and choose a username that clearly represents your brand
2. Add a profile photo, a biography and a link to your website
3. Link your account to Facebook and many other third-party sharing sites (such as Twitter) where you have an account by going to your Account Settings > Share Settings). This will allow you to:
- Share photos to those services, including your brand's Facebook page if you are an Apple iOS user (Instagram are working on making this feature available for Android in the future).
- Let your Facebook friends find you easily when using our Find Friends tool (Account Settings > Find People to Follow > Facebook Friends). It'll also create a news story in Instagram for anyone who follows you on Facebook and has linked their Facebook account to Instagram.
4. Announce to your Facebook followers that you're on Instagram. Let them know your Instagram username and show non- iPhone/Android followers where they can see your Instagram photos.
5. Use and search hash tags to connect with your audience:
- Local businesses: hashtag your city (#HawkesBay, #Auckland, #Timaru)
- Products and services: hashtag your niche type (#Makeup, #Shoes, #Dentist)
- Experts and websites: hashtag your industry (#Marketing, #Travel, #Fitness)
6. Share a variety of content. Visual content gets an excellent response on social media. And if you really want to make a splash on Instagram, choose a diverse mix of content that combines different elements of your business.
7. Encourage your followers to post their own photos with a call to action related to your business. It’s an effective way to develop a community like businesses such as Starbucks has. The trick is to ask your followers to post and tag, then you respond with a reply and #regram.
That’s just a few quick pointers to get you underway with your Instagram account and hopefully with the connections to your Facebook and Twitter accounts take some of the time out of posting on separate platforms while providing you with a valuable new addition to your social media presence.