Why Your Business Needs Instagram

Instagram for Business

Instagram for Business

Instagram isn’t just for selfies anymore: companies that incorporate it into their social media plan are increasingly finding a use in posting daily pictures with descriptive captions and original hashtags. Visuals capture the attention like nothing else, and when you can easily promote your brand with an app that many smartphone users have at their fingertips, why not try it out?

One of the huge benefits of Instagram is the ability to develop and share your specific brand identity with an audience of millions. Snap a picture of your employees at work, a new product coming soon, or even of the view from an especially scenic office window—customers want to see the everyday workings of a business they support, and it’s a good way to draw in new business as well. It brings the business closer to the customer, and the customer gets to know the business better by seeing daily or weekly visuals relevant to the brand. Teasers of new products or daily pictures leading up to a reveal inside the business are intriguing to the everyday Instagram user and will get them talking about the brand. Feeling a personal connection to the business is important for the customer and makes them more likely to recommend your services to others.

Using hashtags is a big part of Instagram as well. Mixing it up and using hashtags specific to your brand as well as general hashtags that people may search is a simple way to keep it balanced. Hashtags are how people find what they’re searching for—don’t use one that’s too complicated or unrelated to the picture. You can track your customers this way as well by searching the original hashtags you create specifically for your brand.

If customers write comments on your pictures, comment back! It’s thrilling to get a comment back from a brand that seems faceless, and it adds a personal touch that is hard to achieve in some cases. If someone compliments the picture or asks a question, it’s a nice touch to send a quick note back that shows you’re not disconnected from your audience. This is also an easy way to post a picture asking for opinions or questions (ex: “What’s your favorite color for this product?”) and to get people to engage and talk about your business. You can respond to your favorites or insert a quick comment to stimulate conversation.

Instagram photo contests are an easy way to get your followers talking to their friends about your product. Start a contest where the best photo relating to your business in some way wins a coupon or something similar—use hashtags to track the entries and promote the contest daily. Customers are always looking for a way to save, and this gets them involved in promoting your business with your specific hashtag.

Choosing Instagram as a social media site for your business is a smart decision, especially if you’re lacking a personal touch with your customers. Take a few pictures every day, apply a creative filter and attach a few thoughtful hashtags and your Instagram will start to take off. Communication with your audience is key to maintaining and building new contacts, and it’s as easy to begin as downloading a free app available on the App Store.

 

by Blair Callahan on LinkedIN at: www.linkedin.com/in/blaircallahan

How to Use Hashtags for Your #Business

Hashtag

rHow to Use Hashtags for Your #Business

Blair Callahan

The hashtag seems to be everywhere now that big-names like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Google+ have adopted it, and adapting to its growing popularity is important in the social media world. Businesses with Twitters aren’t the only ones using them anymore, so the hashtag can’t be ignored any longer. Here are some ways to use them:

  1. The most popular way to use hashtags is fairly straightforward—you hashtag a word or group of words to create a link that people can click on to see who else is discussing the same tag that you used. This is a useful way to track how many people are using your specific, original hashtag and what they’re saying. You can start a discussion as a business and people who follow your account can respond and use the hashtag that you promote. Remember that capital letters in tweets don’t matter for search results, but spaces and punctuation won’t register and will mess up the hashtag.

Example: “Food truck rodeo today! Visit us and tweet your favorites using #FayettevilleStreetRaleigh”

  1. If your business wants to give a discount or a deal to the users who use their hashtag in a tweet, it’s an easy way to confirm their participation and their use gets your business’s name on the timelines of their followers. You can also hashtag the name of an event or sale that your business is having, so that people who attend or have questions about the event can use that particular hashtag to discuss it with other attendees or to just show that they’re going.

Example: “Retweet with your favorite salsa flavor and you get one taco on us! Use the hashtag #TacoBellSalsa and show us your tweet when you come in”

Example: “Going to the #JCPennyFlashSale this morning with Lilly!”

  1. Humor and voice is another way to use hashtags. Tweets with clever hashtags by businesses tend to keep their current followers interested in the brand—it might not gain new followers the same way that a searchable, relevant hashtag might, but it keeps your current followers entertained. These can also help demonstrate your brand identity as long as it stays true what the business might possibly say. Following Twitter trends (as long as they’re appropriate) are also good ways to entertain your followers. The trending hashtags are on the left side of your screen, and you can set it so that it shows your area or the entire country.

Example: “We’re sick of this rain at El Rodeo, too! Don’t leave us alone with this queso #eatingitall #comeinandseeus #butreally #quesoisgone”

A good combination of these types of hashtags makes it so that your business’s page isn’t redundant or boring, and that you’re getting good use out of the hashtags that you use. The hashtag isn’t going away anytime soon—no more ignoring its many #uses.

by Blair Callahan on LinkedIN at: www.linkedin.com/in/blaircallahan

Aso see Martin Brossman’s book on How to Use Hashtags on Amazon at: 
http://www.amazon.com/How-Use-Hashtags-Martin-Brossman-ebook/dp/B00JCD1II4/