For those who don’t know about Instagram, it is a wonderful image-sharing tool that has a lot of people hooked. Like Twitter and Facebook, you follow people or businesses and their photographs (and videos) then show up in your feed as they are posted.

instagram-for-business

Most people love visual images, particularly creative types. As we are all becoming increasingly time-poor we often seek instant gratification when surfing the web or social media so it is no surprise that sites like Instagram and Pinterest are taking off.

Instagram is a simple and easy way to represent who you are, share your business journey, show a behind the scenes look at your work, as well as promote yourself and your business.

This e-Series will give you a few tips on how to use Instagram effectively to help promote your creative business and build relationships with your customers. Whether you are a product-based business or a service business we will show you ways to use Instagram to help build your brand and expand your reach.

Signing up to Instagram is free and easy. All you need is an email account and a mobile device. Instagram has always been an almost exclusively mobile platform. Therefore, you must download the iPhone or Android app to your device in order to register an Instagram account. You can then login to Instagram.com on your PC and view, comment and like images in your feed but you still can’t register unless you are on a mobile device.

Instagram accounts are public by default, which means anyone can choose to follow you and see your photos. Public accounts also give access for search engines to index and display your posted photos in search results. You may elect however to create a private account. In that case, users must request to follow you and you can accept or reject their request. Head to your profile tab and scroll down to “Privacy” if you wish to select the option to make your photos private.

Your profile

When you are signing up for Instagram, or any social media for that matter, think about how easy you are making it for your customers, or potential customers to find you. As much as you can, try to get the same username across various platforms.

For example: Bespoke Magazine is @bespokezine on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. It is also the URL of the website. If you want to find a username that you can use across various accounts head to http://namechk.com/

Your name or the business name?

There is no right answer here, but there will be an answer that is right for you.

If your business has a name that is not your own perhaps the best way to build on that brand is to use the business name. However, on social media such as Twitter and Instagram, people are more likely to connect with you and your brand if you use your own name.

Making the decision also depends on who will be using the account, the purpose of the account and who will be accessing the account. To break it down:

  • If the social media account will be handled by more than one person, it might be wise to use the business name.
  • If the idea of the account is to have more sales and find new customers use the business name. If it is to share about your family, what you are up to and life in general, then use your own name.
  • If you link it to your business website as a customer connection portal use the business name.
  • Think about the people who are likely to follow the account, how much of YOU do you want to share with them? Are they following to know more about you, or your business?
  • Think about your other social media profiles, what are the handles (usernames) you use for them? Is your Facebook page and Twitter handle your business name or your own?

Both options work and both have their benefits and disadvantages so the decision really lies in what you feel most comfortable with and what seems the most appropriate for you and your business.

After considering all of this, if it’s all too hard, there is no reason that you can’t register 2 accounts. One for you, and one for your business. There are no rules about whether you post business things on your personal account or vice-versa so this might be a good way to work out for yourself how you want to manage your social media.

Setting up your profile

Your Instagram profile is similar to Twitter where you have a short bio plus a link to your website or online store so that followers can find you elsewhere online. Take full advantage of this profile space.

One way to use the space is to say the pure essence of what you do, or simply list words that describe your business. If you opt for this, regularly check in that what you have written resonates and attracts your ideal customers.

Another option for the profile space for business accounts is listing a special offer. This is also a nifty way of tracking conversions from Instagram followers through to sales. An example might be: 20% OFF when you shop on our website with coupon: IGLOVE. Use the shop link as your profile URL.

This week’s assignment: Open a new account and go through the setup process, or check-in with your current account and take a look at your profile. Does it have all the information your followers need to find your website, does it include your business details?

Next week: Building connections on Instagram

UPDATE: Links to the other articles

WEEK 1 – Getting Started

WEEK 2 – Building Connections

WEEK 3 – Building Engagement

WEEK 4 – Grow Your Following

WEEK 5 – Driving Traffic