Instagram, a social media platform for photo sharing, shares more than 95 million photos daily. The app focuses on capturing moments and stories through pictures and short video. Users post pictures with captions and even customized filters for an artistic flare. Instagram has become a popular social media outlet for celebrities, musicians, newsrooms, brands, teenagers and alike. This creative outlet brings out the visionary side of every user.
Instagram is becoming a critical social network for business and is proven to be an effective brand-building tool, particularly for businesses that depend on visuals to generate demand such as restaurants, travel and retail. Even if you don’t have a visual brand, Instagram is another way to tell your story using pictures.
Develop a Strategy
Just as you have developed a social strategy for your other social channels, you will need one for Instagram. Your Instagram strategy needs to align with your overall marketing plan and business goals, which should be achievable and measurable. You will have to decide what to post, when to post, and how often you will post. The strategy should also include identity guidelines that determine how you want the pictures to look and feel.
Create an Editorial Calendar
Once you have the strategy, now you need to put the plan in place with an editorial calendar. The calendar will include topics, promotions, captions, hashtags, and any influencers/collaborators. The calendar is a roadmap to help focus resources on attaining the goals laid out in the strategy.
To post a picture or video, click the middle “+” icon on the bottom of your screen. From there you can choose a video or photo from your camera roll, or take one on the spot. If you are looking to fit multiple pictures in one post, select the grid-like icon on the far right to combine photos in a collage format. Finally, select a pristine filter, add a suitable comment, and post. Mention other users by using “@” followed by the account name.
Tell your story with captions
For marketing purposes, the caption holds great importance. The caption highlights the picture, giving it something extra. It should draw the viewer in and bring clarity to the photo. A caption can further explain product details or indicate information of an event.
Interact: Like, comment, send, and save photos
For a successful Instagram account it is important to interact with the Instagram community, whether it is posting photos and videos, or throwing a like at another post. Instagram delivers an engagement rate of 4.21% per follower, 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook.
Like: If you want to “like” a picture, simply double tap the picture; a white heart will appear in the middle to confirm you have “liked” it. Another method of liking a picture is to click on the heart located on the bottom left corner, the heart will turn red to confirm your “like”. Didn’t mean to ”like” a photo? Simply double tap or click again to undo.
Comment: To comment on a post, tap the word bubble icon.
Send: You have come across the perfect post and have to show your coworker, maybe even your boss. You can share a post directly with another account by selecting the folded arrow icon. Then you may search and send to whomever you choose. The same icon is located in the top right corner of your screen. Here lie all the messages you have sent and received.
Save: You want to show your coworker, maybe even your boss, but they don’t have an Instagram account? You can save a photo for later by tapping the ribbon icon on the bottom right of the picture. These are stored and found with the same icon located on your profile.
The importance of the hashtag
Hashtags are citical when promoting a business or brand. All Instagram users can find your photo when searching your hashtag. If you want your pictures seen, add a specific, relevant hashtag. It is helpful to browse through related hashtags to see which ones are popular and relevant.
Realized you misspelled the caption? Forgot a hashtag? Need to change the location? Editing a post is easily accessible by clicking the three-dot icon on the top right corner of your post.
Embed Photo on the web
If you want to share your post on a blog or the company website you can copy and paste the code to anywhere on the web. Click on the three-dot symbol for editing, located on the top write corner of your photo and choose “Embed.”
Sharing Photos to other social platforms
Link Instagram to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Flickr accounts by going to your profile > Options > Settings > Linked Accounts. From there you are able to choose other forms of social media to link. With this feature, your Instagram posts will also post to the other social media platforms.
Sharing photos directly with people/ business
Don’t want to ruin your image, but you are interested in posting a photo to certain candidates? You can share pictures directly to whomever you choose without posting it to your feed. After choosing a picture and selecting the proper filter, choose “New Post” located directly left of “Share” then select “Direct message”. Next, select the recipients and send. You are able to view these messages by selecting the folded arrow icon on the top right of your homepage. This feature gives users the ability to send pictures as a direct message with up to 15 people of their choice.
Hiding and Removing Tag
If you happen to be tagged in an unwanted post, have no fear; this is not permanent. To hide a photo tag, tap the photo and click on your handle (example: @user) when it appears, select “Hide from My Profile”. You will still be tagged in the photo but it will no longer appear in your tagged photos. To completely remove a tag, click for “More Options” and select “Remove Me from Photo”
Is your business going through a complete rebrand? If you need to remove multiple tagged photos efficiently, go to “Photos of You.” You can adjust your settings in the top right corner and click “Add Manually” to review all photos and delete multiple tags.
Adding the location or geotag shows followers where the picture/event is taking place. If you share your location, you can add it to your photo map. The photo map feature groups your images together based on location.
If you have a Snapchat account, you should be comfortable with the Instagram story feature. The “stories” are posts located at the very top of your Instagram feed, where they stay for just 24 hours. Select your story profile (with the + sign) and take a picture, video, or boomerang. Post for all your followers to see, or send it to accounts directly. Mention other users by using “@” followed by the account name, just like tagging in a comment or photo.
Going “live” allows you to connect with followers in real time, a great tool for easy publicity. Instagram Live is located within your story profile (with the + sign). Users get a notification when a live video is streaming and can engage by commenting during the video. If you want to close commenting, tap the three-dot icon and select “Turn Off Commenting.” You can see who is viewing your broadcast by tapping on the eye icon in the top left of your video. Don’t like a viewer? Kick them out by tapping the X next to their account name.
If you are trying to spice up a post or story, use the Boomerang feature. Boomerang takes a video and plays it forward and backward, transforming an ordinary video to an extraordinary attraction. You will find this feature as an option while taking a photo/video.
If you don’t have an Instagram account, download the app, create an account, and start posting, tagging, sharing, and continue building your business. It is never too late to get started!