How to use Instagram to your business advantage

How to use Instagram to your business advantage

Written by Iñigo Etxebeste

They say a picture says a thousand words, and with the advent of Instagram in recent years, those thousand words can relate directly to your particular product.

Instagram is the popular photo-sharing app for smartphones and can also be accessed via its website. While used in excess for the casual “selfie” or photo of a person’s dinner, there is a lot more to it than uploading photos of the mundane and beautifying them with a few choice filters.

Indeed, what better way to sell your product than to make it visual and market it to those with an eye for photography or detail?

Setting up an Instagram account for your business is easy, and if you are already using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to promote your business, then finding those all-important first followers for your Instagram account is simple. Set up your account using a smartphone and get snapping!

Instagram utilises the now well-known practice of hashtagging. Your posts can contain various hashtags in order to extend your reach to new customers. Does your business specialise in selling vegan or vegetarian products? Then hashtag #Vegan #Vegetarian and variations (#VeganFood #VegetarianFood or the popular #WhatVegansEat) with your photo. Do you have a special offer on with your product? Then hashtag #offer. Hashtags can work with all sorts of things and whatever you’re trying to promote or sell you can stamp it with a hashtag and reach new customers worldwide. Furthermore, you can share your Instagram posts with pre-existing social media accounts for your business, such as Facebook and Twitter and find the hashtags intact on those media too. This means that people clicking or searching for a particular hashtag on Twitter may be linked to an Instagram post you’ve shared on the site.

Of course, it’s not just your own Instagram account you can make use of to promote yourselves. As you build your followers and explore other users whom your business may share a simpatico with, you’ll begin to find other users are willing post pictures of your products too. You may be asked by users to be sent samples of your products for them to make their own posts about. The important thing is to remain savvy when choosing which users you want to share with. If Johnny Nobody with two followers is asking you to send him something for him to share on his Instagram account, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that this will be entirely unhelpful to your business. However, you might occasionally find the more high-profile Instagram user is desperate to promote your products on their own accounts, which may have thousands of followers and interactions. Through your own research of the app, you might find particular users yourselves who you may want to reach out to. There are all sorts of possibilities, including a trade between companies – they post something for you and you post something for them – just make sure that what you’re posting is relevant and mutually attractive to both customer bases, because you don’t want to scare your customers off with irrelevant posts and photos.

Hashtagging your Instagram posts will ensure that your posts maintain a global reach, but make sure your photos are actually interesting and pleasant to look at – this is a photography app after all. Look through the range of filters they have available to present your product in the best light. Play with the focus of an image and make the parts of it stand out that you need to.

Share your Instagram posts on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, where they in turn may be shared with more users. Sometimes a written post can be missed, so breaking the monotony of black and white text with a gorgeous, colourful photo may just be the boost your pages need to keep interest and engagement.

Iñigo Etxebeste, September 12, 2018