Instagram for Business – Everything You Need to Know About
Instagram seems to be a paradise for businesses in food and fashion industries to taste success. But before you make an entry to Instagram, be sure to learn about social network? Find out how to make it work best and what it does for your brand.
Instagram is actually a mobile social network and photo-sharing app which was founded by Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom in 2010. Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012.
As of September 2015, Instagram had around 400 million active users, as per the reports of CNN. If you are wondering about Instagram, it is a combination of “Instant” (from instant cameras) and “telegram”.
Unlike other social media apps, Instagram is comprehensively a video/photo-oriented. So, users can easily post and edit short videos and images but cannot post updates like on Facebook and Twitter.
Getting Started with Instagram
As Instagram is basically a mobile app, you will need to download it to your device before you register for an account. In both Google Play and Apple App store, Instagram is free.
You cannot create a business-oriented account. So, personal and business accounts can be created and it functions in that way. After downloading the app, you will be asked to either signup or log in.
You can either connect it to Facebook or enter email if you don’t have account of Facebook or want to keep your account separate. If you choose Facebook, your details will automatically be filled in, for example your profile picture and name.
But it will still prompt you to create user and password.
If you prefer signing up with email, it will prompt you to enter the username and password apart from your phone number and full name. They both are optional.
After entering the information, you can choose to connect your Instagram account with Facebook with “Find Facebook Friends to follow” option. You can also find friends based on your contacts. If you just want to set up your account, you can skip both options.
After creating the account, you can visit Profile tab through the button on bottom of the screen and add more info to your profile. You can also see your personal posts eventually.
Change your username, name and profile picture after tapping on “Edit Your Profile” button. You can also add a short bio or up to 150 characters which are a bit longer than the tweet or add a website URL.
You can also update your email, change your password, phone number, or anything. To change the settings, tap on the gear button on top right corner. You can view posts you liked, fine people to connect with you, and see suggested accounts.
Navigate the App
Navigating it is quite easy. At the bottom, there are five buttons to take you anywhere you want. You will find Home tab, Search tab, camera button, Profile tab, and Activity tab, from left to right.
When the app is opened, it will automatically take you to home page. You will find unlimited scrolling stream of recent posts from users you are following, along with posts of you.
When you access the Search tab, it will open up the whole new possibilities to find out the appealing content and new users you can follow.
You will access a search bar on Search page where you can look for anything. After typing the keyword, you can see users by names. You can see hashtags which have keyword or Places if you are searching for geo-tags or photos around your current location.
If you ignore search bar, you will horizontally scroll the row of pictures known as Trending Tags and a feed of posts like Explore Posts. If you select “See All” in Trending Tags, you will be directed to the page with all the trending tags.
You can just scroll down to access the top photos you like and tap posts in Explore Posts. You can tap photos if you want to find out who posted them and read their captions.
You can also find other brands and people who relate to your interests and follow people with same content to earn more followers.
There are two different streams of content on the activity page. There are two tabs on the top of page – You and Following. On the activity page, you can find all the recent notifications.
This way, you can see who liked your pictures, comments left by other users or mentions, and tags. When you switch to the Following tab, it will show up recent activity from the people you are following. You can see photos liked by them or commented by them.
On Profile tab, you can find all of your posts, update your settings, and edit your profile. Under biography section, there are four buttons. First button is default view where your videos and photos can be seen as a college. In second button, you can see posts on home page as a stream.
In third button, you can access photo map by using geotagging. The last button showcases all your tagged photos.
You can post only two types of content on Instagram – videos and photos. To post a new video or photo, tap camera button on the bottom. It will open your device’s camera and you can either take a new video or photo, or choose one from camera roll.
You can edit your creation on Next tab. There are three options for editing – Lux, Filters and Tools.
By default, a new photo on Instagram is opened on Filters options where user can scroll through all the image filters available. There are 40 filters you can choose from. It changes things like softness and coloring of images.
You can just tap on filters you like to see what they look alike. It can put the filter on photo. It can pull up the slider by tapping the name of filter again. The slider can be used to adjust strength until the image looks the way you love it to. Once done, tap the tick mark and update your photo.
The Lux option adjusts things automatically like sharpness and exposure of image. All you need to slide the bar to find the best look you need. Tap the tick mark to post once you have made adjustments you like.
In the Tools section, you can find a lot of options. You can adjust all these with sliders. While scrolling through the Tools options, from left to right, there are various options like Brightness, Adjust, Structure, Contrast, Saturation, Warmth, Fade, Color, Shadows, Highlights, Tilt Shift, Vignette, and Sharpen. The tools like Contrast, Saturation, Brightness, and Highlights are common.
Adjust tool lets the user to straighten, tilt and rotate the photo. You can blur the outer edges of photo with Tilt Shift and darken the edges with Vignette.
For videos, the options are quite similar, with some slight changes. There are four options to upload or take a video. You can add filters with the first option, adjust the aspect ratio of the video with second option, choose the cover frame with third option and mute the sound of video with fourth option.
If you found that you forgot to tag someone or add a hashtag upon posting, or spelled any word wrong, go to image on Home page or Profile page, select ellipses button and choose Edit to add location, tag and update the caption. You can share the post on other social media or delete the post if you are not happy with it. Even though you can geo-tag, edit the tags and caption, it is not possible to edit image once it has been posted. However, you can delete image.
If you don’t know the app very well, all such options and steps may seem confusing. Even though you are not an expert in photo editing, the tools and filters on Instagram are super easy to use and you may feel like a pro in what you are doing.
Not having a background in photo editing and photography won’t affect the quality of posts.
You can access Instagram on your browser but with limited functionality. You can just login and view your profile and timeline along with profiles of other users, follow them, comment and like on their photos. You cannot share and edit photos and use search function.
You can edit your settings and profile but cannot change profile pic unless you use mobile app. You cannot view followers on the web version.
How to Advertise on Instagram?
There are three different formats on Instagram to advertise your brand –
- Carousel Ads – It looks much like photo ads but it has several photos to swipe through.
- Photo Ads – It seems like a regular photo post. But it has “Sponsored” label over the post. It also features “Learn More” button on the bottom under photo.
- Video Ads – It looks like common video posts like photo ads. But it is labeled “Sponsored”.
All of these formats appear in home feeds of users when they scroll through the app. There are four different purposes for using these ads – to increase click through rate to your site, video views, mass awareness and mobile-app installs.
Best Uses for Instagram
Don’t know how to use this photo-sharing app for business? Here are some of the cool uses of Instagram:
Go Behind the Scenes
Take videos and photos to showcase how your goods or products are made, especially if process is interesting or unique, or something your consumers ask about.
Along with providing appealing content for your account, it will also show your followers and customers actually what’s going on in background. You can take videos and pictures to showcase how your goods or products are made, especially when the process is interesting or unique, or something your customers like.
It will add interesting content for your account and show your followers and customers actually what’s going on in the background. You can put your office on display, particularly when it is decked in cool décor and show how interesting your company is to your followers.
Involve Your Staff
You can add your staff to your posts to make the Instagram page of your brand more personal. You can share pictures of your teammates doing hard work or having fun at outings. It shows your followers and customers that you appreciate your staff and you care about them.
Show off Your Services or Products
Are you running a retail business? You can take pictures of whole new services or products you are offering, or share photos of your most featured products.
If you provide services in a restaurant or hair salon, you can take pictures of your workplace. You can share photos of latest dessert specials or cool haircuts to attract people around you.
Engage Customers by Asking to Show their Pictures
Do you own a restaurant? You can put custom hashtags on your restaurant menu and put your Instagram handle so that your customers can tag you when they take a picture of their new dish they love.
This way, users who know where it is from can easily search for you. It works with any kind of service or product. Your customers can easily find that you are on Instagram and the hashtags to use to showcase their photos.
Be sure to check them out, like them and comment on their photos.
Offer Exclusive Deals
Return your Instagram followers a favor by offering exclusive discounts and deals. Give them a reason to follow you. Share images with instructions to use the deal.
You can choose to create coupon code at your business online, or ask them to show that they follow you at register when they are going to pay for a service or product.
This way, you can make them feel special them. And they will more likely to talk to their friends about your business and help grow your business.