We all know how beleaguered and tired many small business owners and entrepreneurs are – pretty much all of the time! It can be hard work to run a business as well as balance the books, network, market and budget. It is no wonder that throwing in social media management on top of everything else can really make your head spin.
When you are trying hard to keep it all on the rails without losing your head, spending hours crafting social media posts for Facebook and Twitter may be the last thing on your list of jobs to do. So maybe a shift in focus is needed to make life a little easier for you. Have you considered using Instagram to leverage your social media presence?
For marketing your business and getting your brand ‘out there’, Instragram is great for marketers because it is by far the prettiest of all the social media platforms. The reason why? Simply because it consists of images……all the time. It gets your content out there in one go – and you are done.
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Like other social media platforms, you can tailor your feed to suit your needs based on who you want to follow and what sort of interest groups you like. One person’s Instagram experience can be very different from another’s, so if you are selling climbing gear for example, you will probably have your feed full of related things from notable climbers, experts and gurus as well as news about famous climbing challenges in locations from around the world.
You may be taking part in a sponsored climbing challenge of your own – using your own brand of climbing gear to accomplish the task of course – and share your progress in a chronological manner as events unfold. Those who follow you will be engaged in a big way and will be following your blow by blow account of the event, as well as witness how well your own-brand climbing gear is standing up to the challenge.
The old saying ‘A picture paints a thousand words’ is even more prevalent in today’s world of instant information, so using it to get your product or service noticed in a quick, appealing and highly visual way can be very effective, but also a great time-saver for a hard-pressed business owner who doesn’t have the free time to write posts every day.
Coming soon – Business Profiles!
Instagram have picked up on the needs of business owners and are now targeting busy small business owners with little time by creating a new set of tools especially to help them quickly and easily set up their business profile, explain insights to make them more understandable, as well as tools to help with promotion.
New business profiles are being rolled out in the US, New Zealand and Australia right now, followed by the rest of the world, including the UK, before the end of the year. Early feedback from US users have reported that the new business profiles look very similar to Facebook pages, so if you are already familiar with Facebook, then that could be a bonus for you. Sometimes it is better to have something that is already familiar than to try and get to grips with a brand new layout.
Creating a business profile is free, and each company can decide for themselves how they want their potential and existing customers to contact them. You can even include a set of directions to help your customers come to you if your business has a bricks and mortar base.
If you already have an Instagram account, you will have the ability to switch it over to a business profile, but you would have to think carefully about doing this first. If you already follow lots of your own personal favourite people or companies, will this clash with your business needs? Keeping the two separate may be a better idea.
A very useful new tool for a small business owner is the ability to read insights into who is following you and shows you your most popular posts. This gives you a quick idea of the type of posts that your followers like the best, so you can produce more of them. Getting to grips with your demographic and their behaviour online can help you create more targeted content not only for Instagram but for your other social media platforms also.
The quick or lazy option for creating ads?
You can even take your most popular Instagram posts and turn them into ads right within the app on your smartphone and then select your target audience for them. You can also set how long you want to promote your ads for. This is a great time-saver for a busy entrepreneur who doesn’t have the time to sit down and craft a long-winded advert for all of your platforms. Lazy or savvy? You decide.
When using your most popular posts to form ads, you will need to make sure that the dimensions of your pictures are square, allowing enough space for Instagram’s circular cropping. This shouldn’t really be an issue as most phones and digital cameras already have this setting built into them.
Always remember to put a link to your website or blog on your profile too. You really only get the chance of one live link on your profile on Instagram – so make the most of it!
Since Instagram was taken over by Facebook, they can benefit from all the already established business account knowledge that Facebook have gained. There are already a lot of companies using Instagram for business anyway, so it makes perfect sense for them to create these tools to enable the business community to do more with the platform for their business.