If you’re reading this, you either have an Instagram business account or you’re thinking about getting one. My recommendation is that yes, you should have one if your business is at all remotely a B2C.
Work Better, for example, is a B2B and B2C business. We provide a boutique hotel experience in the office space/meeting room industry. We sell to both mid-size companies and individual entrepreneurs. How does Instagram make sense with our business model?
- We can showcase Work Better culture through Instagram in a way that Twitter and Facebook just haven’t been able to do.
- We highlight the neighborhood and surrounding areas of our locations. Having locations in Manhattan and Chicago makes this easy and aesthetically “cool.”
- We highlight amazing employee photos that are share worthy and give them the credit.
- Every once in awhile, we share a post about our amenities, but it’s important not to be too self glorifying on Instagram; it has enough of this by big ego driven brands and cheesy individual influencers.
- Our account bio is short and sweet, and our homepage is linked in the bio.
- We can cross pollinate. You can post an Instagram pic on your Twitter and Facebook page as well. Although best practices suggest not doing it for EVERY post.
- It’s just a “good to have.” If you have the bandwidth to be active on multiple platforms, then Instagram is a must. If you only have the bandwidth for one or two, then take a careful look at your demographic and decide which platform they are on the most and use that. Not sure? Just ask a few of your clients.
“According to Instagram, the social platform has more than 300 million daily active users and 500 million monthly users.” (Business News Daily)
Nathan Rohrer (@thenathanrohrer) is one of Work Better’s Operations Leads in New York. He is a skilled photographer and has the Instagram followers to prove it (over 13.5K to be exact). Nathan’s page highlights his day-to-day through beautifully composed shots with a ton of uplifting positivity and motivation included. Because his Instagram is so on point, we thought he would be the perfect person to get some more information from. His page is not only a hobby for him; he has successfully created his own personal brand.
- Why Instagram?
IG’s “visual first” approach to social media makes it my go-to platform. As a photographer, I prefer to let my creativity be the focal point, and Instagram allows me to do exactly that. I love the idea of starting a conversation with my perspective of the world around me and allowing my words (or the inspiration I’ve borrowed from those more eloquent) to play a supporting role to add another layer of depth to the imagery.
- What is your advice for businesses trying to have a killer Instagram account?
Consistency is key! From your brand’s voice to the frequency at which you post, setting a baseline of expectations with your audience will ensure that they look forward to seeing you in their feed. It is crucial that your community manager understands the importance of quality imagery, copy that accurately reflects the brand’s tone, and a posting schedule that hits the sweet spot between maintaining your core following and reaching new untapped audiences.
- What’s the future of Instagram?
My crystal ball is a little foggy at the moment, but I will say that all the latest features being added to the platform is a strong indicator of the direction most social media will keep going in. There has been a clear push for more active sharing in the moment using stories and even live streaming, and I think we’ll only continue to see that manifest itself in more updates.
- How can companies better connect with their Instagram followers?
Quality connections with your gram audience require two-way interactions. Your content can’t simply be a passive representation of your brand, it needs to be a conversation starter between you and your followers as well as between them and their peers. Engage, respond, and listen to your audience, then adjust your strategy accordingly.
- What are two of your favorite Brand/Company Instagram accounts that you think other companies could learn a thing or two from and why?
Only two?! Yikes. Alright, well when it comes to brands, I’ll shout out @Kiehls (and not just because I love their products) for their consistency of the visual aesthetic on their feed. Even though they are fairly product-shot heavy, they do an excellent job of engaging with their audience in an authentic way as well as utilizing stories to share fun behind-the-scenes and community outreach content. Another brand page I love is @warbyparker: They mix it up with humor, lifestyle, and all-around personality while peppering in quality, entertaining shots of their products. They also do a great job of creating two-way interaction with their audience by featuring content by their followers.
What about Snapchat?
Instagram is coming out with new features on what seems like a daily basis. They are closing the gap in functionality you can find between it and Snapchat. Speaking of Snapchat… should your company have one? If you already have a huge audience or follower base on social platforms, then yes! I’m talking over 20K followers. If you’re still growing, then you should hold off. Snapchat is great for businesses with an active and large audience. It’s also great to put an intern in charge of it because of the amount of content to be captured on a daily basis and the fact that he/she is probably already a pro. (Tip: make sure you have interns review the Brand Guidelines and understand the company voice before handing over the keys to a social platform.)
Advertising on Instagram
As on other social channels, businesses have the option to advertise on Instagram. There are three different formats for advertising:
- Photo Ads: These look like regular photo posts, but they have a Sponsored label above the photo. They also have a Learn More button in the bottom-right corner, under the photo.
- Video Ads: Like the photo ads, these look like regular video posts, but with a Sponsored label on top.
- Carousel Ads: These ads look identical to photo ads but feature multiple photos that users can swipe through.
All three ad formats appear in users' home feeds while they scroll through the app. These ads support four different objectives: video views, clicks through to your website, mobile-app installations, and mass awareness.
For more information on advertising on Instagram, go here.
Not sure how you can use Instagram for your business? Try some of these cool strategies:
Show off your products or services. Take pictures of cool new products as you get them in, or share pictures of your most popular products. Or, if you run a service business, like a hair salon or a restaurant, take the time to take photos of your work.
Go behind the scenes. Take pictures and videos to show how your products or goods are made, especially if the process is unique or interesting, or something your customers ask about often. This will not only provide interesting content for your Instagram account, but will also show your customers and followers exactly what goes on in the background.
Include your employees. Make your brand's Instagram page more personal by including your employees in your posts. Share pictures of your team members hard at work or having fun at company outings.
Ask your customers to show off their photos. Put your Instagram handle and custom hashtags on your products or promotional materials to encourage customers to tag you when they share photos of your product, service or work. This way, other users who want to know where it came from can find you easily. Just make sure you're checking them out, liking them and commenting on them, so they continue to do so.
Post exclusive deals on your Instagram. Give back to your Instagram followers by offering them discounts for following you. Share an image with instructions on how to use the deal — for example, you can create a coupon code for use at your business online, or ask users (when they're paying for a product or service) to show they follow you. This will make your followers feel special, and likely get them telling their friends about your business, too.
Instagram tips and tricks
To get the most out of your Instagram account, keep these tips in mind:
Links don't work in Instagram captions. The only place you can share a working link that actually takes users to a website is in your profile (or through a button on a sponsored post). Links don't work in captions or photo comments, so if you're trying to direct people to a specific web page, you can change the default link in your bio to that particular page and note in the caption that the link is on your profile.
Make sure your posts relate to your brand. It can be tempting to share photos of food, fashion and animals because they're so popular on the platform, but if your business has nothing to do with those things, this could make your social marketing look disjointed and could confuse your followers. However, if you can find a way to incorporate pictures like these while still making them relevant to your business, it could make your social marketing strategy more successful.
Run giveaways and promotions. Post an image advertising your giveaway, sale or contest and asking users to repost that image with a specific, custom hashtag in order to enter. You can then search that hashtag to see who has reposted it and pick a winner. Promotions like this allow your customers and followers to market your brand for you by talking about your promotion on their personal pages, and it will drive more people to visit your profile.
Respond to other users' comments. When people comment on your photos, reply to them. Interacting with your customers and followers will show them that you are paying attention and that you care about whether they see your photos and what they have to say. They'll be more likely to continue following you and interacting with your pictures if they feel like they matter.
Embed Instagram posts on your website. From the desktop version of Instagram, you can get an embed code to add specific images and videos to your company's website. This can show visitors that you're active on Instagram and help you gain more followers. Just select the photo you want to embed, click the ellipses button in the bottom-right corner and select Embed. This will pull up a box with the embed code and give you the option of whether to show the caption. From there, just copy and paste the code where you want it to go on your website.
You can catch up on our postings at @work_better, and we want to connect with you on Instagram, so come say hi.