Instagram is a beautiful thing. It’s a fantastic looking app. It’s easy to navigate. It’s the best place to get Simpsons quotes on your phone every few hours. It’s a personal journal that requires a millisecond to look at and easily get the gist of someone’s day. It’s also still a relatively unexplored platform and something that many businesses are afraid of. Why are they afraid of it? Well for one thing, WHERE DO LINKS GO?

Full house at #bdxevents tonight #standingroomonly #digital #seo #glasgow

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We’ll start off with a fact that shouldn’t be ignored: Instagram is getting bigger. Just recently they announced they’ve passed over 300 million users, 49% of which use the service daily. That’s a lot of potential customers that a business could be missing out on, especially if those customers are taking photos of your products and basically creating valuable image based content for you for free. So how exactly do you make Instagram work for your business? Here are some tips to help.

This weekend we’ll mostly be splitting time between being in Vegas and hoping for a win tonight.

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-Don’t go solo
Work in an office where everyone has a phone? Yes. Does everyone use said phone throughout the day? Yes. Then give everyone the logins to a company Instagram account. It might sound a bit daft if you’re all sitting around twiddling your thumbs wondering what to post about, but when the team is split up and in different locations, you suddenly create opportunities to create unique content, base it in a location and then push it on other platforms. Look at the photo above. That was simply the case of one of us sitting in a pub in Glasgow while the other was in Caesar’s Palace. Glue those photos together and you have a unique piece of content.

-Show off
Never be sincere or humble when on Instagram. There are only ever so many photos of inspirational quotes in a forest people can take before they get turned off by your content. If you’re having fun at work, have received a freebie in the post, like a product or are playing with the dog too much to pay attention to work, start snapping. If you ever think you’re going to make people jealous with the photo you’ve just taken, that makes it a great photo!

Back at the old stomping ground to talk to students about the business. #Glasgow #seo #digital #strathclyde

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-Hashtag whenever and wherever
Hashtags suit Instagram a lot better than on Facebook or Twitter. Have you ever actively gone searching for hashtags on Facebook? It’s a minefield. On Instagram it’s the default way of searching for something or someone. You might see a crafty approach where users will put up a photo with no hashtags, only to comment on their own photos with dozens of baiting related terms. It helps give a profile a cleaner look and in a way acts as a not so subtle piece of meta data for a user to understand what they’re looking for/at. We’ll commonly use #seo in our photos. We might be doing something completely unrelated to it, but it still ties in with what the company does.

New hair cut banter!! #bros #hairscare #didyoucatchtheguythatdidit #haircut #banter #officepatter

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-Be Chill
If you have a relative or friend who runs a small business and they’re not on Instagram, tell them to get on it like a car bonnet and other such turns of phrase. Hairdressers and barbers who use Instagram a lot are doing it right. Tagged photos of customers show off the value of the brand, create an authentic level of trust and leave potential customers looking at a real person using the service. Anyone would rather look at that than a fabricated photo or shoot with a cheap model. The realer you seem, the more potential customers will like you.

-Don’t expect to make money
One of the biggest drawbacks of Instagram is that you can’t link to sites for every post. You just have one link in your bio and that essentially creates a very valuable space. Make the content you put out on Instagram part of your brand. For a company, it essentially boils down to a conversation starter e.g. ‘ Oh I saw your photo on Instagram. It looked nice ’ more than a conversion tool. We like to think of it as a good ice breaker for networking and so should you. The only people expressly using Instagram to advertise products are celebrities, and they’re the worst.

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-It’s still cool
All your relatives are on Facebook these days. Not everyone is on Instagram yet because for the most part they don’t understand it. Using it and being active on it are great for attracting a clued in audience. For some companies like ASOS or Urban Outfitters it is now their main version of a catalogue. Older people still go into Argos to lift a big catalogue for the house. Younger people use Instagram on their phones in general. It’s the reason why Pinterest is going to be adding a buy now button soon.

The photo above is from Beyonce’s Instagram. It was taken outside the Hanoi Bike Ship in the West End of town last year. We expected to find the photo easily on their accounts or press mentions on site, as having one of the world’s biggest celebrities eat at your restaurant is amazing free publicity. Eventually we found it after trawling through their Twitter. We can’t tell if it’s case of the restaurant being extremely cool about it (it is quite the trendy spot), or just not being wise enough to latch onto it and ride that free advertising for all its worth.

Now if you’re interested in finding out more about how to use Instagram for your business and you’re reading this before Wednesday 25th February, then you’re in luck as the next BDX event is all about Instagram. We’ll have speakers who know how to get followers, actively engage with thousands of followers on a daily basis, and how a company can use it honestly to keep those potential and returning customers engaged and excited.

You can get tickets for the event by using the Eventbrite box below.

Author Garyeoghan

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