A Beginners Guide on How to Use Instagram for Business
It’s assumed everyone knows how to use Instagram for Business – but it’s not actually that simple. There has to be a technique, exactly the same as every other platform. You need to instil in others the desire to search for and ultimately find your content. Then of course make them feel interested enough to comment, react or even share it.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” is an English language adage. It refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single picture, this picture conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a description does
In the Beginning…
Assuming you don’t already have Instagram, please add it to your smart phone via the App Store or Google Play. It is FREE!
It currently (July 2019) isn’t possible to easily upload posts and videos from your laptop / desktop but it isn’t impossible. I found this post that you might find useful. I’ve never actually done it myself but there is always someone else who will have tried it!
Personal, Business or Creator Account?
If you have a business that you want to promote on social – then I would always recommend the business account settings (and creator too), you get the additional “Insights” which can really help you understand your audience. So always stick with anything over and above personal if possible.
Instagram business profiles give users access to a lot more advanced features, like contact information, Instagram Insights, promoted posts and the ability to schedule and publish your posts automatically with / through third parties.
Instagram Creator Accounts – Instagram is currently testing a new Creator Account profile (January 2019) and is obviously targeting its most active and influential users. The Creator Account gives influencers specialized tools to manage their account.
Now You Have Your Instagram Account…
Make ’em Laugh
Like every single social media post ever, they only ever really work if you make your audience feel something. Normally the best reaction, would be to make them happy or even make them laugh.
With Instagram, your mission would be to make them want to buy from you, be there with you or maybe even want to be you. You can do this more easily in video than photo as they (photos) tend to feel more contrived but it is still possible with a photo.
To Filter or Not to Filter
I will admit I do use filters every now and then. Normally because I am doing an off-the-cuff Insta video or photo and it saves me going home to get make-up! Though to be honest I am happy enough these days to go au-naturale when I don’t.
Authenticity matters, more so as you get older I’ve found. People in their 20’s use all sorts of filters, which is a shame – as they can genuinely roll out of bed and look pre-filtered without any effort. Yet muggins here needs to slap on a coat of makeup to feel semi-human.
Filters would be very much be a personal thing for you to try. Just don’t use too many filters especially when you want to genuinely convey a message as it can be lost in the disingenuity of the post.
Sometimes the odd filter is all you need to build up your confidence and perhaps smooth out the texture of your skin. Or maybe you want to look dark, ominous and mysterious? What ever your reasoning is, just don’t do it all the time. It can annoy the more mature audiences.
What is the Point?
No really, what is the point….
If you’re posting to show your audience you’re on a glamourous yacht sunning yourself in Venice and it’s below freezing back home. What would be the point? Are you trying to make them feel bad? Are you saying, look you’ve paid me loads and I’m swanning off to better climes? Hmmm…
Maybe don’t post about things like that. You could post about better climes but instead of chinking champagne glasses and swan diving off expensive yachts… You could instead highlight some area of interest or natural beauty and explain you’re taking some time out whilst keeping a watchful eye on your business.
If (and when) you’re not sunning yourself, then maybe promoting your business through pictures, blogs or videos? Don’t forget IGTV – which you can do Live or indeed upload pre-recorded videos and share in there as well.
The Add Ons
Once you have taken a photo or completed a video in Instagram, you can then perform some add-ons to make it easier to find and to tag people too.
For instance you can take a photo of yourself and a friend at an event and maybe the event has a hashtag? If it does then you can add the relevance of the hashtag also to the post. This means it gets found along with any other contact that shares the same hashtag:
This Story picture has been shared with permission of my friend Jacinta Dempsey.
This image has all the components of an ideal story. Only to be expected of Jacinta! She has added the words “Great to meet” with the text tool and then added my handle so that my profile will be notified I’ve been mentioned.
She has also added the hashtag of the day #DTS19. This stood for Dublin Tech Summit 2019. Now any other posts and pictures from the day with this hashtag can be found, including this one. You also have the option of adding location and some other images. Some people like to make their pictures and video more personalised. Check out the images below:
How to Share on Instagram
There are various methods of sharing – in other words “retweeting” or “sharing” other peoples posts and stories. The Story picture above with myself and Jacinta was shared originally by her and as my name was mentioned I got a notification. When I clicked on the notification from her I was given the option to share it to my Story or my Feed. On this ocassion I chose to share to my Story.
However, if you come across a post from someone you’re following and want to share it to your feed then you can use an app called Repost. This and others like are free and relatively easy to use. I always tend to copy the post and the caption and edit it before sharing.
How to Use Repost
You find the picture you want to share and click on the top right hand side of it where there are 3 dots. A menu will slide up and you click Copy Link. You’ll get a flash notification saying Link Copied to Clipboard and then you open your (pre-loaded) Repost App.
Please note you can only copy and share content that is made Publicly available. If you had to request to link to someone to see their content, then it won’t be shareable.
Once you open Repost you’ll see the link at the top of the feed. Once you click into it, it will give you the option to move around the owners name tag. This means you can see who the post originated from (just like a tweet) and then you hit the Blue Button “Repost”.
You will then see a pop-up ask if you want to Copy the Caption and Open Instagram OR just Copy the Caption. I tend to go for the first button personally. You then get asked if you want to post into your Story or your Feed, personal choice of course. You can then edit the image with filters (if you wish), paste the caption and add your own, whatever.
Having a Plan
OK, so we’ve established you need to make your audience feel something positive, maybe have a filter and also have an actual point to the post. Then you’ve added the Add-Ons….
What may help you even further though, is having a plan! Putting up pictures at events on the day makes them timely and relevant. Sharing images of content you have created and letting your audience know about it is also hugely useful. Now you also know how to share other peoples content to your Feed / Story too.
Now you need a plan. One that keeps you top-of-mind and the go-to person for your field. To do this you have to create a feeling of community. Make your posts and pictures useful and emotive. Shareable and timely…
Content Plans are a real treat for every business. You can find templates galore online – or just create one for yourself. Create a feeling of anticipation, a feeling of time. It makes your audience want to participate more. So I recommend you find a Content Plan template that suits your needs and start filling it up.
Scheduling Your Content
This is a massive time saver! There are several third party apps that can enable you to do this but the most well known and easiest would be either Later or maybe Hootsuite. The others like Buffer, Loomly, Planoly, AgoraPulse and a few more to boot as well. Some are paid for, others are free.
Once you have got your content plan, you can then upload it into your preferred Scheduler and just make sure you have allowed notifications. This ensures you can remain responsive to your audience and you make the most out of all the planning and learning you have made throughout this post!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview – I have simplified the processes here and made some suggestions of platforms to use. Each one is a little different, so do have a good look around and see what you prefer.
If you have any questions about using Instagram for Business, please don’t hesitate to contact me.