Instagram has 150 millions of monthly active users according to statistic for 2014 and give ecommerce entrepreneurs the opportunity to advertise their online business. Since its foundation in 2010, brands use this platform as a kind of “brand photo album” and try to touch their costumers’ hearts via photos. But there are two questions you need to answer:
The first one: “Is Instagram useful for my online business?” If you have a “service-based” business or a “business without photos”, it is not a good idea to get an Instagram account. Do not push yourself to be active in any kind of social media tools, just consider the conditions and choose the most suitable platform for your business.
And the second question is: “Do I have time to manage an Instagram account”? Instagram requires you to spend more time than other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter since managing photos professionally is a hard work actually.
For the beginning, download Instagram to your smart phone; here are the links for IOS devices and Android devices. After creating an account here, you can use it via webstagram.com on your computer. Please fill in the “bio” part with accurate information to be more available for your users. After this step, write your website address by changing the “account settings” in your profile. Remember that the more attractive your profile is the more users follow it.
Connect your Instagram to other social media tools
This ensures you that any person not following you on Instagram can see the photos you shared on Instagram. Many of brands achieve to gain new followers by using this method. They usually connect their Instagram accounts to their Pinterest accounts to pin an Instagram photo to a Pinterest board and keep their accounts active in an easy way.
In addition, add your Instagram account to your website as a widget and present your latest 5-10 photos to your visitors to take their attention to your account.
Use hashtag (#) on Instagram
You need to know how to “hashtag” since it is key to getting more exposure on Instagram. While sharing a photo, use hashtags related to your photo to reach more users. The system is almost the same with the one in Twitter and you are better to use popular hashtags.
Show users how you work on Instagram
Do not hesitate to show your followers how you work while preparing photos. This makes them feel like they are family members. Let them see the steps of taking and editing photos for your brand account. Consumers like to see what kind of team create these photos, where and how they work etc. In summary, they love being a part of your work.
Here you can see an example from Instagram account of Celtics basketball team.
Use filters in your Instagram photos
Before sharing your photos, beautify them by adding filters, frames and effects. Be creative and do not post your boring brand photos continuously. Any photo reminding of your products leaves an “advertisement” effect on your followers. If you prefer sharing “out of type” photos -showing your funny office activities and colleagues- users will be more voluntary to be follower of your account.
You can see an example from CNN. Let me take their note here: “At an event in New York City this morning, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom took the stage to announce Instagram Direct.”
Interact with your followers on Instagram
Always keep contact with your followers by answering their questions or commenting over their comments. It is better to have a “live” account rather than a “robotic” account. Leave comments for photos of your followers and take their attention to your brand. Interacting with users is an effective way of advertising your brand on Instagram.
I would like to mention about another way for “interaction with users”. Use your photos to create a story including your brand and products. Your followers should be a part of your story so persuade them to contribute it.
Avoid spam posts on Instagram
As we told about spamming in the blog post for Twitter, spam is a real threat for business reputation. Users try to stay away from this kind of spam accounts and just unfollow them upon engaging a spam post.
And sharing millions of photos one after another doesn’t mean being active on Instagram. It the most common mistake of ecommerce Instagram accounts, which results in decrease of followers. Do not share any kind of photos, share “worth to share” photos.
Organize activities on Instagram
Activities on Instagram gather many users in one place and get them notice your brand. You can organize photo contests in which users need to share these photos with hashtags on Instagram. In the end of contests, you can choose the most popular photo and award that user by a discount or coupon for your products. Clever activities help you to reach more users who will follow you for your future campaigns.
“Sharing” is the keyword in social media tools and “increase in traffic and therefore income” for ecommerce business companies. Instagram, based on the principle of sharing photos, help you to introduce your products to potential customers and raise brand awareness among other users. This is the rule: new followers on Instagram are new customers of the future.