Are you familiar with the wonderful and shiny world of Instagram? As a social media consultancy we provide both social media content management for various businesses, as well as consultancy and training on the various social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more). Instagram is one of the extra platforms which can benefit many companies – it’s just about using it correctly!

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Instagram calls itself “a fastbeautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family.”  This may be true for most individual users however many businesses are also using Instagram too! You may be reading this thinking “is Instagram really relevant for my business?” Well, as with all social media platforms, it totally depends on the nature of your business and its activities.

To state the obvious, Instagram is all about the imagery. So if the imagery you are uploading is not inspiring there will be no connection with the followers. You’ll easily be forgotten! Or unfollowed!

Instagram is another great way to get your business noticed online and help you keep connected to your customers. It’s not about sales so it’s less imposing – and in the context of quick image viewing, images grab attention more than a load of text would.

So what kind of images could a business post about? Here’s a few examples;

  • Stationery – printed publicity

Social Progress Ltd - Business Cards - Instagram Photo

  • People – staff/clients/customers/icons

Social Progress Ltd - Staff Highlight - Instagram Photo

  • General goings on within the company

Social Progress Ltd - Charity Support - Instagram Photo

  • Processes – “the making of” or “behind the scenes”

Social Progress Ltd - 121 Training and Support - Instagram Photo

  • Features – staff in the spotlight or guests

Social Progress Ltd - Newspaper Article UK Growth Accelerator Coach - Instagram Photo

  • Promotions – or endorsements of other companies/individuals

Social Progress Ltd - Staff Highlight - Instagram Photo

  • Activities and Events – show what’s going on and that you’re active!

Social Progress Ltd - Jeff Long Business Doctors at Social Sharing Networking Event 2015 - Instagram Photo

  • Products

 

So whether you are photographing the staff, a product or an event there are a few general pointers to remember. So here are our 10 Top Tips (5 do’s and 5 don’t)s for businesses on Instagram.

Here’s our 5 Top Tips:

  1. Keep it relevant!
    Your imagery should match your business. Simple but true! Focus on your products and services. It doesn’t mean you have to be serious all the time just keep a balance between fun and focussed posts.
  2. Stick within your branding guidelines!
    Your business account is to promote your business so include images that suit, promote or compliment your company. For example I have posted a few fun photos on our Social Progress Ltd Instagram but I include a banner or something branded in the background to distinguish us from the other posts on our followers ‘walls’ and relate it to our branding. I try find and use bright yellow, white or blue backgrounds to reflect the colours of Social Progress Ltd. Colour is also anther great way to grab the attention of the followers!

Social Progress Ltd - WHat's Happening Cake and Tea - Instagram Photo

  1. Use relevant hashtags (#)
    You don’t have to be rigid about this but use your key words within your description and use the keywords as hashtags. For example we use #SocialMedia #business #Huddersfield #networking and #SoProHigh5 a lot. The hashtags make it easier for people to find you when they do a search for a particular subject or topic.
  2. Get connected and tag people.
    A social media site is about being social – this includes Instagram. So if people comment on your photos do reply and chat with them. When you are taking photos, especially at an event, think about who’s there and on the same social media platforms as you and tag them in your posts (or at least mention them within the description (@). Also follow other individuals and businesses that you support as well as others who inspire you.
  3. Features!
    Similarly to #4, features are a great way to support other businesses and promote people. It’s not always relevant but it’s a good way to show you’re outward looking rather than being all about “me, me, me…” Features about members of staff or a particular piece of work you’re doing are effective and break up the usual types of photographs on your wall. Again it also shows a more human and personal side to your company.

So not only have I pin-pointed 5 Top Tips for businesses on Instagram, I’ve also got a few warnings for you.

Here are 5 definite no-no’s for businesses on Instagram:

1. Don’t mix your personal account with your business account
You may be like me and unable to go to a tea room and eat a slice a of cake without Instagramming it first, but this is a big no-no for a business account! The same goes for party photos, nights out, even your jolly holidays. The list isn’t limited to those 4 examples but you get the idea. Instagram may be a social platform but you still need to keep it professional (and relevant!) – You’re representing your business! Have a separate personal account if you want to share your social photos with family and friends.

2. Food, food, food!
Again I’m personally a sucker for this. I love taking photos of food! BUT is this relevant to your business? The same goes for random photos of random objects. Is the subject of the photo relevant to the industry your business is in? Irrelevant information annoys followers. They follow you to see what you are up to but you need to keep the balance! Your posts should have a purpose! Use them to your advantage.

3. Don’t use millions of hashtags (#)
This is another annoying thing that can put people off your posts! Limit your hashtags to the most relevant ones [for that post] and keep it tidy. It’s hard to remember this when you want to drive traffic to something but it’s not always worth clogging someone’s feed with a load of hashtags!

4. You don’t have to use the filters
Yes Instagram is great for making photos look a bit more edgy and we love the filters (my favourites are Amero, Hefe and Hudson) but so many people over use them. Sometimes the #nofilter hashtag is great because you can see how many people don’t use them and still post a great photo! Harsh filters can degrade a product by distorting the image rather than enhancing it. Watch out for this! You can now control the strength of the filters so look into that if you haven’t already.

5. Instagram is not a selling platform!
As with most social media platforms it’s not all about selling! “Sell, sell, sell” will put followers off and it’s one of the biggest no-no-no-no points I have to make. Use Instagram to inform customers about products and events but don’t use it just to sell. The odd sales post isn’t a sin but don’t make it a habit!

So overall it’s all about relevance and balance! These 10 tips are by no means set in stone. You have to make your own choices to fit your brand, but hopefully they are a good start for you. Keep these in mind when you’re on Instagram and enjoy posting to your hearts content!

I’ve waffled for long enough on here now but if you’d like to see some examples of people/businesses (that I personally follow) on Instagram and I think are effective on there, do keep your eyes peeled for the follow up post…

Feel free to connect with us on Instagram too! @socialprogress See you on there!

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At Social Progress Ltd we like to keep things simple and ditch the jargon! So this post may have been simple but we hope it was an easy read and you found it useful.

To find out more about Social Progress Ltd, feel free to visit our website and/or get connected on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. We’re here to help you grow your online presence through social media!