Use Instagram for your online business

As an online retailer, without a strong Instagram presence, your company can easily be forgotten or ignored, especially with the younger generation of consumers. Taking Instagram seriously as a major platform where you can establish your brand can open up opportunities for your business.

Here's everything you need to know about how you can maximize Instagram to market your business and to engage with your followers.

Get started with the app

Instagram is primarily a mobile app - but it can be viewed on a desktop, so to be able to sign up for an account you have to download the app first. To receive access to analytics and insights it’s best to convert your brand’s Instagram to a “business account”, and to do this you can simply link the account to your business’s Facebook page.

To make it easy for users to discover you, your username should be the same as the one you use on your other branded social media profiles. And in this case, your ‘real name’ should be the company name. The only other information you can place on your public profile is your bio and a URL, which you can change – this works well for promoting campaigns or new pieces of content.

Creating content on Instagram

Instagram makes it easy for users to share photos and videos, as well temporary Instagram Stories - posts that disappear after 24 hours, to their Instagram feed. In addition to this, you can capture and stream live videos that disappear once the video has ended. This feature is great for giving your customers a live “behind the scenes” look at interesting aspects of your business; you can even use live videos to answer questions from the comments. When you’re posting photos and videos just keep in mind that your objective is to build a consistent, recognizable brand identity.

How to strategically interact with users

You can connect with other users on Instagram and give your business exposure in several ways. Try some of these simple strategies:

How to show off your products or services

An integral part of connecting with your customers and building your brand on Instagram is showcasing your products or service. Consider every post you share as more than just a mere visual, but an opportunity to portray your brand.

Because Instagram is a social network centered on visuals, try and tie back every image you post back to your business. You can take pictures of great new products and say something about the product, or post pictures of your most popular products. If your business is more service based, like running a hair salon, you could take photos of your work and share them with a short caption. Remember to make use of hashtags with keywords around your business, because many users use hashtags to search for things of interest.

Use your Instagram to share exclusive deals

You can use your Instagram profile to share exclusive deals or content such as photos of your latest products or work you haven’t shared on any other social platform. If you’re releasing a new product, you can do it live on Instagram.

A great way you can make your followers feel special is by offering them discounts for following you. Try sharing an image that explains how to use the discount – you can create a coupon code users can use to shop at your store online. This is not only a way of giving back to your Instagram followers, but you’re likely to attract more followers through these Instagram exclusive deals.

Ask customers to share their photos

Visuals influence buyer behaviour, but not just any visuals, because today customers are not very interested in photoshoped photos taken in studio with paid models, but they want to see real people using your products. That’s where you can really engage your Instagram audience.

You can encourage customers to mention you when they show off photos of your product or service by inserting your Instagram handle on your products or promotional materials. This will make it easy for other users to find you.

Share what goes on behind the scenes

Taking pictures or videos that show what goes into producing your products before they reach the customer's door is always great content for your Instagram account, especially if the process is interesting, or something your customers usually want to, or didn’t know.

Posting behind-the-scenes content is a great idea because it humanizes your brand, and reveals the faces behind the business. It gives your customers the opportunity to feel a personal connection to your brand and what your business stands for.

The above are just some of the most effective strategies businesses use to get their brands out there, you can still experiment. Instagram is a fantastic social media platform you can use to engage with your customers and get new followers, just make sure your posts relate to how you want to position your brand.