If you haven’t heard of Instagram yet, there may be a chance you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years. As a widely used social networking application that allows users to share photos and videos, Instagram is quickly becoming the next must-have social media account for businesses.

From sharing photos of new products to showing off completed projects and uploading videos of around-the-office fun, Instagram is a relatively easy way businesses can engage with their audience. But how are businesses utilizing the tool? Read on to find out the nitty and gritty facts.

#Followers

Just like any other account, businesses start with zero followers. This quickly changes, of course, as people bombard their friends and family to follow the new account. However, in actuality there is an art form when it comes to getting more followers, and it’s not just done in one simple way. Instead, there are many options available to those looking to gain ground.getting-more-instagram-followers

First and foremost, most businesses will start with a simple follow of another business in their industry, related industry, or in their geographic area. By following other accounts and liking their photos, professional business accounts are more likely to be seen. For example, if you own a local athletic wear store you may follow other local businesses nearby, or perhaps even another store you admire, from there other Instagram users may come across your profile.

Another very simple way businesses get followers is by utilizing hashtags. Although using hashtags is easy, finding the right hashtags can sometimes prove to be a difficult task.

Say you want to showcase your new fall and winter collection, instead of using hashtags such as #storeevents you’ll want to opt for more popular topics such as #athleisure #fitfashion #ottcity (Ottawa city) #localbusiness and #smallbusiness. You’ll be surprised at how many likes your photo will get, and how many new followers you’ll receive. All in all, this provides you with the ideal audience, those who are really interested in your products and your business.

athleisureottawa-instagram

If you want to gain even more followers, run a contest. People love free stuff, and they love doing almost nothing to get it. Therefore, if you’re planning on running a contest, keep it simple! Have it so that they follow you on Instagram, or that they tag your business when they’re using your products. More importantly, make sure you make the prize something that they’ll definitely want such as a $100 gift certificate to your store #freestuff #contest!

#FindingtheRightVoice

You wouldn’t start a marketing campaign without a game plan, so why would you start an Instagram (or any social media account) without one? For starters, Instagram follwers are looking for different things from different accounts. So give the people what they want!

Start by looking at your own branding, and your other social media profiles to see what you’ve done in the past and take note of what has and hasn’t worked for your business. From there, come up with a plan of what your Instagram voice will be. You can always do some research and mimic your inspiration. Trust us, you don’t want to be the one business who only promotes their products or services, and doesn’t actually have a lot of fun with the account.

Instagram is all about creativity, so let that shine through when you’re taking photos and creating captions. Don’t just stick to the same one or two photos, instead opt for a smorgasboard account, and we promise the followers, they will come. Overall, finding the right Instagram voice is about being true to your brand and business. If you try and pretend to be something you’re not, people will notice.

#BrandEngagement & #BrandAwareness

Sure, getting more followers and finding your right voice is important, but increasing engagement helps keep your profile relevant and in the customer’s mind. Although it may be scary when first interacting with people over Instagram, it quickly becomes easier and easier.

Fun fact, the IAB (International Advertising Bureau) found that 90% of consumers would recommend a brand to others after interacting with them on social media. Therefore, be sure that you’re engaging with your followers and other businesses on Instagram. When they comment on your photos, be kind and respond courteously, if they follow you on Instagram perhaps follow them back, or like their most recent photo.

instagram-funfact

Be confident and go out searching for popular hashtags that are related to our industry. Like a few a photos, follow some new businesses on Instagram and let them know who you are by commenting on their photos.

Increasing your brand awareness may be simpler than you think. Showing photos behind the scenes at work is one way to do it, as it gives an inside glimpse as to what really is happening behind the business.

instagram for businesses

Sneaking in, or showcasing your logo, products or slogans in the photo or photo description is another way many business grow their awareness. They don’t have to be prominent for a person’s subconscious to notice it. We’re sure you’ve come across a Nike logo or slogan or two that you may not have taken note of. Believe it or not, on average a person must see an advertisement seven times in order for it to have an impression on them, but if they see your brilliant Instagram photos, they’re more likely to buy.

Your Instagram account won’t grow overnight, but with a little TLC it can really start to take off and positively benefit your business. So set aside a little time every day or every other day to post, and follow all of the above tips to make the most out of your post!

P.S. Are you following us on Instagram? If not, get on it! https://instagram.com/seoplus/

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Krista Brunette
Krista Brunette is a Digital Marketing Specialist for seoplus+. Always having an interest for business and design she attended Algonquin College’s Advertising and Marketing Communications where she was able to explore her education in both fields further. She has since joined seoplus+ to focus on Social Media Marketing and SEO services.