Written by Martin Neeves – Commercial Photographer Leicestershire
So your photographer has produced a portfolio of photographs for your business and you have used them on your website and your printed marketing material, what else can you do with them? Do you just keep them in your media library to use if and when the opportunity arises, or is there another way to make your investment in the imagery work harder for you? After all, as a business owner you are looking for any and all opportunities to promote your products or services. Much of modern marketing is about attracting new customers and engaging existing ones.
Being a visual platform Instagram can make an instant impression. It grabs attention. Business owners assume that Instagram is just for retailers, restaurants, or travel companies. This is not true; it is a very effective brand-building tool. People use the platform to judge the visual impact of a business. Forester proclaimed Instagram as being “…The King Of Social Engagement”. Forrester concluded that if you were unhappy with the social engagement your business is getting on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks, then Instagram may well work for you. Forrester found that Instagram delivered 598 times more engagement per follower on Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter. So tell me that you are not now interested, especially if you are using Facebook or Twitter.
Firstly, you must create a strategy to use it. If you are using other social media platforms, how does it fit into your overall social media strategy? This begins with defining your objectives for the platform, which may include to increase:
Then decide how often you are going to post. This will be determined by the type of audience, the time you have available and what is needed to attain your objectives.
See what your competitors are doing. If nothing then you have a head start. If they’re on Instagram, what are they doing and what is successful for them.
Tell people you are there. Use Facebook, twitter and emails to let people know that you have arrived on Instagram. Put an Instagram icon on your website to allow people to follow you. Put an icon to follow you in the footer of your emails.
Build Trust. Post frequently, using interesting images. Now here is the rub, what is an interesting image. Well for some audiences it will be humorous or wacky. For other audiences it will be sophisticated and stylish. If your business is about looks, say a photographer, designer or shop selling style items, then it will be about the style and sophistication of your products. If your shop or business is something like a brewery, then a little humour can go a long way to promoting you and your products. This is best started by providing the posts that your followers want and being interesting. Here is another platform that allows you to post testimonials, maybe overlaid on your images.
Enable engagement. If you create a community based upon engagement, then allow notifications to those following you so you can push notices of new posts. Also allow re-posting, which will promote your business to others. Allow people to comment and rate your images, this will get more interest.
Use the Analytics. Instagram Analytics allow you to track the effectiveness of your posting. This will inform the frequency and type of posts that you are going to use.
Use Hashtags. I know hashtags have become very prolific, but they are an effective manner of promotion on Instagram. They are effective because they give a larger reach. But but but, only use hashtags that are relevant to your photographs. Do not contrive ridiculous hashtags, it is not big, not clever and it puts people off your business. So make sure you research the hashtags most popular or searched for in your industry or sector. You can use http://iconosquare.com/instagram-analytics to measure the performance of your hashtags, and other Instagram measures. Create your own hashtag and use it.
Post frequently and regularly. This is no different to any of the social platforms, posting every 6 months is not going to cut it. Instagram works in real time, which means that it is refreshing content constantly. So you need to post frequently to help ensure visibility in your followers’ feeds. So how often should you post? There is no magic formula, you need to find out what works for you. Measure and test your results and see what works, then do more of the same and ditch that which is not working.
Firstly connect to your Facebook account and make sure you are consistent with hashtags. Some images will be ideal for posting on both Facebook and Instagram. Start out by following others and encouraging them to follow you. Then as your following grows, other people’s followers’ will be seeing your posts and liking you.
Engage don’t sell. The modern marketing gets people to buy from you, not for you to sell to them. Social proof plays a major part of peoples’ decision to buy your services of products. The imagery will “sell” your products and services.
Use Professional Photographs. Yes, I know I would say that wouldn’t I. But it is a fact that a very good photograph will be much more effective than and “okay” snap. A blurred image or one that has so obviously been cropped will detract from your message.
Remember that Instagram needs your images to be at least 1080 pixels wide, although they don’t need to be square any more. At that size they need to be high quality. You could save the images at least double the image resolution and let Instagram resize them to a width of 1080 pixels.
Instagram has Editing Tools. Do not forget that Instagram has a range of free tools. These are available in the app for you to use. These range from colour filters to artistic tools.
If you decide that you to get started on Instagram and need professional photographs that will stand out then call Martin Neeves on 07973 638591 or on 01455 271849 or CONTACT ME to find out how I can help make your business stand out in the crowd.