If you do not have an Instagram account for your business, it is time to create one. This social media site is incredibly popular, with over 400 million active users and 80 million photos shared per day. The engagement is so high, there are 3.5 billion likes on Instagram daily! That is incredible, and your business, large or small, can benefit from joining your current and future customers on a platform that is all about images.

Instagram said it best when they asked, “If you could express your business visually, what would you create?”

That is not a question most businesses ponder, but it is incredibly powerful. If you could not use words to describe your brand, could an image do it for you? Instagram forces you to think outside the box of traditional marketing to perceive yourself in a visual manner. Doing so will not only allow you to have success on Instagram, but the thought you put toward your visual identity can help you create a consistent brand identity across all your marketing platforms.

Setting up an account is easy. Simply grab a smartphone, download the app, and enter your business information. You should select a name people will recognize – your Twitter handle is probably the most obvious choice, and so is your business name. Upload a great profile picture and get started. Just like on Facebook, you can search for friends and businesses you want to follow, and very often, they will follow you back.

Increase Your Business’ Success on Instagram

Before you start posting, there are a few things you can do to increase your success.

1. Establish a goal.
Think of your Instagram posts as mini-ads. If you were to pay for an ad to be placed in a major magazine, you would have a clear story plot and objective in mind. This requires conceptualizing what you are trying to convey with images. Since Instagram is image-based, you must find a way to tell your story with pictures. A perfect example of this would be how restaurants take a picture of the latest addition to their menu. If the goal is to encourage viewers to try your dish, nothing works quite as well as a mouth-watering picture of it. If you are a retailer and selling warm sweaters for fall, show someone wearing one next to a cozy fire. Take time to brainstorm your concepts because they are what will drive engagement and results.

2. Stay consistent and focus on your brand.
Incorporate brand colors and images whenever possible. It is important to create a level of cohesion with the images you post on Instagram and throughout your other social media profiles. McDonald’s did an excellent job of this with an image of a woman drinking one of their sodas. Her shirt had the same shape and color of their logo as those golden arches graced her face. While subtle, those colors are universally recognized and so worked to enhance their brand image. Think of what you are best known for and be sure to incorporate those elements.

3. Create stunning images.
Instagram users are passionate. They thrive on high-quality, stunning visual images, whether they are taken by a professional photographer or their best friend. Do not post a poorly shot image. Get creative, go outside of the box, use the filters, and focus on being phenomenal. Instagram is not the place for boring. This is the place to take risks as long as those risks continue to support your overall brand identity and objectives.

4. Use #hashtags.
When you are posting to a new profile, it is important to use #hashtags because it can help people to find you. You should use the same one you have for all your brand postings and also use #hashtags for unique campaigns or popular issues. For example, if you are a local coffee shop, you may want to use a tag like #coffeeaddict, which has over 1.3 million posts. You can put your #hashtags and comments under the photos you post.

Instagram allows you to define your brand, attract new customers, and create a whole new niche for your company. If you need help with your social media profiles, call Local SEO – we will be happy to walk you through it.