Have you ever considered using Instagram for your business to make your brand visible to a new market?

Instagram is focused on communicating through photos. It is a great tool for business as it lets you express your brand visually to tell your story and inspire others.

According to Instagram, about one-half of users now follow a business on the platform and around 60 percent of users say they’ve learned about products on Instagram.

Tips for getting started:

Account name

Choose an account name that’s easily tied to your business. A company name works well.

Profile photo

Simple is best. We recommend using your brand’s logo or a graphic symbol. Keep in mind it will be cropped into a circle and appear as a 150 x 150 pixel image (that’s pretty small) on most phones.

Text

Different caption lengths work well for different audiences. Test and learn from trying out various caption lengths with your followers. Incorporate hashtags to categorize your content and make it easier for non-followers to discover you. We recommend up to three hashtags so they don’t detract from the simplicity of the post. Ask questions to engage people.

Commenting & liking

Play an active role with your community. Engage with comments and questions on your own posts and use hashtags, location tags and Photos of You to discover and join the conversation on other community members’ posts about your brand.

Tagging

Include the location of your photo or video when it helps tell the story of the image. Use the Add People feature to tag accounts in your image when they will help you reach a broader audience.

Image tools

Edit your images and videos with filters. These effects give images that unmistakable “Instagram” look that people respond to.

Image subjects

Post photos and videos of beautiful and unexpected moments that also feel authentic and immediate. Whether your subject is a person or an object, capture it in a context that gives a sense of your brand’s identity or point of view.

Search & Explore

Use Search & Explore on to discover people, locations and posts that may be relevant to your brand. You can also explore trending #hashtags and top accounts.

How to create a successful update

Businesses succeed on Instagram when they share well-crafted content that’s on-brand and driven by a clear objective. Share your business through captivating images, videos and captions.

Here are a few tips to providing the best content to your followers;

  • Only share good quality, clear images.
  • Use filters on your images to give them the distinctive Instagram look.
  • Add hashtags to your updates so they can be found by a wide audience.
  • Incorporate your branding, whether it’s a colour or logo, the continuity looks professional.

In this update, we have used appropriate hashtags, filters and the cushion are even Online Toolbox green.

Introducing…

Instagram Stories

Instagram added a feature on August 2 called Stories. Instead of posting individual photos, Stories lets you post a bunch of photos throughout the day. And at the end of that day, those photos disappear.

Now this may sound familiar and that’s because it’s almost identical to Snapchat’s story feature.

How to create a story

  • Tap on the plus button found on the top left-hand side of your homescreen or swipe left in your Feed. You can also quickly launch Stories by swiping right from the main screen.
  • Tap the circle button at the bottom of the screen to take photos or tap and hold to record a video.
  • Edit the photos or videos with text or add a drawing as you normally would. If you hit the pen icon, there are three types of pens. The third one makes your sketch look like a neon sign.
  • Tap Done to save your Story.
  • Tap the check mark button to share to your Story.

Want to add more than one photo or video to your story so that it plays like a slideshow? Just repeat the steps. Each photo you add using the steps will be placed in your story.

Contact buttons

In July, Instagram introduced a contact button for business pages. This not only looks more professional; it also provides your followers with a way to get hold of you.

To get a contact button, you must first have a business account. Converting your standard account to a business one is easy and free.

First open up the Instagram app and going into your settings.

You’ll see an option that says ‘Switch to business account’. Press this, connect your Facebook business account and voila!

The contact button should automatically appear, along with your address and website.

Advertising on Instagram

This is done through linking your Facebook page with your Business’ Instagram account and using Facebook’s advertising platform to set up and maintain your Instagram Ads.

Instagram is now an end-to-end advertising solution that drives real business results. Increase awareness and message association, or get visits to your website or downloads of your mobile app.

Instagram Ad Formats

There are 3 main types, as you will see in the image below: Photo, Video and Carousel. Experiment with all 3 to keep your content varied.

Analytics

Monitoring and tracking social media activity has become standard practice. There is no built-in insights tool for Instagram, so some assume that they have to perform this task manually.

However, analytics platforms now exist. Here are some of the available ways to monitor Instagram’s activity:

Web-Based Apps

  • SumAll provides information for the Instagram account user to sign up, among other social networks and services.
  • Statigram is focused on Instagram and provides data on the Instagram account used to sign up.
  • SimplyMeasured allows users to get analytics on other accounts, which can come in handy for companies.
  • Nitrogram provides insights on hashtags and accounts, showing engagement rates, number of photos shared, and their potential impressions.

 

iOS Apps

  • GramPro computes a popularity score for any Instagram user in the community and makes it easier to find who the influencers are.
  • Static is a toolbox to monitor several networks at once, including Instagram.