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Instagram In An Instant! A Guide For Your Business.

Instagram In An Instant!  A Guide For Your Business.
By Karin Eldor
Monster Contributing Writer

Calling all retailers, fashion fanatics and brands looking to engage with consumers: are you using Instagram yet? If not, it might be time to get visual.
 
Facebook acquired the photo-sharing app in the spring of 2012, and it has since become known as “Facebook’s VIP room” – the channel where users can peek inside the behind-the-scenes action of their favourite brands.
 
While Facebook and Twitter are still important social media tools, Instagram has become a dominant channel for storytelling, driving awareness, engagement, branding, and creating celebrity associations. Just look at the over 300 million monthly active users, sharing over 70 million photos per day. It’s a virtual photo playground.
 
Here’s an interesting stat: engagement on Instagram is an average of 18 times higher than Facebook!
 
And it’s not all about selfies: Instagram offers a variety of ways to create content, grow your fan base & develop strategies to engage with your consumer.
 
Learn how, right now.
 
Instagram in an instant
 
So why consider adding Instagram to your social media marketing mix? 

Here’s how it works:
 
1)    Snap photos with your mobile, tablet or even a professional camera.
2)    Next, upload the photo to Instagram using the app (cannot be done on a desktop computer).
3)    Choose a filter: these allow you to alter your photos, with special effects. The most popular filters are “Earlybird,” “Amaro” and “Valencia.”
 
A PSA about filters: as a brand, you should have guidelines that dictate which filters to use and when (if any). It's a key way to ensure your Instagram feed looks like a “mood board” and maintains an on-brand aesthetic.
 
4)    Keep copy short & fresh (after all, a picture is worth a 1,000 words), and finish off with some relevant hashtags.
 
5)    Add tags: add other people who appear in the picture by “tagging” them, or add the other brands included in the post, if relevant. (This is a key way to get more viral with Instagram.)
 
6)    Geo-tag: name the location using photo maps, if you can.
 
Some basics
 
Add followings
Like other social media channels, it’s important to develop a “following” strategy in which you follow new people or accounts, on a weekly basis. Follow new influencers in your industry and “power fans” whenever possible – hopefully they’ll follow suit and return the favour.
 
Engage & nurture
An important component of social media is constant nurturing – essentially, like a garden. Reply to your fans’ comments and questions, and go the extra mile by “liking” (or “double-tapping” = “liking” in Instagram speak) others’ photos. Give some love to fans wearing or using your products, or even photos of media, bloggers or influencers, for example. It’s just the kind of validation Instagram users crave.
 
Show your emojis
Instagram is a place where you can afford to be more dynamic and drive your point home with emojis. Your brand’s tone of voice should play a guiding role in how you communicate on Instagram, and emojis help ensure you keep copy short and sweet. They’re also a nice and easy way to respond to comments, as sometimes the “thumbs up” or “applause” emoji can drive a positive comment home!
 
Hashtag it out
Try to stay away from hashtag overload. For branding purposes, it’s recommended to create a hashtag that’s proprietary so that it links back to your brand name when others post. And when relevant, use trending hashtags that are specific to a day or event.
 
Go viral
Users “send” Instagram photos to their friends by @ mentioning (or tagging them) in the comments section. So the more comments your photos generate, the more you can assure that your image is going viral.
 
Keep it simple
Since Instagram is more about brand awareness and equity (rather than “conversion” and sales), the important thing is beautiful photos. And usually, keeping it simple works best. While many brands do retouch their photos before posting, sometimes those lo-fi “spontaneous” looking pictures get the best response. Again, Instagram is a great “behind the scenes” look at a brand, and when images look too overproduced, the organic and natural effect gets lost.
  
 
Optimizing your use – best day & time to post?
 Unlike Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, it’s harder to pinpoint the best day and time to post on Instagram, to ensure the most reach. The times of day that seem to get the most traction are early morning (between 7am and 9am), around lunchtime (from 11am to 1pm) and even in the afternoons (from 5pm to 7pm). Think about it: people scroll through their Instagram newsfeeds on their mobiles, so it's usually while waiting in lines, on breaks/during downtime, or on a commute. 
 
As for the most popular day, studies have shown that posting on Sundays garners the most comments on photos.
 
Let’s talk strategy
 
Instagram takeovers: A dynamic way to expand your audience is by having an on-brand blogger or celebrity “take over” your Instagram channel for the day. It’s a fun way to add a fresh perspective to your feed, while leveraging the personality’s reach.
 
Contests: Instagram contests are an easy way to grow your fan base. Participating can be as simple as snapping your look, a product, or a landscape / view, and sharing it on Instagram by using a specified hashtag. Ensure a 360-degree experience by promoting the contest in-store and/or on your website.
 
User-generated content: Running a contest is also a good way to collect and compile user-generated content (UGC). This now becomes content that you can repurpose on your Instagram feed – just make sure you credit the user and specify that it’s a #regram.
 
Shoppable Instagram: Many brands are currently working with a third party to provide “shoppable Instagram” – a link in the “bio” of the brand’s profile page allowing users to shop the items they select. This is a service not (yet) provided by Instagram itself, but several platforms make it possible.
 
Like what you see?
 
If it sounds like Instagram is for your brand, try to develop a strategy to ensure you have the bandwidth to take it on. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different visuals. And most importantly, have fun!
 
 
 Source.- Instagram.com June 2015