BY JULIE A. PALM
Instagram should be a part of your social media strategy. Here’s how to make it an effective tool for your store or e-commerce site.
Created as an easy way for friends to share photos, Instagram has become one of the “big five” social media apps, along with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest, and has some 600 million users. Like so many social media platforms, it was adopted first by younger users, who liked Instagram’s filters, which transform ho-hum mobile phone pictures into artsy photos, and grew from there.
Whether you’ve had an Instagram account for years or are just getting started, here are some ways to improve your Instagram game.
- Image matters most. Instagram remains true to its image-oriented origins. Beautiful, funny and quirky photos and short videos work best. Instagram’s filters can be fun to play around with but don’t go overboard.
- #hashtagsrule. Hashtags, which allow people to search for posts or accounts to follow using specific words or phrases, are big on Instagram. A 2016 study by marketing software provider TrackMaven in Washington, D.C., found Instagram posts with more than 11 hashtags prompt the most interaction and the site allows you to tag a photo with as many as 30. Come up with a few tags that you’ll use for every post (#yourstorename, #sleep, etc.) and then play around with others depending on the image.
- Switch to a business profile. If you’ve had an Instagram account for a while, it’s probably set up as a personal profile, even if it’s for your store because Instagram didn’t differentiate until last year. The new business profiles feature “a huge ‘contact’ call to action, allowing users to email, call or text the business,” says Jonathan Long, founder of Miami-based Market Domination Media, in an article on Entrepeneur.com. “Along with the contact option, business profiles have access to analytics, or as they call them, Insights, giving users access to impression and engagement data.”
- Run contests. “Contests are a great way to increase engagement and build evangelism among your audience on Instagram,” says Ash Read, a content crafter for the social media management tool Buffer. In a blog on the Buffer website, Read suggests three easy Instagram contests: photo sharing (ask followers to share photos with a specific hashtag; build the contest around a theme like “sleeping in” or “best pillow ever”); comments (“ask your followers to comment on your post to enter the contest”) and likes (“This is probably the easiest contest to get up and running—simply liking your photo will enter someone into your contest. The major benefit of this simplicity is that there’s no barrier to entry, and it’ll only take your followers a second to double tap and like your post.”)
Follow Sleep Savvy and BedTimes on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/bedtimessleepsavvy/
(Note: Instagram was created for iPhone and Android smartphones and although it offers a desktop version of its app, it’s harder to use and less robust. If you’re just getting started, know you’ll be managing your Instagram account from your phone.)