Instagram burst onto the social media scene back in 2010 allowing users to snap and edit photos with friends and family. Maybe you’ve wondered about how Instagram can be used to promote your business or if you should even be making an effort there. If you’re on the fence about it, here are some quick stats about Instagram that might change your mind:

• Over 60% of users log in daily, making it the second most engaged network behind Facebook
• Instagram was used by 48.8% of brands in 2016 and is expected to grow to 70.7% this year
• Top brands post 4.9 times per week on Instagram
• Engagement with brands is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter
• 50% of Instagram users follow brands, making them the social networkers most likely to do so

Clearly, Instagram isn’t just for sharing filtered pictures of your dinner or your furry friend anymore! If you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips for getting your business Instagram-ready.

1. Get Familiar With Instagram for Business
Check out Instagram’s own blog for businesses to get started. Here you will find valuable tips and tricks as well as announcements about updates or new features that you could be incorporating into your posts.

2. Create a Cohesive Looking Profile
Instagram is all about the visuals and imagery. Make sure your images all feel the same stylistically and play off of each other to paint a bigger picture. A simple way some accounts use to maintain continuity is to use the same filter on every post. You can also alter different filters so they continue the same feel when looking at your profile as a whole.
This also extends to the content and captions you post. Keep everything similar by sticking to the same amount of hashtags, separating them the same way in every post, etc. Hashtags are a big part of Instagram and creating your own brand-specific posts you and your fans can use is a great way to engage with loyal customers and hopefully find some new ones along the way.

3. Cultivate a Following
This may seem like the most difficult step but it’s really the easiest! Connect your Facebook account, use relevant and popular hashtags, and engage with others by following and liking their photos and that’s all you need to do! Another helpful hint would be cross-posting your Instagram images to Facebook to help fans from there find your profile.

4. Go Behind-the-Scenes
Instagram is a fun place to take your followers behind the scenes of your business! Post pictures or selfies of your employees or a day in the life at your company. It will make them feel like an insider and like they’re part of the process. This is especially easy to do with the new Instagram Stories feature, which allows you to post images that last for 24 hours before they disappear.

5. Entice Your Followers
Offer your followers exclusive access, discounts, or flash sales using Instagram. It’s also a great platform for running contests and partnering up with other small businesses to help each other gain followers. When setting up a contest or event on Instagram, make sure to outline the rules and have a short deadline. You don’t want to have a situation like the Sunny Co Clothing swimsuit giveaway.

Instagram is an ever-changing and evolving social media platform that is really a lot of fun once you get started! It’s an extremely creative platform that can be used in a variety of ways to work for your business. If you have any questions or need help coming up with the right Instagram marketing plan for you, get in touch with us!

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