You may or may not agree, but I think Instagram is the most personal of the social media platforms. Facebook can be personal, but I find people are open to sharing a lot of non-personal information along with posts from/by other people. LinkedIn is personal but through a professional lens. Twitter has kind of been ransacked by bots, so that’s where that platform is going. Instagram, perhaps because it’s based entirely on images and videos, has a more personal feel to it. That might make it seem awkward if you are thinking about starting an Instagram account for your company. However, there are ways to step into the stream and succeed. Here are some tips.
Before you do anything, search
Searching on Instagram is easy and is an effective, efficient way to get a feel for what activity there is in your industry (if any). Simply click on the little magnifying glass and type in a word relevant to your industry. In this case I simply conducted a search for “manufacturing”:
The first set of results you get is “top” results. You can already see that there are some manufacturers using Instagram, which is good to know.
One more click also gives you the heads up on some great information. See that “tags” button? Clicking that will show you the most popular hashtags on Instagram:
You can see that if you are a manufacturer, there are some pretty popular hashtags that you could use to help your update gain visibility. It’s best, of course, if your post actually has something to do with that hashtag.
You can also search your company name to see if someone has made a post about one of your products or services. Finding a lot of mentions is a sure sign that you will have some networking to do if you move ahead with starting your account.
Have a plan
Instagram is intuitive. You take a picture or a video with your phone’s camera and post, adding a comment and hashtags. Ease of use may motivate some companies to just start posting with no real plan in mind. That is how accounts burn out quickly and don’t experience a lot of success.
Take a look at the Zippo Instagram account. You can find them at @OriginalZippo. Every day they post a 360º video of one of their lighters, adding a little write-up to go with the image. They don’t need to promote themselves because people who like the account are probably already Zippo fans. Lots of people collect Zippos though, so they probably figured this strategy would appeal to their customer base. So far it’s working pretty well!
Kennametal (@Kennametal) has decided to focus on the company’s travels in a lot of their posts. Photos and videos from trade shows are great ways to make your account interesting, and they also show your audience how active you are in the industry (or in your community).
Moreso than with a Facebook page or a Twitter account, you really need to have a persona in mind for your brand when you move to Instagram. You will post more consistently, both in terms of tonality and types of images/videos, if you always have this image of your company in mind.
Be ready to respond
All social media marketing rests on the assumption that someone will engage with your content. Whether that engagement is positive or negative, you need to be ready to respond. Unless accounts are locked down on Instagram, anybody can comment on your updates. That means you need to be ready for trolls, competitors, upset customers, happy customers, and everything in between. There should be an understanding company-wide about how any negativity will be handled so that nothing is done on the fly. That’s when things can get REALLY messy.
These three tips are just the tip of the iceberg, of course, but it should be enough to give you some ideas if you are thinking about starting an account. Want a little more help? Please let us know!
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/phenophin/7514102282/ via Creative Commons