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Megan Rutherford: Sales and Marketing Column

Megan Rutherford: Sales and Marketing Column
Megan Rutherford has a diverse background in sales, marketing, and public relations. She has 15+ years of experience in helping small businesses grow their unique markets. Certified as an inbound marketer, Megan specializes in internet & email marketing, search engine optimization, social media, and more. Offline activities include direct mail marketing, public relations, and event planning.

Instagram for Business

Instagram for Business

Instagram for Business is widely popular and offers many opportunities for businesses to not only connect with existing followers but also expand follower-ship. Instagram allows for businesses to illustrate what they do in a creative way. With the largest number of Instagram users in the United States, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms. Let’s examine some of the top ways that a small business can leverage Instagram for marketing purposes:

Creating a Business Presence on Instagram

Building an Instagram presence doesn’t happen overnight. Set goals and objectives in utilizing Instagram for Business and don’t just go off of vanity metrics such as follows, likes, and comments.

Do Competitor Research

Take a good look at your competitors to see what they are providing followers on Instagram. Benchmark your brand against other brands in your industry to see what does and doesn’t work for them.

Optimize the Instagram Profile

First impressions are everything. Choose a representative image for your company to have as the profile picture. A logo is usually best recognized in this premium location. When an Instagram user looks at your business page, what are they going to learn about your company and brand? Define a clear value statement for your brand. With only 150 characters available for the Instagram bio, every character counts. Ensure that your Instagram profile is complete- with the business name, username, profile image, and website.

Types of Content

Defining what content to post hinges on who your target audience is. Ideally, each post should tie into your business’s visual identity and showcase your brand. Switching up content to highlight customer reviews, behind the scenes, and other creative posts are also beneficial for a business to post. Be consistent in the look and feel of the posts to encompass the same filters with great photos. It doesn’t take a professional photographer; the mobile phone can be the perfect tool. With a little bit of forethought with using natural lighting and the rule of thirds, every photo on Instagram can be a standout for your business. An additional part of the content aspect is to create powerful captions. While a picture can be worth a thousand words, don’t skimp on the caption. Captions can be compelling to help Instagram users better connect with your business.

Posting Frequency

As a small business, your goal is to create brand awareness and get followers engaged with your content. Instagram followers will expect to see posts regularly. The best time to post varies depending upon the industry that your business is in. As an example, for the food and beverage industry, the most successful posts are usually around lunchtime. Do the research for stats on your company’s Instagram posts to determine when the majority of your followers are online. Engage with Instagram users that like, follow, mention, and comment on your business posts.

To Hashtag or Not to Hashtag

Including hashtags in the Instagram bio is a good idea as they are clickable and a terrific way to show off all of the Instagram content your business has created. Hashtags are also beneficial within a post as they allow your content to be found easier. A branded hashtag such as company name or tagline is a great way to build up user-generated content and tie everything to your business.

Take Advantage of Stories

Instagram Stories are becoming more and more popular, with many Instagram users feeling more interested in a business or product after they have viewed an Instagram Story. With content disappearing after 24 hours, it’s a great way to be creative and tell a story (hence the name of Instagram Stories).

Implementing some (or all) of the ideas we have discussed in this post will help in developing a strategy for your Instagram Business account. What works for one type of business may not work well for another. What we do know is that Instagram offers small businesses many opportunities to promote products and services as well as convey a brand message all at little to no cost involved. Telling a visual story about your business is an excellent way to get found by potential customers and stay in front of existing customers by remaining top-of-mind.

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