Do you use Instagram? If you don’t, or if you’re still knew to it, this post contains everything you’ve always wanted to know about Instagram.
Instagram is growing day by day. According to Statista, as of September 2017 Instagram had 800 million users. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had 900 million users or more by now or more.
According to the Pew Research Center’s March 1st report, Instagram is the fourth most used social media network, behind Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest.
Part of Instagram’s growth might be due to the mother of all social media networks, Facebook. After Facebook purchased the app in 2014, Instagram’s user base soared by 60%.
Instagram took off with teens and Millennials. Today, according to the Pew Research Center, 35% of all internet users in the U.S. have an Instagram account. Of those, 39% are women and 30% are men.
More About Instagram’s Users
The age breakdown among users trends toward the younger crowd. Most users are between the ages of 18 and 29.
However, there is a fairly large number of users between the ages of 30 and 49. The older age groups tend to be smaller with the 65-and-above crowd making up the smallest percentage of users.
What we know for sure is that for interacting with clients and customers, Instagram is increasingly a great platform for engaging with them.
If your client demographic is between the ages of 18 and 49, Instagram can be a strategic application for you to use. But if your audience isn’t on Instagram, does it make sense to use it? I’m a huge proponent of saving time on social media by only spending time on those networks where you’ll find your clients and your colleagues.
But with Instagram’s popularity, it might make sense for you to follow some people’s advice: grab your username anyway. After doing that, experiment with Instagram and see whether it’s worthwhile for your business. If it isn’t, leave Instagram, focus your energy on other platforms, and return to it later to test it again.
The beauty of Instagram – and this is why it’s easy to test it – is that it’s effortless to incorporate it into your life. You’ll see why if you keep reading. For now, let’s leave the statistics behind and talk about how to sign up and use this tool.
How to Join Instagram
Joining this network is easy. Sign up by navigating to Instagram.com on your desktop computer or download the application on your smartphone and signup.
It’s best to use your smartphone because Instagram was developed for the mobile web and it’s best to be on your phone to add your profile image and images that your post.
As with other social media sites, do not use your book cover or image of your favorite pet as your avatar. Use the best picture of yourself that you have.
Every time you add a new network to your marketing arsenal, represent your brand as best you can. What is your brand? Your company, or if you’re a consultant, your brand is you. Everything you do and say online reflects upon you so every step you take online, every post, every image you upload, needs to support your business in as positive a manner as possible.
When you select your username, use your business name. If you’re a consultant like myself, I prefer to promote my name instead of my business name, ACT Communications. You’ll need to make the decision.
Complete your bio, which Instagram restricts to 150 characters, and add your website address. Don’t forget to check the box next to Similar Account Suggestions so that Instagram will suggest additional users for you to follow.
Instagram Is a Mobile App
You’ll be limited in what you can do from your desktop computer. You can create your account and stream your news feed and like images and leave comments. But at its essence, Instagram is a mobile app.
As you’re out and about, visiting your favorite café, buying books, or cruising you’re your favorite downtown area or woodsy path, snap images with your smartphone. Then, upload the pictures directly to Instagram. Select a filter for your image if the image appears too dark or too bright, and post it.
Now this next step is what makes Instagram simple to use. As you post your image to Instagram, you can also post it to other accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr. While I don’t recommend syncing Twitter to Facebook or even Instagram to Twitter, linking Instagram to Facebook is seamless. The comment and hashtags you write for your Instagram post will integrate smoothly with your Facebook profile. This is how to connect your accounts:
- Navigate to your Instagram profile on your smartphone.
- Tap the three dogs in the upper right-hand corner of your profile.
- Click Linked Accounts and select the social media networks you want to sync.
If you want an Instagram business account, which will provide you with analytics and connect to your Facebook page, follow these instructions:
- Go to your profile.
- Click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of your profile.
- Click Switch to Business Profile.
Once you have a business profile, you’ll also get analytics for your Instagram account. You’ll be able to track demographic information of your followers, locations, and the hours and days your followers are on Instagram.
How Businesses Can Use Instagram
Businesses have taken to Instagram, expanding their brand, and letting clients and customers learn more about them than what they write or blog about. Check out these examples:
Paula Gregorowicz is a website developer and a business coach. She emphasizes efficiency in business so that you have time to enjoy the outdoors, if that’s what you like, or time for cooking, or whatever your hobbies and pastimes are. In this post, she adds a landscape image from either a kayaking or hiking trip.
Here social media entrepreneur promotes a free email course she did for business owners.
In this example, a hair salon promotes a special they’re conducting.
In this example, an aesthetician wants to let her clients know about the temporary closing of a services she usually offers.
Here, a business coach posts quote that matches the services she offers.
In this final example, a consultant posts a popular quote.
When to Post on Instagram
The easiest time to post is right after you take a picture or create a quote.
According to Latergramme, a scheduling post for Instagram, the best time to post is between 2 am and 5 pm EST, with 5 pm being the most opportune time. The best day to post is on Wednesdays, but if you start using Instagram, you’ll need to be consistent and post more frequently than once a week. Once a day is usually sufficient.
When you start out, post images when it’s convenient for you. As you gain followers, you’ll figure out when the most engagement occurs and tailor your timing.
Scheduling Apps for Instagram
Once you start using Instagram regularly, you might want the option to schedule images in advance.
With this app, you can upload images and videos from your computer, not just your smartphone. Onlypult also provides analytics. Plans start at $10.50/month.
This tool enables you to upload images from your computer, iPhone, Tablet, or Android, plan and schedule your posts, upload videos and manage multiple accounts if you have more than one. You can start with a free account. If you have a business profile on Instagram, you can schedule your images.
With this tool, you can organize campaigns or schedule images one-by-one, manage multiple accounts, create content, and add bulk uploads at once. For a single Instagram account, the cost is $20/month.
Instagram Best Practices
Here are a few best practices to get you started.
- Use hashtags here just as you would on Twitter.
- Don’t be afraid to reveal a bit about your personal life. Take images from a hike, a cycling excursion, or even of your background. Revealing something about yourself will help clients connect to you.
- Always be authentic.
- Don’t be overly promotional, unless you’d like to inform users of a contest or special promotional.
- Build your community of clients and colleagues by liking their posts and commenting on them. Be as engaged with them as you’d like them to be with you.
How do you use Instagram?
Frances Caballo is a social media strategist and manager and the author of six books on social media. Click here to schedule an appointment with her.Interested in marketing a book you wrote? Visit Frances at SocialMediaJustforWriters.com.