All social media platforms go through a similar life cycle. Roughly moving from niche to popular to self-contained social to commercial/social hybrid to Myspace. Instagram is now in the penultimate stage of said-cycle. Within the last two years, the narcissism hub/photo sharing site has moved from an internal sphere to a marketing wonderland.
Sure, it doesn’t have the same ease of integration as Facebook or Twitter but circumventing its closed borders is easier than you think. Every platform is used differently and Instagram bolsters a huge visual influence, the very influence that could ultimately turn the tables for any budding entrepreneur.
Whether you’re selling a product, promoting a competition/event or just trying to get the word out, here are five ways to use Instagram to steer your business out of the black.
1. #Hashtag #Responsibly
It seems that as time progresses, the initial meaning of the modern hashtag has been lost. Have you ever tried explaining what a hashtag means to your Nan? It’s almost impossible. Think of them as keywords – you want a good balance and variation to collect interest from a multitude of sources. Do your research, find out what people are looking for and strategise accordingly.
2. Tell an Instagram story
A picture contains a thousand words and all that. You have a limited space to tell a story on Instagram so compose with care. Incorporate words in the picture because you can’t rely on people to read your caption. But, don’t forget that visuals is what keeps people from scrolling on. Make them unique to your brand and memorable.
3. Link with purpose
Entrepreneur advises that instead of linking sporadically on every post to create a landing page specifically for Insta-traffic with a special offer or call to action. Make their experience on your site unique to them and their habits.
4. Peer over your neighbour’s fence
Turn your competitors mistakes into your gains – the likelihood is that they’re doing the same thing to you. See what their follower base looks like and curate to undercut their audience. It might be a bit sneaky but as long as you don’t get caught it’s a totally fair play.
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5. Sell, sell, sell
Don’t feel bad about dealing on Instagram. Employ ad spaces like a pro and you’ll see dramatic changes. It’ll be a refreshing change actually using Instagram for something useful instead of documenting your dietary habits.