Instagram is a photographer’s dream social media site. I, for one, am obsessed with this platform when it comes to marketing my own photography, however, Instagram is not just for photographers—it can also be for businesses who want to showcase a little flair in their day-to-day social posting. The great thing is, you don’t need a photography background to share your story on this platform. All you need is a camera phone, a little research, and an eye for what’s going on around you to get started.

Keep These Tips in Mind When Using Instagram for Business:

Do Turn Your Instagram Into a Business Page

Facebook owns Instagram, so if you have a Facebook business page, it is as easy as three steps to make your Instagram a business page, as well. When your Instagram is in its final business page form, the free metrics that come with each post are great to document what works best and how many people engage with your marketing techniques. You also have the ability to “Promote” your posts as Instagram Ads, and these metrics are readily available through Facebook’s Ad Manager.

Don’t Ignore User Engagement

If a user is commenting on your photo, engage with them by “liking” their comment, tagging them, and telling them you appreciate their kind words and consideration for your company. Also, be sure to answer any questions you see in the comments section. I find that if I comment on someone’s photo and they reach back out to me, I end up looking back through their feed to check out the rest of their content, and more often than not, I will also follow them. Instagram can be difficult since most people will have to scroll through feeds to find your posts, so the more you engage, the higher the chance that they will come in contact with your main profile.

Do Research Hashtags Relevant to Your Business

Hashtags can be cringeworthy when not used properly, but they are how Instagram’s search strategy works and it is crucial for your business to utilize them. This will take some time, trial, and error to see which hashtag will work best for your market. If you are an auto dealer, you may want to target the following: #carsofinstagram, #instacar, #carsforsale, etc. I am an abandoned architectural photographer (by choice), and  I mainly use the following: #abandoned_junkies, #abandonedafterdark, and #rusticexploration, just to name a few. It depends on who you want to target and it is great to scroll through these tags to see if your posts could stand out from the rest.

Don’t Ask For Followers

It is in poor taste to ask for users to follow your page. Asking for followers through hashtags or by commenting on other users’ photos is quite often ignored and can shine a negative light on your business. Not only is it annoying, but someone can report your page for spam and you can be taken off of Instagram!

Do Use Their Photo Editor and Be Creative

Instagram started with photographers and editors in mind by creating algorithms to add quality editing techniques that were inspired by professional software. Setting the scene and taking time to create new and inspirational photos will set your local business apart from the rest. Don’t be afraid to get down on the floor or a little messy–it’s all worth it in the end.

Don’t Use Low Quality or Irrelevant Photos

If you are an auto dealership, post quality photos of your staff engaging with clients, details of your new cars, or client appreciation techniques. Don’t show your kid’s fourth birthday unless it’s at the dealership, or you gave him a Tonka Truck with your logo on it. Always aim to keep photos brightly lit and higher resolution to show users you care and try a little harder for their attention.

Using Instagram for your business doesn’t have to be a daunting task to take on. If you utilize my tips above, and have fun with it, Instagram can be a great way to get your brand out there on social media and gain a following. Not sure if you’re ready to take it head on? Check out our Summer of Social Media mentoring program!

About the Author

Liz is a Digital Marketing Strategist at PCG Companies with a passion for all things digital. In her spare time, she can be found with her camera in hand and caffeine in her veins exploring abandoned buildings or visiting local donut shops.