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How to use Instagram to Promote Your Business

When you think of Instagram, you might say it’s the place where people post a photo of the porterhouse steak they’re about to eat or their teammates on bowling night. But businesses can make use of the photo hosting site to spread the word about their good and services.

What’s the point of doing that, you may ask?

With more than 300 million users, Instagram is bigger than Twitter, Tumblr and Snapchat, and many marketers who want to drive traffic to their sites would likely desire to grab a slice of that pie.

Video Too

“Instagram” is a combination of the words “instant” and “telegram.” Photos and videos posted on the site are presented in a square format rather than the more standard rectangular one.

You’ll want to download Instagram to your smartphone or tablet, since it’s primarily a mobile app.

No Links in Posts

You can’t put links in your Instagram posts because they simply won’t take. But you can include them in your profile, so linking to your website or other relevant sites is still an option.

Links placed in captions or photo and video comments won’t work. You can, however, write a note in your captions telling your audience that certain links can be found in your profile. In addition, you can edit the default link in your bio and make it link to a destination that you stipulate. That can be useful when you’re running a special promotion.

With Instagram, you’ll probably find that you can promote a single page. You’ll probably improve your brand exposure and it may lead to an uptick in traffic coming to your site. But if you’re trying to promote a number of different websites you’ll probably not have as much success.

Being Square

Although Instagram normally formats photos and videos into square images, you can find apps that will allow you to resize your images to fit the square format without losing any parts of the picture. Try InstaSize to resize your images especially for Instagram.

Stay on Track

You might be tempted to post pictures of your summer vacation on your Instagram business page, but it’s best to avoid that. You’ve probably worked hard to create the kind of image you want for your business. And while your personal photos may be attractive they’ll likely weaken the message you’re trying to send out, and you may even confuse your audience – some may wonder if your business is still running or if it’s closed.

Get Creative

You don’t have to post dry, business-like pictures to the exclusion of anything with a bit of pizzazz, however. Just make sure that the pictures you post are somehow related to your business. If you sell new picture frames, and happened to take photos of some ornate antique frames you saw at an estate sale, by all means, post that kind of image on your page.

Promotions Made Easy

Let’s say you’re planning a giveaway to promote your business. You can post an image that alerts others of the event. Visitors can gain entry to the special drawing you’ll have for the freebie by reposting that image and adding a specific hashtag. You then search the hashtag, collect the names of everyone who reposted the photo and draw names out of a hat to select a winner.

Helpful Comments

Users can post comments about your photos, and when they do you can open up conversations with them. Your interest in their comments and the responses you post will provide additional content to your page that may persuade others to join in the informal talk, too.

Spread the Word

You can grab embed code from the Instagram website that you can access from your desktop. With that code you can add your Instagram pictures to your Web pages. This will help alert visitors that you have an Instagram page and that my persuade them to log in and become a follower.