Your business probably already has an Instagram account, but are you using that account efficiently and getting a lot of engagement from your followers?
When it comes to your business, you need to think of Instagram as a tool to visually interact with your customers, not just to broadcast to them. The platform itself may be free, but it requires an investment of time and staff to be sure it’s being used to its maximum potential.
Here are 5 Instagram tips you can use to connect more with your customers:
Build Genuine Relationships
Always remember to keep the social in social media. Gone are the days when you could fire off a few photos from the kitchen or shots of today’s special board, and put your phone back in your pocket. Being successful on Instagram means using your account to build genuine relationships with your followers. Follow a lot of accounts, respond to comments on your page, like and comment on other people’s pages, and zero in on your industry influencers to establish relationships directly with them.
Share Good Content
Sharing content produced by others serves many purposes. It can make managing your account easier for you by letting you post content other than your own, which also helps you reach new audiences. Check out some of the different reposting apps out there that work with Instagram and find the one that works best for you. Think about establishing a hashtag dedicated to your business that you can encourage users to tag their photos and repost the best ones to your own account. Sharing good content from your community broadens your reach and helps build engagement.
Use Smart Hashtags
Any photo you post should include appropriate hashtags. Hashtags give a huge boost to engagement and give new users a way to find your content. Remember, the more specific the hashtag, the more engaged the community around it is. Don’t just do #food, think #breakfast #eggs #foodporn. Research the most popular hashtags for your industry and start using them. But think outside the box a bit too. Are there hashtags that relate to your city or your neighborhood? Can you also include images that work for your restaurant but allow you to use hashtags that you wouldn’t normally? For example, maybe there’s a gorgeous dog sitting on your patio while its owner has a beer. Snap a great shot and you can now work some dog-related hashtags in there too, as well as some beer ones.
Offer Instagram-Only Perks
Rather than just sharing the same content across every social platform, give your customers a reason to follow and engage with you specifically on Instagram. Have a photo contest, offer discount codes only on Instagram, or reward new followers with a special gift.
Think of your Instagram account as a visual magazine devoted to only your business. You may want it to seem casual and spontaneous, but the best accounts are very deliberate. Every post should be carefully considered and consistent with your brand. Be sure the voice being used when captioning is always the same, regardless of who is doing the actual posting. Each photo should be in focus, well composed and reflective of your business.
If you would like to learn more about other ways to connect with your customers through their mobile device check out Split, an innovative solution for restaurants that helps connect restaurants with their customers through mobile technology.
Writer Bio: Kristin Crane is a writer and designer living in Providence, Rhode Island. She works with small businesses to help them promote themselves in various industries including food, wine, and the arts. She also contributes as Travel Editor to The Lady Project blog.