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Starting A Business On Instagram? Here Are 7 Things You Need to Do

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Instagram is one of the hottest social media platforms today with over 700 million monthly active users, a more engaged audience, and less competition than any other social networking giants such as Twitter or Facebook. This presents a golden opportunity for businesses to market their products to a more interested and targeted audience without spending a ton of money on paid advertising.

Whether your business strategy needs an update or you are a social media novice, the following 7 tips to start an Instagram business will be extremely helpful:

1. Beta Testing (And Involve the Community)

When you are launching a new business, it is critical to get feedback on your new concepts, ideas, and product in the early stages. But in order to make your business successful on Instagram, you will want to include Instagram members in your testing for useful feedback.

Beta testing is a type of testing where a sampling of the intended audience tries out the product before it is launched on wide scale. The goal of beta testing is to place your application in the hands of actual users outside of your business development team for the purpose of discovering any flaws or problems in your final version.

2. Make Instagram the Hub of Your Social Media Marketing

If you are planning to launch your business on Instagram, it is important to make your Instagram the one spot to visit with relevant information regarding the product offerings, launch date and anything else you will want to talk about. By diverting all traffic to your Instagram account from emails, blog posts, and your website, you will have a head start on establishing your Instagram community.

Keep in mind that this strategy may not be the best for all businesses – some businesses might want to divert all of their traffic to newsletter sign up page, for instance – however, if your aim is to make a stir on Instagram, your best plan of action is to push everyone to your Instagram profile before you launch your product or service.

Engage, Enlighten, Encourage and especially…just be yourself! Social media is a community effort, everyone is an asset.” – Susan Cooper

3. Create a Buzz Before You Launch

Keeping your customers interested in your product or service is a key part of any effective marketing strategy. Reward your loyal followers with exclusive content, and let them be the first ones to know about your new products, events or services. Create a range of fun and interesting teaser photos or trailers that will arouse anticipation or satisfy curiosity for your new stores, office openings or releases. This type of screening makes your Instagram followers feel curious and special, and likely to keep coming back for more insider information.

4. Create an Eye-catching Preview of Your Instagram Feed

Before you start attracting new followers to your Instagram account, make sure it is in the best condition possible. You shouldn’t have an empty profile when you send your followers, family, and friends to your Instagram channel because it gives off a bad impression. You should have already uploaded 4 to 5 posts to give them an idea of what to expect from you, along with captivating visual content communicating what your brand business is all about.

Make a habit of updating your bio section every now and then, and think of creative ways to use that opportunity for your own good. Think, app downloads, purchases or event registrations. Instagram has also introduced an option of adding phone numbers in bios, especially for businesses through Instagram Business profiles.

5. Choose the Right Name

Another important thing that acts a make or break factor for many potential customers is your Instagram name. Besides wanting an Instagram username that is already available, you will also want to think about the hashtags.

Since creative hashtag schemes are rapidly popularizing, having a dynamic branded hashtag that your followers and customers really want to use is the key to success when it comes to establishing an Instagram business. If you are initiating a new business, you need a brand name which doubles as an aspiring hashtag as this could be the pot of gold at the end of your Instagram glory.

6. Offer Instagram-Specific Rewards

Once you have built your Instagram fan base and have a killer Instagram feed, you will want to retain your followers and community, and this can only be done by keeping them engaged and curious about your brand. An easy way to do it is by offering Instagram-specific rewards, incentives discount, or perks. Whether it is a reward that your followers can only find on Instagram, or an Instagram giveaway, giving a little can guarantee a lot.

Another good idea is to host an Instagram contest, as it will help you build a fan base, increase awareness, increase engagement and boost sales. There are various ways to host a contest, and the best one will depend on your audience.

“Social media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide you.” – Matt Goulart

7. Don’t Forget Hashtags

Expanding an Instagram business takes determination, patience, and proper planning. Scheduling your Instagram posts beforehand is a good way to keep your business organized and ahead of the competition. Once you have launched your business, you will want to invest in connecting with other Instagrammers with the help of hashtags. To do this, you will first need to find hashtags that your audience is scrolling through. Next, you will need to start using those hashtags in your posts so people can find you.

Hashtagging is a great way to deliver a strong call to action. When you post content for your Instagram account, make sure all posts include a strong call to action in the form of a relevant hashtag. Some of the popular forms of call to action on Instagram that you can ask your followers to incorporate include “double tap”, “tag a friend in the post”, and “sign up today for free” to receive newsletters/emails. Instagram allows a minimum of 30 hashtags per post, but many users fail to make the most out of this ability.

Do you use instagram for social purposes or have you tried to build it into a business? Let us know your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Kaley Hart is a San Diego based digital strategist and writes for Jumper Media social media marketing column. She loves working with small businesses, and telling their stories through social media. Kaley is very talented, but her most impressive quality is the ability to identify any dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. Go Bruins! You can connect with her on Twitter @kaleyhearts

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