Perhaps you have never considered Instagram for your business. If you are an accountant or an attorney, maybe you didn’t think your line of work was creative enough. Now it might take a little more work, but you can definitely sell your skills and services on Instagram.
Instagram, like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter, is all about building your online community. You want people to connect with you and your company on a more intimate level. Let’s say for an example that you are an attorney, you can use Instagram to share quotes, photos of your office, shots of the courthouses you work in, and favorite activities outside of work.
If your business is in graphic design, you would want to share your portfolio of work and places where you draw inspiration. If you are a landscaper or a landscape architect, share before and after photos of your completed gardens and lawns. You could also share helpful hints for the home gardeners and inspirational photos from the top landscape architects around the world.
When it comes to Instagram, you want the images you share to be a reflection of you and your company. Some other tips to get you started include:
Short Links—The links on Instagram aren’t active, so make sure that any links to your website or blog are short and easy to remember. You can use a service like Bitly to shorten long links. You will have to retype these if you share on Facebook or Twitter, so a short link is key.
Email List—Using your email marketing program, take a screenshot of the opt-in page or use another image and provide the link for new users to sign up. Instagram also gives you a chance to create a 15-second video, so you can give viewers a few great reasons to sign up for your emails.
Video—As stated above, you can create 15 second videos for your page. If you’re a graphic designer, create a time-lapse of your work. If you are a hairstylist, show a sped-up braid tutorial. Share testimonials from your clients or colleagues.
How To—Invite your customers to share a photo of a common issue and give them solutions on how to solve it. If you are an electrician, it might be on how to remove a broken bulb from a lamp. If you are a carpenter, you could show the best method of removing paint and sanding furniture.
Build a Community—Instagram is all about building relationships, so comment on and share photos from your followers. Also follow some of your colleagues in the industry and comment positively on their work to build a relationship.
Instagram is a great way to market your business in a fun, visual, and entertaining way. Remember to play it safe with posting, don’t post anything that you think might offend someone and steer clear of political posts. When you are commenting, keep your tone light and conversational. You want to treat your followers as your friends.
Do you have any other tips for using Instagram for business? Talk to us in the comments.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three ebooks, including My Facebook Formula, a free report on Facebook and why you should be using the largest social network for your business, here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/freebooks.html
When you were first starting out in business, you had a few friends, family members and customers that you leaned on for support and advice. Now these might have changed over the years, but chances are your business still has some trusted friends and customers. They also probably still give you advice informally or tell you when your company has a problem. And that’s great. Businesses need those checks and balances to keep growing and operating smoothly.
But did you know that there is a way to formalize that process? By creating a customer inner circle for a business, you will raise the level of communication, build trust, and grow your company and it’s free. Let’s say for example that you own an accounting firm that specializes in small business finance. You could create a group on Facebook or on Google and invite your longest clients to participate. Have them share questions or issues that frequently come up or a service that your company should either provide or improve. The feedback that your oldest clients provide gives you insight into how to better your work, your staff and yourself.
Some other ways to rev up your online Inner Circle include:
Ask a Question—If you are trying to decide on a course of action for your business, pose the question to the group. If you run a spa and you are debating adding a makeup bar or classes on braiding use the inner circle to find out which one appeals to your trusted clients.
Previews—Websites generally need refreshing every few years and your inner circle can be the perfect place to debate design, content, and other features. Give your inner circle the chance to view potential new designs or ask them what features they would like to see added. Normally a service like this would be expensive, but using your inner circle saves you a bundle. Plus who knows your company and your website better than the folks that were there three versions ago.
Benefits—Although you aren’t paying the inner circle members to be there, it would be a nice gesture for your company to offer some benefits for all the free advice. Giving them sneak previews, offering them a discount on services, or bonuses like tickets to a baseball game will encourage them to stay active with the group.
Share—The feedback that your inner circle gives you is of great benefit, but only if you use it. Review what they have to say, share it with your staff and then share it with the rest of your customers to see if they agree. Sharing the feedback is validating the feedback and it gives the participants a sense of trust that their thoughts are taken seriously.
An engaged inner circle can be an integral part of your company’s development. It will give you insight on how to grow and how to fix issues. An inner circle will also cut down on costs because you aren’t hiring a professional consultant. Your customers know your company better than anyone so put their knowledge to work for you.
Has your business created a customer inner circle? How is it working? Talk to us in the comments.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab your free 160-page copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/bigbook.html
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