Instagram for business: 5 rules to follow

Taking pictures of your products with the app can be fun, but don’t forget you’re using it to connect with fans. Keep these pointers in mind.

I recently shared some impressive statistics about the popularity of Instagram, and discussed some of the different ways you can use the app for PR. I want to delve deeper into the subject, and talk more about the approaches your business can take and the general etiquette you need to keep in mind when you use Instagram for your business.

Here are five simple rules to keep in mind when you use Instagram:

1. Find interesting ways to capture your products and services.

Nobody wants to see bland, generic photos of your products. That’s boring. Instagram is all about finding unique ways to tell a story through your photos.

For example, Starbucks uses Instagram to show photos of real people enjoying Starbucks coffee in everyday settings. Every photo is an interesting story, and it shows how the customer interacts with the product.

Find interesting ways to capture your products and services so people can get a deeper understanding of them and form a bond with them. You can even encourage users to take photos with your products and tag you.

2. Don’t overload your followers’ feeds.

Instagram isn’t like Twitter where the conversation moves at real-life speed. On Instagram, you can’t post 10 photos in the span of a few minutes without clogging your followers’ feeds, annoying them, and looking like a spammer. Space your updates throughout the day so you don’t bombard your followers.

3. Interact with your followers.

Instagram isn’t just about sharing cool photos, it’s also all about being social. Like Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, Instagram thrives on user interaction.

Take time to respond to comments, like other people’s photos, and build your network.

4. Study what kinds of photos your followers respond to.

The more you understand what your followers like and want, the better equipped you’ll be to give it to them. Pay attention to which of your photos get the best responses, and look at what your followers post and like. (You can find this under the “Following” tab in the news section.)

5. Use hashtags to help people discover your photos.

Adding hashtags to your photo updates can help people find them more easily.

Starbucks might tag a photo with “#coffee” or “#cappuccino,” along with other hashtags related to the photo. For example, a photo of someone enjoying coffee while watching football might have a “#football” hashtag, as well.

Don’t go overboard with hashtags, or try to be too clever. Use two to four per post, and try to use them to get people to discover your photos.

What are some other rules for Instagram success? Share yours in the comments.

Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this article originally appeared.

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