Instagram has been around for a while but its popularity has been gaining a lot of momentum this year. Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and apply a variety of digital filters to them. The video service is the newest addition to Instagram and is very similar to Vine except the videos are 15 seconds long and are non-looping. This will help create some great content that can be shared on Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, and more. Here are five tips to get you using Instagram like a pro.


1. Include Hashtags – In the social media world its all about creating visibility for your posts; hashtags can help you with this. Hashtags are best used to categorize the posts. Think of it as placing a tab on a folder. Try to think of what keywords people would search to find your information. Next, create your hashtags based around these keywords. For example if your putting up a post a about an “Apple Pie” recipe then a good hashtag may be #apple, #applepie or #recipe. You should also consider creating specific hashtags for your events, sales, and contest promotions. This is great way to build up excitement and track what is being said. Conversations can also build around these hashtags giving you the opportunity to get feedback or network.


2. Get Creative –¬†Standing out in your marketing is crucial for success. Being creative with your photos and videos is one of the best ways to stand out and is crucial for success with Instagram. Take customers behind the scenes, highlight customers using your products, highlight employees, and show off your product/services in different situations. Most importantly do not be afraid to think outside of the box.


3. Share beyond the gram– Instagram is great as an individual network, but its true power lies in its ability to share its posts with your other social media networks. One of the greatest challenges you will face with social media is generating content. Using Instagram can help remove that challenge by helping to create content for your Facebook and Twitter business pages.


4. Include contact information РYou have two key areas where you need to include your contact information. The account description and the post description. In the account description be sure to include your main contact information and a link to your website. In the post description be sure to include a link to the product/website being featured in your post. Remember, simplicity is key and you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to interact with you once they have made that decision.


5. Follow the leader – Find several mentor businesses for you to follow. Think about what/whom do you want your business to become. Use these mentor businesses as a guide. What type of content are they putting out? Is it receiving positive or negative interaction from their followers? What are they doing to stand out? The goal is to use this information to help generate ideas on what you can put out there. Also, be sure to expand out of your location and see what similar businesses are doing in larger areas. This is a great way to identify new ideas to bring to your area first, thus creating a “competitive¬†advantage”.

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