A picture speaks a thousand words, or so they say. But these days there’s only one type of picture that matters, and if it’s not filtered and hashtagged to death then sorry, chances are people won’t be interested.

Instagram was born in 2010 and quickly rose to become the world’s no.1 photo sharing platform. Within 2 months it broke 1 million active users and in June 2016, the platform announced it had topped the 500 million user mark.

With a largely young and social media savvy user demographic, Instagram is a great tool for businesses and individuals. Companies use the platform to promote their brand and products, allowing consumers to digitally try before they buy.

So, here are some of our top tips to keep ahead of the Instagram game:

1)      Figure out what you want to achieve

Are you trying to advertise a new menu, promote a new venue, increase product sales or engage with your audience? Whatever your end goal, identify it and make sure you target your campaign accordingly. At the end of the day, a well-planned social media strategy can have a great impact on your brand so spend some time laying out your ideas, linking all your social accounts and outlining your KPIs to reap the benefits.

2)      Choose a hashtag that encapsulates your brand

Hashtags are a great way to raise your profile across the platform by pulling out your post when users search similar topics. Creating your own hashtags allows your visitors to tag your company in their own instas, increasing visibility for your brand and reinforcing your identity. Check out Cheyiz’s #CheyizLife campaign to get you started.

Cheyiz Life hastag on Instagram

3)      Engage with places in your area

Regraming or tagging local businesses, communities or events is a great way to show users where you are based. Whether it’s the local street market or a new shop coming to town, showing your support not only boosts your presence in the digital community but demonstrates the look and feel of an area before your guests even arrive. We love Daisy Green’s @Paddingtoncentral and the Lime Tree‘s shots of London.

Lime Tree Hotel Instagram posts of London

 

4)      It’s not all about products

Despite the general assumption, Instagram isn’t all about posting pictures of your product. If you are a bar, a restaurant, a hotel or offer a service then inspire your audience with pictures of your teams, parties, events or simply objects relative to your industry. As long as the image and caption captures your unique atmosphere and brand then anything goes! Interior designer, Douglas Mackie’s international architecture shots really hit the nail on the head.

Douglas Mackie's post of international architecture on Instagram

 

5)      Link up with your website and other social accounts

There is no point in having a great Instagram account if people can’t see it. So, if you have a website, make sure your Instagram is easily accessible via a live feed or call to action on the homepage footer (check out Ben’s Canteen’s feed for inspiration). Not only will this drive more traffic to your account and increase your following but customers will get a true insight into your brand. Equally, don’t forget to link your posts back to your site. Ensure you share your instas across all your social accounts (especially Facebook and Twitter). A joined-up strategy is far stronger than a disjointed brand so share, tag, link and post your pictures to create a well-rounded experience.

Ben's Canteen Instagram feed on their website

 

So, if you haven’t already set up your business Instagram account you can do so here and get posting!