Last month one of the Ballymena Today youth team shared a post on how to set up your own Instagram account here. Have you done it yet?

Even with plenty of evidence to the contrary, many small business owners still see sharing pictures on a platform like Instagram as pointless and a waste of their time. We think that’s crazy! We believe you must embrace at least one form of social media with your business or organisation and, if you sell products that can be photographed then a photo sharing service such as Instagram is a must-have tool to help you build and share.

Here are some of our tips for using Instagram effectively.

  1. Carefully consider your Instagram handle/name before you start. If you can match it with your twitter username, that’s a great start for continuity’s sake and will make sharing content easier.
  2. Think about your product & make it the focus of your images. If you sell shoes, you might want to occasionally share a picture of your lunch for a bit of fun but stick with the shoes. New shoes, old stock, sale shoes, special offers… make your images about your product.
  3. Include your staff & customers. Pictures of staff displaying new products, pictures of customers buying, browsing, discussing. Whatever your business is, you will be meeting people in some way so mention them alongside your product and/or services. They are vital to you!
  4. Engage with others. Social media is all about engagement. The clue is in the name. Be social, comment, share, Like, Re-tweet and engage with similar businesses. This needn’t be scary. Forging friendships and building community this way is too important to ignore.
  5. Develop a style. Try to be consistent with your images. If you must use a filter on your Instagram images, be consistent with it. Look at how seasoned and experienced users do it. Learn from the best.
  6. Use relevant hashtags. Your brand, your products, your location, your business name… social media users use and search for hashtags more than you maybe realise. Use them to help people find you.

An average of 55 Million images are uploaded to Instagram every day but, rather than think of the sheer volume as a negative thing, why not embrace the potential customers who are just waiting to see your images and your product? Instagram themselves take it very seriously, they know… check out their dedicated blog for businesses here.

Local Ballymena businesses… when we uploaded the screenshot below there were over 8000 images on Instagram using #ballymena. This is great news for you. These are potential customers who could be supporting your business.

25 Million + were using #coffee. Ok, that one is very generic and wide-ranging but seriously…

Get going today. There is no excuse. Instagram can be a really important part of your business and can be integrated into your day using your smartphone… it really is fast, easy, fun and worth the effort!