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Times are changing. Now, business influence is discussed in terms like engagement rate, followers, and “social currency”. The impetus for this shift to perhaps unfamiliar territory is tied directly to the growing importance of social media for businesses. Long gone are the days when a yellow page listing and a physical location were all you needed. In today’s competitive, connected world, it’s all about reaching potential customers with your brand through the Internet and social media.

Deciding What Platforms To Use

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+. These only scratch the surface of possible social media platforms you could use. Generally, most businesses stick to a combination of the above, but what you ultimately choose may depend on the specific needs of your business or your industry.

The power of Facebook and Twitter for reaching customers has been shown in the past, but many studies suggest those arenas are losing steam. Instead, what is up and coming and growing by leaps and bounds is Instagram.

The Basics of Instagram

Instagram may have started out as a simple app allowing friends to share photos of themselves in their daily lives, but it has since evolved from a collection of “snapshots” to beautifully curated galleries and influential brand accounts attracting hundreds of thousands of followers. Instagram has 400 million active users every month, with continued tremendous growth.

Your Brand’s Influence

Instagram is one of the simplest and most effective ways to connect with potential customers. Instagram, in its straightforward, image-based approach, gives a “face” and a “personality” to your brand, and can connect with users on a more emotional level. This builds brand recognition, trust, appreciation, and more. And businesses that get creative with Instagram see amazing results. Take a look at some wildly successful Instagram campaigns from businesses including Samsung and Air Canada.

Steps to Building Your Business on Instagram

If you’re ready to dive in, the time is now. Promoting your business and brand on Instagram isn’t a difficult process, but it does take time, effort, and patience. If you’re not prepared to do it on your own, consider outsourcing to a dedicated marketing agency that specialises in social media.

The first step to building a brand on Instagram is to get your profile set up and start posting photos! Depending on your business, you’ll most likely want to keep it to a consistent theme. Keep your feed visually appealing, and be sure you’re posting clear, outstanding photos that will catch the eye of users.

Then, start connecting. You can follow other users in your industry or other local businesses, but those aren’t your ideal users. Using your target demographics, you can sift through the platform to find those users who are most likely to become loyal future customers. How do you do this? Check out industry relevant hashtags, local hashtags, or search photos by location to find other IG’ers in your area.

Commitment is Key

You’re not going to become the next Beyonce overnight, but with time and strategy, your Instagram can serve as a great boost to your business. Stick with it, keep the quality of your photos high, track your metrics with useful tools such as Crowdfire and Simply Measured, and keep going. Most of all, engage with your followers. As you grow, continue to reply to comments on your photos, answer questions, and get followers involved with a call to action. Soon, Instagram will be your favourite platform, and you’ll find unique ways to promote new products, share services, host giveaways, and more.

Happy Gramming!

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