Crash course in using Instagram to promote your startup
Instagram is a crucial tool for any startup. It is well known in marketing for attracting new consumers, but it can also play a major part in showcasing the benefits of working for your fun, dynamic company to potential new employees. Failing to capitalise on the merits of this particular social media channel will leave you with huge holes in your reach as a new company. Fortunately, creating amazing visual feeds that reflect your business is not as hard as it seems, as long as you follow a few simple rules.
1. Stick to a theme
In visual terms, this means taking a long, hard look at the entirety of your feed rather than focusing on it photo by photo. Ok, you might have a lovely picture of a puppy, but if it doesn’t have any relevance, and the colour scheme is completely different to the rest in your feed, then maybe put it aside. Potential followers are going to be looking at your profile as a whole and choosing to follow based on the recurring subjects and themes that they perceive – expecting to see more of the same in the future. Consistency also makes your brand appear more polished and professional.
2. Be selective about hashtags
This goes for all social media channels. If you aren’t a fourteen-year-old Gen Z-er posting a selfie, then you shouldn’t be hashtagging #like4like or #followback: case closed. Use hashtags that relate directly to the market you are targeting and don’t overdo it. The temptation to go hashtag-crazy is within all of us, but it will end up looking unprofessional and be downright off-putting.
3. Be engaging
Seek engagement from followers as much as possible. Ask questions in your captions, get users to tag friends in the comments, and reach out to those that are interacting often. Replying to comments and messages is always a plus on social media because it shows personality and will remind your followers that there is someone who cares about their opinions behind the brand.
4. Repost others
Reposting similar accounts can be useful if you find yourself struggling to come up with quality images regularly. It will also trigger a response from your followers and encourage them to post photos related to your brand and tag you, in hopes that you might feature them. Bear in mind you should always acknowledge the original owner of anything you repost and if they have a problem with you sharing it then take it down without arguing.
Don't be afraid to repost from other platforms too - Twitter features regularly on Instagram feeds, so posting a tweet you find funny (it can be a tweet of your own) is not only widely accepted but can help to diversify your content too.
5. Be wary of timing
It might be acceptable on Twitter to post several times in an hour, but on Instagram, you will only put people off with that kind of spam. Post consistently once or twice a day or week so that your followers know what to expect and your feed stays fresh - just don’t go overboard. Nobody wants their newsfeed full of one company (don’t be that company).
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*Editor's note: This blog was originally published in 2016 and has since been updated.