We just started regularly using Instagram here at SMC. Though we admit for a while the cobbler’s kids had no shoes, Alex and Nate have generously volunteered to take over and start posting on SMC’s behalf.
This little bit of self-education has been good for us, and it’s also got us realizing that Instagram for business can be tough.
Of course, you don’t want to use the platform unless you’re using it well. You want to show potential recruits you’re fun and interesting, but you don’t want to scare off clients by looking like you have too much fun. So what should you do? How often should you post? What should you post?
Here’s some 101-level advice to get you started:
- Post at least twice a week. Like most other platforms, consistency is key. You don’t want someone to log onto your Instagram and see your last photo was six months ago. Twice a week is a good benchmark for how often you should publish.
- Like Twitter, follow others to build your following at the beginning. Following companies similar to yours, or following potential clients, is a good touch point and can get you started with a few followers at the beginning.
- Identify the visual elements of your product or service. When you do something every day, you take much of its beauty for granted. Freshen up your perspective to find the parts of your everyday work that are visually attractive, and post them. Instagram is all visual in a way that other platforms aren’t—take advantage of that!
- Use hashtags. Used appropriately (read: sparingly), hashtags are a good way to get found. You’ll show up in searches for the terms you tag, and when someone clicks the same hashtag on another photo, even if it isn’t yours.
- Be human! Show your employees at work. Show the people behind the brand. Show how you work. Your employees are an extension of your brand—show them off!
- Vary up the type of content you post. Think you don’t do anything that’s good for Instagram? Think again. Live events, employee photos (see above), around-the-office humor and inside jokes, and posts about your company’s higher-ups are all good go-tos for photos on Instagram.
Instagram is a unique platform. For most businesses, it’s unlikely that Instagram will be a huge source of revenue. More people probably aren’t going to buy precision machined parts because your manufacturing company posts cool photos. But for potential clients doing their due diligence (“Are these people who they say they are?”) and especially for potential recruits, the platform can be invaluable.
Remember, though: you are still a business. You want to humanize your brand and show your team at work, just remember to keep it professional. No one’s going to be flattered if you post content that’s as casual as you’d publish on your personal feed. Recruits may like it, but clients probably won’t.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and give it a try. I think you’ll discover, like we did, that Instagram can be rewarding and fun when used correctly.
Image credit: CC by Joel Bez