Heritage Bank of Nevada�s Business News
April 2015
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Using Instagram for Your Business
How to get started on this thriving social network

The social media site Instagram notched its 300 millionth user early in 2015. Many of these are businesses, as every brand has an angle and point of view that can be captured via the rich imagery-based storytelling that Instagram offers. Many more account holders are just regular people — potential customers, if you will — that may not know it yet, but are waiting to see what you have to offer. Here are some tips for how to make the most of your business’s Instagram account.


At this point in the 21st century, everyone knows how to sign up for a social media account, so that step can be skipped. Let’s dive straight into some content strategy advice:


1. Set clear goals. Consider Instagram’s highly visual and creative community. Not every message you would throw on Facebook or post to Twitter would work well on this medium. Furthermore, think about how Instagram and its audience fit into your overall brand marketing strategy.


2. Tell a cohesive story. Once you clarify your objectives, you can begin to formulate and post ideas. Remember, they need to fit within the theme you’ve chosen to convey about your brand. Be authentic and consistent, yet captivating and diverse. Surprisingly, that is not an oxymoron; once you get started, you will understand. 


3. Create high-quality content. Work with your art and creative departments to produce superior images, video and content that are native to the platform. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to handle it yourself if your business is much smaller and lacks those sectors.


Whether you are a huge corporation or a one-person start-up company, there are some Instagram basics you’ll want to ensure:

  • Your account name should ideally be your business name, unless it’s already taken. Otherwise, it needs to be tied to your brand as closely as possible. 
  • Your profile picture should be your company’s logo or brand’s graphic symbol. Keep in mind that, according to Instagram, it appears as a 150 x 150-pixel circular image on most devices. 
  • Keep captions short and sweet, yet descriptive. Asking questions helps build engagement from followers. 
  • Add descriptive hashtags (3-5 is ideal, so as to not detract from the simplicity of the picture and its message). Be creative with them, but also use commonly-known hashtags. This will help you widen your audience, as users often see your pictures first by searching hashtags and then will opt to follow you after that.
  • Tagging people or adding the location will also help you reach a broader audience. Speaking of reaching more people, make sure you don’t privatize your account; you want anyone who would like to be able to see it. 
  • Utilize the filters to enhance an already good subject. This will give your images the unmistakable Instagram feel to which users really respond.
  • Comment on and like posts after searching hashtags and locations relevant to your business. People respond more to users who are active and engaged; plus, never discount the Instagram adage “A follow for a follow.” 

In the future, Instagram will follow the likes of social media juggernauts Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and nearly all others by offering the opportunity to purchase ad space. With a community of 300 million-plus, Instagram has the capability to be one of the world’s largest mobile ad platforms and would give companies the ability to reach a crowd that is not only vast, but also engaged, creative and focused on quality. Because this aspect of Instagram isn’t widely available just yet, start small with the tips above and for more advice, case studies, etc., follow the “Instagram for Business” blog at http://blog.business.instagram.com.


Published by Heritage Bank of Nevada
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Disclaimer - All content contained in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon to make any financial, accounting, tax, legal or other related decisions. Each person must consider his or her objectives, risk tolerances and level of comfort when making financial decisions and should consult a competent professional advisor prior to making any such decisions. Any opinions expressed through the content in this newsletter are the opinions of the particular author only.

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