Getting Started with Instagram for Business -
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Social media isn’t always fun to keep up with. It’s time consuming, tedious and for some, a quick route to a headache.

So, what if I told you a fun and informal social media platform actually exists? Don’t worry, I’m not playing a trick; this magical platform goes by the name of Instagram.

Instagram is completely photo-based, and has no way to actually link anything like a blog or webpage. So, in turn, it’s casual and not as demanding as the social platforms that pressure you to post content by the hour to have a chance at growth. Instead, it’s made for beautiful photos, entertaining mannerisms and anything that will spark a similarity or interest within someone else.

Ogilvy and Mather, one of the largest advertising, marketing and public relations agencies, is a perfect example of the laid-back atmosphere of the platform. They post examples of their work, smart insights as well as fun shots around the office and of their employees.

Now, let’s get started.

The first thing you should do before creating your company Instagram is your homework on how businesses like yours are using the platform. That way, you’re starting off knowing the trends and practices in your field, what hashtags are popular, how to use them and so on. This will help you find your own Insta-voice for your brand: Search for popular/well-known brands and everyone in between to make sure you get a realistic outlook.

Ready-Set-Post!

Once you’ve done some research, it’s time to create an Instagram account and start getting used to using the platform. Start by downloading the Instagram app from the App Store (iOS), Google Play Store (Android) or the Windows Phone Store (Windows Phone). Remember, you can view Instagram on a computer, but you can only post photos from your phone. Once the app is downloaded and installed, select “Sign Up” to start entering your information, choose a profile picture and get setup.

Now you’re ready to get started and post your own pictures! There are a few things you can do to make sure your photos look Insta-worthy:

  • Good lighting is a must.
    No matter what filter you use, nothing can cover up bad lighting. Make sure the blinds are open, or even go outside (natural light is always best). With indoor shots, always make sure the light is shining in front of your subject, not behind it, whenever possible.
  • Take the time to choose the right filter.
    Sometimes choosing a filter can come last in line when you’re worrying about the caption and the photo itself; but sometimes it can completely change the look and feel of a photo.
  • Focus on your subject.
    Remember that autofocus cameras may not always pick the right focal point. You can overcome this with most phones by tapping the screen where you want the camera to focus before taking the picture.

Here is an example of what a filter can do for a photo:

How much should you post?

This can be a tricky question, but here are some things to consider:

  • The more active you are on a platform, the more movement and growth you’ll receive.
  • A steady pace to start off at is at least one picture a day. As soon as you get the swing of things, however, definitely up your game to two or more posts per day.
  • Keep track of which type of post generates the most interaction, and which ones seem to float by without a like. That way, you can plan some photos in advance, and posting a couple times a day won’t seem like a burden.

Bonus Tip

Many companies use Instagram takeovers to liven up their feed. It’s fun and keeps the responsibility of posting moving around the office. Once or twice a month give it a try: An Instagram takeover is when an employee announces that they are taking over for the day, and they post whatever they want. It helps when they have something special going on (a specific project, an off-site project), but anyone can do a takeover!

Not feeling like a pro yet? In the end, any social platform takes time and effort. If you feel burnt out, or that your efforts aren’t enough, bring someone else on the Insta-team with you. It always helps to have a variety of voices and styles to mix things up, and that will help take some pressure off. All it takes is to get started, so try it out, and let us know how your journey is going in the comments section!

Cindy Knebel

About the Author

Cindy Knebel
Cindy is a former Element 74 Project Manager and contributing author for the Element 74 blog.

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