Many of us use Instagram in our personal lives these days - it's a great place to upload happy snaps of days out and dare we say it .. your dinner!  As a small business owner you might have a business Instagram account, but are you using it to it's best advantage?  Instagram can be an amazing business tool, especially if you have a business with pretty products or interesting images you can share.   To find out more about how we can best use the Social Network, we asked Rachel Allen, from 13Ten Marketing, to describe how she would help a fictional premium car dealer to utilise Instagram to it's best advantage.  Read on for her Top Tips.

1.     First of all, set up a business account, instead of using your existing personal profile - business accounts get access to better analysis data (don't worry about this for now, but it will be useful in future).  Next, follow key hashtags related to your business - in this case, related to the cars your dealer sells.

In this example, a little research quickly shows that 1.6 million posts have been created using the hashtag #porsche.  Following this hashtag (you can follow hashtags as well as accounts) will help you to identify people that are interested in Porsches and then you can select accounts to follow that you think may engage with the dealer's account.

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2.     Follow key accounts, ie: Porsche and repost any of their content, using the hashtag #repost.  Make sure you tag the originating account in your post.  You can use this as a way of driving people to your website without having to create original content each time.  You could comment on relevant posts (this is a great way to get engagement) and identify people following this account to follow your account.  Porshe_GB has over 600,000 followers.

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3.     This is an example of somebody else’s content that our fictional dealer could #repost – Silverstone posted about Stirling Moss’s birthday and you'd want to acknowledge this. You could also add your own celebratory message to this post – there 300+ likes so a lot of people have engaged with this post.

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4.     This is an example of how Silverstone has promoted one of their events.  Spend some time looking at relevant accounts - preferably those much larger than you, that probably have great marketing teams, and learn how they use Instagram - there's no harm in learning from the best!

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Here, Silverstone have used an image and tagged @ferrariraces who are taking part in the challenge.  They have provided some information about the event (prices, ages etc) and provided a bit.ly link so that people can buy the tickets.  Make it easy for your customers and followers to find out more.  Always include a 'call to action'

5.     This is another example from Silverstone where they have included quite a lot of text in the post – this is perfectly acceptable on Instagram - don't just think in terms of pictures.  You can always add shorter stories and pictures too. 

6.     Make sure you engage with your customers/followers.  It's all about generating interesting content, but you don't have to re-invent the wheel.  Piggy-back on the back of related accounts by following, depositing and tagging, and you'll gain a share of their followers too.  Just make sure you are consistently providing content to keep them interested.

If you'd like to up your Instagram-game, but don't have the time or know-how, you can always contact Rachel on Rachel@13tenmarketing.co.uk or 07734 886538 to find out how she can help you.  Also, it goes without saying - follow @13tenmarketing on Instagram!

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