Instagram! It’s where the young set is – you know, the “cool kids,” the ones with shades, tan bodies, and the best cars. If you’re reading this I can image that either a) you’re not a cool kid (they’re out being cool, and not reading blog posts like you are), and/or b) you’re trying to market to the “cool kids,” and/or c) you’re not really sure about Instagram as a marketing venue. Oh, oops – this just in, the cool kids have now just gone over to SnapChat, so the kids who were formerly cool are on Instagram and the truly cool kids are now on Snapchat, and the kids who are totally non-cool those kids are now on Twitter. (Note: if you’re trying to access any of this on your PC or Mac, you’re not at all cool because it’s all on the phone now, all on the phone).
It’s always something new, in Social Media isn’t it? Well, Instagram isn’t exactly new but it’s very important IF your demographic is –
- The “Cool Kids,” meaning the younger demographic.
- Visual – Instagram is all about the photo or the Vids, so if photos or Vids matter to you and your business then Instagram may matter a lot.
- Keeping in Touch with Your Best Fans (Visually). If you can brainstorm a way to stay in touch with your best fans, AND there’s something visual about your business, then Instagram may be excellent for you.
Not to mention that Instagram is owned by Facebook, so it has a very rich kid (Zuckerberg) who wants it to succeed, really wants it to succeed. (He has a baby now, and like all young dads, he wants to succeed for his totally cute baby and wonderful wife, Priscilla Chan (whom I can’t seem to find on Instagram, curiouser and curiouser).
Basic Introductions to Instagram
I won’t assume you “already” know how to use Instagram. After all, probably the most annoying feature on social media is the condescending attitude that you either know it (and you’re cool), or you don’t (and you’re not cool). The cool kids in High School really weren’t cool; they were mean. So don’t be shy, and don’t be ashamed! Skeddadle over to a basic Instagram tutorial such as GCF’s Instagram Tutorial or the official Instagram help file, here. Once you’ve got the basics, check out something new, like how to use Instagram stories. Or check out this tutorial on Instagram stories, here, too. Plus here.
Resources on Instagram to Help You Market
I’ll assume you’re a marketer, and you know something about Instagram but you want to learn more, and you’re eager for resources on how to market better on Instagram. In fact, this blog post is kinda sorta my own cheat sheet, as I am definitely in “learn mode” as a marketer on Instagram (though I am a decent user), and on my todo list is to add a chapter on Instagram to my Social Media Marketing Workbook.
Instagram Official: Drink the Koolaide, It’s So Good!
Let’s start out with official Instagram resources. There’s advertising on Instagram (which will sell you on (wait for it) advertising on Instagram). It also has case studies of businesses that have advertised, and lived to tell about it. There’s also Instagram for Business, which, though a bit salesy, is also about free, organic, you-do-not-have-to-pay-for-it stuff. Don’t miss the super sedated video on Instagram at the Instagram for Business home page. In fact, I usually watch it just before bed because it makes me veeerrryyyyyy sleeeppppyyyyy. Or, if you still can’t sleep, or you just need your “marketing fix” of over-the-top hype, there’s the Instagram for Business blog. Finally, there’s the Instagram Help Center (which is more for users than marketers, but it’s a great place to start learning “as if” you were a user.) Oh, and there’s Instagram on Facebook and Instagram on Twitter, great places to see examples of things that are working on Instagram. Drink the Koolaide – it’s soooooo good, advertising is soooooo effective, Instagram is soooooo much better than SnapChat…
Guides to Instagram for Business
Next, let’s look at some of the better tutorials and guides out there about Instagram. Let’s face it, the blogosphere is a bit of a mess, so some of these might be good, and some not so much. But – unlike official Instagram resources – they might be a bit less salesy and a bit more honest about where the real Instagram opportunities are vs. just opportunities to spend money on advertising. Here, don’t miss the Instagram Marketing: Your Complete Guide to Instagram Success on SocialMediaExaminer.com. Social Media Examiner runs the best blog and the best conference on all of social media, so their guide is one of the better ones about Instagram (of course). It overviews the topic, plus explains hashtags, contests, and getting your fans to participate (all keys to success on Instagram). Hootsuite has its own guide to How To Use Instagram for Business: A Beginner’s Guide. What I like about this guide is it has links to brands “doing it right,” such as Sharpie or 33 Acres Brewing. Business News Daily has its own Instagram guide, here. That guide is as much user as brand focused, but it literally starts at the very, very beginning so it’s excellent if you are totally not a “cool kid” and just want to learn the basics, first. And finally, SproutSocial has its own How To Use Instagram for Business: A Complete Guide. Connecting with Power Users is one of the better tips on that guide. One of my favorite Instagram guru’s is Sue B. Zimmerman, and she has a very short but very beefy guide to Instagram for Business that you can get by visiting her blog. Another new tutorial I’ve found is Buffer’s Instagram tutorial, and their informative article on managing multiple accounts, here.
Books on Instagram Marketing
I’m partial to books, being an author myself, but the pickings are slim for Instagram. I haven’t read these books, so I can’t vouch for them. There’s the Instagram Black Book by J. Holmes, for example, or the Grant Kennedy book, Instagram: Master Instagram Marketing. And there’s Martin Goodwin’s Instagram Marketing for Business. Many of these, I’m sure, share common sense ideas you can get from the free online guides above, and technical information that you can get directly from Instagram, but still books are nice because they compile a lot of information in one handy-dandy resource. Idea: take a picture of you reading a book on Instagram Marketing and post it to your business page. I’m sure, the “cool kids” will love that; they might even SnapChat it. You can find me on Instagram, here – but be forewarned, it’s really only for friends and family. New for March, 2017, there’s Instagram Marketing by Pamela Russell.