Instagram local business pages – is this an effective tool for SMEs?

Small and medium-sized businesses are always seeking cost-effective ways to promote themselves. Instagram offers a great way to do this if it’s used in the right way and with good intentions.

Discover how you can manage your Instagram account to maximum effect and find out about the big new business feature that the social media platform launched this year.

Why use Instagram?

As social media goes, Instagram continues to grow its user numbers really quickly and has the most engaged audience of all the platforms. By having an active business account on Instagram you can share updates and interact with clients, prospects, people in the industry and other local businesses in a way and at a frequency that wouldn’t be possible offline.

It allows you to show another side to your business and gives you the opportunity to do something a bit different and more creative if you’re so inclined. Instagram is linked to Facebook so you can create posts and run adverts across both. With a business profile, you can also learn about who your followers are and what they like with access to analytics.

How to create a business account on Instagram

  1. Go to your Instagram personal profile page.
  2. Tap on the three lines in the top right-hand corner.
  3. Tap ‘Settings’ (right at the bottom) then ‘Account’.
  4. Tap ‘Switch to Business Account’ (right at the bottom) and then follow the on-screen instructions.

The dos and don’ts of using Instagram

DO…

  • Make sure your content is visually pleasing and get creative. Don’t just post your own things and forget about engaging with the content of others.
  • Write compelling captions to go with your posts – tell a story. Don’t post without proofreading first.
  • Show a personal side, let people get to know you and use it to highlight your values and goals.
  • Look to others for inspiration.

DON’T

  • Go overboard with the hashtags. Your goal is to build relevant, genuine connections – not to get likes from random accounts around the world.
  • Don’t leave social media accounts dormant. If your website links through to a social profile that isn’t active then you’re better off deleting that profile.
  • Don’t be unprofessional – don’t use it to brag or complain. Stay positive and stay away from anything too silly or personal, not to mention religion and politics.
  • Don’t post without proofreading first.

10 Ideas for Instagram Posts for Accountants

An accountants work isn’t typically that visually exciting but there are plenty of things that you can post about that aren’t tax forms or spreadsheets!

  1. Let people get to know you and the other members of the team.
  2. Take some ‘behind the scenes’ shots of fun in the office and while out on team socials.
  3. Pictures of the office cat or dog will always prove popular.
  4. Share the achievements of the team (maybe they won ‘employee of the month’ or ran a marathon at the weekend).
  5. Take pictures when you’re out networking.
  6. Share motivational business quotes using a free tool like Canva to create beautiful, Instagram-friendly designs (and make sure you have permission/legal rights to use the quotes).
  7. Share tips for running a business or accounting tips like payment deadlines (again you can use Canva for design and a site like Unsplash for background images if you don’t have an appropriate one of your own).
  8. If you’re a sole trader with close relationships with your clients then sharing some pictures of your family could be appropriate.
  9. Get outside for some lunchtime fresh air or have a walking meeting and share images of nature and the changing seasons where you are based.
  10. Think local – promote your area and support other local businesses to help build strong relationships.
    Excellent social media content online is a reflection of interesting things that you do offline. If you’re struggling for content then take a look at what you could start doing or get involved with in ‘real life’.
    Instagram Local Business Profile Pages
    A few months ago, Instagram started discreetly testing local business profile pages that effectively add a directory style listing to your page where you can include your website, address, opening hours and contact information. This will allow customers to search for and get in touch with your business and is looking to be the next big thing on Instagram.

Check your settings to see if you have an option to claim your local business profile page yet. It will pull information from your Facebook Business Page so if you have one then make sure that it’s up to date. It’s also an added incentive to keep your feed fresh and to update your Stories because your last three posts and Story also feature on this page.

If you don’t already have an account then take your first step to Instagram success and set up your Instagram business profile now.

For some more digital apps to help run your business click here.

Sophie Cross is a freelance writer and marketer specialising in business and travel. She is the editor for London Revealed magazine and her clients include lastminute.com Group and the Coca-Cola London Eye.

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