Instagram has emerged on the social media scene as a sudden and unexpectedly powerful way for businesses to connect with their customer base. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but here, it may be worth far more. Image-based Instagram allows a business to tell their story, and the story of their product to customers in a beautiful, enriching way, adding value to their customers’ lives before they even spend their money. Through simple photos on Instagram, a business can not only show their product, but how it is made, by who, who is using it and how their product is affecting people’s lives. This makes Instagram a powerful marketing and branding tool, and the only question left is how best to wield it. Here are 7 tips to help you make the best of of your business Instagram:

1) Establish A Story For Your Brand

Before you start posting, establish the story that you are telling. Think of Instagram as the visual storyboard of your brand, and make sure that the message you are sending is coherent and unified with what your business represents.

2) Plan A Schedule

Plan a posting schedule. You shouldn’t post too often, nor too infrequently. Once per day is best for most businesses. You don’t want to overwhelm a feed, causing followers to abandon you, but you also want to keep your feed alive and exciting and working to promote you.

3) Be Creative!

Make sure that there is variety in your photos. You don’t want several photos in a row that all seem similar. Whether it’s varying the subject of the photos, embracing different colours or using different filters, make your gallery look interesting! Post an extreme close up shot of your product to show detail, then make the next one a wide shot of the product out in the world in use! Show the creation process, then post about a featured customer and what the product has done for her.

4) Editing Techniques

Skip Instagram’s filters and download a photo editing app on your device. Snapseed is an excellent free option created by Google that offers plenty of fine-tuning options as well as adjustable filters that look beautiful. VSCO is another good free option that gives you control over the tuning of your shots before posting.

5) Quality Over Quantity

Set the quality bar for your posts, and don’t allow photos to be posted that you are not proud of. It is better to miss a day of posting than to post something that you don’t feel is truly visually enriching to your followers.

6) Media “Rush-Hour”

Experiment to find the best times of day to post. In general, mornings, around 7 or 8 AM are ideal times, as well as afternoons, around 4 or 5 PM, as these are the peak moments when people are not yet at work or school, and may be browsing through Instagram on transit, or while they wait to start their shift. However, it can be helpful to try a few posts at different times and see if any patterns become apparent, as every audience can be different, depending on your key demographic.

7) Connect With Your Followers!

Get involved on Instagram!

Instead of making it a one-way conversation, follow your followers back, or take a look at other people’s photos of your product, liking and commenting to connect with them.

Instagram can be a great way to build your product’s fan base, connect with new customers and allow current customers a fun insight into your business and brand. If you haven’t already gotten started, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon!