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Instagram 101 for Small Businesses

Have you come across the Millennial term, FOMO?

It’s the acronym for the Fear Of Missing Out.

This is a perceived sense of loss and anxiety over the possibility of missing out on what your connections are sharing on social media apps.

It can range from event updates on Instagram to news items on Twitter or a flash sale on Facebook.

Brands and companies have realised this digital phenomenon and are effectively using FOMO as part of their marketing strategy.

FOMO keeps us glued to our devices for hours as we feverishly refresh our content feeds, eager not to miss a thing. Consequently, our collective attention span becomes shorter.

Smartphones have become modern day alarm clocks, meteorologists, music and video players, TVs, GPS trackers and navigators, wallets, cameras, newspapers, notepads, flash drives – making this multifunctional gadget indispensable.

Rest assured that your target audience has formed a profound attachment to their devices.

Millennials and Gen Zs Expect a Mobile-Friendly Experience

If they are Millennials, they probably spend hours researching on topics, shopping online, listening to social media influencers, connecting with followers and even reviewing products and services.

Millennials and Post-Millennials make up the bulk of buying power today and possess peculiar shopping habits.

According to the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, this cohort prioritises experiences. They would much prefer to travel the world rather than own a home.

They patronise brands that align with their values and are extremely cynical of business’s motives.

It is therefore critical for brands and businesses to communicate their values to their target audience, in a brand tone of voice that connects with Millennials and Gen Zs.

To foster brand trust, businesses must pull back the curtain and invite their customers in. One of the best ways to accomplish this is Instagram marketing.

By 2017, New Zealand had over 1.2M Instagram users, 85% of which were below 45 years old.

Unlike other social media apps, Instagram allows businesses to thrive in the attention economy because it’s built for mobile.

While it’s possible to use the app on a desktop you may find some of the mobile features missing unless you install plugins like Bluestacks or Uplet.

For better user experience, Instagrammers must use the app on a smartphone or tablet.

Your business is on Instagram means your customers will have a better chance to see and interact with you on mobile, 24/7.

Instagram allows brands to use visual storytelling to create experiences about their products, increase social proof and foster brand trust.

Benefits of Instagram for Business

Instagram keeps your customers’ attention for longer

Instagram allows for short videos, stories that disappear within 24 hours, images, gifs and memes.

As the attention span wanes, you’re able to fragment your information in different forms and lengths of content so that your customers stay engaged.

Instagram humanises your brand

You have the opportunity to develop your brand voice with every post.

Customers can put a face to the name when you give them a behind-the-scenes look at your business or when you celebrate employees.

Not only does it satisfy your customers’ curiosity, but it also builds trust between your brand and the customer.

Instagram encourages customer participation

This app is an engagement machine. Your target audience can interact with your brand and give feedback.

Contests, hashtags, giveaways and other forms of content present an opportunity to gather data about your customers and measure brand sentiment.

Instagram allows for direct purchases

Shoppable posts allow you to directly sell products by putting price tags and links on your products.

These links lead the user to landing pages that contain product descriptions and a buy now button.

Instagram Business Tools You Need to Know

Before you set up an Instagram account for your business, you need to be aware of the following tools:

Instagram Business Profile

Think of this as your online home. People who hear about you through a hashtag or advert will come straight to your profile.

They’ll check out your content and if they like what they see, they will give you a call or send a DM (direct message) with further enquiries.

You may be wondering whether you need to have a separate account for your business if you already have a personal Instagram profile.

You do. A business profile gives you access to Instagram Insights, contact buttons and Instagram Ads.

You can get actionable information about your audience demographics, ad spend, level of engagement, and profile visits, which will greatly inform your marketing strategy.

Here’s how you can transition from a personal account to a business profile:

  • Step 1: Go to your Profile and tap Settings, then Account
  • Step 2: On the list of options, tap Switch to Business Account
  • Step 3: Connect your business account to your company Facebook Page to unlock all the features available. (Please select a page that is associated with your business).
    You may only connect one Facebook Page to a business account on Instagram. Make sure that you’re the Page’s Admin.
    If the page does not appear in the drop-down menu, it means that you’re not the Admin and therefore have no permission to add that page to Instagram.
    Reach out to the Admin of the page and request them to add you as one.
  • Step 4: Go to your profile and select Edit Profile.
  • Step 5: Tap Business information then Select Page
  • Step 6: Select the page you would like to connect to from the pages displayed on the drop-down
  • Step 7: Your Facebook page is now connected to an Instagram business account

If you are new to Instagram, here’s a step-by-step guide you could follow to set up:

  • Step 1: Download the app and launch it.
    • That is if you don’t have it installed on your device already.
    • Through Apple iOS, Windows App and Google Play stores, you could find an app version that works on your android, iPhone, tablet or computer.
  • Step 2: Launch and sign up.
    • Using your work email or phone number, sign up on the app then enter a username that you would like for your business
  • Step 3: Change the profile to a business account.
    • By default, your profile will be personal after signing into Instagram so you have to convert it to a business account.
    • Start by connecting your account to a Facebook Page associated with your business.
    • Go to Settings, Tap Switch to Business Profile, select Connect to a Page then select Set the Page to Public.
    • Instagram will then ask for permission to manage your Facebook pages. Give permission then select the page you want to connect and tap Next.
    • If you’re not the Admin of that page, it will not show.
    • If this is the case, ask the Admin to change your role on Facebook to one of the admins.
  • Step 4: Set up Profile and Bio.
    • Head to the Profile section on your Instagram account and select Edit Profile. Enter the business email and phone number.
    • Write an attractive bio about your product or services to compel visitors to follow your business.
    • Tap Done.

Instagram Insights

To find out how your content is performing, check out the Instagram Insights on your profile.

From here, you can learn a lot about your followers, view results from your promotions and find out the best times to post content for maximum reach and impressions.

You can also get insights on an individual post or story on your profile with the following steps:

  • Step 1: Go to your profile and select a specific post.
  • Step 2: Tap View Insights below the post. You’ll be able to see the number of likes, bookmarks, shares, comments and profile visits generated by that post.

How the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Affects Your Business on Instagram

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a data privacy law that gives users across the EU (European Union) more control over how their data is collected and used.

Tracking IP addresses, cookies, and analysing EU visitors to Facebook or Instagram ads and your website makes you subject to the provisions of the GDPR.

If you plan to use your Instagram business profile to process data about your customers in the European Union, you must comply with the GDPR.

Non-compliance will bring warnings, data protection audits and hefty fines to your doorstep.

Setting up your Instagram business profile, tracking insights and staying within the GDPR will take your online marketing strategy to a new level.

However, running a busy restaurant is a challenge at the best of times. It makes good financial sense to enlist the help of professional workplace hygiene specialists like Alsco to keep your restaurant in top shape so you can focus on giving your customers the best possible dining experience.

Photo: Pixabay

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