Instagram, a social site for sharing photos, is a powerful social media platform that can help get your business in front of a new audience and engage current customers. What should you know about Instagram for small and midsize businesses?

Not only is Instagram relatively simple, it has very high engagement rates for brands. According to a study by Forrester, Instagram posts from top brands see a 4.21 percent engagement rate per follower. Facebook posts garner a .07 percent engagement rate and Twitter draws a .03 percent engagement rate.

As a small or middle-market business, where should Instagram fit into your strategy? How can your brand create a successful Instagram campaign and account? Here are some best practices to help gain Instagram success:

Behind the Scenes, Front of Mind

Because Instagram is built for sharing photos, it's the perfect platform for lifestyle companies, such as architecture firms or fashion designers. However, business-to-business companies see success on Instagram, too, especially when they rally their team members to create "behind the scenes" looks at their day-to-day processes.

Authenticity Matters

There are a lot of spammy Instagram accounts out there that use fabricated photos, but this goes against what Instagram is all about. Successful Instagram accounts dedicate time and energy to capturing, editing and posting original photos. It's better to show the true story of what's happening at your company, even if you're having a bad hair day, than to use stock photos on Instagram. When crafting a strategy on Instagram for small and midsize businesses, think about how you can exhibit your true, authentic self.

Develop a Strategy

Just like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram requires a strategy. You must ask yourself what your goals are, then determine how often you'll post and what types of photos you'll share. You should also outline a posting schedule. Be careful not to share too often; once or twice a day is enough. It will turn followers off if they only see your brand in their Instagram feeds.

Use Apps to Help

Apps can help take your Instagram account to the next level and make the process of managing an account much easier. Here are a few recommended apps:

  • Layout from Instagram: Layout was created by Instagram to help users stitch photos together. Using Layout, you can share up to four photos in one Instagram post.
  • Latergramme: Latergramme helps you plan and schedule Instagram posts so you don't have to post all photos in real time.
  • Curalate: Curalate isn't specifically for Instagram — it works with other social media platforms as well — but is one of the best tools out there for analyzing engagement on Instagram.

Instagram is a popular social media platform with high engagement rates that your company can take advantage of to promote through pictures.

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