The last thing entrepreneurs need is another distraction. Keeping your focus on customers, clients, products, inventory, service delivery, website, transactions; it is a lot to keep track of. Many business owners will overlook the simplest and easiest ways to strengthen or build connections because is seems, well, trivial.

Instagram is one of those things that seems trivial, but it can have a lasting impact on your brand and deliver new streams of value and profit. You just have to know how and when to do it.

At Current, we use a concept called Digital Discipline that takes a holistic view of brands across digital media – social networks, e-mail campaigns, and website.  All the pieces that connect to create your brand identity in the digital space. This concept involves benchmarking, creating content, and building audiences across the digital horizon.

One key element in this concept is managing the brands social presence. We’ve advised and implemented and, in some cases, even manage social feeds for our clients. We do this because it’s an important place for brands to be and to be active. Facebook is great for reaching consumers, LinkedIn is the place to research and connect in the B2B space, but no platform is better for reaching Millennials and Gen Z than Instagram.

There are three reasons Instagram should be part of your core brand strategy; it’s layout is impactful and immediate, it’s easy to use, and there is a ton of outside development tools that can make your brand stand out. Unlike Facebook (Instagrams parent company) there are a TON of outside developers making tools to enhance the Instagram experience for creators and consumers. The open API means developer tools are easy to create, quick to deploy, and relatively inexpensive to make.

From the outside, Instagram looks fairly uniform; the feed and stories features make up the majority of consumed content. But there are a whole lotta things you can do with Instagram using outside apps. Here is a quick rundown of our favorites with a little context about how they can help your brand.

Canva – Guy Kawasaki would never steer us wrong! I discovered Canva in 2017. The web based and desktop version are best described as “Adobe Creative Suite without the 6-month training on how to use them” or “graphic design for dummies”. It’s the best drag-and-drop design tool ever. You can make everything from business cards to t-shirts to brochures to signage. The mobile version is targeted to Instagram users. It has pre-built templates and an easy photo upload tool that can have you adding graphics and text to images in no time. Take a look at https://www.canva.com/.

LinkTree – A popular phrase you’ll see on Instagram posts – “link in bio” – indicates that you can learn more about the influencer, product, or service by going to their bio and clicking the single hosted link to another page. The problem is, unless you have hit the coveted and somewhat head scratching 10k follower minimum, you can only host one lonely link. LinkTree gives you access to an interstitial page that you can use to drive interested followers to a menu of options. In other words, as many links as you desire! It’s a great place to host product specials or tell your audience about a new podcast while also hosting your core website pages for easy access. It’s free and integrates seamlessly. Learn more a thttps://linktr.ee/

Repost – Instagram’s greatest strength is in its ability to build a community. The best way to build a community is through sharing. Copying and pasting and sharing is not always effective. There are rules and restrictions around how this can be done inside Instagram and it relates to making sure content creators get the proper attribution. Repost is a tool that will allow you to copy a post, put a user attribution mark, and copy the post content to an original post you create on your feed. This ensures that the content creator is given the credit and you get the chance to share something meaningful to your connections, creating more community. Remember to always ask permission or tag the original poster to give them the ability to opt-out of you sharing their content. Check it out at http://repostapp.com/

There are tons of other apps, in fact the entire VSCO Girl/E-Girl phenomenon came from an Instagram add on app (https://vsco.co/ – check it out if you don’t know…). These are just a few of the ones we use for our clients and our business.

Which ones are you using?

Need help with navigating the Instagram waters? Let us help keep you Current! Contact us today to learn more.