Social media can be a minefield and it can be difficult to know if a certain social media platform will provide a good return on investment.So where should you start? Firstly, you should get to know the social media platform you are considering. Work out how information is portrayed? Is it via images, images with some text or posts? Once you understand the medium and its limitations, you will then be in a better position to make a decision.Undertaking a social media competitor analysis can also be useful. This can save you time, money and energy. If you see competitors are actively using a strategy on certain social media platforms and are getting little response, this could be an indication this platform would not be suitable. However, you are not going to have all the statistical information on other companies social media pages so this should only be used this as an indication.If you decide Instagram is the right choice for your business, here are some tips on how to use it to promote your business:1. Encourage current clients to promote the business by posting positive images or your product or service. Real time experience will help build customer trust.2. Use general hash tags to be found when people search for your product or service. If you are a juice bar for example include hash tags such as #smoothie or #greensmoothie3. Always use trending hash tags. Hash tag trends are very short lived but offer an opportunity for your product or service to be seen by thousands. So if you see one that relates to your business, jump on the bandwagon.4. Just like Facebook, Instagram can be used for contests. A hash tag contest allows your followers to upload images under a specific hash tag. Then all submitted images are displayed in a voting gallery on your website, Facebook page or blog.5. Engage with your customers. Share their photos containing your product or service or a hash tag related to it. Respond and comment to customer’s photos as well as @mention them. There is no better way to get them engaged and get their friends involved too. You can also engage your customers by asking them a question or posting an image and asking them a question about it, you can add a unique hash tag so there is a hub to share photos and comment. The question doesn’t have to be directly related to your product.6. Mix it up. Don’t always use the same tactics to engage customers, try using posts where the follower has to fill in the blanks. Start the question so post something like “My favorite thing to do on a Saturday morning Is___________”7. Try a different type of contest. There is nothing like a prize to get people interested. A great way to help product development research and get people engaged is to run a “how they use your product” contest. So ask followers to upload images of how they use your product, create a unique hash tag and offer your prize.8. Add a voting element to your contest. Give applicants instructions on how to enter your contest. For example, first they must follow the brand on Instagram, then they must upload their image with your product and the unique hash tag, it will then be uploaded to the Facebook and website gallery where people can vote on their favorite images. Fans will then share this page to encourage their friends to vote for their image, so they are doing the networking for you.9. Partner with other relevant brands. Get them to post your products or services and you can do the same for them.10. Make sure you keep the focus on engaging your customer. Don’t just post about your product or service, post about lifestyle and authentically connect with your customers.I hope this article gives you an insight into how Instagram works and if it would be suitable for your product or service. For more information on creating an Instagram page and strategy give us a call on (08) 9328 7000 or contact us here.