Smart tips for using Instagram to get the word out about your videos.

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The following excerpt is from Jason R. Rich’s book Ultimate Guide to YouTube for Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

You may be familiar with promoting your business and your YouTube video on Twitter, and if you are, you’re a step ahead of the game when it comes to promoting your video on Instagram. That’s because, in many ways, Twitter and Instagram are very similar. However, while Twitter focuses on each tweet’s text-based message (that can include a photo or video clip), the focus of Instagram is on showcasing photos or video clips that can be accompanied by a short, text-based caption or message. Instagram is also designed to be accessed primarily from a smartphone or tablet (using the official Instagram mobile app), although it can also be accessed using a computer’s web browser.

Facebook owns and operates Instagram but has thus far kept it an independent social media service. It’s possible, however, to link your company’s Instagram account to your Facebook account so when you publish something on Instagram, it simultaneously and automatically also gets published on Facebook (and if you choose, Twitter and Tumblr as well).

The easiest way to set up and manage an Instagram account is to download and install the official Instagram app on your mobile device, launch the app, and choose the “Sign Up” option. Follow the account setup process, and be sure to customize and brand your account by creating a unique username that incorporates your company name, then use your company logo as your account’s profile photo. For simplicity’s sake, try to use the same username for all your company’s social media accounts.

Once your account is set up, access your account settings by clicking on the “Profile” icon, then tap on the “Edit Profile” button. Your profile can include one website URL; however, you can add a second URL for your YouTube channel within the Info field that’s used to describe yourself or your business. Be sure to click on the “Try Instagram Business Tools” option to learn about how you can further customize your Instagram account and gain access to analytics tools to help you build and manage your company’s Instagram following. Similar information can be found using any web browser, by visiting this site.

Because Instagram puts an emphasis on displaying photos and video clips, this can be used to your advantage when promoting your YouTube channel and its content. For example, when promoting a new YouTube video, an Instagram message can showcase the same thumbnail image from your new video and include a text-based message that encourages people to check out your latest video. The message should also include a hyperlink (URL address) to the video. Of course, you can also create postings that promote your company’s YouTube channel and include a link to the channel’s main page or to a specific playlist, as opposed to a specific video.

Another option is to create a short video clip (a preview of your YouTube video) and include that clip within an Instagram posting to promote a newly published video. Then, if you have the budget, consider using paid Instagram advertising to promote your YouTube content and Instagram account. To learn more about Instagram advertising opportunities, visit this page. For example, a video-based Instagram ad can be up to 60 seconds long and used to preview YouTube content.

To build and maintain an Instagram following for your business account, consider using Instagram as a tool to share photos and video clips related to your company, as well as its products/services. As with any social media presence, you want to provide content that will be considered valuable and of interest to your target audience.

Since this platform focuses on sharing photos and videos, you can use it to humanize your company by offering behind-the-scenes photos taken at your offices or manufacturing facility, and to introduce your followers to key personnel from your company in an informal way. You can also use posts to share details about your products/services, to solicit feedback from your audience, and to answer questions or interact with your customers and perspective customers as a group. To encourage people to follow your Instagram account, in addition to your other social media accounts, try to develop and publish content that’s exclusive to Instagram.

Except for optional paid advertising, creating and managing an Instagram account for your company is free. The only requirement is a time commitment to create and manage the account, develop unique content, and interact with your followers. Again, be sure to adopt a synergistic approach to the appearance, branding, and messaging that you convey on Instagram, so it’s in line with your other online activities and meets the expectations of your target audience.

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