You can use Instagram to promote companies you love and to network with local businesses by promoting their products and services — but for Instagram networking to work, the companies you're promoting have to know you're doing it. Here’s a breakdown of how to tag businesses on Instagram and when to choose each method.
Posting on Instagram is fun, and it can also be good for business. You can use Instagram to promote companies you love and to network with local businesses by promoting their products and services — but for Instagram networking to work, the companies you’re promoting have to know you’re doing it. There are several ways to tag a business, but some are more likely to be seen than others. Here’s a breakdown of how to tag businesses on Instagram and when to choose each method, including a few examples from my own Instagram account (I’m @crollwagen):
Use the Company’s Instagram Handle to @reply and Tag the Business
The most straightforward (and often best) way to tag is to include the company’s Instagram handle in your caption. Why? For one thing, these @replies are clickable, so your followers can easily find the company you’re mentioning and check out their whole feed. But I think an @reply or mention is also often the best way to get the attention of a company, because it triggers an alert for whoever’s handling the account you’re mentioning, so they’ll know you’re promoting them.
How to Do It: When you’re writing your caption, just type the @ symbol followed by the company’s Instagram handle (be sure there are no spaces between the symbol and the name).
What if you don’t know the business’s Instagram name? Use the search function on Instagram (it’s the little magnifying glass) to look for the company’s handle. (Once you think you’ve found it, be sure to actually look at it to be sure it’s the account you want and not another company with a similar name.) If you can’t find the company’s Instagram handle using search, try Googling the business name + Instagram, or checking the company’s website for an Instagram icon. Still no luck? They may not have an Instagram account. In that case, you can still use a Location Tag and a hashtag and hope for the best.
Tag the Company in Your Instagram Pic
In my opinion, tagging a company in your photo is the second-best option for getting their attention. Photo tags are clickable for your followers, and companies get alerts when you tag them in photos. I usually use photo tags when I want the company to know I’ve promoted them, but I don’t want too many @replies or hashtags cluttering up my caption. I have a lot of luck with photo tagging, but here’s one caveat: If the user you’re targeting has changed their settings to require photo approval before a tag goes live, the photo tag may not function exactly like you want it to. Most of the businesses I mention haven’t activated photo approval, so it’s not really an issue for me, but it could be a problem depending on who you’re trying to tag.
How to Do It: Once you’ve chosen and filtered your photo, click the Tag People option. Click on a spot in the picture, then type in the Instagram handle of the company you want to tag (you can also search for the company’s handle at this point).
Add a Location Tag to Your Instagram Photo
A Location Tag adds a mapped location to your photo so anyone who checks out your profile will be able to
find the spot where you took it. Location Tags appear at the top of your picture once you’ve posted, and they’re a great way for your followers to be able to find the businesses you’re promoting. Location Tags are great for your followers, and sometimes business owners will check them, too — but because they don’t get alerts when their locations are tagged, they’re not as likely to check them. Location tagging is great, but if you want to get the attention of a business, it’s best to @reply or tag them in the photo as well.
How to Do It: After choosing and filtering your photo, click the Add Location option. You’ll see a list of nearby locations to choose from, but if you don’t see what you’re looking for, go ahead and type in the name of the business you want to tag. Chances are, it’ll come up when you search for it. Another cool thing: Locations are chosen from the place you took the photo, not from where you are when you actually post it. So even if you’re posting the photo hours after you finished your cappuccino, your Location Tag can be set to the scene of the original photograph, even if you’re posting from miles away.
Use a Hashtag to Tag a Business on Instagram
Hashtags are a great way to connect and communicate on social media, but they’re not necessarily a great way to tag businesses. Why? People may choose slightly different wording for their hashtags. For example, I wrote a book titled The Localist, and the hashtag I chose to promote it is #localistbook — but some people hashtag their Localist Book posts #thelocalistbook or #localist or #localistbham instead. I love that they’re promoting the book, but I’m unlikely to check all the different hashtag possibilities, so I may never know that they’ve posted.
When is using a hashtag a good idea? When a business doesn’t have an Instagram account, or when they have a really established hashtag already.
How to Do It: To find out which hashtags are already popular, use Instagram search and click on Tags. If you’d like to create a hashtag of your own, especially if it’s just for fun, the world is your oyster! Choose whatever you’d like — but don’t expect it to necessarily get the attention of the company you’re promoting. (When making up hashtags, it’s always a good idea to search it first. If it’s already being used, be sure the content is something that you won’t mind being associated with.)
What If You Already Messed up?
Don’t worry! There really aren’t wrong and right ways to use social media; experimenting is the best way to find what works for you, and keeping your posts light and fun (that means not stressing over tagging) is the most important way to have an engaging feed — but figuring out more ways connect with other Instagram users by tagging them effectively can keep the process fun and help you network, too. But if retagging your Instagrams is really important to you, you can also go back and edit your posts (click on the tiny arrow at the top right of the photo and choose edit), and from there you can rewrite your caption, add photo tags, and even change your location without removing your post. If you want a little more help with your social media, let our Website Support Team know, and we’ll set something up. Until then, Infomedia is on Instagram at @infomediadotcom, and we’d love it if you’d check us out and say hello — and maybe even tag us in a post!