Instagram is a massive platform where you can’t help but feel overwhelmed; when marketing for your company, business or brand that feeling of overwhelm means the chance for making mistakes that could possibly damage your reputation. It is obvious that there are many methods available for marketing on Instagram, but one thing is for certain, you want to represent your brand positively. Here are a few ways you can represent your business positively on Instagram and avoid negative PR: #1. Be active and attentive Most of the time, there are a lot of interaction opportunities available for new and starting businesses where you can make an impression on your audience. Remember a simple rule of engaging your audience, make it about them, make it about their likes, and give them what they’re here for. If your audience comments on your posts, you must reply to their comments. Of course, there is no need to go on a limb and reply to every single one; however, 4 to 5 a post will suffice, unless you’ve asked your audience a question of course, then replying to at least 10 to 20 people is a must. How do you know how to interact with your audience anyways? You must ask yourself the following questions first: • What is the premise of your posts • Are your posts only about your product? • Are you engaging your audience with questions? • How often do you post about your product? • Do you only post about your product? • Are there any ways you’re overlooking your audience? • How often do you reply to comments? • Do you reply to comments positively? These questions are to ask yourself and to confirm whether or not your audience interaction is directed towards them. It is important to keep your audience an asset, any opportunity to do something for your audience will be appreciated and will help you create long-term customers. #2. Creating customers and long-term grass-root endorsers for your company It’s extremely simple to create customers and long-term clients that will endorse your products to their friends and to their social media accounts. Many companies and starting business forget how it’s done and think it requires the magic trick to do that. All you must do is to react positively to your audience and don’t forget to send out free merchandise for your clients. An instance would be that someone complains to your Instagram account that your hypothetical yogurt company provided him a bad packet yogurt, it tasted terrible, or it was expired, or maybe it had some defect. Whatever the case, this is an opportunity for you to do something for the customers and make him your long-term client. Contact him and send him a pack of hypothetical yoghurt, or mail him a check for the yoghurt. Remember, it isn’t about the money at this point; for you, a 5-dollar pack of yoghurt or check won’t bankrupt you, but it will send out positive vibes that will be extremely effective later. Here’s a few things you can do: • Think of clever ways to portray your company positively • Send free merch to your customers • Do not disappoint your customers with bland responses to complaints • Take customer criticism positively and try to improve your product If you create permanent clients, you basically have an army to fight criticism. You have people that trust your brand and you have customers that will help you get insightful information about your products and services. #3. Being rude gets you negative reviews New and starting businesses are often confined to the notion that what they’re providing is right, and the customer can, quite frankly, go to hell. If you do that however, you’re better off quitting right now. There are instances where I’ve seen many starting companies ruining their reputation before they’re even off the ground properly. Restaurants, stores, service providers etc. are bait to customers getting a rouse out of them. Whatever the case may be, if you’re rude to your audience or your customers, they have the leverage; they could either ruin your reputation, give you a bad review, post on all their news feeds and try their level best to deter people from your business. This is something you don’t want. Here are a few rules you need to know when dealing with customers: • Always be polite; whether it is real life or in the DMs • Never get emotional over people trying to get a rise out of you • Do not represent your company as the bad guys • Your customers are always right, even when they’re not But how do you respond to criticism? Well don’t flare up. Just think before you reply, direct message on Instagram or not, you need to be professional with your business. There are tons of people who will criticize your products, but you mustn’t take it personally. What do you expect will happen with a ton of people give your business negative reviews? Considering that everyone pretty much looks at reviews before they go out, hire servicemen or get a new product, bad reviews will mean your business will be at a downfall; especially if you have just started off. #4. Do special and seasonal deals One way of connecting with your customers is providing seasonal deals to your customers. Take an advantage of the different holidays and occasions that pass by every year; do deals and flaunt it on Instagram, there’s no shame in that. Making special and seasonal deals will tell your customers that your business cares, that you stand with the people and you stand with their happy and joyous moments, don’t hesitate to send out a little love every other day of the holiday as well, people will appreciate that. You can: • Make your own holidays, just occasions to offer discounts • Follow through with trends and provide relevant discounts to your customers • Offer deals during the seasons Remember, your customers can be your greatest asset if treated correctly; deals and discounts are what everyone enjoy, and a good timely deal can mean a good boom for business. At the end of the day, a positive image in front of your audience and customer base means that you will have people lining up for your product, you need to give them a positive image about yourself and how you do that is your unique way of running the business.