Instagram is a popular social media platform for businesses revolving around lifestyle, fashion, food and personalities. It’s purely visual content that you share, so it’s quick and easy. You can also share videos, live stream and upload to Instagram TV (ITGV).
But getting Instagram to work for your business and convert casual browsers into actual customers is another ball game. We show you how to leverage Instagram to help your business grow.
Instagram was released in October 2010. In its largest acquisition deal to date, Facebook purchased the company (with its 13 employees) for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock in April 2012.
What started as yet another social media tool has become a part of our everyday lives. Instagram sports over 1 billion registered users, that’s 1 out of 8 people on the planet! Instagramers post and digest content every minute and hour of every day. Topics range from casual posts about the weather, food, and various random things people are doing, to business posts about new products, incentives, and innovations.
Using Instagram For Business
This platform is more about building awareness and a visual story of your brand. As of this writing, there is no way to link to your site from Instagram outside of one link in your account profile (except for stories for brands or influencers who have a large following), so keep in mind that you are limited with what you can do to drive traffic to your site.
You can (and should) tag other businesses, people or brands in your images and mention them in your posts and stories, which is also a good way to interact with others. Some companies successfully use this platform by encouraging their fans to share photos of themselves using the company’s products. Since Instagram is such a visual platform, it can be an incredibly powerful engagement driver if used intelligently.
How often to post on instagram can vary slightly based on your audience, but as a general rule a best practice is to not post more than three times a day. Keep a close eye on your followers and what causes the count to go up and down, and you may be able to identify you fanbases’ optimal posting threshold.
What time of day to post depends on your industry and audience. You can use Instagram’s business insights to see where your audience lives, what gender and age they are and when they are typically engaged on the platform. That can help you determine the ideal time to post. Think about your target demographic and when they might be most engaged on the platform. You can get additional insights on your website visitors via web analytics software such as the free Google Analytics.
Be sure to take advantages of hashtags (e.g. #instagramtips) so that when others are searching for specific types of content they find your post.
Do You Have An Example Of Hashtag Usage For Business?
For instance, if you are hosting an event or have a new product line, try creating a unique hashtag (such as #ourcoolnewproduct or #ourgala2020) to encourage others to share their memories and excitement as well. You can also use hashtags to host a contest. It’s a great way to make your customers brand advocates for you and spread the word by word of mouth.
Using hashtags can be an effective method to get your photos discovered but don’t go overboard. If you’ve seen posts laden with dozens of hashtags you’ve probably been of the similar mindset that too much is a turnoff.
The platform is only as good as its users and images. Here’s some key tips to help you leverage this social media tool for your business successfully.
- Use high-quality, visually appealing photos. This will help you to attract and keep the attention of your followers.
- Use hashtags to help your content get discovered. This is especially important if you’re trying to reach a specific audience or if you’re a small business trying to reach a larger audience.
- Post consistently, but don’t overwhelm your followers with too many posts in a short period of time. It’s better to post a few high-quality posts per week than to post a large number of low-quality posts every day.
- Engage with your followers by liking and commenting on their posts, and responding to comments and messages on your own posts. This helps to build a community around your account and can lead to more followers and engagement.
- Use Instagram’s various features, such as stories, IGTV, and live videos, to give your followers a more well-rounded view of your brand or personality.
- Consider using Instagram’s paid promotion options to reach a larger audience or to target specific users.
- Stay true to your brand and be authentic in your interactions with your followers. People are more likely to follow and engage with accounts that feel genuine and real.
- Use Instagram’s analytics tools to track the performance of your posts and understand what content resonates with your audience. This can help you to refine your strategy and create content that your followers will love.
- Collaborate with other users, especially those with a large and engaged following. This can help you to reach a new audience and can lead to more followers and engagement for your account.
- Use Instagram’s editing tools and third-party apps to enhance your photos and make them stand out. However, be careful not to over-edit your photos or use filters that don’t accurately represent your brand or the content you’re sharing.
- Use Instagram’s bio and link in bio features to give your followers a way to learn more about you or your business and to drive traffic to your website or other online presence.
- Take advantage of Instagram’s shopping features if you have an e-commerce business or if you’re promoting products. This can make it easier for your followers to purchase the items you’re showcasing.
- Keep an eye on Instagram’s terms of service and community guidelines to ensure that you’re using the platform in an appropriate and respectful way. This will help to ensure that your account doesn’t get suspended or banned.
- A photo speaks a thousand words – share something that captures a meaningful moment in time no matter how big or small. Whether a person, place or thing it doesn’t matter. It’s a photo that means something to the person taking it. A visual record of that moment in time.
- Use photos with color, good composition, and that actually picture a discernible subject. Don’t upload content that is fuzzy, too close, or too odd to be able to discern.
- If you have a niche brand and followers who are interested in your industry, give your viewers the kind of content they followed you for.
- People like uniformity, so you are more likely to gain a broader audience by using a small handful of the same filters (the optional color overlays you can give your images). See example of a consistent “look” in a grid.
- If you want “likes” and comments, then actively give props to your followers or those you follow.
- Tell a story about what would otherwise be a normal experience and make it interesting and beautiful.
- Challenge your brand to inspire the world and see things in new ways.
- Over-processed images, DSLR images, cliche images like duck-faced self portraits, or reposting content downloaded straight from the Internet (or other users’ accounts) is not what the app is about (and may get you into legal hot water).
- Don’t get too caught up in the fads and the hype. Get involved in the community but keep it real and make it your own.
- Be genuine and authentic in your comments and don’t just like photos hoping to draw attention to your feed. Take the time to engage your audience and you’ll be rewarded with more followers.
- Share quotes and graphics. If done right, they provide an amazing amount of inspiration.
- Listen to your community. Actively engage with your followers in the comments section of photos to get a sense for why they’ve liked the photos you’re sharing and what types of photos they’d like to see in the future. You’ll be surprised with their answers.
- Do not flood your followers streams with photos every hour of the day. Know when enough is enough: we all want to “go live” but first ask yourself how is your content unique or different and what value does it add to your brand and followers.
- Keep your descriptions short and fun (and it’s probably in your best interest to leave out any politics, unless of course that’s what your business is all about.)
- More than anything, don’t take it too seriously and have fun with it!
Filmmaker Casey Neistat made a video about his love of Instagram in an attempt to share his passion of this platform and “save” it from going into the social media graveyard.
We hope this quick guide helps you get started in the world of Instagram. If you have any additional questions or resources, feel free to share those in the comments below. We also recommend using social media tools to help you manage your account, track your success with analytics and schedule posts so you can focus on other aspects of your brand.
Had any success leveraging Instagram for your business? Let us know in the comments!Tagged With: