7 Tips For Mastering Instagram For Business
According to recent studies:
90% of people on Instagram follow a business
2 in 3 surveyed people say Instagram enables interaction with brands
50% are more interested in a brand when they see ads for it on Instagram
This presents businesses with an opportunity to market their products to a more targeted and interested audience without spending an enormous amount of money on paid advertising.
And since Instagram's API allows users to publish photos, videos, and multiple image carousels to an Instagram Business Profile using a third party platform (like Sendible), this makes it even easier for brands to take advantage of all Instagram has to offer.
Whether your social media strategy needs an update or you're a newcomer to Instagram marketing, you'll find these optimisation hacks and tips superbly useful:
1. Show what you do in a creative way
Focus on the solution you provide, not the products you sell. On Instagram, it's essential to add value to your customers and look pretty while you do it.
Never underestimate the fact that your most important asset (and downfall) on this social media network is visual content.
If your business is service-oriented, focus on showcasing the process behind providing the service. Show your company culture, share your mission with the world, or simply share some tips and how-tos.
There are many different formats you can take advantage of to do this on Instagram - it's possible to upload photos, carousels, short-form videos (Reels and Stories)
Try Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories have a slideshow format and are only live for 24-hours (though they can be added to your profile as highlights, showing up on your profile even after the original Story disappears).
This feature was first created in response to Snapchat's Stories and is continuously being developed by Instagram.
These are some of the benefits of using Instagram Stories for brands:
- Stories are prominently displayed at the top of follower timelines just under the Instagram logo.
- They can be used to capture behind-the-scenes content that doesn't have to be as high in quality as regular posts.
- Stories make it easy to experiment with different content types including filters, stickers, photos, videos, and live video.
- Tagging other accounts, e.g. @instagram in Stories is ideal for collaborators and influencer marketing.
- Fun additions like face filters, text, and stickers help you edit images on-the-go.
- Story search for hashtags and locations make them more discoverable.
- All photos and videos you add will play in the sequence they were added and you can add as many as you like.
- Instagram Stories adverts became available to all businesses globally in March 2017. You can use these to target new audiences and add CTAs to your collages which can be especially useful for promotions.
- You can repost stories and feed posts to your Instagram Story. Whether a follower tagged you, or you decided to promote your new feed post, the opportunity to share them and increase brand awareness through reposts will certainly improve engagement and reach.
Note that Stories can only be created on mobile devices and it's possible to send Instagram Stories as a direct message (DM). The use of social media Stories is definitely picking up and almost any brand can find a fun and engaging way to participate!
Reels are Instagram's direct response to TikTok videos. So, let's go over some benefits of using Instagram Reels for your business:
As of 2021, this short-form video can be up to 60-seconds long.
Unlike Stories, they do not disappear after 24h.
You can choose to share them on your Instagram feed and add a matchy cover photo or share them only to the Reels category.
You can add original audio or choose one from other users. By opting for the already-used trending audio you can expand the reach of your post.
Reels offer you the opportunity to hop on various beloved trends. This will give you an opportunity to show a different side of your brand and connect with your audience in a fun way.
2. Create a winning profile
As a company, you probably do a whole lot of things and offer even more solutions. Don’t get too caught up in fitting all of that in 150 or so characters.
Focus on your most important USP or your next big thing - be it an event, promotion or product launch.
Since the only clickable link is in your Bio section (right under your name), make a habit of updating it frequently, or even better, add a link that leads to selected categories. You can use third-party tools like Lnk.Bio and Link Tree to create one.
It's a shame that most brands use it only to link to their website, as it could do so much more, like:
Directing traffic to your blogs
Driving event registrations
Instagram has also launched its Instagram Business profiles and paid advertising. The Business profile adds a phone number to your bio and gives access to extensive analytics data that wouldn't be otherwise available unless you're using a social media tool.
3. Take them behind-the-scenes
Customers have a natural curiosity about where their products come from, and you can use Instagram to show them their whole lifecycle.
This is especially relevant for companies that sell environmentally friendly or FairTrade products. Source images to demonstrate how products are made - from the base material, production and distribution.
If nothing comes to mind, you can share something that everyone has - sketches, notes, and filled whiteboards or blackboards. Every business has brainstormed ideas, it's up to you to take a pretty picture or make a short Instagram video.
You may find that it's best to try out different post types until you strike gold with the one that will engage the audience.
4. Expand your reach with #hashtags
Use hashtags to expand your reach. These can be campaign specific or general - all that's important is that they're relevant. Make sure to also set up your main branded hashtag (#yourbrandname), and use it sparingly across Instagram (Twitter and LinkedIn are good too). This makes it easier for people to find content related to you as well as your main account.
It's best practice to use between three to five hashtags, despite the fact that the maximum you can add is 30 per Instagram post. Use your own, campaign-specific hashtags as well as the more popular hashtags to increase the discoverability of your content.
You could try your hand at celebrating hashtag holidays on social media. You could start out by adding hashtags like #instagood (used in over one billion posts), or #tbt (Throwback Thursday), and don't forget about industry-specific ones. If you are in IT, the hashtag #IT or #tech will do just fine.
You should also consider the placement of the hashtags you add. These can be added at the end of the post, in a comment or worked into the actual post
5. Collaborate and @mention others
Instagram is one of the strongest social media channels for highlighting collaborators and sharing customer success stories.
Even if you don't officially partner with a non-profit organisation, you can give to charity or do a fundraiser a couple of times a year. It's all good as long as the cause aligns with your brand values and mission. Take into account that not everyone is monitoring hashtags on social media, so tagging an account is usually a better choice if you want to get noticed.
Another technique involves the use of 'shout-outs'. An unpaid shout-out is when you partner with another brand that has roughly the same number of followers as you to promote each other to your audiences and you both benefit from increased exposure.
The paid shout-out is for those with a bigger budget as it's essentially an influencer campaign. This usually involves paying a brand (or influencer) with a much larger following to promote your product or service. It's a great way to gain a large number of new followers quickly, providing that you create a strong call to action and the influencer's audience is genuine.
We already mentioned Instagram's new feature - Branded Content. In Instagram's own words:
"We define branded content as a creator or publisher's content that features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value (for example, where the business partner has paid the creator or publisher).
Our policies require anyone, no matter if they're on a creator, business or personal account, to tag business partners in their branded content posts when there's an exchange of value between a creator or publisher and a business partner."
This will make your collaboration visible at once! But, there's another great thing about it - the branded post can be visible on both your brand's and influencer's profile. This also means that both the brand and the influencer will get access to the insights so the brand isn’t 100% reliant on the influencer for post-performance data.
6. Build anticipation and offer exclusivity
Keeping your customers interested is an essential part of any effective marketing campaign. Reward your loyal followers with exclusive content.
Let them be the first to know about new products, services or events. Create teaser photos that build anticipation or satisfy curiosity for your new releases, office openings or stores.
This kind of preview makes your Instagram followers feel special and keeps them coming back for more insider information.
7. Analyse your success and build on it
Without taking a step back and analysing what worked and didn’t, marketing becomes a guessing game. The truth is, you can read all the articles in the world about the best practices and publishing times, but you will only find out what works for your clients through testing and measuring results.
Social media management tools can help, though. You can use them not only to schedule your Instagram campaigns in advance but also use social media analytics to measure their success. Make sure to regularly measure your follower count, engagement and clicks, all to refine and improve your strategy. Our social media reports can help you track your performance for Instagram and all other key social media networks.
-Queen City Media Team