How To Use Instagram For Business
Setting up an Instagram account for your Business
If you haven’t already, you will need to sign-up to Instagram. You can use the app from your phone, or a tablet and it is completely free to download. Once you’ve signed up, and entered the app, you’ll be prompted to fill out your profile.
Username and Bio
For discoverability, your username on Instagram should match the username of your other branded social media profiles. For example, our Twitter is @WebWorksWell_ and our Instagram is @WebWorksWell. The underscore won’t make much difference to discoverability as the name of the company is still the same.
The only other information that appears on your profile is your website (good for linking your website URL, or possibly blog posts that you create and want to promote on Instagram) and a short bio.
Your bio is essential in explaining what your business is about and what people can expect from your Instagram profile.
Your Instagram profile photo should probably be your company’s logo. Having it match your other profile photos will help with discoverability. Anyone that follows you on Twitter or Facebook will instantly recognize your brand if they come across you on Instagram.
Your profile photo will be cropped into a circle on the app, so make sure you choose an image that will look good in that shape. Though the profile photo is small on the app, make sure you choose a larger image so that the resolution is good when people look at your profile on the web.
To kick off your business’ Instagram presence, you will want to follow a bunch of users. It’s worth finding the influencers in your industry, customers, and other people relevant to your brand and follow them.
Instagram demographics vary widely, so make sure you know exactly who you’re trying to target. Search industry hashtags and make your presence known by commenting on photos and following people who participate in these discussions. You’d be surprised how quickly this can expand your following on Instagram.
Promote Your Account
Begin getting your new profile into the world, add your Instagram handle to your other social media profiles for cross-promotion and add a link from your website. It may also be worth asking your followers on your other networks to follow your Instagram profile.
All of your Instagram efforts should be driven by strategic goals. What is your business hoping to achieve by using Instagram? You could potentially:
- Increase product sales
- Drive traffic to your website
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Attract top talent
- Identifying and establishing relationships with influencers
No matter what you’re trying to achieve, your goals need to be attainable.
Creating an Instagram content strategy
If you want to build a strong community and see real results for your business, then your strategy should cover these four key things:
1. How often and when to post
You will want to maintain a regular posting schedule, but don’t bombard your followers with too many posts. The smartest way to figure out what works best for your business is by testing posts at different intervals and times and then keeping track of the results. You may do the same for the other social media platforms that you use for your business, however they may not all be the same. Once you have figured out the best times to post, create a calendar to keep on track.
2. Content Themes
Rotating through different content theme will keep things interesting for your followers, and help you achieve different goals. For example, a post-secondary institution aiming to increase awareness and attract new students might use contests, alumni stories and campus life as its main content themes.
3. Style Guidelines
Do you use emoji’s in your captions? Are there grammatical guidelines your brand follows? What hashtags do you use? What type of photos do you post? Your style guidelines should cover all of the ways that your brand makes itself distinct and consistent.
4. Engagement Guidelines
These guidelines should cover how and when your business interacts with other accounts on Instagram, from liking and commenting on other people’s photos to handling the incoming comments on your own account. Don’t automate any of your engagement.
Your Brand Identity
Instagram is all about the visuals, so aim to build a cohesive and recognizable brand identity.
Create Visual Consistency
The majority of brands use the same filter for every post, creating a theme. By using the same filters over and over, you can establish a style that will become recognizable to your followers. However, if you like to edit your own photos you can, but it’s best to try and find the style that you like the most and save the settings so that you can implement your own filter to your other photos. Since your goal is to get Instagram users to stop scrolling once they see your image (in order to engage with it by liking or commenting), the more instantly recognizable your photos are, the better.
If you don’t like the filters on Instagram and want to try photo editing for yourself, download VSCOcam or Adobe Lightroom onto your phone and find your style.
Choose Your Subject Matter
Visually, you’ll need to decide on what content your posts will focus on. In some cases, the content will be obvious.
Create a Branded Hashtag
Finally, there may be non-visual elements to add to your Instagram brand, like common language or style for captions. A popular technique is the branded hashtag. This doesn’t mean simply using your company name as a hashtag, this is about creating a hashtag that embodies your brand and encourages followers to share photos that fit that image.
WebWorksWell’s branded hashtag is actually our company name #webworkswell. We believe that It works, and anyone into web design that may join our community can post images of websites they have created and use our hashtag. Instagram also recently brought out a new feature where you can follow hashtags and new or popular posts that relate to that hashtag will show up on your feed.
Stay True to Your Audience
Your business won’t succeed on Instagram by mimicking the strategy of other brands. What works for them won’t necessarily work for your business. Hone in on your audience and make sure you’re catering to their interests and expectations. Look at what’s working for your business on other social networks, what content your audience shares, and how they interact with your competitors or similar brands.
Getting Creative with Your Instagram Content
Instagram may be all about captivating visual content, but don’t neglect the captions that go along with each photo – they present a big opportunity for your business to tell a story. Instagram captions allow you to expand on the image, give it context, and even make your followers laugh. It can also tie an image back to your business.
Use Photo and Video Albums
You can add up to 10 photos and videos to a single post, giving users the opportunity to swipe through and see each individual piece of content. These albums offer businesses a way to combine photos and videos to tell stories and convey information in a highly engaging way.
Take Risks with Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories have quickly amassed 250 million average daily users, and there’s no shortage of businesses using them. Disappearing content and live broadcasting features make Instagram Stories the perfect vehicle for businesses to take creative risks and create attention-grabbing photos and videos.
Collaborate with Influencers
Identify influential people on Instagram that are relevant to your brand or industry, and begin building a relationship. You could potentially inquire about supplying them with sponsored content for their own account. This could pay off big time as they expose your brand to their large Instagram community. While many influencers will charge a pretty penny for their services, even small and medium size businesses can use this tactic by partnering with local influencers.
Instagram Adverts are good for getting your brand out there. I wouldn’t recommend just using a random post from your feed for the advert. You want something that is appealing, that someone will stop scrolling when they see it and click through to your profile, or whatever else you may be advertising. As Instagram is image based, use something that you will think will look good to your audience. There are also story adverts, which are good if you believe that your audience often looks through their stories over their home feed. The story adverts are good for a short video advert.
Instagram Adverts can…
- Drive awareness to your business, product, app or service
- Make potential customers more aware of your products or services
- Increase product sales, mobile app downloads or even visitors to your shop
Now you should be ready to get started on Instagram! Let us know how you get on in the comments!
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