While a lot of people are of the impression that it’s too late to set up an Instagram account for their business, that’s not the case. You might be slightly late to the party but you definitely aren’t TOO late.
Instagram is fast approaching 1 billion users and marketers are still hopping on the Instagram bandwagon as you’re reading this now.
Why Instagram? It can seem slightly too friendly for business or aimed at younger generations. It’s not the case, thousands of business make huge amounts of money from Instagram. Instagram continues to release new business features constantly, there’s really no better time to begin your Instagram journey.
There’s no requirements, you don’t need a physical store and you don’t need a huge staff base to use Instagram. The beauty of Instagram is its’ wide range of users, creating thousands of audiences for thousands of brands.
Using Instagram for Business
Questions surrounding Instagram range from ‘What should be in my bio?’ to ‘Why aren’t I getting any likes?’. Despite its’ wealth of features, Instagram is one of the easiest platforms to use. Here are some of the essential tips that will ensure your businesses Instagram page is the best it can be.
Your profile is the foundation of your entire use of Instagram. Here’s what we suggest for each component of your profile:
- Profile photo – It’s probably best to use your company logo here. People will recognise it and identify your brand.
- Account name – This is usually best being kept as your business name. Make it identical to your other social profiles.
- Username – Again, best to be your business name.
- Website – On your Instagram, the only clickable URL on your page will be your website. You can use a link to your entire site or a link to your latest promotional page.
- Bio – This is what captures your users attention. Describe your business, big up your website or use your brands tag line / slogan. If you can, we recommend doing all of these.
Use your creativity in your bio. Make it personal to your brand. Think about how you communicate through other social channels. For example, TED take a very minimalist approach to their bio which is mirrored in all of their branding.
If you want to create a hashtag that your customers can use in their posts, you can promote this in your bio too. For example, River Island promote their hashtag and encourage customers to use it to create awareness of their brand and products.
Converting your account to a Business Profile is a great move. Business profiles get access to in-depth analytics as well as contact and location information for your customers to get in touch with you.
Create a Community
Standing out on Instagram can seem like a constant battle. With brands constantly evolving and ‘borrowing’ ideas from others, there’s always a fight to stand out. Discovering more and more brands with thousands of followers can be disheartening. Guess what? You don’t need a huge amount of followers to be successful.
We suggest starting small, establishing meaningful relationships and engaging with other users. Communicate within large and niche communities to ensure a solid following. How do you find the niche? Let us tell you.
Niche Communities and Hashtags
Hashtags are pretty much just a search function. Nothing complicated about them. Getting specific allows you to reach into your target audience and put your product/services straight in front of them. For example. The hashtag #nails has millions of followers. These will be people who are looking for their next style and people that work in the industry. You need to be more specific to target those who will engage in your services.
Think of a hairdresser, they could hashtag #pinkhair and appear amongst hundreds of thousands of posts. However, if they are more specific and think about products they’re using to create said #pinkhair and include them in the hashtags, they’re likely to find they will receive more specific results.
Pay Attention to your Customers
If your customers are active on Instagram, use them. Customer-generated content is huge. People love to see your products/services in situ and in real life. Give them incentive to tag you in their photos is a great marketing move that costs nothing. Reposting this content, shouting out to your followers and engaging with their posts creates a huge sense of brand loyalty. Show potential customers your already satisfied customers and you’ll see your figures rapidly improve.
Create Meaningful Activity
As we know, efficiency counts. Even on social media, even on Instagram. Like posts, reply to comments and messages and follow relevant accounts. This all counts in building up your Instagram presence.
Streamlining your activity saves you time. Once you’ve established an effective frequency of posts and the best time to do so, create a schedule to stop yourself mindlessly scrolling Instagram. It’s an easy trap to fall into but it doesn’t get you anywhere.
Correlate your content to your Goals
The answer to “why are you investing in Instagram for business?” will determine your entire strategy. Are you selling? Does your brand need more recognition? Are your product photos so good you NEED to share them? Whatever your goal is, keep it in mind when creating your content.
This post from Vogue has clear goals. They want to share a message about something they feel passionate about.
An image that captures your attention and a story told within their caption. A message that is important to them. Provokes thought.
Posting without careful consideration will never bring you results. Define your brand and its’ goals and speak to your target audience through your content.
Story telling through Instagram
The best way to capture your audiences’ attention is through telling stories. Big brands have big narratives on Instagram. Imagery is a great tool to aid story telling which is why your images need to be selected thoughtfully.
Humans of New York do this remarkably. Their images are stunning and their captions tell stories that engage their audience. Not a business profile but one that is a good example of telling stories through Instagram.
What this section is telling you, is that people should be able to look at your Instagram feed and feel a sense of what your brand is about. It’s about being recognisable to customers and identifying yourself to potential customers.
Put your products out there
Instagram for business is ultimately a tool to boost your business. Promote your products and do it creatively. There are so many ways to tell customers about your products without being forceful and bombarding them. Creativity is key on Instagram. Create a feed that people want to engage with and you’re winning. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Video content
- Add some humour
- User generated content
- Use Regram
- Show products in real-time and in real-life situations. Not everything has to be planned
Communicate with influencers
By establishing relationships with Instagram influencers, you will climb the Instagram ranks a lot quicker. The power that these individuals have over consumers is remarkable. A lot of influencers offer paid posts, shout outs and regular content shares. Here’s an example:
To build these relationships you can:
- Comment on photos
- Tagging them in your posts
- Use other platforms (Twitter is a good one)
- Offer free samples
Hopefully, this has been a useful article and you feel more confident in using Instagram for business!