Here are a few tips on how to use Instagram to market and grow your business
Instagram is a powerful marketing and brand-building tool. With over 700 million monthly active users, Instagram is surpassing other social media giants like Twitter and Facebook. Among all social networking sites, Instagram has the highest engagement rate which makes it a very feasible marketing platform.
Many businesses are taking advantage of Instagram’s free business tools to boost their social media marketing efforts. Currently, there are 8 million Instagram Business profiles, with small businesses making up the majority of that number.
If you’re wondering how you can use Instagram to your business’ advantage, here are some basic tips on how to get started with Instagram Business:
1. Optimize your business profile
Start with creating a winning business profile. Your profile should tell customers what your business is about and how they can reach you. To optimize your business profile, make sure to have the following elements:
- Profile photo – Your Instagram profile photo should typically be your business’ logo. Make sure that your logo looks great, even if it’s cropped to a circular shape. It’s recommended that you upload an image that’s 180 x 180 pixels.
- Description of your business, or a bio – Highlight what your business does in your bio. Instagram allows for 150 characters in the bio, so make sure to keep your description short and sweet. It’s also a good idea to include target keywords in your bio; this will help customers find your profile easier from the search bar. Another thing is to choose a category that best suits what your business is about.
- Contact information – One of the unique features of an Instagram Business profile is that you can add contact information in your business bio—a feature that’s not supported in personal Instagram profiles. At a minimum, be sure to include your business address, email address, and phone number.
- Link in bio – Your bio is a good place not just to promote your website, but also to promote a product launch, a company event, or a promotion. Links in your Instagram posts are unfortunately not clickable, save for the link in your business profile bio. Make good use of your bio by regularly changing your links; it could be a landing page to a new product, a new blog post, or whichever currently brings more value to your business.
2. Post attractive and engaging visual content
Instagram is mainly an image-sharing platform, so it’s no question why you should invest time and effort in producing high-quality visual content too. By visual content, this also includes short videos, which Instagram also supports. Here are a few tips on how to create attractive and engaging visual content on Instagram:
- Be consistent with style and quality – Brand identity is key when using Instagram for your marketing efforts. The best business profiles often have a certain color scheme, or use a specific filter in all of their photos such as going for a bright and sunny color scheme, or a vintage and matte finish. Whatever you choose, stick to it and be consistent.
- Showcase your products in your photos – Research shows that 65% of top-performing brand posts on Instagram feature products. When posting product photos on your Instagram, be creative on how you project them; don’t stick with stoic product photography that people usually use in eCommerce sites. Add a splash of lifestyle photography when taking pictures of your products.
- Create short behind-the-scenes videos – Many customers are curious about what happens behind the curtains of your business. It’s a good idea to create short videos about how your products are made, making sure, of course, to only include information that you’re comfortable sharing with the public. You can also create videos that show how your products are used.
- Highlight your company culture – Posting photos of your office, employees, a normal day at work, and company events is a good way to put a certain human element into your Instagram Business profile. Highlighting your company culture makes your business relatable; it’s somewhat saying to your followers that you’re just like them too.
- Post user-generated content – One way of enticing people to engage with your brand is to highlight user-generated content in your profile. Research shows that user-generated content have a 4.5% higher chance of conversion. Repost photos of people using your products and be sure to pay proper attribution by mentioning their username(s) in your posts.
3. Use hashtags
Hashtags are very useful for expanding your reach on Instagram. It functions the same way as keywords do for SEO: hashtags make it easier for people to discover your posts from tag searches. In fact, Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag. Here are tips on how to properly use hashtags on your Instagram posts:
- Discover relevant hashtags – Instagram’s search tool is an easy way to discover relevant hashtags and to check out how many people use them. Choose popular hashtags to broaden your reach. You can also use your own unique campaign-specific hashtags to increase the discoverability of your Instagram posts.
- Use 3 to 5 hashtags in your post – While Instagram allows for up to 30 hashtags in a single post, it’s recommended to focus on 3 to 5 hashtags and see which ones produce the best results. Instagram Business has a built-in analytics tool where you can measure how your posts perform from engagement to impressions, and other useful marketing metrics.
- Consider how you add hashtags – It’s recommended to add your hashtags at the end of your post so that your audience’s attention is drawn to the copy or description that goes along with your photo. Hashtags can also be subtly worked into the actual post, but use them sparingly as this method can be distracting. You can also use additional hashtags in a comment.
With all of the tips mentioned, it’s important to note that engagement is key for a successful social media strategy. Your audience feels more in touch with your business when you take the time to reply to their comments, address their concerns, and follow them back. Bring the social element in social media to life by actively engaging with your audience.