Instagram is one of the biggest social networks that we know today and its popularity continues to grow rapidly. In fact, according to 99firms.com, the social platform is the third most popular with more than a billion monthly users. The golden medal goes to Facebook, of course, with around 2 billion users each month. And YouTube is at the honorable second position, as it is used by around 1.9 billion people on a monthly basis. So, first of all, a billion users is a lot of people, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that over 76% of marketers and small business owners choose to promote their products and to communicate with their customers via Instagram.
Furthermore, 43% of social media users around the globe are researching products via social networks. So, not only is Instagram growing in popularity, but consumers are actually using social media to look for desired products more often. According to omnicoreagency.com, more than 200 million instagrammers visit at least one business account a day and business stories take up to ⅓ of the most viewed stories on the platform. Moreover, 130 million Instagram accounts tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month.
It is fair to say that given all of those statistics, your business can significantly benefit from using Instagram as part of its social media strategy. Don’t worry if you have no idea what this platform is actually all about. We are here to let you in on the most important steps, which you need to take so you can create your company’s IG profile. Plus, if you continue reading, you’ll learn what are some of the best marketing strategies, which you can execute on Instagram. So grab a cup of coffee and let’s go.
You need to make sure to actually create a different account for your business than your personal one. Mixing the two is not a particularly good idea, as personal selfies aren’t going to be of interest to your customers. Furthermore, a business account gives you many benefits and additional features, which you wouldn’t be able to use otherwise. Setting up your business profile on Instagram isn’t too difficult. Once you’re ready to begin, here’s what you need to think about:
- Choose the “business account” option
As we already mentioned, it’s always smart to separate your personal and business accounts. Furthermore, by doing so, you will have the opportunity to add an action button to your company’s account. Some of the options you can choose from include: order food, book now and reserve. send message, call now and learn more. What is great about this feature is that it makes it easy for your customers to interact with those pre-selected online services. Furthermore, once you’ve set up your profile, your customers will have the chance to contact you directly through the Message and Contact buttons in your account.
Another benefit of the business account is that it allows you to access the analytics tools of Instagram, which is simply a must when it comes to tracking the performance of your brand on the platform. You can gain knowledge about what the demographics of your followers are, as well as how many people have engaged with, viewed or liked a given post or an ad, and that’s just a small portion of all of the statistics and metrics that the platform offers. Furthermore, if you have a Facebook page for your business, you can connect it to your Instagram account.
Therefore, we strongly advise you to create a business account on Instagram. In order to do so, you need to first create a personal account on the platform and change it to a business one from the settings section of the app. Just access the settings, select “Account”, tap on the “Switch to Professional Account” and then select “Business”. At this point you can connect your Facebook page to the Instagram account for your business. As Instagram shares, this will make it easier to use all of the features available for businesses across the Facebook family of apps. However, you need to keep in mind that you can connect only one Facebook page to your Instagram account. After you’ve completed those steps, you need to add some information about your business such as contact information and details about its specifics. Tap “Done” and you’ll be ready to go.
- Have a strong bio section
As Instagram is mainly a visual platform (we’ll get to that in more detail later) your profile’s bio section is one of the few places on your feed, on which your customers can read about you and your business. Think of it as your business card, even more so, as you only have 150 characters on your hands to come up with the perfect presentation of your company. Therefore, you need to put some thought into creating a very engaging and clear bio. It’s a good idea to use this space and talk about your brand story. Don’t forget to share some of the important achievements of your company, as well as what your goals are and how you plan to accomplish your mission. Use emojis and create custom hashtags for your brand if your business allows it. Keep in mind that this is the only place on Instagram, where your links are clickable. So take a hold of the opportunity to increase traffic to your website by adding its link in the bio. Another opportunity, which you definitely should consider is adding the so-called linkin bio feature, available through Later (there’s a free as well as paid version of this tool). What it does is to create a landing page, which is identical to your IG feed, however, instead of static visuals and text, you can add a link to each of your posts. Thus, giving you the opportunity to increase your website’s traffic even more.
Here are some good bio examples:
- Stay consistent
As with most of your online communication platforms, it’s pretty much compulsory (if you’re striving for growth and success) to be consistent with your brand elements. This means to have a recognizable profile picture. In order to easily accomplish that, we advise you to use the same profile photo (preferably one including the logo of your company) for all of your social media accounts. Furthermore, it’s important to use a connected-to-your-business name on Instagram (but not much different from the names you’ve used on other social media platforms). Bottom line is: consistency is key, because if you are recognizable, you have a better chance to be discovered.
- Come up with a schedule and post regularly
Once you’ve perfected the appearance of your business account on Instagram, you need to think about what kind of posts you want to share as well as how often you’ll be able to upload a new post. In other words, you need to create a (preferably) detailed schedule of the types of posts you’ll share on your feed (will they be branded, re-shared, talking about a specific topic, or simply showing your products in action), how often you’ll share them (daily or a few times a week) and the time of the day during which you’ll post them (you need to figure out when your followers are mostly active).
In order to be able to answer those questions, you first have to think of what you want to accomplish at the end of the day. So start with setting a goal for a limited period of time (let’s say 3 months) and figure out what kind of content will help you achieve that goal. For example, if you are selling watches and jewelry and want to focus on increasing the sales of jewelry for the next few months, you should consider posting about fashion-related topics, appropriate jewelry for different occasions or advice on how to store and clean jewelry pieces. The important part is to stick to your schedule once you have created it. By doing so, you’re not only showing that you are reliable and punctual, but also you’re hopefully creating a habit for your customers to follow and seek your new posts.
Instagram gives you the option to save and categorize stories (we’ll talk about them in a minute), which you’ve previously shared through your profile. This is a perfect opportunity to showcase what the main topics of your channel are, as well as what content can your followers expect to see from you. As Later puts it: You can think of them as a movie trailer for your Instagram feed. The best news is that unlike the regular stories, which disappear after 24 hours, those stay on your profile forever (or at least until you decide to take them off) and can be viewed at any time. Plus, their appearance is customizable, so you can select visuals, which match your brand’s style. A little hint from us: when updating the highlights covers, choose a close friend’s account (could be your personal profile) as a recipient before you change the covers. In this way, you won’t spam all of your followers with unnecessary stories.
- Be creative with your feed’s style
Talking about customization, we cannot fail to underline a major part of your IG presence which you need to think about. And that is the appearance of your feed. As you might already know, Instagram is all about the visual and the way things look like. Therefore, it is very important to spend some time on deciding the right theme for your feed. There are countless possibilities here and it all depends on how creative you are and what is the most appropriate solution for your business. Generally, the layout of the feed is pretty simple – there are three columns of posts and every new post shifts the previous posts one space to the right. Although it may sound boring, this gives the opportunity to customize the appearance of your feed by posting according to a specific colour scheme or creating puzzle-like sequences of posts, or a chess board look. It is actually a very fun part of setting up your account and you really have to unleash your creativity, get inspired and think outside of the box for this one. Can you see the sequence below?
Winning Instagram practices
So now that you have your profile all set up, it’s time to start posting and communicating with your customers. One of the best things about Instagram is that it’s a highly engaging and interactive platform. This is awesome for marketers and business owners alike, as it allows for the use of some fun tools through which you could spread awareness for your brand and boost the engagement on your profile.
- Use stories and interactive stickers
We already mentioned that ⅓ of the most viewed stories are created by business accounts. So this should mean something, right? Absolutely right, stories can significantly help you increase reach and engagement as well as contribute to the accomplishment of your business goals. Instagram stories can be GIF’s, images and videos, which stay visible on your profile for 24 hours. The best part is that there are a ton of stickers and features, which you can (and should) use in order to enhance your content. And we’re not only talking about visual enhancement here, you can actually link your website or a blog post to your story on Instagram (if you have more than 10 000 followers, that is) and thus not only provide more information to your customers, but also drive traffic to wherever you like. Furthermore, if you use stickers such as “ask a question” you can communicate (literary message) with your customers right there and then. Moreover, there are now stickers, which allow you to receive food orders through their use. And who knows what other functionality of Instagram stories are we to expect? So the bottom line is: when it comes to stories, the more vibrant and interactive, the better.
- Have awesome visuals
As we already mentioned, Instagram is all about the high quality visuals. Although there are some trends connected to authenticity and no filter images, the platform is still highly focused on visual content. Therefore, when you are creating your posts, you need to pay extra attention to the quality of your photos or videos. Keep in mind that those are the first things users see on your feed and if they don’t like the image, they are not going to click on it or read your copy. Make sure to stick to your business’s and your feed’s style when selecting the right visuals for your content. Furthermore, try to post pictures, which will interest your customers and provoke them to continue browsing through your feed in search of similar content.
- Use hashtags
When done right, this will severely increase your reach, we promise. What we mean by “done right” is definitely not throwing all kinds of unrelated hashtags under your copy. You should always follow the golden rule and divide your hashtags into three categories in terms of popularity amongst IG users: ultra popular, super niched down and somewhere in the middle. By doing so, you prolong the lifetime of your post. Let us explain, when someone uses an extremely popular hashtag such as #love (1,956,062,050 posts), for example, their post will quickly be lost amongst the million other posts, which also use the same hashtag. Similarly, if you use a very niched down hashtag such as #studentsinlove (38 posts) your post could be easily found and seen, because, obviously not many people are going to use this hashtag, thus allowing your content to appear on the top of the page. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to include location-based hashtags, especially if you have a local business. The maximum number of hashtags per post is 30, however, you can use less than that if you want. Just make sure that all of your hashtags are actually connected to your brand and your content and contribute towards your goals. Additionally, if you don’t want to distract your followers with the spammy-looking hashtag sheet in your copy, you can simply leave a few empty rows or “hide” it in the comments section.
- Inspire user-generated content
As you may be aware, one of the most successful marketing tools is the word of mouth so it’s always a good idea to persuade your customers into generating content for your brand. One of the easiest ways, in which you could do that is by simply asking them to do so at the end of your posts. Add a message, prompting your clients to share pictures or videos of them using your products. Furthermore, you could organize a giveaway and require your customers to upload a photo of them using your product in order to enter it. In that way you are not only increasing brand awareness, but also adding value for your brand ambassadors.
- Influencer Marketing
If your attempts at motivating your customers to create user-generated content fail, you can always consider setting some budget aside for influencer marketing. There are 500,000 active influencers on Instagram, who are just waiting for you to reach out to them. You need to research influencers, who talk about topics connected to your industry or to your products. Pay attention to the number of their followers, but most importantly to the engagement on their posts. You need to find influencers with an active fan-base, so that your products get the attention they deserve. Then simply discuss the possibilities of working together with them. You may ask them to do sponsored posts on their feeds, share a story of them using your products, or maybe write a blog post about you and your products or services.
- Engage with your audience, answer comments, be authentic
If you want to build a long-lasting relationship with your followers, and respectively your customers, you need to engage with them and participate in the conversations. Don’t leave comments unanswered, not only because it’s rude, but also because by answering them you’re additionally boosting the engagement of your posts. In recent years copies under Instagram pictures became longer and now some brands use the little box to write mini blogs about their hardships and wins. And since authenticity is always valued, it is safe to say that this approach is a good way, in which you could help your customers to relate to your struggles. Furthermore, by supporting a good relationship with your clients, you are also learning precious information about their daily struggles and problems. This is a good opportunity to write a blog article on how they may overcome some of them or think of ways in which your products can solve some of their problems.
- Run ads
If you have a business account on Instagram, then you probably have a Facebook page for your business. And if you have a Facebook page, then you probably also have a Facebook Ads Manager. Which is great, because it will make your Instagram ad campaigns as easy as ABC. Although you can run ads directly from your Instagram, you can choose to use the Facebook Ads Manager for that purpose. That’s right, although it may seem scary and complicated, running ads on IG is actually pretty easy. As Facebook owns Instagram, the platforms share one ads creation studio. As sproutsocial.com advises, though, you may want to create your visuals and copies for the both networks separately, as the ads format differs on both platforms. Furthermore, advertising on IG is affordable, which makes it perfect for both small businesses with limited budgets as well as for testing new strategies and creatives.
And there you have some of the essential Instagram tools and features, which can help you grow your business in the digital world. However, you need to keep in mind that this is only a small portion of everything you can actually do on the platform. Therefore, if you want to promote your business on Instagram, our advice is to always keep up with the latest trends concerning the social network.
Need some help?
Don’t worry if you feel a bit confused and overwhelmed by all of this information. Unlike many people think, social media is no joke and needs to be taken seriously, especially when it comes to fulfilling your business’s goals. Therefore, it could be a good idea to ask for professional advice on the best strategies and tools for your business.
We are here to lend a hand. Interval can help you build your social media presence on Instagram and on any other social platform, which is suitable for your business. Furthermore, you can turn to us if you need help with any aspect of your digital marketing strategy, including email marketing, website creation, social media management, paid advertising, SEO and brand identity. [/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner column_width_percent=”100″ align_horizontal=”align_center” gutter_size=”3″ overlay_alpha=”50″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ shift_y_down=”0″ z_index=”0″ medium_width=”0″ mobile_width=”0″ width=”1/1″][vc_button button_color=”accent” border_animation=”btn-ripple-out” border_width=”0″ link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Finterval.bg%2Fen%2Fcontact-us%2F|title:Get%20in%20touch!||” icon=”fa fa-envelope2″]Get in touch![/vc_button][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]