So, you’ve heard of Instagram. Your teenagers are constantly on it. Your husband or wife uses it. Even your mom has it to post family reunion photos. You’ve learned it can also be used for business but wonder, “How can I optimize Instagram for my business?”
Let’s look at who is on Instagram.
With more than 1 billion users, 500 million who are active every day, more and more businesses are adding Instagram to their digital marketing strategy. As of November 2018, most of Instagram’s users were ages 25 to 34 (32.6 percent). There are already at least 25 million Instagram business profiles, and according to Instagram’s stats, 80 percent of accounts follow a business.
Before you jump into your first post, pump the brakes. Instagram should be approached differently than Facebook and Twitter.
Instagram is a place for day-in-the-life activities. It’s about themed feeds, hashtags and aesthetic photos — whether they show off your products or services, someone’s OOTD (outfit of the day) or your coworker’s lunch. There’s an art to it.
To begin, you’ll want to set up a business account. Download the app and sign up for an account. If you are going to connect your Instagram business account to a Facebook Business page, be sure you are signing up with an admin email associated with that Facebook page.
Create a username (try something similar to your business’ Twitter handle or Facebook page) and password. Voila! You’ve successfully made a personal Instagram account. Now, let’s convert it to a business one.
To do this, log in to your personal account and go to your settings. Select “switch to business profile” and then continue. Add your email, a phone number or business address. Click “Done”. That was easy!
To truly optimize your business profile, include a category that gives people a quick idea of what your business is about. Or, you can create a call-to-action button that gives users a way to quickly make reservations, book appointments, buy tickets or start an order with your business.
Now, it’s time to strategize.
Identify your target audience. What content do they interact with the most on your other social media platforms? Where do they spend the most time on your website? What products or services do you want them to see?
We suggest browsing Instagram’s search function. Look for hashtags (more on hashtags later) centered around your products or services to see which types of posts users respond to most. Also, think about the look of the content that catches your eye. Once you’ve jotted down some ideas, we can...
Make your first post.
The most liked photo on Instagram is now an egg, which has 53 million likes and counting, overtaking a photo of Kylie Jenner announcing the birth of her baby. With that kind of competition, what content should you post?
As we said before, Instagram is about day-in-the-life activities — putting the viewer into the scene visually. Many of Instagram’s users are also sensitive to obvious advertisements, so you have to be creative with the content you post. Instagram is really a place to show people why they want to engage with your business and products.
Some ideas include using Instagram to promote your company culture, celebrating new clients and hires, showing behind-the-scenes footage, and teasing new products and content. You can also post about milestones reached, sales announcements, unique uses of your products and giveaways.
Expand your brand even more with calls to action. Hold contests where users have to follow your page, like and comment on your post and repost it to their feed. While participants get a chance to win your products or services, they’re also helping spread your brand. Or, you could engage and highlight your community by creating a unique hashtag, asking followers to use it for a chance to be featured on your page and post user-generated content that best matches your theme.
Keep in mind, Instagram users tend to follow accounts that stick with a theme or have a similar “look” to their posts. Do you want your posts to look “light and airy” or stand out with bold colors and high contrast? To make your posts stay true to your theme, edit your photos with Instagram’s filters or another app and think about your background, lighting and props when taking your photos.
Hashtags and Location Tags
You won’t want to skip out on these for your posts! Hashtags and location tags are ways users can easily find your content.
For instance, say you own a Little Rock restaurant and I’m from out of town. I often use Instagram to research good places to eat and things to do. Since this social media platform is about normal people, locals and travelers alike, doing normal things, I tend to search for the “can’t-miss activities” and discover “hidden gems”. When searching “#littlerockfood”, I come across multiple posts that tag your restaurant’s location and Instagram handle. Thanks to the location tag, I see your restaurant is just a few blocks from my hotel. Within a few minutes of browsing your Instagram posts, I’m convinced I know what I want for dinner.
Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags in your post. Before you start typing away on your phone, you’ll want to research relevant hashtags that best align with your products or services. Pick hashtags that aren’t overused, which can potentially bury your content, but that already have a good amount of following, which shows they are popular enough to search for and use.
People can even follow hashtags now by tapping or searching a hashtag and hitting “follow”.
To see hashtags in action, go to one of your posts that uses hashtags and click on “Insights” underneath the post. Here, you can see how many impressions, the number of times your content was shown to users, came from hashtags.
Stories and Highlights
Instagram Stories allow you to truly show the day-in and day-out activities of your business. It’s great for showing content that doesn’t fit your feed’s theme but that you still find important to share.
You can make Stories fun and personable by using Instagram’s filters and effects, adding text, stickers, polls and music, mentioning usernames and much more. You can make them easier to find for users who don’t follow you by including location tags and hashtags. Go live on Instagram Stories for a special event or to show a unique way to use a product. Once you hit 10,000 followers or get your account verified, you can even drive traffic to your website by attaching links to your Stories. Instagram also allows you to share a Story you like on your main feed and get your Instagram Stories to publish to Facebook Stories.
When you have Stories that you feel share your business’ message the best, use Highlights to keep people’s eyes on them. These Highlights reels can be found on your account’s page.
Engage with your Instagram audience. Whether it is liking posts, responding to comments, or tagging followers in posts or Stories, let them know you want them to be involved. Businesses should no longer just use social media to expand a brand. They should create an engaged community around that brand.
Look at your Insights.
Instagram’s Insights illustrate how users are responding to your content and are broken down into activity, content and audience.
Activity insights show you interactions (like profile visits and website clicks), the reach of your content and how users found it.
The content section takes a deep dive into your posts, Stories and promotions.
The audience section gives you more information on the demographics of your followers.
If you aren’t pleased with your Insights, maybe it’s time to adjust your strategy.
That’s where we come in.
You have plenty of business issues to worry about before you even tackle digital marketing. Why don’t you let us do some of the heavy lifting?
Team SI is made for this. Digital marketing is what we do best. We tackle it with strategies backed by research and data. From getting you a great website (website development), creating content that suits your needs (content marketing), pushing the best content to social media (social media marketing) and implementing the right strategies to advertise your business on digital (display management), we have all the experts in one spot working on what you need.