7 Tips for Using Instagram to Grow Your Business

With the whole world going mobile, everything is changing. Mobile marketing is emerging as a hot new strategy to add to your business efforts in the process of promoting your brand. Along with it, now comes a mobile network, which has accumulated over one billion monthly active users in 2018. Instagram is a social network that has completely changed the pattern for businesses, leaving them to learn how to adapt to the new platform and opportunities for promotion.

Since Instagram is the necessary tool you need to promote your business online, here are 7 tips to help you rule the game.

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1. Learn the basics

Like said, Instagram introduced a bit unusual layout for businesses. It isn’t possible to simply share a status update with a link like businesses are used to. You’ll need to learn about this platform and the kind of features it provides. Here are the most important details to have in mind:

  • Every account created on Instagram is personal at first
  • Using an option for managing an account, you can upgrade it to a business account
  • To be able to do so, you will need to link the account to the Facebook page
  • Instagram account for business offers an option to add an email address, phone number and physical address to your profile
  • You will also get access to the analytics

Here’s a video with the whole process shown: Creating a business profile on Instagram.

Remember: Even though it might be difficult to get used to a new way of how the content is displayed and features which are non-existent on other platforms, Instagram is currently one of the fastest-growing social networks which means it offers great potential for reaching online users.

To discover more about social media marketing, check out our free course: Social Media Marketing.

2. Define your content strategy

One of the most noticeable differences when it comes to content sharing is the fact that Instagram does not support link (URL) posts. The only URL you will get is the link provided in the description segment of the profile.

This means that you will need lots of visual content to present your company on Instagram.

Since your online presence on Instagram will heavily rely on visual content, you should create a content strategy that revolves around creating engaging visual materials of high quality. It is good to define some kind of universal approach you will use, to create consistency in posting and generate interest.

Content calendar

This part of content strategy defines how often you are going to post, on which dates, etc. For example, if your target group is most active on weekends, this should be the prime time for your posting, while you might reduce the pace over the week.

Content theme

Content represents the core aspect of your strategy on Instagram, and it is probably the most important thing when it comes to attracting the attention of online users. You should define what kind of content you will post on this social network, all the while having in mind two main ways to publish such content.

Images/Videos – This type of content is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the core feature of Instagram, where posts are shaped in the form of images. One profile is a collection of images with profile data at the top. Besides images, you can share videos as well.

Insta stories – Insta stories are more engaging and present interactive content you can share on Instagram. Insta story is a type of post which is visible at the top of the profile for 24 hours after it has been uploaded. When online users browse content on Instagram, the stories are visible at the top of the page and they can easily scroll through those. Apart from sharing images, insta stories support videos, boomerang type of videos, adding location, tags, hashtags, text, and using all sort of tools for customization, including filters, drawing tool and a collection of emoticons. Together, this enables you to get creative and make true art with your content.

Approach

When you define the type of content you want to promote through Instagram, have in mind that your ultimate goals are presenting your company and engaging social media users. Here are a couple of guidelines to help you with defining your content strategy.

Style

Decide what kind of language you want to use, do you want to use emoticons, etc. Instagram is a network particularly popular among young people, so the language and interaction used are usually informal.

Interaction

Simply posting content isn’t enough. You have to interact from your business account, which can be done by answering comments, tagging people, sharing their posts, mentioning them, etc. Determine a set of guidelines regarding how you want to interact, which interaction options you’re going to use, etc.

Define the goals

One of the main questions you want to focus on here is what exactly the purpose of your content is. What do you want to achieve with Instagram strategy and why are you investing in the first place. This will help you create content that is goal-driven, content that can be evaluated and its performance measured.

Think about your target group and how you can create content that will encourage them to interact. The purpose of the materials you promote on Instagram should be to guide the social media users towards the conversion.

Here’s another helpful article about defining your approach on social networks: Dos and Don’ts of Sharing on Social Media.

3. Present your company and work on branding

Use the network’s potential to present your company using the following options:

  • Profile photo – Great for displaying the logo or recognizable image that is identified with your brand and preferably used on other social media accounts as well
  • Account name – Always make sure this matches your business name to make it easy for other people to find you on the network
  • Website – The only clickable URL that can be shared on Instagram is the link in the description of your Instagram profile. So make it count. Also, adopt the practice of regularly updating this link to promote different content on your website/blog.
  • Bio – Describe your business within a short bio, add a slogan or a phrase that is identified with your brand. Using hashtags and emoticons in the bio is also an option.
  • Address and phone number – Upgrading to a business profile unlocks the possibility of adding an address and phone number to your Instagram profile.

Branding

When it comes to branding, you have to be aware of the potential it has in the online world, especially on a network such as Instagram, where the visual content is the primary focus.

Social media users see a lot of posts each day, and being able to attract their attention has become very difficult nowadays. One of the ways you can retain the visitors and keep building your reputation is by working on branding. Consistency in publishing and in the type of content you publish, as well as usage of logo and brand name, are all good ways to markup your content.

Since hashtags are an important feature on Instagram, creating a branded hashtag is also a general recommendation that can help you gain exposure and influence. Just imagine the potential of satisfied clients using the branded hashtag and raving about your business online. The potential for the free promo is extraordinary.

4. Use relevant hashtags

One of the most overused features on Instagram is certainly hashtags. However, people sometimes completely miss their purpose. Hashtags are great for increasing visibility. People can easily browse content with hashtags. One tap on a hashtag and you’ll see other posts featuring the same hashtag. This enables social media users to discover content they are interested in.

The idea with hashtags is to tag content with relevant words that describe that content. The main thing here is relevant.

Just because a hashtag is very popular (meaning its potential to increase visibility is massive) it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s an ideal hashtag for your post. Since you want to attract the users who are interested in what you are presenting, always use hashtags that are descriptive and relevant.

5. Encourage creativity

All out of content ideas? Think about how you can involve your followers in content creation. For example, you can give out coupons or free products to followers who make the most creative post for you. With your product in the picture, of course. This is a very fruitful strategy. You get free content with a touch of diversity. Online users get awarded which increases their loyalty. You both get an extra promo on the network as you mutually promote each other.

6. Collaborate with influencers

Influencer marketing has a great potential in a business world. Due to a massive popularity, Instagram has quickly gained its status as the place to find influencers. You’ll need to spend some time researching and analyzing the influence someone has, and whether this will be something you can use to gain additional exposure.

The idea with influencer marketing is to find individuals who will promote your brand to their followers. Their influence represents the tool they can use to affect their followers and encourage them to find out more about your brand.

Apart from analyzing their influence, you need to make sure that the influencer you plan to work with can really attract the exposure you are looking for. This means that your target group and the target group of the influencer should match.

If you want to dive deeper into ways you can work with influencers as well as everything this strategy brings, check out this helpful piece: How to Work With an Instagram Influencer According to an Influencer.

7. Take advantage of Instagram ads

One of the most effective and quick ways to reach social media users on Instagram is by using paid advertising. Instagram ads can help you achieve a variety of business goals from gaining reach and raising brand awareness to website clicks and conversions.

Types of Instagram ads

The starting point in this strategy should be content. You still need content that stands out and gains attention. Instagram ads program supports:

  • Photo ads – Square shaped photos or landscape format, just like the ones used when posting images on Instagram.
  • Video ads – Adding sound and motion to the images helps you increase the effect of visual representation. Up to 60 seconds videos are supported in both square shaped and landscape format.
  • Carousel ads – Adding multiple photos and videos to a single post is possible with this type of ad format.
  • Stories ad – With their full screen, vertical format, stories provide an amazing opportunity to promote your brand and increase performance through paid content.
  • Collection ads – Great option for featuring multiple products and allowing social media users to browse through a collection.

To get started with Instagram ads, you will need:

  • Content that you want to promote
  • Facebook page from which you will run ads only on Instagram (or both Facebook and Instagram)
  • Ads Manager to set up goals, target group and choose the ad format
  • To determine the budget and schedule to publish the ads

Targeting options

One of the most powerful features Instagram offers in terms of advertising is advanced targeting options that enable you to choose who sees your ads. This allows you to target only the users you actually want to reach. The options for targeting Instagram users include:

  • Location
  • Demographics
  • Interest
  • Behavior
  • Custom audience – Interest data is based on apps users use, clicks, accounts they follow, etc.
  • Lookalike audience – Find social media users similar to your existing customers by providing insight into your businesses email list
  • Automated targeting – It combines different options, such as location, demographics, and interest.

Conclusion

In the end, it’s important to remember that as a business using Instagram, you need to think about your goals. The goal-driven strategy enables you to get the most out of this network and leverage the potential it provides. Due to its massive popularity and impressive engagement rate (based on their announcement, users spend over 25 minutes a day on average on Instagram), this networks offers plenty of opportunities to promote and grow your business. Make sure you explore all the strategies to find the one that works best for your brand.