So, you’ve set up an Instagram account for your business. Good move – Instagram has 1 billion monthly users and the highest brand engagement rates of any social media platform. This means you’ve come to the right place. But what happens next?
Follow our 10 Instagram tips for businesses to find out how to make Instagram work for you.
1. Set yourself up for success
First things first. Before you start looking for followers, make sure your profile and feed are looking perfect. Complete all the necessary bio information, add a profile picture and populate your feed with some great content. It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to get ahead of yourself. The first thing your new followers will do is scan your feed to see if they think it’s worth a follow, so having something great for them to discover there is your first step towards adding them to your audience.
2. Find your audience
Next, you need to decide what kind of person you want to follow your Instagram for business. Most businesses have a clear idea of their target customer – have you? If so, this should be a relatively simple exercise. You can target relevant people using hashtags – for example, if you were looking for small businesses you could search #smallbusinessowner, #entrepreneur or #startup.
Another great way to find followers is to search for your competitors, then follow their followers – if they already like an account similar to yours, they are already primed to double tap on your content.
One of the most important things you can do on Instagram is to engage with people if you want them to return the favour. So you’ve followed 500 relevant people, but don’t just ignore them – like their pictures, comment regularly and start conversations – they are far more likely to follow back if they have an idea of who you are and what you’re about. And until you start engaging, they will be none the wiser.
4. Location, location, location
Adding a location, or geotag, to each of your Instagram posts is a quick and easy way for people to find you, and for you to engage with other local users. You can do this by adding a location to your feed posts, or a location sticker to your stories (you can shrink and even hide these behind emojis if you don’t want them to appear too prominently, yet wish to tap into the benefits).
By searching your own, or nearby locations, you can find users or influencers nearby who could be interested in – or potentially, a partner for – your brand.
5. Keep it real
Everyone can spot a bot nowadays, and they can have opposite of the desired effect and turn users off, rather than onto your feed. Be authentic, post yourself (or let someone you trust post on your behalf), keep it simple and real.
6. Use hashtags
As we have mentioned earlier, hashtags are a great way for businesses and users to find each other on Instagram. There are various websites and tools like this one that you can use to identify the best and most popular hashtags around a certain topic. The best way to use hashtags is sparingly – as a general rule, five is much better than 25. And it’s worth bearing in mind the fact that the most searched/used hashtag may not work best for your business, as it will be difficult for you to stand out from the crowd. Try to find a happy medium – popular terms with moderate search volumes to make yourself seen.
This is a very simple but crucial one. Always ask a question in every post! It’s the easiest way to encourage your followers to engage with your content. Make it fun and show an interest in them. They may not answer it every time, but you have a much better chance if you ask one.
8. Start a theme
Some of the best feeds on Instagram are carefully styled around a certain theme, whether it’s a filter, tonal colour scheme or style. Once you’ve chosen one, be consistent. However, don’t feel pinned to it forever – you can always change it seasonally, or in line with your marketing campaigns. The goal is for your users to quickly recognise your content over your competitors’, as you have styled it to in your own unique way.
9. Use stories
Instagram stories are a great way for you to show your followers what’s happening behind the scenes, or just on a daily basis in your business. Plus, as they expire, you can use these as a less formal and more fun type of content to your carefully curated feed (see above). Be yourself and use all of the features at your disposal, like emojis, stickers, polls, music and filters. Pay attention to what type of content your users like and dislike on stories to tailor your content accordingly (views and polls are a great start). Some of Instagram’s biggest influencers use stories to evolve the way they do things – so this is a great way for you to engage and learn how you can perfect your strategy.
10. Find influencers
Influencer marketing is a huge trend, reaping big rewards for businesses. And though it may seem strange to more traditional business owners, it makes perfect sense. After all, it’s important for businesses to go where their customers are. Are yours more likely to be staring at a billboard or their mobile phone? Plus, we all love a recommendation from someone we trust, and Instagram’s most popular users bring armies of loyal followers.
When it comes to finding the right influencer for your business, it’s less about follower numbers and more about how engaged an influencer’s audience is, and how often the audience acts on an influencer’s recommendations. So, search for people posting about products or services similar to yours, or identify Instagram influencers who fit within your target market. As influencer marketing is now so transparent, users are generally happy to see their favourite influencers recommending products and posting #ads, so it is a great way to find a ready-made own brand ambassador.
We hope these Instagram tips for businesses come in handy when you pick up the phone and start your very own Instagram campaign this year. Check back for more social media tips for businesses coming soon!