Best Practices for Using Instagram To Grow Your Business
The highly visual nature of Instagram makes it an excellent platform for showcasing products, building brand awareness, and creating a stronger connection with your target audience. If you’re looking for a more engaging way to connect with your customers online, Instagram may be the perfect platform for you.
Getting started on Instagram is easy, but, as with any marketing effort, it’s best to come up with a plan first. Here are a few simple steps you can follow to get the most out of your Instagram presence:
Set Up An Instagram Business Profile
If you’re new to using Instagram to promote your business, your first step will be to create a profile. Creating your business profile is surprisingly fast and simple to do. Check out Instagram for Business’s how-to guide for a step-by-step walkthrough of the process.
As you’re setting up your profile, use a name that will make it easy to find. Under “Full Name,” be sure to include your actual business name. When selecting a username, you’ll want to choose something easy to search and related to your business. Ideally, you should use your business name. If that’s already taken, try creating a variation that still includes your business name. For example, if you’re located in the state of Minnesota and @YourCompanyName is taken, you could try using @YourCompanyNameMN. You do have the ability to change your username so you can always update it at a later date.
Develop Your Instagram Strategy
Promoting your business on Instagram will require time and resources from your team, so it’s important to come up with a strategy before you get started. Developing a strategy will help you have a more focused approach and use your budget and resources more effectively.
There are many things you should consider as you map out your Instagram strategy, including:
- Your Goals. Think about what specific things you hope to accomplish through your Instagram presence. Perhaps you want to feature the latest products in a more interesting way and encourage people to make a purchase, or maybe you just want to establish a stronger presence for your brand.
- Your Audience. Once you have an overall goal in mind, you should work with your team to identify who your target audience is. If you want to reach new customers, you may want to think about your current customers and consider how you can reach other people who are similar to them.
- Your Voice and Message. Now that you have a big picture idea of what you hope to accomplish and who you are trying to reach, you can start developing a plan for the content you will be sharing. In order to accomplish your goals and connect with your target audience, what key messages do you need to convey through your content? Knowing this will help you create strategic content that will help you reach your goals.
- Your Reporting. Beyond creating a plan for sharing successful content, you’ll want to think ahead on how you will measure that success. Instagram’s built-in Insights tool provides a great overview of how your posts and account are performing. If you’d like to take a deeper dive into your Instagram performance, you may want to look into separate analytics tools.
There are a lot of elements to consider when developing your Instagram marketing strategy, but taking the time to create a solid plan before you start will help you streamline and simplify things going forward. For more tips on creating an effective Social Media Marketing strategy, check out our blog “Social Media: So Many Options, So Little Time.”
Refine Your Instagram Profile
Once you have a well-defined strategy in place, you’ll want to take a fresh look at your business’s Instagram profile and make sure it’s set up in a way that aligns with your strategy. If not, it’s time to start optimizing.
- Profile Picture. Your profile picture plays an important role in shaping users’ perceptions of your business. When choosing a profile picture, find something that is consistent with your brand such as your logo. You’ll also want to keep in mind that your picture will be cropped to fit a circle format, so you’ll want to choose something that will be visually appealing and recognizable once cropped.
- Bio. Your bio should tell users who you are in an interesting and engaging way. You can only use up to 150 characters, so you’ll really need to maximize the impact of your copy. Your bio can also include a clickable URL so you can drive traffic to your site or to other relevant content. If you include a URL in your bio, consider using a link shortener to keep things tidy and easy to read.
- Settings. Before you launch your Instagram strategy, you’ll want to spend a few minutes running through your account settings to ensure everything is in order. One area you should take a closer look at is your account Privacy settings. In this menu, you can adjust various settings to control who is able to interact with your Instagram content. You can also set up filters that automatically hide comments that contain offensive language or create your own filter to automatically hide comments that include specific words or phrases.
Start Sharing Engaging Content
With your goals established, your strategy defined, and your key messages crafted, it’s time to start creating and sharing content. One major perk about Instagram is that it allows you to share a variety of content with your audience, including photos, videos, and Stories (a format that provides users with a highly-immersive experience).
In general, you will want to avoid pushing too much promotional content. Candid, authentic images that showcase your brand personality in an interesting way are much more likely to capture your audience’s attention than content that seems like an advertisement. There’s nothing wrong with sharing the occasional promotional post, but you should try to build a presence that includes a variety of content.
If you’re having trouble coming up with content ideas, try checking out some of your favorite brands’ Instagram feeds for inspiration.
Connect With Your Audience
Sharing content on a consistent basis will help you build a presence on Instagram, but cultivating and maintaining a loyal following can take a bit more effort. Optimizing your profile will make it easier for people to find you, but there are other ways to attract new followers. Once you’ve started posting content to your feed, it’s time to start building your community by:
- Using Hashtags. Hashtags provide brands and individuals with a powerful way to reach a wider audience on Instagram. When used correctly, hashtags categorize content into specific themes, allowing users to search for and browse specific hashtags to find content that is relevant to their interests. Using hashtags strategically in your content can help you reach a broader audience that is more likely to be interested in your brand. You can also browse various hashtags and interact with users who are sharing content that is relevant to your brand. Check out our blog “Tips And Tricks For Using Hashtags Effectively” to learn more.
- Finding Relevant Profiles. Spend some time browsing through other accounts that are related to your business. Find industry thought-leaders or other influential accounts and follow them.
- Interacting With Thought Leaders. Once you’ve found some relevant accounts to follow, spend a few minutes each day browsing and interacting with their content. Over time, taking the time to have genuine interactions with peers, influencers, and members of your target audience will increase the odds that they will take a closer look at your account and potentially follow you back.
Measure, Monitor, and Adjust
It takes time and effort to build a following on Instagram, so you may not see an immediate payoff. For that reason, it’s important to stick to your strategy even if you aren’t seeing results right away. After a few weeks of sticking to a consistent posting schedule, and spending some time interacting with other users on the platform, you can start taking a closer look at your post and account performance.
Take note of what types of posts are bringing in the most engagement, who is interacting with your content, and how they are interacting with it. If your audience seems to respond well to behind-the-scenes posts, try and make those a regular feature in your Instagram content. By continually monitoring your Instagram performance, you can make adjustments to your strategy and get better results.
If you want to enjoy all of the benefits of promoting your business on Instagram, but don’t have time to create and implement a strategy, let us help! Our team of digital marketing experts can create a tailored strategy that will help you reach your goals.