With Instagram being a photo-based platform, can businesses really succeed on it? There are over 25 million active Instagram business accounts, and the answer is yes. The appeal of using Instagram for business is that the platform isn’t reserved for any particular type of brand — adding Instagram to your digital strategy is a smart move for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Running a nail salon business? An e-commerce empire? Or maybe you’re a solopreneur, launching a startup and wanting to tap into social media’s awesome brand awareness powers? Good, there’s an audience that’s waiting for you!
- 80% of Instagram users follow at least one brand
- 70.7% of US companies use Instagram for business
- 75% of Instagram users take action after looking at an Instagram ad, ex. visiting a website
How to Use Instagram for Business: Strategic Tips
While randomly liking a few photos and posting a video of your cat munching on catnip for the third time in a week works just fine for a personal account, you‘ll need a more refined marketing plan to make the most of your Instagram business profile.
Here’s how to do just that!
Not sure social media marketing is worth the time and effort? Read Everything You Need to Know About Social Media SEO!
Minimize effort and maximize output
With limited creative resources, many smaller businesses struggle with producing original social media content on a regular schedule. Often content production for your website, email marketing, and social media platforms falls on one or two people, which makes keeping up with social posts a challenge.
Here’s where tools are your BFF. From scheduling tools for creating multiple posts at once to awesome editing tools that make customizing images a breeze, finding the right tool set will save you time and allow you to keep up a consistent, engaging Instagram business presence.
Editing apps can help even the least tech savvy create engaging social media content. Instasize packs all the tools you need to create and curate your visual content, into one powerful app. Level up your images by adding text styles or professionally-designed filters, making use of borders, and creating collages.
Include content curation
Did you know that online marketers spend a whopping 62 percent of their time on delivering quality content each month? Look to content curation to supplement your own content, help you keep up a steady flow, and stay relevant to your audience.
Apart from speeding up content production, curating content from quality resources within your niche will help bring your target audience to your brand and build your community, by reinforcing your brand identity and increasing traffic to your account. As you consistently pull in meaningful, informative content, consumers will start viewing your brand as the go-to source for topics and trends relevant to their particular needs.
Showcase company culture
Using Instagram for business presents you with a unique opportunity to connect with your customers through something larger than just the products you sell. It allows you to give your customers a compelling glimpse of your company culture, and celebrate your brand’s personality.
Candid backstage snaps of your team members or behind-the-scenes peeks into your business processes and events not only give your audience a transparent look at what truly drives your organization’s mission, but also make them feel a part of your brand. This feeling of exclusivity, in turn, helps build improved brand affinity and engagement.
Leverage the power of IGTV
IGTV is Instagram’s brand spanking new app that allows you to upload longer, full-screen videos for your audience.
Jumping on the IGTV bandwagon now gives you a unique opportunity to leverage the platform in its early days and make a connection with your audience by publishing distinctive, long-form content — insights, tips, strategy, or wisdom — with a personal touch.
As far as using Instagram for business, IGTV is also a great tool for cross-promotion, brand awareness, and building your creative profile. According to Digiday, “publishers’ IGTV videos are getting views in the high five figures” with some content generating even more views.
Reach out to influencers
With Instagram being an influencer marketing hotspot, it’s only natural to want to tap into the potential connections that popular Instagram personalities promise.
According to Nielsen Holdings N.V., 90 percent of consumers trust recommendations from peers more than advertisements. For the most part influencers do precisely that, speaking to their followers as trusted peers, spreading the kind of authentic word-of-mouth about products and services that turns casual viewers into loyal customers.
Of course, the question that begs an answer is how to find Instagrammers who are the right fit for your brand. There are agencies and even apps that specialize in sourcing influencers and micro-influencers. Once you’ve found your perfect match, creating meaningful collaborations with them can increase your brand exposure, grow your community, and build trust in what you do.
Ah, hashtags. Although they technically exist to help algorithms categorize content and show it to interested people, they sometimes devolve into nothing more than an annoying eyesore.
But although sometimes overused and abused, hashtags still serve as great conversational rallying points, and have a huge benefit when used for contests and promotions on top of driving reach for your regular posts. Branded hashtags are also a great way to find user-generated content (UGC) showcasing your brand and products in customer photos, which you can ask to use in your curated content!
Engagements are the highest on Instagram posts with 11 or more hashtags, making Instagram the one platform where ‘the more the merrier’ fully applies! A best practice that eliminates the spammy look of hashtags is to push them way down below your copy using line breaks or special characters, so that they’re only seen if someone expands the post.
Learn all about hashtags and how to use them in your strategy with Leverage Hashtags: A How-To Guide for Social Media Marketing!
Delve into brand storytelling
From drawings on cave walls to illustrations in magazines to images on social networks, the ancient art of storytelling is very much alive and kicking. In fact, audiences are increasingly looking to consume content that is not only pleasant to look at, but that tells a good story.
When using Instagram for business, the best brand storytelling involves sharing consistent, connected visuals and weaving them together into a single, ongoing narrative that ties into your business values, mission, and purpose. Telling your unique story, rather than posting standalone content or constantly promoting yourself, helps develop a strong, identifiable brand voice your audience can relate to.
Remember Murad Osmann’s ‘Follow me to’ project? Sometimes a good story may be literally an arm’s length away!
Master Instagram ads
Instagram ads are a powerful vehicle to grow your brand exposure, drive website traffic, and convert prospects into customers.
From standalone photo ads to carousels and videos, you can run ads in five different formats. Before the sheer abundance makes your head spin, take a look at Shopify’s beginners guide to advertising on Instagram and remember, the first ad is always the hardest. Once you’ve mastered your first one, it’ll be much easier the second time around!
Instagram for business is the (virtual) place to be, whether you are looking to drive brand awareness, get more website visits, or increase downloads of your mobile app. Recognizing and capitalizing on the immense opportunities Instagram provides will give you an edge over your competitors and speak volumes about your commitment to stay connected with your audience.
Natasha Ponomaroff is the Senior Marketing Director of Instasize – a content creating tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile. A weekly contributor on the site’s blog, Natasha tracks social media trends and updates the millions of “creatives” who are currently using Instasize to curate awesome online content.