According to a recent study, one billion people use Instagram every month and one third of the most viewed stories are from businesses.
It is no surprise then that more and more people are opting to use Instagram for business and employing this popular photo-sharing app to drive the success of their company forward. So why is it that some businesses flourish on Instagram, while others struggle to gain traction?
The answer is simple.
Business users need to regard Instagram as a tool. Like any tool, you can’t just pick it up and expect to reap the benefits immediately. It is necessary to put the hard yards into learning how to use Instagram for business effectively before you gain results.
Luckily, Instagram has been around long enough to understand that there are tried and tested rules which have been proven to enhance user engagement. These fool-proof methods may just be the key to up your online marketing game and attract loyal customers to your brand.
Set Up Your Instagram Business Profile
Firstly, it is wise to set your Instagram to a business profile.
This will enable you to access analytics and performance statistics, allowing better insight into which posts work for your business. In obtaining crucial demographics of your followers—such as age, gender, and location—you will be able to continue building awareness surrounding your target audience.
A business profile also permits advertisements and sponsored posts, as well as providing room for a contact button and space to show a user’s industry on their profile page. These are just a few of the reasons setting your profile to the business setting is invaluable for online marketing.
But how to do it?
Firstly, open your personal Instagram account and go to your profile page. Next, click on the settings icon, found in the top right corner. Scroll down and select “Switch to business profile”. Ensure that your account is on public to engage followers from all over the globe.
Choosing a Personality
Now that you have your profile set to business, it’s time to consider the personality of your Instagram brand.
Stand back and observe your brand from a distance.
What are you trying to say?
A useful exercise is to look at your Instagram brand as if it were a person with their own individual style and outlook on life. Is it innovative and cutting edge? Is it sophisticated and minimalistic? Determining the style of your brand is important so that your feed can reflect this.
Mapping out well-rounded characters in a book is imperative for reader connection. Creating a well-defined and personal brand is no exception when using Instagram for business purposes. This will mean that people who show interest in your brand continue to receive the content that made them follow your business in the first place.
Look at it like attending your favourite restaurant. There is nothing more disappointing then when you order your favourite meal from the menu, only to have it taste different from the time before.
People are drawn to consistency and like to know what they are going to get. In setting a consistent feed, you will develop trust between you and the customer. They will know what they are going to receive, and it is more likely they will continue to follow you.
Developing a look
Humans are visual and are attracted to cohesion. So, once you’ve decided on a personality for your Instagram page, how do you create it?
If you visit any successful business profile, you will likely notice that the feed maintains a consistent colour palette. Choose four colours that represent your brand and ensure that each post you create has these colours in them.
Dig deeper and consider the patterning in your posts? Will they be minimalistic and contain lots of white space? Or will they be comprised of patterns and geometric shapes?
Whatever it is that you decide best reflects your business profile, stick to this theme. Don’t suddenly post something jolting that detracts from consistency, unless, of course, you are trying to make a statement.
Developing a voice
As specified before, consistency creates trust, and sticking to a developed voice is crucial. Consider the tone and length of your captions. They could be informative, short and snappy, or comedic.
Again, revisit looking at your Instagram brand as if it were a person.
If someone you’ve gotten to know suddenly changes the way they communicate, you’ll likely lose trust in them and question their authenticity. Choose a voice and maintain it throughout your posts.
Creating personality for your brand will already begin attracting an authentic following. These are a few other handy ways to use Instagram for business and lure users to your hook.
Hashtags. You either love them or you hate them. Either way, there is no denying that they are a successful online marketing strategy.
A recent study showcased that posts including at least 11 hashtags increased engagement by 79.5%.
To use hashtags effectively it is necessary to do the background research into which hashtags other members in your field are utilising. This will mean that users drawn to popular pages within your industry will have a higher likelihood of being siphoned to your business profile.
Although more hashtags may equal higher engagement, it doesn’t mean it will reach an authentic following. In this case, less can often be more if the hashtags are well considered.
It is important not to over-post and overwhelm your followers, but it is also beneficial to deliver content regularly so they continue to have your business at the forefront of their mind.
Set a couple of days a week, and try to post at the same time. This may be a case of trial and error to begin with. You may notice posts fare better at different times of the day. In general, the busiest times on Instagram tend to be during lunch breaks (11am-1pm) and in the evenings (7-9pm).
Setting a location on each post is a good way of allowing people to track your business. If your business is online, alternating the location in each post to somewhere different in the world can be a handy way of attracting international followers and gaining widespread recognition for your Instagram brand.
So, people are interested in your brand.
Spread the love and demonstrate enthusiasm towards other businesses. Search for other profiles in your field and like, comment, and share their posts.
Join the conversation. Showing support to other start-ups to help them lift their feet off the ground is important. After all, what comes around goes around, and if you support other businesses they will likely reciprocate.
At the end of the day, Instagram is a creative app and therefore experimentation is key to understand what works for your business.
The saying “different strokes for different folks” doesn’t exist for no reason, and overtime you’ll find tactics that best promote your brand.