How to Put Instagram to Work for Your Business
Instagram isn’t just for selfies and pictures of what your friends are eating. With over 500 million active monthly users, Instagram is an excellent marketing tool that your company should consider using regularly.
Instagram for Business
In 2016, Instagram rolled out Instagram for Business, making it easier (and more beneficial) than ever to put Instagram to work for your company. Before this feature was introduced, businesses just used regular profiles. Use this link if you need help setting up your Instagram for Business account.
❖ Some Advantages and Features of Instagram for Business
1. Business easily identifiable
2. Easier to get in touch with a business directly from the app
3. Instagram Insights - provides analytics about your followers and about your posts so that you can better plan your posting strategy
4. Promote tool - pay to run a promotion directly in the app
❖ What to Include in Your Business's Instagram Profile
1. Username - recognizable and easily connected with your business
2. Full business name under profile picture
3. Link to company website in bio
4. Company logo as your profile picture
5. Location of your business
6. Make your profile public so users can easily follow you
Posting to Instagram
You’ve created your account. Now, what should you post? Include a variety of high-quality images to keep your profile fresh and interesting. Utilize filters and these tips for taking great pictures to make your posts stand out.
❖ Ideas for Posting to Instagram
1. Photos of employees working or at work-related events
2. Images of your office working environment - especially unique and interesting aspects of it
3. Motivational or entertaining quotes
4. Pictures of your customers
5. Product images
6. Videos or Boomerangs (my current personal favorite feature!)
7. Giveaways and contests
❖ What to Include in Your Posts (Besides Your Images)
1. A short caption about the image (always)
2. Appropriate hashtags (usually)
3. Links, especially CTA links (sometimes)
4. Tag other people, companies, or location (sometimes)
More Tips for Instagram Business Users
Get the most out of your business's Instagram account with these tips.
★ User Generated Content
In my opinion, one of the best ways to reach followers old and new is by hosting a User Generated Content (UGC) contest. By challenging users to post images around a theme and adding a designated hashtag and tagging your company, you’re not only engaging with your audience but growing it as well since these posts will show up in a user’s individual feed and expose their followers to your brand. Check out this link for some outstanding examples of UGC campaigns and this link for tips on running a successful contest.
Come up with a hashtag for your brand. This will give you another piece of information to look at when analyzing your marketing strategy. The hashtag can be as simple as your brand name. You’ll also use additional hashtags for different campaigns and various posts, but it’s a good idea to have one that is consistently used with your brand.
★ Goals and Optimization
Set measurable goals and optimize your content to reach these goals. Your goal might be a certain number of followers, or a certain number of likes, or just a certain number of posts. After trying out a variety of posts at different times of the day and week, see what’s working and what isn’t and adjust accordingly.
★ Your Feed vs. Your Story
Last year, Instagram introduced Stories. This new feature is similar to Snapchat in that it is quickly posted (usually silly and fun) content that disappears after 24 hours. While Stories can offer you a way to show off the lighter side of your business, your main focus should be on creating quality posts for your feed. Users cannot like or comment on your Story like they can on your traditional posts, and Stories do not show up in a follower’s feed. A user has to actively click on a Story to view it, making it less likely to be viewed in the end.
★ Attention-Grabbing Posts
Instagram also made a change last year to how posts appear in a user’s feed. Previously, posts appeared chronologically. Now, Instagram’s algorithm decides which posts users are most likely to be interested in and displays these at the top of a user’s feed. What does this mean for your business? Followers who don’t usually engage with your content will have to scroll down to find your post in their feed. Make sure you catch their eye with a carefully chosen photo and a well-designed post.
★ Videos and Boomerang
Instead of just posting photos, consider also posting videos or Boomerangs. Instagram now allows you to post a video up to 60 seconds long, but don’t feel like you have to fill that time. Sometimes a shorter video will do the trick. Their new feature Boomerang is a fun tool to use when you don’t want to record a video, but you want more than just a picture. According to Instagram, “Boomerang takes a burst of photos and stitches them together into a high-quality mini video that plays forward and backward.” It’s something new and fun and can help keep your feed interesting!
★ You Get What You Give
A few times a week, go through all of the comments on your posts and respond where appropriate. You should also take the time to engage with others’ content as well. Like and comment on your followers’ posts as well the posts of others in your network. Hopefully, they’ll reciprocate!
★ Employee-Guest-CEO Takeover
If you find your feed getting stale, a fun way to mix it up is to hand off control of your account to someone who doesn’t normally contribute to it. This might be an employee in another department, a carefully selected guest from a related field, or even the CEO of the company. This can freshen your feed with a new and unique perspective.
Here are a couple of our favorite Instagram Business accounts for you to check out:
➢ Carabello Coffee - a local (Northern Kentucky) company that roasts its own coffee beans. Check out their Instagram feed for a behind-the-scenes look at their business as well as pictures from their international trips to visit the people that grow the coffee beans that Carabello purchases and roasts.
➢ HubSpot - a great example of posting a variety of images. They post everything from food pictures to pets in the office to motivational quotes.
What are your favorite businesses to follow on Instagram?
Give them a shout out in our comments section so we can check them out too!