Using Instagram for Business: All You Need to Know
Why consider using Instagram for your business? This powerful platform is incredibly popular with younger people and is superb for showing products, and your brand, in a highly visual way.
For individuals, Instagram is a great app as it allows users to share snippets of their day-to-day lives with their friends and family.
As a business owner, it could become an important part of your marketing strategy.
Let’s find out why…
Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and launched on October 2010. Today, with one billion active users, it shows no signs of slowing down.
Accessible on all digital devices, the popular social media platform allows you to post photos and videos to your account, while keeping up-to-date with your friends and family. You can also feel like a part of a wider community by following celebrities, influencers, and brands.
Instagram’s easy-to-use, built-in-app, photo editing features has made it a favourite among young people in particular.
Facebook saw Instagram’s vast business potential and acquired it in 2012 for one billion US dollars.
“We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook. That’s why we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently.” Mark Zuckerberg said, in a statement at the time.
In June 2018, Instagram introduced IGTV, a standalone video application. It hopes to become the new Youtube.
Unlike Instagram, which only allows 60 seconds for videos, IGTV users can upload videos that are up to 60 minutes in length. Users can watch videos exactly how they use their phone; full-screen and vertical, making it a comfortable experience for users.
You can also access IGTV videos from inside the Instagram app so everyone can watch IGTV videos without having to download the IGTV application.
IGTV’s most unique feature, however, is that users can use it exactly how they would use a TV. Swiping up would reveal “For You”, “Following”, “Popular”, and “Continue Watching” categories.
Using Instagram for Business
Launching an Instagram campaign takes time and effort, but it may bring some excellent ROI (Return on Investment).
Instagram’s culture is unique and very visual. If you understand how it works and what you can do to attract followers, you’ll be closer to making a success of the platform.
So how should you start using Instagram for business?
Create a Business Instagram Account
First things first, using Instagram for business starts with one very important step; converting your account into a business one, especially if you have a physical location your customers can visit.
Upon downloading the app and signing up, convert your Instagram account into a business account.
Start the process by going to Settings and selecting the Switch to Business Profile option.
On a business account, you can include a phone number and you’ll have access to analytics and other features made specifically for business use.
Make sure to match your username with all your business’ other social media accounts’ usernames. You don’t want to confuse your customers by having different usernames on different platforms.
The only place you can post a clickable link to something is in your bio, so that would be your only option for including your website’s URL.
Write up a short and catchy bio about your brand. Make it suitable for your target audience and the Instagram culture. Let your brand personality shine in your bio.
Since Instagram is primarily a visual app, use it to post all the photos and videos showcasing the products/services that you offer.
Remember, this account isn’t for personal use, so don’t manage it like you would your personal account.
Besides posting normal pictures and videos on your profile, you can also use Instagram for:
Instagram stories are photos or videos that disappear after 24 hours.
The fun thing about Instagram stories is that now you can add them to your ‘Highlights’ and have them remain on your profile without disappearing.
You can add everything on you stories, ranging from normal pictures and videos, to Boomerangs (GIFs that play on a loop), videos filmed backwards (Rewind), text, and music. You can also add a location, polls, questions, different stickers and GIFs, and mention other users in your story before uploading it.
They also appear at the very top of users’ feeds, avoiding Instagram’s updated algorithm. Stories give customers a chance to see content they might not see while scrolling through their feeds.
Like Instagram Stories, a live video disappears after 24 hours.
Live videos give businesses a chance to give their customers a behind-the-scenes look, answer questions live as they come through your comments, and show off your products.
Like other social media platforms, advertising on Instagram can take multiple forms…
Photo ads: Regular photo posts that include a Sponsored label at the top of the post and a clickable “Learn more” at the bottom of it.
Carousel ads: Multiple photo ads for the same brand that users can swipe through.
Videos Ads: Similar to photo ads, video ads are regular video posts with a Sponsored label.
These ads appear on users’ feeds and are targeted based on interests and geographical factors.
Interact with Users:
Instagram allows you to comment, like posts, and react to stories.
You can use the ‘@’ symbol to mention other Instagram users and you can also tag people in photos or videos.
You also have the option to send direct messages (DMs) to users. These DMs could be simple messages or even photos and videos.
Just tap on the arrow at the top right corner of your homepage and search for users by clicking on the ‘+’ sign.
Comment on other users’ posts and reply to comments on your posts. People appreciate interactivity and responses.
Build a relationship with your audience by starting the conversation.
Make sure you know exactly who your target audience is and start following the right people!
Look for influencers, established or potential customers, and people who are relevant to your brand and what you offer.
Search through hashtags and join in the discussion by commenting on posts.
Since Instagram is a visual app, think about what people would expect from it.
Posting creative and aesthetically-pleasing content that is not only unique, but also attractive is the way to an Instagram user’s heart.
Display your products using appealing techniques. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Delete that overused “Buy Now!” caption you’ve been thinking of writing. Don’t be too pushy. Let your product speak for itself!
- Take professional pictures of your product, or if it’s a service, show it off using high quality photos.
- Mind the presentation. Instagram is young people’s special place for creative expression. You want the way you present your content to match that atmosphere.
Promotions and Giveaways
Encourage your customers to share pictures of themselves with your products using a branded hashtag.
Give out discounts, promotions, and giveaways as an incentive for the best picture or the picture with the most likes. Name the winner and tag them on your Instagram story.
Announce new special promotions or products in a visually stylish way to attract your customers’ eyes and hearts.
You’ll find that your customers are promoting your business for you with a minimum amount of spending on your part.
Keep the mystery alive and keep your customers guessing by posting teaser photos and videos for new products or services.
Whenever you launch a new product or have an event coming up, involve your followers beforehand and offer them exclusivity.
Make them feel part of your brand!
Influencers are Instagram users who have a large number of followers.
Influencers hold a huge level of credibility since they’re seen as role-models in the eyes of their followers. They start a trend and people follow it.
People often hate advertisements so marketing via an Influencer is the perfect way to reach the right audience in a natural way.
Search for the Influencers in your industry and use them to promote your brand for you in a way that appeals to your target audience.
Some Influencers accept free products as payment while others prefer getting paid.
Think of the Perfect Caption
While a beautiful visual might hold your audience’s attention for a few seconds, a catchy caption makes them stay and look through your posts, maybe even follow you.
You can use up to 2,200 characters (that’s about 400 words) on each post so use that space wisely!
Instagram users spend a lot of time thinking of just the perfect caption to accompany their post. They certainly expect the same from you.
Remember that links don’t work in Instagram captions as you can only include links in your bio, therefore, make sure that your caption is interesting enough to get your audience to swipe through the rest of your content.
Understand Your Target Audience
This is a huge step towards gaining more followers.
Every audience is different. If you’re a fashion brand, your target audience is not the same as a travel agency’s audience.
Determine your target audience’s demographics and psychographics, as well as media habits and likes and dislikes.
Find out what kind of posts interest your audience and give it more attention on your Instagram page.
If you can understand your audience and give them what they want, your engagement rates will rise and your audience will connect with your content.
Lifestyle photos are life-inspired backgrounds, models, and scenes.
Build your brand by presenting content that is normal enough for your customers to relate to.
Let your customers imagine what they would look like using your products in their real world.
On social media, humour sells…especially in the age of memes and funny videos.
If humour is appropriate and relates to your brand and your target audience, don’t be afraid to use it.
Analyse and Measure Your Success
Always consistently measure your follower count.
Analyse what you did that worked and attracted followers.
Find out what time of the day is better for posting and which days of the week will get your more engagement.
Analysis is a huge part of any marketing campaign. Find out what you did wrong, so you can improve it on your next try.
Instagram Statistics 2018
Still not sure if Instagram’s a favourite for young social media users and businesses alike? The numbers prove it!
- As of June 2018, there are now one billion active Instagram users
- 60% of Instagram users login on a daily basis
- 400 million users now use Instagram stories
- 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35 years old
- 80% of accounts follow a business on Instagram
- Thursdays have the highest engagement rate of the week while Sunday has the lowest
- 72% of Instagram users have purchased a product they saw on the app
- Including a face on your post will get you 38% more Likes
- The most popular active brands post 1.5 times per day
- 25% of Instagram ads are video ads
- Including a location on your post gets you 79% more engagement
- Video posts have a 38% higher engagement rate than image posts
- Instagram has 2 million advertisers
- Instagram has a 7 billion dollar mobile advertising revenue
- 98% of fashion brands use Instagram
Higher Price Tags
Not only is Instagram’s high-quality visuals attracting engagement and likes, they’re also driving up sales.
E-commerce platform Shopify reported that Instagram’s strong visuals gives a strong boost to price tags. An item selling for $65 on Instagram, would sell for $55 on Facebook and for $45 on Twitter. How’s that for a boost?
As with all other forms of social media, the hashtag sign “#” lets an Instagram user’s post be added to the category it belongs to.
The hashtag sign should come before a word or a series of words linked together. This system makes it easier for people to check out other similar posts by searching for that hashtag.
Using hashtags on Instagram for business can be a great way to gain more followers. According to an Instagram study, posts with hashtags have 12.6% more engagement than those without.
Hashtags are also absolutely free and easy to use.
Purpose of Using Hashtags on Instagram
Here are a few reasons why you should always be using hashtags on Instagram for business if you want your business to get the attention it deserves:
People will find you through the hashtags you use, so give them the chance to have access to your content. The better the hashtags you use, the easier people will find you.
Find out which hashtags get the most likes and use whichever is more relevant to your business.
As social creatures by nature, people are always looking for others who are passionate about the same things.
If your Instagram account offers content that people are looking for and you’re tagging your posts with the relevant hashtags, you’ll be able to reach more people with exactly what they want and, therefore, they will more than likely end up following your account.
If the hashtags you use are specific enough for a niche audience, your sales will get a boost.
When you post pictures or videos of your product/services on your business account and use very specific, niche hashtags, users who are looking to purchase exactly what you’re selling will find you through the hashtags you used.
The better your hashtag and the more appealing your content is, the better your sales will be.
Popular Hashtags of 2018
Keep in mind that while these hashtags may be popular, they still might not be relevant to your business. Only include hashtags that relate to what you’re offering.
Hashtags only work if they’re numerical characters, such as letters and numbers.
Also, hashtags are not permanent so the hashtags provided above might not always be as popular as they are now. Always keep yourself updated with the most popular hashtags.
You also can’t use more than 30 hashtags so don’t go overboard. 11 hashtags are more than enough, so choose them wisely!
Using Instagram for business on your own with no extra help can be quite tricky, so why not make thing easier on yourself and start looking for the best tools to help you with your business venture?
Here are some tools to help you grow your business on Instagram:
Owlmetrics helps you collect, analyse, and react to data using an analytical platform. It can analyse follower growth and Instagram posts and stories’ engagement, while also determining exactly the best time of day to post your content.
HashtagsforLikes is a hashtag generator that is free and easy to use! It’ll help you find the perfect combination of hashtags with the highest engagement from different categories to use for any post you want.
Look through popular hashtags or find the ones targeted towards your niche target audience.
A tool used by the likes of Spotify, the American Airlines, the NFL, and more; it creates engaging marketing campaigns using contests, giveaways and other fun activities.
An app that lets you edit your pictures to aesthetically-pleasing levels before posting them. It’s great for small businesses if they don’t want to spend too much money on photography.
Ever seen that little recycling symbol at the corner of some posts on Instagram? That means that image/video were originally posted by someone else and then it got reposted.
As a business owner, this app allows you to repost your customers’ pictures with your product. It’s a great way to bond with your customers!
Sprout Social helps you manage multiple Instagram accounts at the same time, while monitoring your accounts to decide when the best posting times are.
It also has a scheduling feature which queues posts so you always have a new post ready for your followers without long gaps in between each post.
What to Do Now?
Using Instagram for business is a great way to get your brand started, especially if your brand is targeting a young demographic.
Remember that Instagram is a social platform. The more techniques you use to engage with your followers, the better your brand equity will be.
Your brand aesthetic is just as important as your captions. Keep your captions short and sweet and pick your hashtags wisely.
Using Instagram for business is not complicated. It does, however, need time, effort, and dedication.