Instagram for business – A how to guide
But what is it and how can it help with online marketing?
Instagram is a social media networking app mainly for mobile devices and is heavily focused towards pictures and videos. Think of it as a very simplified version of your favourite social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Your posts on Instagram are only visual as opposed to the traditional text posts.
There has been a continuing rise in mobile device use over the last decade which has created a generation of amateur photographers. Every smartphone today has a camera and many people take photos and videos on the fly. Instagram is the perfect platform to just push these pictures and videos to your Instagram followers.
Is Instagram useful to a business’s online marketing strategy?
Let’s first look at the facts. According to Statista, Instagram is the 7th largest social media platform in the world, based on user numbers. Although a little down the pecking order it still has tremendous demand and monthly users.
Over the last five years Instagram has massively grown in popularity. A recent survey has shown that back in 2013 it had an average of 90 million monthly users globally. Fast forward to the third quarter of 2017 and now with an audience of over 800 million per month you can see that Instagram offers an incredible online marketing opportunity.
Many people are unsure about how to use Instagram for business. Here is our helpful guide to get you up and running as soon as possible with some great hints and tips along the way.
Setting up your Instagram account for your business
If you’re one of the many businesses out there that don’t already have an Instagram account, then setting one up is easy.
Depending on the mobile device you’re using, head over to the store where you get your apps. This is normally the App Store for Apple users, Windows Store for Window devices and Google Play for Android devices.
- Download the app.
- Open the app on your device and signup for a new account.
- When you’re in the app click the ‘little person icon’ and locate your account settings and click ‘switch to business profile’.
Once done you can add business information like address, phone number, business category and call-to-action buttons.
Now you have an Instagram account – wasn’t that easy! Now we’ll talk you through the best ways to create an Instagram profile to help push your online promotions.
Ideally, you should really use your company logo here. The reason for this is to create a seamless company brand across all online accounts, whether that be Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn etc. Should people already follow you on other social media or instance, they will instantly recognise your company and brand identity.
A key thing to remember is that your online account ‘photo’ or preferably your ‘logo’ will appear in a circle. Instagram will auto crop the image so choose something suitable that will fit well.
There are some free online image editing platforms that can help you resize and edit your logo or you could kindly ask your graphic design company to do it for you.
Instagram bio and username
Try and get a username which matches your business name. It will help you get found in searches online when people are looking for relevant companies to follow. If you’re using other social media try and match that too. Remember to try and keep your company brand identity the same throughout all your online activities to help with marketing your business correctly.
Within Instagram, users only get to see a tiny bio, a website address and message button so try and be concise with your wording. Remember to sell your benefits of how you can help a potential customer, not just who you are and what you do.
Another great tip is to use hashtags in your bio, think of them as words that people would search for your business if they didn’t know your name. For instance, for us we use #webdesign #mansfield and #nottingham. If people are interested in Instagram posts about Mansfield web designers then if they did a general search, chances are we would appear… hopefully getting more followers.
Start following people
Search for people and other businesses online that are relevant to your business. Try and find influencers who are strong in their respective fields and your customers by name, then just click ‘follow’.
A great idea is to search for hashtags, these are words that are associated with your products and services. Once you have the results, follow the relevant companies and people and comment on their image posts. This will help you get ‘follow backs’ and allow you to start building your own online audience.
Make sure you add your Instagram handle (username) to all your online and offline sources including your website and marketing material.
Also, if you already have a following on other social media platforms, make sure to promote this. Ask for follows, but remember, this is social media and not a place you should be selling your wares 24-7.
What sort of posts should you do?
This is your business Instagram account, you need to social, but you must be professional.
It may sound obvious but don’t post random shots of your dog or last night’s dinner. People wouldn’t expect to see this from your company (unless you’re a dog walking company or a restaurant).
There are a few things that need to be considered when you look at your Instagram posts:
When do you post and how often?
There is no right or wrong answer here.
Every business is different, and every target demographic will respond differently.
Don’t go overboard however and post 40 pics an hour, you’ll start losing followers. Set an amount that you can comfortably handle.
The key here is to make sure you’re consistent with how many times and when you post. It’s only by doing this that you can monitor what is working in your Instagram online marketing.
What type of posts do you do?
If you think about it, it’s simple, the content that you post should also be consistent. If you’re building followers that are expecting to see a certain type of image or post, then don’t be random.
They are following you for a reason so try and stick to it, try and choose a few types of posts. If you post a ‘quote of the day’ for instance, make sure they have the same style and look.
They are your posts and should look like they have been produced by your company and not several random people. Remember brand identity, brand continuity and approach are all key in online marketing.
Tailor your posts to your audience
It doesn’t matter here whether we’re talking about Instagram, your website or your corporate brochure. Your strategy should always focus on providing what your potential customers want to see and read.
What works well for one company may not work for others. Also, consider your audience demographic. If you’re selling clothes to young male hipsters your approach and post content will be totally different than if you were selling kitchen worktops.
Keep in mind that you need to be social and always look at your website traffic as an indicator of what is and what’s not working. If you do opt for a business Instagram profile as opposed to a personal one then you will get access to your own analytical information – personal accounts dont.
There’s lots more you can do with Instagram and there are many techniques and strategies that you can take. The above guide is meant to be a help to novices and businesses using Instagram for the first time. It is aimed to help you dip your toe into using Instagram and to support your other online marketing efforts.
Please comment, like and share.