Instagram for Business
Instagram is fast becoming the platform of choice for small businesses. Its users have increased to more than 400 million, making it one of the top social networks.
The visual nature of the platform makes it easier for customers to recognise your brand and engage with it. If your business has a location, like a restaurant, it’s easy for your customers to tag your location and share their images, helping you build up a successful and engaging digital footprint of your business.
Instagram has the highest engagement rate of all the social media platforms and with the continually increasing restrictions that Facebook place on their business profiles, Instagram is a really important marketing tool. We have therefore put together a few pointers to help you make the most of your Instagram account.
- Business Profile: Make sure you have converted your account to a Business Profile, this comes with Instagram’s built-in analytics tool ‘Insights’, allowing you to track your impressions, reach and engagement for the account and for each individual post. Monitor what type of content is giving you the best results. You will also gain a ‘contact’ button on your business profile along with a ‘category’ under your ‘name’. The category is taken from your Facebook page and helps to identify your business to potential clients.
- When to Post: Post at the right time: check your ‘Audience’ tab in your ‘Insights’ and you will be able to see when your followers are checking their Instagram feed. This will most likely be at down times, traveling to work or lunchtimes. Your content has a life span of approximately 4 hours before it will disappear too far down your followers feed so make sure you post at the best times.
- Promote Posts: With a Business Profile you have the option to promote posts in a similar way to your Facebook Business page. You can in fact choose to promote posts across both platforms once you have linked your accounts.
- Engaging Images: Think about what type of images you can use to best portray the personality of your brand. Think about what makes your business unique and stand out from the crowd. Be genuine but don’t be afraid to shout about what makes your business special. Try sharing behind the scenes images rather than glossy advertising, more candid shorts make your images more engaging.
- Target Audience: Think about your target audience and put together a user persona. Think about who the type of person is that will be interested in your service or products, what demographic they fall into and what type of content will best appeal to them.
- Hashtags: Alongside great images, hashtags are the most effective way to gain followers and increase your engagement. Instagram this year rolled out the ability to follow hashtags. This means a) your own content is more likely to be found by accounts that don’t follow you and b) you will be able to follow your most relevant hashtags allowing you to see all the content and find the accounts that you want engagement with to increase your potential audience. Use relevant hashtags for your posts as Instagram algorithms spot misleading content, plus try not to copy and paste the same hashtags for every post. Mix it up and make it relevant!
- Lateral Thinking: Having said that your hashtags need to be relevant, you also need to think laterally. Once you have a user profile of who your target audience are you need to think about how you can reach them – so your hashtags can include location, your products or hashtags that describe who your trying to reach ie. #yummymummy #foodie. You should also look at your competitors and influencers in your field to see what hashtags they are using and add them to your list.
- Use Video: Try sharing videos, you can share these in your ‘Feed’ or ‘Stories. It’s been well documented that video is the best way to engage with followers. Remember that the essence of Instagram is to be fun and playful so your content does not always have to be about marketing, it can just be for a laugh! J If you post to ‘Stories’ they will disappear after 24hours but if you add ‘Story Highlights’ they will remain on your profile and help to reflect your brand.
- Use Apps: Instagram is there to help you create engaging images. It has its own built in filters and edit features plus apps like Layout or Boomerang that you can use to create collages or gifs. There are also several simple online design tools available to help you create stunning images, Canva is our favourite.
- Be Social: Try to interact with other accounts and followers, you can Tag your connections, comment on other posts and generally enjoy the social aspect of the platform.
So if you haven’t set up an Instagram account for your small business then now is the time. If you need any further advice or training then we’ll be happy to help.