30 Jan How to Use Instagram for your Business and Build your Followers
Do you have an Instagram account for your business?
With 1.6 billion likes happening on Instagram every day, it is a social media movement you need to be a part of if you have some great photographs to showcase.
But, there are some major do’s and don’ts.
In this article I will cover everything you need to know to set up your business on Instagram. From the best times to post, how to schedule photos and the best way to analyse your success.
How will Instagram benefit my business?
There’s along list of benefits to having an Instagram page for your business, many you may not have even realised.
Here’s how Instagram can benefit you:
- 800 million users are currently signed up to Instagram. This is an audience too large to miss out on.
- 32 minutes a day are spent on Instagram by under 25-year olds, Hoote Suite tells us.
- They also tell us that 75% of users take action after seeing an Instagram ad, such as visiting the website.
- Drive traffic to your website and showcase your brand in exactly the right light. Instagram is the perfect place to get creative.
- It’s just the beginning! Instagram is taking huge strides in popularity every single day.
Should every single kind of business have an Instagram page? Honestly?
As we discuss on our Internet Marketing page, you will need to figure out where your customers are hanging out and if this isn’t Instagram, you may be wasting your time.
What is the Difference Between a Personal Page and Business Instagram Page?
A small difference that has huge benefits.
Simply go to your settings and press ‘Switch to Business Profile’ and follow the steps.
Why is a business page so great?
Well, firstly you can add a telephone number, email address and directions to your business that users can access with just one tap.
Secondly, the analytical information you can access is incredibly useful.
It shows a break down of your audience, how they are interacting with your page and the best days and times to post.
Keep reading to find out how to access this vital analytical information.
As well as switching your profile to a business page, it is a good idea to connect your Instagram to any other social media platforms you use. This allows your content to reach even more of your audience.
How to approach your Instagram plan
Planning is essential when it comes to social media.
Not only does it make your life easier, but it will also improve the quality of your content (trust me).
Your plan should be simple, clear and tailored perfectly to your business. But, where do you start?
A great place to start for any plan. How do you set goals? Well, what do you want to achieve with your Instagram page?
Do you want to increase your brand awareness? Increase sales? Increase the readers of your blog?
Whatever they are, write those down first. Just make sure they are achievable and measurable to get the most use out of them.
Ok, good, you’ve got some goals. Now, who do you want to target? Men who like cooking? Women who own dogs? Teenagers that like photography?
Your target audience could be your customer base. But, if you want to target a different audience for Instagram, define this group of people.
Your Instagram plan is off to a great start. Keep reading to find the best content ideas to keep your audience engaged.
Planning. The theme continues.
I highly recommend you plan your Instagram content. It is a great idea to sit down at the beginning of every week or month and plan when and what you are going to post.
Although Instagram doesn’t allow websites to post for you, there are plenty of post organisation tools such as Buffer that allow you to create a schedule.
However, I find it best to make my own schedule on a spreadsheet.
Plan for the week ahead by making a note of the type of post and content you plan on uploading.
Highlight uploaded posts in green and posts that are ready to go in yellow to get a clear plan for the week ahead.
You can then upload scheduled post to Instagram, edit it, add a caption and then save it for later.
When you have finished editing the photo, click out of it to go back to your feed and these options should appear. Click ‘Save as Draft’.
I find this an easier, quicker and more organised approach but it’s down to personal preference of how you schedule your content.
What Do I Post on Instagram? 10 Creative Ideas to Engage Your Audience With
Stuck for inspiration? It happens to us all.
Here’s a useful list you can always come back to which will kick start your creativity:
- Behind the Scenes – Would you find seeing how your favourite company works behind the scenes interesting? Well so would your followers.
- Re-Posting – Let your fans get creative for you. If customers have posted about how much they love your products, services or brand as a whole, share it with your followers to remind them how GREAT you are!
- Meet the Team – Similar to behind the scenes, give users a unique insight into the running’s of your business to give a personal touch to your page.
- Quotes – Instagram isn’t just for photos. Share some inspiring quotes to brighten your follower’s day.
- Videos – Switch it up and give your audience some engaging content.
- Throwback – Ah, the trusty #TBT. You can always rely on a throwback to boost your feed.
- A Take-Over – Get an influencer or blogger to take over your account and post about how they use your products or services.
- Do you have a Blog? – If you do, post a photo from your top post and link to it.
- Team up – Get in touch with a local business to collaborate with on a post.
- Ask questions – Share a post asking for feedback from your audience of what kind of content they would like to see more of.
Instagram Stories – What are they and How Do I Use Them?
Instagram stories are where you can get super creative.
Not all brands take advantage of the wide range of features Instagram stories has to offer.
Here’s how you can use them:
Polls: Get answers from your audience. Ask whatever you like and choose the options they have to select from.
Filters: These aren’t just for your photos, also add them to your stories.
Boomerangs: Bring photos to life with these 1 second videos.
Live Videos: Going live can be scary but interacting with your audience in real-time creates excitement and is a great way to connect with followers.
Get Artistic: Don’t just upload a photo to your story, take advantage of all the drawing tools, stickers, text options and emojis that you can design on your story.
Tags: You can now tag your location, the time of day and even what temperature it is where you are. Give viewers as much detail as you like.
How do I use hashtags? Are they helpful?
There is a very fine line between the appropriate number of hashtags and complete overkill.
Context – coffee.
Example 1 – #coffee #ilovecoffee #coffeeisthebest #coffeebeans #freshcoffee #morningcoffee #freshlybrewed #coffeeisthebest #beansarebest #coffeeislife #coffeemachine #mugofcoffee #instacoffee #coffeeofinstagram #thebestcoffeeinthewholeentireuniverse
You get the idea.
Example 2 – #Londoncoffee #freshbeans #independentroaster
Much better, right?
When it comes to hashtags, just remember one thing… relevancy.
The last thing you want to do is use random hashtags in an attempt to gain likes or followers. This will just lead to spam and gaining followers who aren’t actually interested in your business.
When used correctly, hashtags are a great way to connect with people who are interested in the kind of content you have to offer.
Users can now also follow hashtags on Instagram, making them even more useful.
How to pick an Instagram theme
Theme = Consistency.
Your posts don’t have to all look the same, but similar elements in your feed can help an Instagram page look clean, professional and aesthetically pleasing.
Layout is a creative way to get a killer theme. There’s checkerboard, diagonal, tiles, line by line and much more. The Preview App has some stylish examples and inspiration.
We simply took this inspiration and created this stylish theme for our client Adams and Russell:
When it comes to colour, an easy way to keep the consistency is to stay with your brand colours. This will also help with building brand awareness.
If you want to apply some filters, try sticking to one or using none at all. A feed full of different filters can look messy and incohesive, so remember to think about the overall look when selecting a filter.
If you want just a hint of colour, adjust the filter settings by pressing down on your chosen filter.
Here is an example with the filter ‘Slumber’:
When deciding on a theme, the most important think to consider is can you maintain it?
Is it too restricting?
You want to choose a theme that fits in with your brand and looks appealing, but it also needs to be practical and allows you to post the right kind of content that you audience will find interesting.
Quick ways to grow your following
In all honesty, there is no magic solution to growing a huge following overnight (unless you buy them, but I wouldn’t recommend that).
There are a few tips and tricks that can give you a boost in popularity.
Using these techniques for every single post can put some users off and may not portray your brand in the best light. But, they are great to use occasionally to gain some interest.
- Advertising – Captivating ads targeted at the right audience can do wonders for your Instagram page. You can also use your creativity to capture your audience’s attention by taking advantage of all the different formats. You can choose from photo ads, video ads, carousel photos or story ads.
- Competitions – A fun way to create some excitement. You can offer a prize that’s big or small but try to be different and make your competition stand out from the crowd to get people talking.
- Hashtags – A simple way to gain more followers.
- Captions – ‘Tag your friend who would do this’ ‘Tag a friend who owes you a night out’. Get your followers to do the work for you by tagging their friends and introducing them to your page.
- Captions – Just one more thing about captions. Be descriptive. One-word tag lines are OK sometimes, but descriptive captions that tell a story will get users sharing your content.
- Locations – This takes two seconds and could create up to 79% more engagement according to Social Report.
What you need to know about Instagram’s algorithm update
In 2016, Instagram introduced a brand new algorithm update completely changed the game.
Before, posts were in chronological order.
They are listed by popularity.
But, it’s fine!
Some users posted 10 photos a day just stay at the top of their followers feed, but Instagram became wise to this.
Users’ feeds are now organised by putting posts at the top which they interact with the most. Profile that they don’t interact with as much tend to go to the bottom.
Use this to your advantage and follow your Instagram plan to get to the top of your followers’ feeds.
Analysing your success
Finally. You’re almost on your way to Instagram success.
But, you can’t forget the most important part of your plan. Analysing your success.
Instagram makes this easy by providing its own analytical tools. As we discussed in ‘setting up your business profile’, the analytical tools come free with your business page.
Simply click on this button in the top left corner of your Instagram profile:
And a page that looks like this should appear:
You can now view a detailed breakdown of your audience, the best days to post and even the best times to engage your audience. Now, get stuck in and use this data to your advantage.
Now, lets get a touch more advanced.
The analytics Instagram has to offer isn’t the only way you should be analysing your success.
Is one of the goals of your profile to drive more traffic to your website? Well, how do you measure this?
Two words: Google analytics.
Open ‘Acquisition’, then ‘All Traffic’, then ‘Channels’.
A graph like this should appear and you will be able to see how many visitors have come from Instagram by clicking on the link in your bio.
It is vital to measure your success to see what part of your plan needs working and what needs a little tweaking.
Now you have (hopefully) got some traffic to your website, are these turning into leads?
How do you know if these visits have turned into leads?
We can help you figure this out here.