Make Your Instagram Work For You: Instagram Marketing For Businesses
With more than one billion monthly users, almost everyone and their dog (literally) has an Instagram these days. According to a survey by MarketingProfs and Sprout Social, 22% of millennials voted Instagram as their favorite social media platform. As marketers who have been in the industry for more than 15 years, we can guarantee Instagram has been taking the social media world by storm in the last decade. And that’s not hard to believe — Instagram is home to content that is easy to digest, with captivating images and short captions. Users also love it because scrolling takes minimal effort, and engaging with posts can be as quick as a double tap on the screen. So if your brand is not on Instagram, what are you waiting for? Here’s how to get set up.
Getting Set Up
1. Create an Instagram Business Profile.
2. Go to your profile. Click edit profile. Once here, select “Switch to Professional Account.”
3. Following, you will be given two options for your professional account. Are you a Creator? Or is this a business profile? The creator route is best suited for public figures, content producers, artists, influencers, and the profile you made for your dog, (we know you did). The business route allows you to select a category to describe your business. Make a selection.
4. Make sure all of your business’s contact information is up to date.
5. Make sure you are logged into the Facebook account with admin access to your company’s Facebook page. You will be asked to connect to this in the next step.
6. Once you’ve connected to your company’s Facebook page, you now have a Business Instagram!
Optimizing your profile ensures you get the most out of what’s available to you. Having all of your bases covered and information filled out makes you look more legitimate to your audience. Here are some things to look for when optimizing your profile:
Is your business name correct?
Make sure your profile clearly states your known business name. Using an employee name, parent company name or anything else could be confusing to the audience.
Is your profile picture consistent across all platforms?
Although we’re talking about Instagram here, consistency across all platforms is important in social media, especially when it comes to a profile picture. This is how your audience will recognize you. Brand identity is so important!
Are you under the correct category?
When you convert to a business profile, you will be asked to choose a category for your business. Make sure this is accurate with your business. For example, Coca Cola wouldn’t say they’re an Advertising Agency. Food & Beverage accurately describes their category of business.
Do you have a clear and engaging bio?
Having a description that not only clearly states who you are and what you do is highly important, but keeping it engaging is how you draw the audience in.
Do you use hashtags in your bio?
Speaking of engaging, having hashtags in your bio makes your profile discoverable when people search for specific hashtags. Thus, leading to more engagement. Keep the hashtags to one or two. Having an excessive amount can make your profile appear spammy.
Is your website linked in your bio?
Links do not hyperlink when used in captions and comments on Instagram. We know what you’re thinking – “Then how do I get people to go to my website from Instagram?” You can drive traffic to your website through your Instagram bio! By linking your website in your bio, you can use calls to action, such as “Learn more via link in our bio,” to direct people to your website through Instagram.
Are people able to contact you through your bio?
Social media can be a great customer service tool! By fully completing your contact information, you’re creating another way for potential customers and customers to contact you and another way to capture leads through the contact button in your profile.
Do you have highlights on your profile?
Instagram Highlights are a way to showcase previous Instagram Stories for people to look back on, or to give new profile visitors a glimpse into some things they’ve missed while not following you. The best presentation of Instagram Highlights include covers that are consistent with your brand and give insight to the content behind the next click.
The most important aspect of social media marketing is having a clear goal. This MUST be identified BEFORE you start creating and posting content. What do you want to accomplish through your Instagram marketing? Whatever your goal is, make it a SMART goal – Specific. Measurable. Achievable/Attainable. Relevant. Time-bound. Here are some goal examples.
Connect With Customers
80% of Instagram users follow one or more businesses. Therefore, having the goal to connect with your customers might not be a bad idea. You can do so
by creating content that tailors to what they like. A personable presentation always wins. The plus side? You get an inside view into the lifestyle and interests of your customers.
Increase Brand Awareness
Want more people to know about your brand? Hop onto Instagram. When you create engaging content, people may share your posts to a new audience. Also, make sure to use hashtags, location tags and proactively engage with people! When done right, your brand becomes more visible.
Drive Traffic to Your Website
Without the ability to hyperlink in captions and comments, it’s a bit difficult to drive traffic to websites via posting on Instagram, but it’s not impossible. Since we can’t link in captions and comments, and it is inconvenient for users to copy and paste a link from Instagram to their browser, we often use the caption to direct people to click the link in the bio. Not only does this direct the audience to the desired landing page, but also gives them a reason to look at the company profile, which could result in more followers!
Generate Sales and Leads
Although social media is capable of generating sales and leads, it should not be the main focus. It takes time, patience and the right kind of product for this goal to become successful. Not to mention the Marketing Rule of Seven; it’s an old concept which states that your prospective buyer would need to hear or see your marketing message at least seven times before making a purchase. Since this is an old concept from before social media times, this number is closer to 70 these days. Yes, really.
Listen to Your Customers
Want to know what your customers are saying about you? Hop on social media. You’ll get an inside look into how they actually feel about your product or service – Good or bad!
Boost Brand Engagement
Unlike other marketing channels where content is a one-way conversation, social media allows for two-way conversation. This means a direct connection between brands and consumers! Feel empowered to start that dialogue with Instagram users who would be interested in your brand. You can do so by first monitoring and researching specific hashtags, finding the conversation, then responding to your target audience’s needs.
Build A Community
Take advantage of the social aspect of social media and build a community around your brand on Instagram. You can do so with a brand-specific hashtag!
Effective Customer Service
Show transparency in how you handle customer questions, comments or even complaints by reacting publicly. 7 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service, so show off your great customer service skills with consistent and fast responses to users.
Now that you know what you want to accomplish through your Instagram, it’s time to create a strategy to get you there. JEMSU’s social media team has years of experience in creating and implementing social media strategies. We take into account your goals, brand identity, competitor analysis, industry topics and content pillars, and create a strategy just right for you and your business. You can learn more about our Social Media Management Process here.
We understand having your own social media expert and/or team isn’t always feasible. With that in mind, we provide some insight and tips to help you create a strategy you can manage below.
Now, let’s take a look at the fun (but often the trickiest) part: Content Creation! This is where you can let the creative juices flow to catch your audience’s attention. Although fun, you don’t want to get too carried away with this. Keep these in mind when creating your content:
Quality Over Quantity
Since Instagram is an image-based platform, the type and value of the content you post can make or break your Instagram strategy. Always remember quality over quantity with Instagram. This means aesthetically pleasing images and engaging captions only. The better the quality, the more reputable you appear, and the more likely your audience will grow and engage.
While bright colors and puppies perform well on Instagram, you really shouldn’t be posting those things unless they tie into your brand. The best kind of Instagram content appears natural. So, posting a photo of your third cousin’s puppy isn’t going to appear forced, and not to mention, confuse your users. The best way to stay relevant is to create a list of topics in the strategy phase. Then, when it comes time to create your content, refer back and stick to what you came up with.
Stay consistent and loyal to your brand. Below is one of our clients who maintains a particular tone, mood, pattern and overall branding. What sets them apart from their competitors? They’re consistent. They have a distinct brand identity and are adamant about it. This also makes them memorable to their audience.
Instagram Post Topics
While keeping image quality, relevance, consistency, and overall strategy in mind, here are some types of posts to keep in mind while writing and creating your content.
Behind-the-Scenes – Give your audience a little inside look into the who, what and why of your business. An audience who believes in the mission is an audience who sticks around. Plus, behind-the-scenes posts make your audience feel like a part of the action!
Engaging with the Community – Engage with your audience and community and you’ll get the love right back! Want to know more about your audience or what th
ey’re thinking about? Ask them! Asking questions in posts will not only help you understand your audience a little better but also increase engagement. Asking your audience questions or letting them feel like they’re making decisions will make them feel heard, and will make your brand appear more personable.
User-Generated Content – You can’t beat the genuineness of user-generated content! People only post about things they really believe in, right? Plus, you want to show off the people who are loving and using your product or service! This only further builds the reputation of your brand and makes it more real to your audience.
Timely Content – See something that’s trending and relevant to your brand? Better hop on it while it’s hot! Posting stale content long after the trend has come and gone just makes you appear behind the times. Stay on top and ride the trending wave while it’s present.
Actionable Advice and Tutorials – Have some advice for your users? Let them know! Who better to give advice and tutorials than the pro, right? For instance, if your company values sustainability and you have tips or ideas for sustainable ways to reuse your product, deliver it to your audience straight from the source – They’ll love it!
Giveaways – Build followers and create excitement around your business with a giveaway! You can ask participants to tag friends, follow your page, like your post, and share your post – All helping your numbers skyrocket. Warning: Not all followers acquired during a
giveaway will stick around, but it’s a great way to reach many more people and build new relationships. You can also partner with influencers for giveaways.
Influencer – When your audience sees your product or service being used by a reputable source, such as an influencer, they have a stronger urge to give it a try! Plus, working with influencers brings more followers to you. Finding the right influencers within your budget is the hard part – We can help! More on that below.
Instagram is the #1 platform for influencers. Wondering how your brand or business could use influencers to help boost a campaign? We’re here to help! We have tools, relationships and resources that help us
scout out influencers relevant to your brand or business and within your budget. Using influencers can make your brand appear more legit through brand advocacy. It can also assist with increasing brand awareness, reaching new audiences, generating sales, and driving lead genera
tion. Using an influencer is especially helpful when you’re just starting out and needing
a little buzz to get the momentum going. Although popular, keep in mind influencers aren’t necessarily effective for every niche before going down this costly route.
Best Practices of Instagram
To build and maintain a high-quality Instagram presence, you need to be following Instagram’s best practices to ensure you’re getting the most out of your Business Instagram.
When and How Often
When posting to Instagram, it’s best to keep quality over quantity in mind. Posting too often can make your brand appear spammy, and actually cause your posts to compete against each other. But not posting enough can c
ause you to lose momentum and your place in Instagram’s algorithm. And if you post at the wrong time, no one will see your content. So how do you find the sweet spot for success? The answer is actually different for everyone.
By switching to a Business Instagram account, you now have access to tools you didn’t before, such as profile visits, post-performance, audience growth, and when your audience is online, to name just a few. To maximize visibility and engagement, you should be posting when your audience is online. By taking advantage of analytics, you now have your answer of when to post!
To answer the question of how often, consistency is key. Therefore, have a plan you can stick to and maintain consistently. We recommend posting 3 times a week at the very least and posting once a day as the max. As for Stories, post away! Posting stories frequently will also help you in beating the curve of Instagram’s algorithm.
Why are Instagram hashtags important? Hashtags actually help with the visibility and discoverability of your posts. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post. Each hashtag can be specialized by location, subject, product, holiday – Honestly, anything that’s relevant.
Alright, your profile is optimized, you know your goals and you’re posting great content, but where is your follower growth? You don’t gain quality followers without work. We have a few tactics for increasing follower growth. Here are a few:
“I have to follow people to get followers?” Yes, yes you do. But you don’t just follow anybody and hope for the best. You have to research and know your target audience, then you go out and find them! Think of it like this, what’s the first thing you do when someone new follows you? You look at their profile! This is just another reason why the overall presentation of your Instagram profile needs to be solid. If the person likes what they see, they’ll follow you back.
Social media is supposed to be social after all, right? Get to know your audience. Engage with them. Comment on their posts, but keep your comments genuine. By doing this, you’ll gain a following of loyal customers, eager to engage with you too.
Phew – Now that we got all the basics knocked out, here are some features of Instagram to use beyond just posting static content.
500 million people use Instagram Stories every day. One-third of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses. Instagram Stories are an easy and quick way to share content. While only lasting 24 hours, the shelf life of this content is short. But Instagram Stories can live forever in Instagram Highlights. This is perfect for quick announcements, promotions, and behind-the-scenes content.
There are two kinds of people – The ones who fear even accidentally going live on Instagram and the ones who welcome the chance with open arms. Fear not! Taking advantage of this feature could help your brand. When you go live, your followers will get an instant notification. Plus, your live video will be pushed to the front of all the Instagram Stories. Thus, increasing your visibility. Instagram Live is a great tool for big announcements.
Think of IGTV as similar to a traditional TV experience, but with a modern, mobile spin – More similar to YouTube than Netflix. Anyone with an Instagram account can create their own channel and share videos. The best part of IGTV? You don’t have to have a professionally shot video in order to use this feature. Think of it more like a step above Instagram Stories, but not as professional and polished as Instagram post or video. IGTV is great for video series, tutorials and simply just showing off people using your product or service!
Have you ever been scrolling through your Instagram feed and noticed a post pop up from a company you don’t follow? You might have stumbled across an Instagram Ad. The giveaway? The “Sponsored” below the name. You can do this for your own business! Unlike the features listed above, Instagram Ads do cost money. Although it comes at a cost, this is a way to expand reach and possibly bring in new followers.
Is e-commerce your game? Instagram has an Instagram Shopping feature just for you! You can link products pictured in posts to your website. This creates a quick and easy way for your audience to purchase your products.
Taking advantage of each of these features can put you in a great place with Instagram’s algorithm and increase your reach!
Ah, the Instagram algorithm, the creator of headaches for every content creator. Algorithms dictate who sees the content you publish, and who doesn’t. As the algorithms change, so should your Instagram strategy. With Instagram’s current algorithm, these three main factors affect ranking: Relationship with user, interest the user has conveyed, and the recency of the post. We break down Instagram’s algorithm in more detail here.
Relationship – Posts from users you interact with most frequently appear higher in the news feed.
Interest – Based on your interests and actions with past posts, Instagram will show similar posts in your feed. Therefore, the more interest you show in certain posts, the more often these posts will appear in your feed.
Recency – The newer the post, the prominence Instagram gives to it.
Although these are the top three factors to consider, Instagram makes things a little difficult by also factoring in how often the app is opened, how many people the user follows, how much time a user spends on Instagram, and many more. We break this down more here.
At JEMSU, we keep track of how your Instagram is performing. We have partnerships and paid subscriptions for technologies that study your audience’s demographics and other data. This not only identifies the day and time your target audience is most active on social media, but also the best kind of content to post – including hashtags. Having a social media team with access to those tools, while saving you time and stress, is not always feasible. We know how it goes. Here are a few basic metrics to look at when measuring the performance of your account.
Reach – This is the measurement of how many accounts have seen your post. If your goal is brand awareness, this is the metric you want to focus on most.
Impressions – Although quite similar to reach, (we know this is confusing), impressions measure the total number of times your post was displayed.
Growth – By keeping track of your followers, you’re keeping track of your growth. With Business Instagram, you can actually see this measure under Audience!
Engagement – Comments, likes, shares, all go into the measurement of engagement.
Instagram Story Views – Want to know how many people viewed your Instagram Story? This metric is visible in the bottom, left corner of the story. To dive deeper into the metrics of your Instagram Story, just scroll up!
Whoo – OK, that was a lot of information to process. As you can see, Instagram marketing is much more work than meets the eye. If you’re ready to hit the ground running, then this blog was a success. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re here to help you. If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with us. We would be more than happy to help!