Using Instagram for Business
You’ve scrolled through Instagram before, right? It’s pure viewing pleasure. Users spend hours and hours scrolling through high-resolution images of fitness models, dogs, cats, and food we’ve never seen the likes of before.
Given the time users spend on the app, have you ever considered using Instagram for your business? Why not? Did you know that Instagram has close to 800 million monthly users? That’s a lot of potential sales on the table, isn’t it?
If you’re curious about how you can use Instagram for marketing or about using Instagram to promote your business, read our tips below.
Create an Instagram Business Account
The first thing to do when you decide to use Instagram for marketing and promotion is to start an Instagram business account. Here at Hive180 we strongly, STRONGLY (are you getting that?) recommend you keep your business’s profile separate from your personal profile. The main reason you’ll want to keep them separate is so that you can build brand recognition for your business with your target audience. Interspersing business posts with personal posts can confuse your potential clients or customers.
To create an Instagram business account, follow these simple steps:
- Download the Instagram app
- Sign up with your business email account
- Once you’ve signed up, tap the three dots in the top right corner of your profile and scroll down to “Switch to Business Profile”.
- Add the necessary important information about your business (hours, address, phone number).
Starting a business account on Instagram is very simple, but setting it up can be a make or break moment. Take the time to do it right or have a consultant help you. Here are a few quick suggestions we recommend to make sure your profile is optimized for your business’s audience.
Avoid being too salesy in your posts. Instead, concentrate on how you can add value to your follower’s Instagram feeds and their lives.
Use a recognizable username
To make it easy to be discovered and recognized by your followers, use your business’s name as your username. It’s a good idea to have it match the username of your other social profiles, if possible.
Use your logo for your profile photo
You’ll want people to automatically recognize your business and brand. It’s a good idea to use the same logo image you use on your website and other social profiles. This will help people who already follow you on other social profiles or are familiar with your brand quickly recognize you.
Include a link to your site
Unlike Facebook or Twitter, you cannot include links within an Instagram post. The only place you can do this is in your bio on the profile page. Include the link to your website or preferred landing page there.
Hook followers with your company bio
Followers must click on your business profile to follow you on Instagram. You’ll want to have a catchy and informative bio that convinces them that you’re going to add value to their Instagram feed.
Include your business name and what you do and try to keep it easygoing and light. Stay away from being “salesy”. In today’s social media climate, users can spot the hard sell quickly. Your goal is to become an everyday part of their Instagram feed by being interesting and providing a solution to their obstacles.
One last piece of advice about your Instagram business bio: Change it frequently. Use your bio to promote your latest event or campaign. And don’t forget the link!
Focus On the Solution You Provide
As mentioned above, you’ll want to use Instagram to promote your business. This means using Instagram for marketing rather than using it as a sales tool. You don’t need every post to show your product or service.
Use your Instagram feed to show how your products or services are used, how they impact those that use them and to show some of your company’s personality. This doesn’t mean showing personal things, just things that pertain to your company’s culture such staff members or interesting anecdotes about happenings at your offices.
You’ll find the top brands use the same filter for all of their posts to create a visual consistency. Find a filter you like and stick to it.
Have A Content Strategy
Choosing or creating a content strategy is the most important aspect of your Instagram business profile. It’s what will attract your followers and keep them interested in your brand.
There is a number of ways this can be done, so we highly recommend you work with an experienced marketing content team to tailor a strategy that will draw followers in and make them lifelong fans.
To keep this post from taking up too much of your day, we’ll touch on a few things to help you kick off a strong content strategy. Feel free to message us if you need more detail.
- Create visual consistency. Instagram has built-in filters you can apply to your images. You’ll find the top brands use the same filter for all of their posts to create a visual consistency. Find a filter you like and stick to it.
- Use original images as much as you can. With the increasing quality of phone cameras and the filters available on Instagram, it’s easy to quickly create high quality, on-brand images. Use this to your advantage.
- Try using Instagram stories. Instagram stories are short video snippets. They can last up to a minute and are a more engaging form of content that may get more users to follow your brand. Another positive is the stories appear at the top of the screen so they’re front and center when a user opens the app.
- Use hashtags. Adding hashtags to the comments section of your images helps followers to quickly find you when they search. Create your own branded hashtag and use it in all of your images. Also, do a bit of research to find out what hashtags similar brands or followers use and include those in your hashtag list. Try to use only 4-5 hashtags per post. Users tend to skip past images with more than that.
- Like and follow other similar businesses. Follow other businesses that are similar to yours. You’ll be able to see what your competition is doing as well as get some fresh ideas for content. This also helps because followers want to see that you engage with people in your niche. The ultimate goal is to get followers to engage with your brand.
Avoid the Hard Sell
Instagram is about influencing followers to become customers. They want to see that your product solves a problem of theirs, but they don’t want to get the “used car salesman” vibe from your brand. Avoid being too salesy in your posts. Instead, concentrate on how you can add value to your follower’s Instagram feeds and their lives.
Don’t Copy Other Brands
We mentioned above that you should follow other brands that are similar to yours to give you ideas on how to better communicate with your followers. But try not to copy what they do. Take their ideas and add to them to make them your own. You want to stay true to your brand and your brand message.
Use Paid Ads Wisely
Instagram allows you to create paid ads if you have a business account. You’ll indicate how much you want to spend and then create the ad within the app. Instagram will walk you through the process but, here again, it’s a good idea to work with your marketing team to create high quality, attractive ads that will draw users to your brand.
You’ll want to make sure you set a daily budget for your ads. You can choose to have the ad run until your budget is used up or for a set amount of time.
Paid ads are a great way to quickly build a following but if you don’t have the budget, you’ll want to use paid ads sparingly.
Analyze Your Account Data
With any marketing campaign, you’ll want to know what kind of return you’re getting for either the paid ads you use or for the time you spend creating images and posts to obtain organic followers. You’ll also want to know how many of those followers turn into customers.
To do this, you can use the data and metrics that the Instagram app collects for you. The data can tell you what type of followers interact with your brand the most, what time of the day you get the most views, and a bevy of other information sets to help you create and post the best content for your profile.
If you have the time to spend on using Instagram to market your business, you’ll find it can be a powerful sales tool. You’ll find it can also help to increase your brand’s equity, buyer loyalty, and their buyer lifetime value.
We will caution you, though: It can be extremely fun and addicting.
We hope these tips help you to get started using Instagram. We’d love to hear about any success you have or any tips you may discover. If you find you’re spending too much time using social media to market your business or find you simply don’t have the desire to do so (but know you it needs to be done) contact Hive 180 today.
Hive 180 is...
a Steamboat Springs, Colorado-based full service marketing and advertising company. Our creative services include branding, logo development, graphic design, web development & hosting, photography, video, licensed drone operator, social networking, marketing strategies, digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), print collateral and general marketing consulting.
Hive 180 invites you to call us and engage in thought-provoking conversation. Come by for a coffee, or to bounce around ideas. If we’re a great fit to partner, we’ll pin point projects and layout a plan to grow your business.
“We love what we do. It’s not just words, but our daily inspiration. We are so lucky to create for our clients. We want you to think of us as your own in-house marketing team. We can be as much or as little as your goals require, but one element remains true…our energy, professionalism, creativity and integrity will be the foundation of all endeavors we take on together.”
– Daniel & Leslie, Hive 180 Owners