Not using Instagram to better your business? It’s time to jump on the social media success train!

Instagram has been around for years, and there’s no doubt that it’s popularity reigns among teens, adults, pros and newbies alike. But Instagram for business is a newer concept and is one you may have overlooked the first time around. Instagram is continuously proving itself as one of the most influential marketing tools for companies. IG not only allows you to promote your business across multiple profiles, it also allows you to connect with your target market in niche categories.

Would you like to start using Instagram to your brand’s advantage? Want to get your products and services seen by more people, harbor a strong following of customers who want to discover your company and see a serious ROI? Let’s get started.

Using Instagram to Better Your Business

  1. Create an Optimized Instagram Business Account

If you already have a personal Instagram account filled with brand-appropriate content, you might want to consider converting it to a business account. On the other hand, if you want to create a business account from scratch:

  • Create an Instagram profile with a name (handles) that’s the same as, or related to, your business’s name across other social media channels.
  • Log into a newly-created personal Instagram account on the app.
  • Tap the profile icon to go to your profile.
  • Tap the three lines icon at the top right of the screen, then tap Settings.
  • Tap Switch to Business Profile, then Continue.
  • Add a business website address to your profile to easily drive traffic to your company’s site.
  • Avoid hard selling to appeal to Instagram’s social culture.
  • Promote your product with creative, original photos.
  • Size your images to professional quality (612 x 612 pixels)
  • Offer promotions and sales exclusive to Instagram followers
  • Research relevant hashtags to connect with your business’ niche Instagram community.
  1. Define Your Target Audience

Before you ever start posting content to your account, you’re going to need to think about who’s going to see it. The majority of Instagram users are under the age of 35, with a fairly close split between male and female users. That’s good information to get you started, but you need to go beyond these demographics to define a target audience unique to your brand. To do this:

  • Determine who already buys from you.
  • Check the analytics on your other social media channels to learn who follows you there.
  • Do some thorough competitor research (who is following your competitors on Instagram?).
  • Create a clear value statement for your brand.
  1. Focus on Performance Metrics

The exact metrics to measure and track will vary for each business. But, broadly, you should focus on metrics related to the social funnel. That means your goals should align to one of the four stages in the customer journey:

  • Awareness: Includes metrics like brand awareness, follower growth rate, and post reach.
  • Engagement: Includes metrics like engagement rate (based on likes) and amplification rate (based on shares).
  • Conversion: In addition to conversion rate, this includes metrics like click-through rate and bounce rate. If you’re using paid ads, conversion metrics also include cost per click and CPM.
  • Customer: These metrics are based on actions customers take, like providing testimonials.
  1. Encourage Interaction

Let your company’s followers know that you are invested in them – that you want them to succeed. For example, you might want to post “helpful hints” and “tips” as texted-based posts and share them with your followers. Give them insight on how they can use your products or services to make their lives easier. And make it fun! Don’t go too overboard with the slang and humor, but don’t send out a dry, textbook-like post either. Find a happy balance.

  1. Push the Engagement Needle

This step requires a bit of extra work, but the return will be well worth it. Make sure you are engaging with your followers on a deep level. Comment on their photos and reply to their comments – and not just with emojis. The Instagram algorithm currently “scores” the popularity of your photo within the first hour of it being posted. IG crawlers review your likes, comments, return engagement stats and more, so try to get the convo going with followers as soon as the upload is complete.

Staying top-of-mind is always a good thing. Don’t creep them out or anything, but let followers know that you pay attention to their content. Also, as you continue to curate content, pay attention to which posts get the most likes and comments. Your followers’ engagement will help you see what appeals to them and what you should continue to post.

  1. Commit to a Regular Posting Schedule

Just like you follow an editorial calendar for creating web content, commit to a regular IG posting schedule. Once you start building a following on Instagram, your fans will expect to see posts from you on a regular basis. You want to keep them aware of your brand and engaged with your content without overwhelming them to the point that they tune out—or worse, unfollow.

Though there’s no concrete formula for determining when you will be most successful at posting, use Instagram analytics to play around with your popularity. The key factor is to understand when your audience is online. Remember that they may not be in the same time zone as you are. Instagram Insights shows you exactly when your followers are online, broken down by day.

  1. Just the Beginning

We admit that we’re only scraping the tip of the iceberg here, but following these tactics will help you to begin creating a successful Instagram business profile that can be used to advance your company and customer base. For more tips, and how help managing your social presence, reach out to us at 24 Communications.