Unless you’ve been living under a rock or don’t own a smartphone, you’ve probably heard of Instagram, however you might not know exactly what it is, or how to use it to benefit your business.

Are you considering using Instagram to boost your business potential?

Or are you struggling to get results by using Instagram for your business?

This is where we can help you. In this blog post, we will cover everything from getting started to building your brand and getting results.

An Introduction to Instagram

Instagram is a social networking app which is used for sharing imagery via your smartphone. It launched in October 2010 and now has over 700 million users

Demographics:

Image Source: Sprout Social

Who should use the platform?

B2B vs B2C:

  • Instagram is primarily seen as a B2C (Business to Consumer) tool
  • Brands seeing the most success tend to be very visual – Travel, Fashion, Design & Food accounts all do really well.
  • B2B (Business to Business) brands can use it too – best used by offering a behind the scenes look at your business. It’s unlikely to ever be the main source of web traffic, and if you are a small business you may want to limit the amount of resource you put into this.

Setting up your business profile

First step. Pick up your smartphone and download the Instagram app (it’s free). Now it’s time to create your own profile. Here are our top tips for optimising your Instagram profile for business:

Username: This should match any other social platforms your business is set up on. This will make your profile easy to find and creates consistency for your brand.

Bio: Your Instagram bio should be used to explain what your business is about and what people can expect from your Instagram profile. You should also look to add a company #hashtag into your bio (we will talk more about hashtags later in the blog).

Web: Include your website link so people can be redirected directly to your site.

Profile photo: You should ensure that brand identity is consistent, so use your logo for this. Do keep in mind that Instagram will crop this into a circle so try to edit your logo to fit perfectly.

Business Account: Instagram is owned by Facebook, so by connecting your Instagram account to your business’s Facebook page you can make your Instagram a business account. This will allow you to have access to analytics for your profile.

Follow people: You’ll want to follow a bunch of users. Find influencers in your industry, customers, and other people relevant to your brand and follow them.

Mobile optimised site: If you are looking to drive revenue from Instagram, your success rate will be much better if your website is optimised for use on phones and tablets – where the majority of users are using the app.

Add to your website: Add your Instagram handle to your web properties and other social media profiles for cross-promotion.

 

How to get the most out of Instagram for your business

Set Goals: Like any project, it’s important to set goals. What do you want your business to get out of Instagram? Set strategic objectives and monitor them. Here are a few goals you might want to consider:

  • Increase product sales
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Identify and establish relationships with influencers

Content Strategy:

Post Schedule: It’s important to maintain a regular posting schedule. If you can post at least once a day then perfect! To make the most of LinkedIn’s new algorithm ensure you leave a few hours between posts, to avoid being classed as spam.

Images: Creating visual consistency is always good for Instagram. Influencers (people with large followings) really thrive off getting the perfect ‘theme’. Discover a schedule of imagery you want and don’t bombard followers with product posts. Instagram is a great way to show the personality behind your brand and build brand awareness. Use the same filter or colour set for all posts – this is a good way to keep consistency.

Motivational Quotes: Using an app like Wordswag you can quickly create powerful quotes that garner a lot of attention. Sharing tips and industry info in this format looks great and often gets a large amount of engagement.

User Generated Content: Encourage customers to share images featuring your products by using your company hashtag. Apple recently launched their own Instagram, and employed this tactic straight away – encouraging people to share their iPhone pictures using #ShotoniPhone.

Apple Instagram

Hashtags: Start by creating a branded hashtag, this will allow you to see when people are talking about your brand. Also, create a bank of relevant hashtags for your brand and use these to drive engagement. You can use up to 30 hashtags and evidence shows that using more is better.

Captions: Don’t neglect your captions, whilst Instagram is all about beautiful imagery it’s thought that Instagram takes captions into consideration with its algorithm. Don’t be afraid, inject some humour into your captions and test to see how this affects your engagement.

Instagram Features

Instagram Stories: Instagram has taken some tips from Snapchat and there’s now a story feature, this allows you to create your own slideshow of Images, videos and boomerangs which last for 24hours.

Introducing Instagram Stories from Instagram on Vimeo.

Instagram Gallery: Instagram has recently added this feature to add multiple photos to one post, so if you get 5 great shots there’s no need to just choose one.

Boomerang: It’s not a photo. It’s not a GIF. It’s a Boomerang. Boomerang takes a burst of photos and stitches them together into a high-quality mini video that plays forward and backwards. This is a fun and simple way of animating your feed.

Photo Collage: Compile a bunch of photographs into one using the Instagram layout.

Influencers: People are building amazing businesses on Instagram all over the world. The ‘Instagrammer’ is a new kind of blogger with big followings and beautiful content. Brands now have a great opportunity’s to work alongside these influencers to promote their products.

Ads: Carousel adverts, story adverts, video adverts, photo adverts are all available with Instagram adverts. Instagram shows your Ads to the people it thinks are relevant to your brand by using the information gathered from your activity on Instagram and Facebook. You can manage all of your adverts via the Facebook ad manager, right from your desktop.

Apps to use alongside Instagram

Scheduling apps: Schedule your posts ahead using scheduling apps. Sharing to Instagram differs slightly from sending messages to your other social networks because posts need to be published via the Scheduling and Instagram apps on a mobile device. We use Sprout Social and think it’s great!

Editing apps:

There are endless amounts of choices when it comes to editing apps to enhance your Instagram. A few of our favourites include Instasize, Facetune, VSCO and Wordswag.

Other useful apps:

  • Repost: Allows you to easily repost other users content. Great for User Generated Content (UGC) campaigns. Just remember to ask permission/credit the original author first.
  • Giant Square: Turn your image into a grid of images that stitch together seamlessly when viewing your Instagram profile.

Examples of companies that use the platform well

We’ve been growing our client London Graphic Centre on the platform by using a mixture of user generated content – getting customers to share their art, as well as dynamic shots of new products being used.

London Graphic Centre Instagram

Adidas and Nike use celebrity influencers relevant to their brand to promote them. This is scalable for smaller businesses, with cost effective alternatives.

B2B brands such as IBM and Microsoft are also doing well – by offering a behind the scenes look at their business. Our client PLATF9RM is using it to show off their office and co-working space, their members, the atmosphere and adorable dogs who visit.

Ready to Start Instagramming?

Now you know almost everything you need to know about marketing your business on Instagram, what are you waiting for?

If you want help setting up and creating the perfect brand experience on Instagram take a look at our Social Media services and get in contact.