“Instagram is a great way to expand your business’s reach and engagement with your customers.”
Getting started with Instagram is free and businesses can establish a significant following without spending a dime. If you have not jumped on the Instagram bandwagon yet, you may be doing your business a great disservice.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a hugely popular photo and video-sharing social media platform. Users can share a photo or video posts; temporary Stories that live on your profile for 24 hours; Reels, which are 15-second-max short-form videos; IGTV videos, and can even shop directly from e-commerce brands through the app.
Why Market on Instagram?
Instagram’s primary advantage over other social media platforms is its visual nature. If you have a business that benefits from the design of your product or if you have a service that has a visibly noticeable end result, Instagram is the best platform to showcase that content.
Video, imagery, and illustration are all great content fits for this social media platform, but your marketing strategy will ultimately determine what type of content to publish and how often to post it. Establishing a strategy before diving right into a new social media platform, no matter how well it works for everyone else’s business, will keep you focused on your goals and — most importantly — your audience.
If you still need convincing to join, then check out these 12 reasons why Instagram is continuously rising in importance and how your company can benefit.
More people are using Instagram.
According to Instagram, their social media presence currently brings with it over 1 billion active users. Of those millions of people, over 500 million are on the platform on a daily basis. With that many available eyeballs, there is no limit to the success a business can reach with a dedicated Instagram strategy.
Any size of business can thrive.
With all of those users to choose from, Instagram is an important place for businesses. That goes for large, well-known companies as well as smaller mom and pop shops and entrepreneurs.
Of course, even for the best-known companies, success will not come overnight, but if a marketing team wants to get their organization on the map, Instagram can help. Businesses can raise brand awareness and reach their target audience by keeping an active presence and maintaining a routine of at least one post per day. This is how both household names like Coca-Cola and Adidas, as well as a slew of small businesses, have effectively used Instagram to thrive.
Tip: Maintain a routine of at least one post per day to raise brand awareness and grow your follower base.
Businesses can make money directly from Instagram.
Instagram has evolved over the years to enable on-platform e-commerce sales. Today, there is a greater emphasis on making money through product placement. The latest update is the Shop tab, which is located prominently on Instagram’s home dock and allows users to discover and purchase from brands directly through Instagram. Instagram also offers shoppable posts, which allow businesses to add tags to the products in their photos with links that include a product description, price and the ability to “shop now,” which will lead the user to your online store.
With these services, it’s simple for a business to attract actual sales from the site. A staggering users of Instagram reported purchasing products through the social media platform at least once – the results are hard to ignore.
Stories make your business relatable.
Instagram is a great way to show potential customers that you are more than just a faceless corporation. This can be done through many of the app’s features, but you can really make an impression with live posts and stories.
The best way to use live stories is to show behind-the-scenes insights into your company and the people who work there. Some examples are videos that show how products are made, videos of office employees interacting with each other, and live Q&A sessions between you and your audience.
Instagram live posts are also an excellent way to build rapport, trust and credibility with followers, as well as showing that there’s a human side to your business. If consumers see you as more than an entity looking to take their money, then they may be more trusting of your brand.
You can partner with influencers.
When it comes to social media, you have your regular users and then you have influencers. For those not in the know, influencers are online celebrities who often promote a brand or product and take it into the mainstream.
A dependable influencer can bring your company’s sales to a new level through increased return on investment and access to demographics that you wouldn’t normally reach. If you use a well-known influencer, then they can publicize your company or product to millions of followers with just a few posts.
Hashtags can increase your visibility.
As a new business on the block, you may be intimidated by the competition, but with the proper use of hashtags, you can separate your company from the herd.
Popular Instagram hashtags such as Coca-Cola’s #ShareaCoke, Charmin’s #TweetFromTheSeat and Calvin Klein’s #MyCalvins have rocked the industry, becoming pop culture cornerstones that have made these popular companies even more recognizable. You may not be Coke or Charmin, but effective use of hashtags can do wonders to separate your business from the crowd.
You can effectively engage with customers.
What is better than having customers know you exist? How about the opportunity to engage with them on a daily basis? The fact is that people like to make their opinions known, especially if they like something. Instagram is a platform for users to like, comment on and share their favorite posts. The more likes and comments you get, the more visible your company becomes. You can get more likes by taking high-quality photos, using local hashtags and partnering with other brands.
High-quality photos, local hashtags, and partnering with local brands can help you drive engagement and visibility.
Mobility is king.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which started out as browser-based sites, Instagram was created to be an app from the start. Since 90% of time spent on mobile is spent on apps, your company should take advantage of this and make your posts accessible to viewers wherever they go. Smartphone users tend to turn to Instagram because it has a cleaner style than the cluttered view that Facebook can create, and with engagement on Instagram being 10 times higher than on Facebook, you will want to get it for sure.
You can keep an eye on competitors.
Your company can use Instagram to keep an eye on your competitors and see how they interact with their followers. Watch carefully to find out how often they post, what they are posting and how they engage with their followers. You can use the information you gather to better define your own personal strategy.
It offers many ways to get creative.
A great benefit of the photo-sharing app is the creativity it provides. On Instagram, your marketing team can go wild coming up with new ways to draw attention and add followers and new customers. Show the public that your brand has personality and that it is cool to shop with you by mixing it up with contests, shout outs, vivid images, interactive videos, and more.
Reach new consumers through Instagram advertisements.
With Instagram ads, you can reach new customers and extend your reach with customizable, trackable advertisements. You can target specific demographics, link to your website and collect valuable user data that can help inform your other social media marketing campaigns.
Use Instagram Insights to hone your social media marketing strategy.
If you’re just starting out on your social media marketing strategy, using Instagram Insights can provide you with specific, pertinent information about your followers and how your content is performing, which you can use to improve your other social media marketing campaigns. Insights will provide information on the age and gender of your followers, their location, when they’re usually on the app, how well each post performs and the best time of day for you to post.
How to Become An Expert Instagram Marketer?
Now you want to start marketing on Instagram? But it can be hard to know which kinds of posts work best for growing your audience. So I am going to teach you how to become an expert Instagram marketer.
Use a business account
Just in case you skipped over the section above and plan to dive into the rest of the Instagram marketing tips while using a personal account, here’s why you should reconsider.
A business account gives you access to features you can’t use with a personal account, including:
Primary and secondary messaging inboxes
Contact information and a call-to-action button on your profile
A creator account has its own set of benefits for influencers and content creators. But for most marketers, a business account is where it’s at. Hop back up to the top of this post and convert your account if you haven’t already done so.
Clearly define your goals
All social platforms are tools. But you can’t use those tools effectively unless you know what it is you’re trying to build.
Instagram marketing can mean different things to different marketers. Are you looking to:
Create an online presence for your business?
Increase brand awareness?
Get new leads?
Establish your brand as an industry leader?
Sell products directly from the app?
You might even want to combine several different outcomes. But unless you know where you want your Instagram strategy to take you, you’re unlikely to get there. We’ve got a whole blog post on goal setting to help you decide what matters most to your business.
Know your audience
A little preliminary research can help you figure out who you can best reach when you’re thinking about how to market on Instagram. Instead, you need to define your target market so you can create content that speaks directly to that audience. This will also become critical when it comes time to choose targeting options for your Instagram ads.
Optimize your profile
In just 150 characters, your Instagram bio needs to make a great first impression, convey your brand personality, and tell people why they should bother following your Instagram account. That’s a lot to ask from a small space.
Fortunately, you also get a few other fields on your Instagram profile to showcase what your brand is all about and make it easier for people to find you. These include:
Your name: 30 characters, including in the search
Your username: AKA your handle. Up to 30 characters are included in the search.
Your website: A clickable URL you can change as often as you like.
Category: A business feature that tells people what you’re all about without using up bio characters.
Contact info: Tell people where to find you.
Call-to-action buttons: Give Instagrammers a way to interact with you directly from your profile page.
Choose the right profile photo
For most brands, your Instagram profile photo should be your logo. This helps provide credibility and allows visitors to see at a glance who you are.
Your Instagram profile photo displays at 110 by 110 pixels, cropped to a circle with a 110-pixel diameter. However, it’s stored at 320 by 320 pixels, so you should upload a file that large to make sure it still looks good if Instagram changes how profile pics are displayed.
Create visually compelling content
Instagram is a visual medium, so your posts have simply got to look great. You don’t need professional photography equipment, but your photos and videos do need to be sharp, well-lit, well-composed, and in focus, at a minimum.
If you’re using images other than photos, like infographics or animations, make sure they’re crisp, clear, easy-to read, and eye-catching. Even more important, your visual content needs to be compelling. Great photos are nice, but if they don’t tell a story, or get viewers excited, they’re not going to engage followers.
Not sure what to post? Here are a few ideas:
Behind-the-scenes posts: Give followers a look at your office, your storefront, or your manufacturing process.
Quotes and text-based images: Play with text to create visually interesting content with no photos required.
Regrams and UGC: User-generated content is by nature authentic and compelling.
Instructional posts: Teaching followers how to achieve a goal is about as compelling as it gets.
Use hashtags wisely
Hashtags are a key way to increase your visibility and discoverability.
You can use up to 30 hashtags in an Instagram post. But, realistically, you probably don’t want to do that. We recommend using between five and nine hashtags per post. More than that can look like hashtag stuffing, a spammy tactic that turns followers off. Worse, if you use irrelevant or repetitive hashtags, users can choose not to see your content for that tag.
To get the most benefit, choose hashtags that:
Are specific to your niche
Do not encourage follow- or like-swapping
If you want engagement on Instagram, you have to engage, too. Posting quality content is great, but if you ignore comments and never interact with any other profiles, you’ll have a lonely existence on the network.
At a minimum, respond to comments users post on your feed. But also seek out popular accounts in your niche, follow them, and like and comment on their posts. Make yourself visible in a non-promotional way.
If someone tags you in a post, check it out and look for opportunities to engage. Can you re-share their post in your feed or in your story?
Pinning comments from top fans, or simply comments that are likely to spark conversations is a way to encourage more engagement on your posts. This makes it more fun (and productive) for you to engage, too, since you’ll have a greater chance to respond to real people rather than bots or trolls.
Make the most of Instagram Stories
Half of the businesses on Instagram use Stories. And they’re getting great results: A third of the most viewed Stories are posted by businesses. Stories are a key part of a good Instagram marketing strategy.
Instagram Stories disappear after just 24 hours. Followers expect them to be more real and raw than your curated Instagram feed. They provide an opportunity to connect with followers and build relationships.
Use Stories highlights and covers to boost your bio
We covered all the official components of your Instagram bio in Tip 4. But there’s a bonus component we didn’t mention: Stories highlight covers.
You can create highlight albums to preserve your top Stories content, so it doesn’t disappear after 24 hours. Your highlight albums appear right under your bio, and you can create custom covers for each Used effectively, this adds a whole extra component to your bio, giving potential followers loads more information about your business and why they should follow you on Instagram.
Offer Exclusive Content
Give people a reason to follow your Instagram page.
Since most brands and Instagrammers are available on multiple platforms, users often get confused where to follow them. If you post the same content everywhere, then they’ll have no reason to follow you on every platform you are on.
You can have an Instagram series where you post specific videos on Instagram that are not found anywhere else. This also has to be advertised time and again so that you followers know you’re providing quality content through your profile. Different users utilize the platform in different ways. Many users use Instagram to upload teasers and direct followers to other platforms. You can create these teasers with an Instagram video editor to save time and add links to the actual video in the description
Think about gamers. You will find a lot of them on Instagram but most of them make money through other platforms like Twitch, Steam, and YouTube. Still, they maintain a solid Instagram presence to ensure users are aware of what they are up to on other platforms. The same goes for singers who upload teasers on Instagram and direct users to purchase the song. Some even upload Instagram exclusive remixes to keep visitors engaged.
Post both photos and videos
Instagram allows users to upload both photos and videos. The platform is popular for its ‘square’ size, which is why we suggest that you only shoot in square as editing content later can ruin its look and make the final product look unprofessional.
You can upload one or several images in a single post. Each image can be edited (filtered) according to your requirements. As for the videos, the maximum time limit is 59 seconds. However, you can break longer videos into several parts to share with your followers.
Should I Keep My Profile Public or Private?
The answer to this question is quite easy. If you intend to reach a wider audience and have more followers then you should keep your profile public.
Some users argue that users do not ‘follow’ public profiles since they can access the content on it without having to follow. While it’s true to an extent, the fact remains that users will not get notified about your posts or see them on the feed unless they follow you. If you post interesting content, you will get followers.
We hope these Instagram marketing tips will help you develop a stronger following on the platform. Put your best foot forward and be patient as results can be slow in the beginning.