How to use Instagram for Business

26 July 2021
by Archie Williamson
4 mins
How to use Instagram for Business

You can open a free account and start using Instagram for business to publish original content and promote your brand while increasing your visibility on social media and reaching and engaging with a growing audience.

Instagram now has more than 1 billion users worldwide and around 90% of those follow one or more business accounts. Since its inception more than 10 years ago, Instagram has evolved from a simple image-sharing platform to a full-scale business hub that can support a wide range of targeted campaigns covering everything from influencers to shoppable posts.

Businesses that fail to adopt Instagram may be putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Seven in 10 brands in the US were using Instagram in 2018, and that number is likely to have since grown, with its rising number of monthly active users. Eight in 10 users now say Instagram helps them to make decisions about buying a particular product or service.

But where’s the best place to start with Instagram?

Come up with a strategy

After signing up and opening a business account on Instagram, you should outline how Instagram can help you to achieve your marketing objectives and perhaps more importantly, make sure there is an audience for you to engage with. Instagram’s user base skews towards younger adults, with the 25 to 34-year-old segment being the largest.

Conducting analytics to see how your other social media channels are performing and finding out who exactly is following you on Facebook, Twitter etc based on demographics and interests can inform your strategy for Instagram. Basically, you want to know what your target audience will want from you in terms of content. Delivering value to followers in some form is key.

From here, you can set a few goals. What do you want to achieve on Instagram? The most common objectives include increasing brand awareness, driving engagement, nurturing an online community, promoting products and services, and getting more people to click through to your web pages.

You can then link these objectives to performance metrics that you can track using Instagram’s built-in analytics tool or other third-party services. Important metrics might include conversions, engagement, follower growth, post impressions, accounts reached, and retention.

Consider formats, create a calendar

Instagram is a photo and video sharing service, so you need to focus your efforts on creating visually striking content to engage audiences. There are a number of different formats available on Instagram. These include:

  • Stories
  • Carousels
  • Reels
  • IGTV
  • Live
  • Guides

Instagram Stories is the most popular by far, with this format being viewed by more than 500 million accounts each day. It can be used to share photos and videos in interesting ways and is particularly effective at driving engagement, which makes it a great outlet for brands. Other formats have value, too, so don’t overlook them.

Now is also a great time to set out some sort of calendar for your content on Instagram. You might want to publish a series of images in the run-up to an important event for your business, or post videos to help followers who may be planning for specific occasions during the year. If you want to work with an agency that offers online marketing services, having a documented roadmap will help them to create and manage your campaign effectively.

Optimise your profile

Business profiles require more optimisation than standard personal profiles. There are a few things you should get in there to hook both a first-time visitor and a returning follower.

While visuals do most of the heavy lifting on Instagram, a short, snappy bio can really communicate what your brand is about. You only have 150 characters, so try to be creative and memorable. For example, Ben & Jerry’s uses a simple “Peace, Love, & Ice Cream” motto in its bio. You can also include emojis and a link to make it stand out and to get people to navigate to one of your web pages or blogs.

Complete your profile by adding a profile pic and any relevant contact information. Instagram also recently added the ability to include ‘Story Highlights’ on profile pages, so this is something you could explore when you start posting content. Highlights are basically saved collections of content that brands deem to be important.

Brainstorm ideas, start creating

Instagram will play a role in your wider content marketing strategy, so you need to start brainstorming ideas about how you will leverage its feature set to get engaging posts out there for your audience. High-quality visuals are obviously required here, but compelling prose is also important.

There is a 2,200 character and 30 hashtag limit for Instagram posts, which is actually longer than many people think, so you will have room to provide context for images and videos. How you use visuals is up to you, though. Here are a few things you could do:

  • Behind the scenes images about new work initiatives
  • Product and service updates
  • Share user-generated-content
  • Inspirational quotes
  • 15-second video promoting an event

You can be incredibly creative with Instagram formats. The Carousels feature, for example, allows you to publish 10 photos in a single post, which can increase levels of engagement. Using IGVT for long videos or Live for broadcasting could also work, depending on your needs.

Grow and nurture your audience

Posting excellent content consistently should be your aim. From here, you can start nurturing a growing audience by responding to follower’s comments and brand mentions, improving the relevance of your hashtags, promoting your account in the bio sections of other social media sites and potentially collaborating with influencers to reach audiences that may be interested in your brand.

You should also refer back to the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) outlined earlier to measure the success of your campaigns. You can also A/B test different forms of content and how you use images, captions and hashtags to see what works best to improve your strategy moving forward. Don’t forget to keep experimenting too.

If you want to use Instagram to improve the quality of your social media marketing and content marketing campaigns, Atlas SEO has a department that can help. Contact us today for more information.

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