Instagram is one of the world’s top social platforms for businesses, with over 200 million users visiting at least one business profile a day.
If you are just starting out and looking to join the Instagram community, it can be a challenge to know where to begin and how to make sure this is an effective use of your company’s time. Here, we take you through some of the key reasons why launching your business on Instagram is a good move, and how to do this successfully.
With a base of over 1 billion active monthly users, a number which is growing all the time, it means that whatever story you want to tell or product you want to promote – there will be an audience for you! Instagram has proved it’s not a flash in the pan phenomenon and looks to only be getting bigger.
Instagram have made the experience very user-friendly, allowing businesses to set up a specific business account that differs from a standard user in a number of ways. One of the primary features of a business account is the insights function, which provides you with all the analytics you need about the performance of your posts and who is engaging.
A business profile also contains a variety of functional buttons for you to include, which allow users to directly contact you, buy products, find your location and more.
Before you download the app, the first crucial step is to build your brand identity. Think about the tone of voice you want to use and, importantly, what you want to gain from your Instagram account. Do you want to use this platform to promote products, to build a community or to create brand awareness? Your reason for setting up the account will directly affect the kind of content you want to put out there, so make sure your goals are clear in your mind before you begin.
Make sure you have a clear and on-brand logo for your profile picture and, ideally, you want to keep the same username and icon for your social media accounts across all platforms to make it easy to find you.
Once you are set up, it’s time to put your account to use. We think the running of your account can be split into three straightforward stages for maximum success.
Start by deciding how often you want to post and what you want the aim of each post to be. Spending some time creating a social calendar for each month can make the task less daunting and easier to manage. To keep people engaged, you want to keep your feed as fresh as possible, so regular content is a must!
Using a social media scheduling tool will make life a lot simpler as you can line up your posts hours, days or weeks in advance. This also means you can schedule them to post at times where they are likely to get the most engagement and you can post regularly without having to literally be available to click the ‘share’ button.
The trickiest part is generating the content itself. Try to build up a good library of images and content before you start so you are able to maintain regular posting. One of the brilliant things about Instagram is that you don’t need to be a professional photographer – it is easy to create high-quality content simply with your phone and the tools Instagram and other apps provide!
Your Instagram content should tell a story about your business so that, with a glance of your feed, a user will be able to get a sense of your company. Video is a particularly popular and user-friendly medium on Instagram at the moment, with the option to share stories (which last for 24 hours or can be archived in highlights on your profile), stream live or post directly onto your feed.
Social media is all about connecting with your audience. Although it is daunting to be launching a profile on such a vast platform, there are plenty of little tricks to increase your following, whilst still making sure they are relevant to your business.
It’s much better to begin with a small but engaged community than aiming to gain the largest possible reach. Using hashtags is a great way to help people with similar interests find your content – focus on more specific phrases to refine your audience and boost your posts.
Focus on organic interactions with customers and relevant brands – like posts, reply to comments and follow users that are relevant to your business and target demographic. A great way to engage people is to “regram” posts, incentivising users to tag you in their photos and showing first-hand your business in action! Try to dedicate a specific amount of time each week to creating interactions so that you work efficiently without getting sucked into a never-ending scrolling mission.
You might also consider working with influencers to increase your outreach. It is possible to do this for free by regularly engaging with their posts and therefore making it easier to connect. Although not entirely free, sending influencers samples can also be an effective method, but be selective! Choose individuals with the same demographic as you and a history of incentivising their followers to engage.
Ultimately, Instagram is a brilliant platform for creating a positive image of your company and engaging your target audience. It also allows you to get creative and have some fun. Good luck!