Instagram for Business: Increase Sales, not Selfies
With more than 500 million users every month, Instagram has become one of the most promising platforms to look for potential customers. But many business owners continue to underestimate the social network because they consider Instagram to be just another community of self-made bloggers and photographers. But over the course of seven years, Instagram has proven to be the most sought-after media channel and today is crawling with potential clients.
Instagram itself is very easy-to-use; there are no complicated settings, no special restrictions. There’s just lots of photos and minimal text. This app is so widespread that it seems to have changed the way people hang out on the Internet, scrolling and double tapping on the neverending newsfeed. Additionally, Instagram is the second most popular social media among adult users (after Facebook) and the most popular among teens. Such a high engagement rate is the perfect chance to hunt for clients and boost your brand’s awareness.
The statistics surrounding Instagram are stunning as well – Instagram illustrates 58 times more engagement than Facebook and almost 120 times more engagement than on Twitter. It’s time to introduce your business to Instagram. Today we will unpack the world of Instagram and go through the main tips that will help cement your online presence.
Strategy Comes First
To start, try exploring Instagram by yourself. You should know every part of the social platform to manage your business page with ease. Study the most successful business accounts on Instagram, considering your competitors, and check to see what works best for their audience. Only after you know what you want from Instagram you can start developing a social strategy. This strategy should reflect your overall marketing plan and meet your business mission.
Every social media platform has its assets, so discover the ones right for you and align them with your marketing goals. Instagram provides the force of visual content, so emphasising visuals like images and videos make sense. Here are some main goals every company should have when using social media. Think about how you could reach these goals by using visual content on Instagram:
- Boost sales
- Increase traffic (to your website, landing pages and/or other social media)
- Improve brand awareness
- Attract regular customers
- Find authoritative sponsors and/or partners
- Go global
As you might have already known, visual content can’t be posted sporadically, so developing a content strategy is the next step. Instagram is like a little online world where every process is predetermined. Content strategy is a must have – before posting anything, create a plan with the following components:
Frequency. Properly organized content schedule depends on the unspoken Instagram rules within your niche. Most resources say that posting 2 times per day is an optimal frequency, but you know your niche best and can choose a perfect time to post for your followers.
Time and day. This absolutely depends on your subscribers and their hours of activity on Instagram. We recommend testing different times of day and days of the week, taking into account the demographics of your target audience:
- Sex (male or female)
Themes and subjects. The Internet has tons of newsworthy events. Keep an eye on the news because the next topic may be somewhat related to your business and you can use it for your new post to obtain more engagement.
Calendar. Any type of content should be selected in advance and posted for a specific purpose. This unites three previous components and shows the big picture of your content strategy when planned out for a month (or week) beforehand.
Outstanding Visual Content
Individual style is the thing that will differentiate you from competitors. There can be thousands of related accounts, but the one that is the most appealing needs to be yours. Instagram pages don’t require designer skills or difficult programmes; you just need high-quality, catchy photos and a branded filter. Filters are a very important component that creates a special atmosphere of your account and differs you from the crowd. Choosing the perfect filter seems a tough task, but if you know the personality of your business you will pick the right filter. Make people notice and remember your posts when scrolling.
There are lots of apps for editing because the pre-set Instagram filters are sometimes not enough. You can try VSCOcam, Snapseed, Whitagram or any other app to raise awareness among potential followers.
Additionally, focus on the type of content you post. Find out what people like most and give them more of what they want to see.
Followers are also naturally and they always want to see more than what you offer. Put your audience behind-the-scenes of your brand and give your subscribers a chance to see some parts of the business process. The lifestyle of your company shouldn’t be a top secret, otherwise people will think that you are hiding something from them. Don’t hesitate to post how products are manufactured and how creative services are brainstormed. Keep your audience informed by posting pictures of your team, sketches, blackboards and more to engage with your followers.
Hashtags tell the world about your company. All you need is to pick a memorable hashtag with a #brandname and mention it in every post. This is how people will remember your company and quickly find all the information they need just by clicking on this hashtag.
You can use several hashtags to mention other companies or people, but don’t overdo it and try to include no more than 10 hashtags in a post (30 are allowed by Instagram, but it’s too much). If your account is brand new, you can add generic, popular hashtags like #instagood, #picoftheday, #tbt, #IT and others to get more likes, engagement and followers.
Advertising on Instagram
Every social platform has its own unique advertising opportunity; we have, for example, already told you about Facebook. Instagram runs ads too, even though you might have not seen them for a while until 2017. Now we can choose among three types of advertising:
Photo Ads aren’t different from regular posts, but they are marked with the label “Sponsored” in the right hand corner.
Video Ads also look like ordinary posts with video content, but they have the same “Sponsored” labe in the right hand corner.
Carousel Ads consist of several movable photos or images and are labeled with “Sponsored” as well.
These ads appear in the feed of users who might be interested in your products and services. Instagram ads can transfer users directly to your account, website or they can receive a phone number and can call you from within the newsfeed. Find out more details about advertising on Instagram right here.
Here are 5 more tips to make your Instagram account beneficial:
- Manage sales, giveaways, contests, promotions
- Don’t include any links within your posts (these work only in Sponsored posts or in your bio)
- Communicate with your followers; answer their comments and in “Direct”
- Analyze both successful and failed posts to help refine your strategy
- Organise a friendly collaboration with other representatives within your niche
We hope your profile will take off on Instagram and blow your competition out of the water!