How to use Instagram for your business.

Instagram is a big deal. It’s huge. There is so much to do, where do you start!! Let’s keep this simple to start with and then build up to the complex.

Is Instagram right for your business?

First and foremost, you need to have a think about your marketing strategy, because using something like Instagram really requires a bit of thinking up front. Mainly around who it is that you’re targeting, what you are going to say and how you are going to say it.

Instagram typically gets a younger following than some of the other social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, so bearing that in mind, your audience may or may not be on Instagram. You might be better off picking a different social platform to suit your target demographic.

It tends to depend on whether your business is consumer focused (joe public) or business focused (business to business). Instagram is most popular with customer focused businesses, but is growing within the B2B world.

Did you know?

Setting up a profile includes a name and username, your website, your profile picture and your little bio?

You need to make sure each of these areas is completed when you set up your account, especially your bio. Tell people briefly what you do and why they should care!

There are two types of profile, one is a personal user and one is a business user? Make sure that you convert your account to a business account to enable you to make use of the business features.

These include:

  • your email address
  • phone number
  • address
  • custom buttons
  • category description
  • call to action button

You can post directly onto Instagram and share the same post on Facebook and Twitter at the same time?

This makes posting content a lot quicker if you want to say the same thing across all three platforms.

You can link your Instagram account with your Facebook shop (if you have one) and then posts on Instagram allow you to tag products you have listed in Facebook?

 A great feature which allows Instagram users indirect access to your website. You have to do a certain number of posts before Instagram will let you do this.

You can’t put hyperlinks in your posts?

The only way you can do this is by putting them in your profile bio. You can put links in Instagram Stories though.

Using hashtags will get your content in front of people who don’t already follow you?

People follow hashtags because that’s what content they want to see themselves. So, if you can figure out which hashtags your target audience would be following, use them and hey presto your content is appearing in their newsfeed.

NB: Following hashtags are also a good way to view your competition on Instagram and get inspiration and post ideas from.

But when you’re creating your hashtags keep an eye on the #longtailones and ensure they read well. You wouldn’t want to end up using a dodgy hashtag like the one that was used for Susan Boyle’s new album release… #susanalbumparty or #amazonshitcarshow – Or maybe you do?

So, once you have your profile all set up and you have your hashtags all figured out, what next? 

Do you want it to drive traffic to your website? Do you want people to engage with you on social media?

Well hopefully you have developed a content marketing strategy and figured out what your customers want to read about. Unlike any other platform, Instagram is ALL ABOUT THE VISUALS so keep them punchy and attention grabbing.

Instagram lets you max out your creativity, so go wild. While still good to remember the number 1 rule of branding. Consistency!

With tools like it’s possible for anyone to be creative and make their posts look amazing, but the important thing is ensuring there is a common look and feel to your posts.

  • Using consistent tone of voice
  • Using the brand colours consistently
  • Correct and consistent logo positioning
  • Using consistent graphic elements or style of pictures

What should I post about?

  • Other accounts that inspire you. Tag them in the post.
  • Products that you use that help with your business
  • Things that happen to you, your journey!
  • What you do that helps people solve a particular problem
  • How you overcome your audience’s main objection
  • Your top 3 features and how they benefit your audience
  • Your products and services and why they’re amazing!

Always ensure you end your posts with questions to encourage engagement, use polls to make your posts more interactive. These are particularly useful features in Instagram Stories.

What’s Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories are the little circles at the top of your Instagram app. They contain content that disappears after 24 hours of posting it. It can be a great way to test more risky ideas out because if they bomb, then they disappear – thank goodness!!

Instagram Stories is great for telling… guess what… stories. So where you have a beginning, middle and end. It holds your audience captive while they flick through your content.

Give it a try!

In summary

As with all social media platforms, the key to success is in developing relevant, consistent content that adds value to the user… but also, interacting with other people/businesses on the platform is really important too. Get following, liking and sharing content and you will find the engagement grows in return.

Good luck!

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