Did you know that Instagram has become one of the most powerful marketing platforms for businesses? It is particularly great for product-based brands. Instagram has almost 1 billion users and data shows that engagement rates are much higher than those on Facebook. Well, that sounds great! But can anyone build a profile that reaches and engages millions? I know that you can certainly do it after you read this article.
Building a Strong Business Instagram Profile
You probably have an account on Instagram already, but if you don't it's easy to create one. You can use your Facebook account to do that or if you prefer, register with your email and a password. More importantly, focus on the next steps.
Turn it into a Business Account
When you create your Instagram account it will be personal. Turn it into a business account by going to your profile and clicking on the settings button. Scroll down and choose "Switch to Business Profile". Doing this will allow you to see detailed analytics of all of your posts and create Instagram ads in the future. In addition, you will be able to tag products with links to your website directly in your posts.
If you have a Facebook Page, don't forget to link it to your Instagram account. This will save you time as your Instagram content can be directly distributed to your business Facebook page.
Create a Great Instagram Bio
The Instagram bio is what will make someone stop at your profile and follow it. Here are some things you need to do:
Create an emotion with 250 characters - something that your potential follower can relate to.
Use emojis - emojis are extremely powerful on social media so make sure you include them in your bio.
Create a custom hashtag - this helps you build a community around your business.
Add a link to your website - it's a great way to drive traffic to your site, shop, blog, YouTube channel, etc.
Also, choose your profile photo wisely. The best thing you can do is use your business logo to create unity across all of your business platforms.
How to Plan Your Content on Instagram
Planning your content for Instagram or any other social media channel will bring you many benefits:
How to Get Content Ideas for Instagram
If you don't know what to post on Instagram, don't worry! We've all been there. You can do the following:
Watch your closest competitors - check what these accounts post and also which type of posts perform best. It's equally easy to do this from the mobile app and the website.
Post pictures and videos that inspire - we've talked about value content so many times. By now you should know that you will have success if you post things that your audience cares about and can benefit from.
Follow relevant hashtags - Perhaps you know that you can now follow hashtags, not only accounts. Find those that are closest to your niche and follow them. This way you will know what content to post and attach it to that hashtag.
How to Schedule Instagram Posts
Yay! It's finally a reality. You can now schedule Instagram posts and they can be published completely automatically (without your approval before posting). This saves incredible amount of time. Prepare your content for a month ahead and spend 2-3 hours to schedule all posts. You can use these platforms:
Promo Republic - This has templates and post ideas library where you can get inspiration if you've hit a dry period. The only disadvantage of Promo Republic is that you have to approve the post before it goes live on Instagram. So you will get a notification on your phone when its time for your content to be posted and you will have to click to approve.
Grum - It is the perfect scheduling tool for Instagram. It's completely automated. You just create your post, choose a time and date to be posted and forget about it. It's all done.
Research shows that you need to post 4 times a day on Instagram to get good and fairly quick results
The day with most engagement on Instagram is Wednesday. The lowest engagement is seen on Monday.
Every day is a good day to post on Instagram, but you will find it that Sundays are a bit slow in terms of engagement and reach. That's because less users are on the app or website on that day.
The best three filters for businesses are #Ludwig, #Perpetua and #Lo-Fi
How to Grow Your Instagram Account
First of all, don't expect to get 1000 followers overnight. Growing your Instagram account takes mainly time and consistency.
Even if you decide not to post every day (I recommend you post daily), make sure you do it on the days you select and don't miss a posting day. Commit to your Instagram schedule. Being consistent is your most powerful weapon for gaining new followers and retaining the ones you already have.
Use Instagram Stories
In 2018 Instagram Stories perform better than SnapChat. Everyone uses them. Young people, who previously adored SnapChat for its 24-hour content feature are now on Instagram and loving it. Celebrities post Stories constantly and that's how they create hype about new tours, products, etc. It's also a way to show intimate details about every-day life and unveil one's personality. That's something all successful modern businesses strive to include in their content strategy.
Having daily Instagram Stories, builds the desire in users to follow you because they will want to watch your story every day to see what are you up to. What is more, these temporary posts are quite interesting, because you can add stickers, labels and text. You can also try different formats of visual content to diversify your profile and capture the attention.
When you reach 10k followers you will be able to add links in your Stories which is an amazing traffic source.
You know how powerful Live Videos are. Start going live on Instagram. Share how your day is going, give a "behind the scenes" sneak peak of your business or answer questions you've received from followers and clients. This technique is very successful because every time you go live on Instagram your followers get a notification and usually they open the app to watch. At the beginning of your live video ask your followers to share the broadcast so that you can reach more people.
Pictures with quotes perform really well on Instagram. This is because they are inspirational, motivational or funny. Remember, these are the three types of value content you want to be providing your audience with most of the time.
Use Emoji Hashtags
Hashtags are the perfect way to reach millions and get new followers. You should use not only phrases relevant to your business, but also emoji hashtags. Instagram allows users to search posts by emojis so make sure you add these in your bio and your posts. The most popular emoji on Instagram is #❤️, followed by #😂, #😍, #😘 and #😎.
Run Instagram Ads
Just like Facebook, you can create ads to reach more people and popularise your Instagram account. You can't pay for likes per se, but as long as you have a nice looking account and good content, you should be able to gain new followers.
What NOT to Do on Instagram
There are some mistakes you shouldn't make when you are running an Instagram account for your business.
1. Make your profile private - you are limiting the number of people who can find your content and your chances to get more followers. Even if someone requests to follow you, you will have to manually approve that before they can see what you post. You can lose the momentum.
2. Ignore comments - you must engage with everyone who comments on your posts. Even if there's nothing you can reply (for example if someone commented with emojis only), at least like this comment as soon as possible. This may encourage a further discussion.
3. Skip the hashtags - Hashtags are important! Yes, Beyonce doesn't use them. Are you Beyonce, though? Don't miss your best opportunity to gain more followers. Add the right hashtags to your posts. There's no shame in using lots of them as long as they are relevant to your content and brand.
4. Post only pictures - Variety is important, plus videos have proved that they drive more engagement. So make sure you post videos at least once a week.
5. Buy Likes - It's so tempting to get thousands of followers for just about 20 quid. In reality this isn't such a great idea. The companies that sell those likes are not approved by Instagram. The algorithm will eventually find out what's happened and your account will not only lose all these illegitimately acquired followers, but it will also be punished by decreasing its reach.
Follow all these steps to create a killer Instagram account for your business, but do not forget that it will take time and consistency to grow it. Don't get discouraged the first few months when you see little engagement on your posts and your followers grow only by 20-30. It's the natural journey of every new account. Keep up the good work and the results will soon appear.
Let me know if this article helped you in any way. I'd love to read your comments.