Does your business have an Instagram account? Instagram has evolved into a visual marketing platform you can use to grow your business and awareness of your brand.
Instagram can be one of the best ways to promote your brand online while also building a community of followers who care about your business.
But where should you start?
1. Keep Business Separate From Your Personal Account
If you’re just getting started with Instagram, the first thing you need to do is set up a separate account for your business. Successfully marketing your products and services to an Instagram audience is completely different than sharing personal content with your friends and family.
Be sure to use your company’s logo as the image in your Instagram business profile, add your website to the profile, and make sure your bio text is relevant to your audience.
2. Identify Your Audience
If you don’t know who your audience is, how can you create content on Instagram that they will connect with? If your business already has defined buyer personas, that’s the perfect place to start.
If you haven’t created buyer personas yet, learn more about them and how to create them here. Get a clear idea of what your typical customer or client looks like, clarify the problem your product or service solves for them and you’ll start to identify what your audience will connect with on Instagram.
Once you start posting content on Instagram, you can regularly review your Instagram analytics to get more detailed data about your audience.
3. Use The Right Photos
Did you know that 90% of the information sent to our brains is visual? That catchphrase of a picture being worth 1,000 words is actually accurate, so you want to make sure you’re using the best possible images to connect with your audience on Instagram. Before you share a photo, ask yourself:
Does this grab attention?
Is this unique or does it look like every other Instagram picture?
Does this image show my business’ personality?
4. Share Exclusive Promotions
Your Instagram followers want to feel special. That they are somehow getting an inside view of your business. One way to cultivate that is by sharing bonuses, insider announcements, and special offers that are available only to your Instagram followers.
If you don’t want to narrow your marketing for a sale or event exclusively to your Instagram followers, that’s ok! You can still make them feel special by offering an “early bird” access to them for 24 hours, then sharing content on your other marketing channels after that.
5. Use The Right Hashtags To Grow Your Audience
Instagram feeds update quickly, which means your content can easily be missed if you don’t have a strategy in place to make sure people can find it. That’s where hashtags come in. Think of hashtags like a keyword. People search hashtags to find content that’s relevant to what they’re looking for.
You generally want to use at least one hashtag per post, and make sure your hashtags are 100% relevant to the content you are sharing. An easy way to do this is by brainstorming keywords and phrases that match your business’ products and services.
If you want to go deeper, use a tool like Iconosquare to find out which hashtags are trending and are the best fit for your Instagram content.
6. Don’t Just Post…Engage!
Once you’re regularly posting content on Instagram and growing your followers, start thinking about how to engage with them. It’s not enough to make your Instagram audience aware of your business and brand (though it’s a great place to start!), you need to encourage them to interact with you.
There are several ways to do this, but most of the time it really comes down to writing active, inviting captions. Ask questions and see if your audience responds! When they do, be sure you respond to any questions or comments made on your posts. Don’t leave your Instagram followers wondering if you actually look at your account.
7. Track How Your Instagram Account Is Performing
You’ll never know if your Instagram account is getting the results you want unless you track the data. Take time to analyze your successful posts, research your followers, and use that information to continue to create content that seems to be working.
8. Post Consistently
If you’re committed to growing your audience on Instagram, try to post every day. The more often you post, the more likes and followers you get because you’re regularly popping up in their Instagram feed.
9. Collaborate With Other Businesses
One of the most popular ways businesses can collaborate with one another on Instagram is through “takeovers”. This is when you and another local business “take over” each other’s Instagram stories or feeds for a day. The goal is to expand each others’ audiences and exposure by sharing content.
The great thing about a takeover is that it equally benefits both businesses. Each business gets to share content about their products and services with an audience that might not have found them otherwise.
Em Rohrer earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and English at Grace College in 2005. As a published author and content marketing specialist, she worked in non-profit and corporate business environments before bringing her 15+ years of digital marketing expertise to 1Eighty Digital.