With over 700 million monthly active users as of April 2017 and growing every day, Instagram is one of the most popular social networks and apps in the world. With so many users worldwide, your customers are already on and using the platform. Instagram is also the best social network for engagement across a variety of industries according to a 2017 report by TrackMaven.
The visual nature of Instagram allows your business to tell your story through images and videos. You can get creative and show your followers and potential new customers who you really are behind the scenes. Here’s how to kick start your Instagram for Business account:
Optimize your profile and bio
Whether you already have a profile or will be setting one up, you will want to optimize your profile so your customers can find you. Ensure you have a business profile and that the account is set up to be public, not private. A business profile gives you access to analytics, the ability to create ads and an additional contact button under your profile. Pick a username that is easily recognizable and related to your brand. For your profile picture use something recognizable like your brand’s logo or a product that customers will recognize.
Once all that is done, you’ll want to put together a good bio that tells visitors who you are and what you do. You have a maximum of 150 characters so each word counts. You can also use this area to encourage visitors to do something like use a particular hashtag.
Finally, add a link. Clickable links are not allowed anywhere on Instagram except for this section in your bio. You can update this link to point to your latest blog post, newest product or anything you’re trying to push. When you’re posting a new image or video to your profile, you can direct followers to this link by adding a call to action in your caption.
Once your profile is optimized and customers can easily find you, it’s time to focus on the content. This is where you can get creative. Images are the most popular item to post and get the highest engagement, but consider making videos to grab your follower’s attention. On Instagram, you have up to 60 seconds for your video. Another way to add some creativity and movement to your feed is by using Instagram’s sister app Boomerang which creates a looping mini video that plays forward and backward.
You can also pull content from your users to regram. When others tag you in their photo or in their caption, you receive a notification. Regram anything that fits within your social media strategy. This is a great way of cultivating a community around your brand. You can also consider creating a branded hashtag as another way to source user generated content.
Instagram Stories and Live
Instagram Stories allows you to connect a series of images and videos into a story that disappears after 24 hours. This unfiltered look into your business can allow followers to really connect with your brand and see insight into your company’s personality. You can share behind the scenes glimpses into your business, show off your products or services or provide content that you can find on your website (like a visual summary of a blog post).
Instagram also allows the ability for users to go live and interact in real time with their followers. One benefit of Instagram Live is that users will receive a notification (unless they have turned off this setting). This is useful in any situation where you want your audience to be notified. For example, if you’re making a new announcement or doing a Q&A session. However, live streams disappear after you end your broadcast. If you want to keep a copy, you will need to install a third party screen recording app for your phone.
By setting up a business profile on Instagram, you’re given access to advertising. There are four main ways of advertising on Instagram: a single image, a video, a carousel where a series of images and videos can be swiped by the user, and Stories. The first three will appear in the feed of Instagram users while Story ads will appear between stories as users move through them. Each of these ad options come with a call to action at the bottom of the ad which you can customize according to your business needs. In order to be able to run ads, you also need to have a Facebook Page.
Like any other online ads, using Instagram ads is a good way of getting your product and service in front of potential new customers. You’re able to specify your reach whether it’s based on location, interests, demographics of a combination of them and the budget for your campaign.
Another benefit that comes with a business profile is the ability to access analytics for your account. You can see your follower’s locations, demographics and individual post analytics for impressions and reach. You also can see analytics for stories and any promotions you may have run. Your analytics also tell you when your followers are online so you can optimize your posting times.
In your own profile, when you click on a post you will see an additional “View Insights” button that will show you the analytics for that specific post. By taking a look at the analytics you can see what type of content your audience connects with and produce more of it.
Growing a loyal following and community doesn’t happen overnight, but with these techniques, your account will start growing and attracting more of your customers over time. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start your Instagram for Business account!
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