Instagram for Business: From Selfies to Sales

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Just about every person on social media has Instagram, or at least knows about it — it’s a huge platform.


It has been predicted to reach 112.5 million U.S. users, and 854 million users worldwide by the end of 2020. Now that’s a lot of people.


That makes Instagram not only a fun, social platform to engage with friends and post photos, but also an ideal platform to market your brand to an incredibly large audience.


It’s already being used as such - up to 72% of users claim to have purchased a product after seeing it advertised on Instagram.


With so many active users, as well as a successful purchase rate, denying Instagram as a platform to promote and advertise would be foolish.


It’s become a pinnacle platform in social media for lead generation, building brand awareness, and engaging with your customers.


In this article, we’re going to show you exactly how to use Instagram for business in 8 easy steps, so let’s get started!

1. Create an Instagram Account

Your Instagram account will function as the face of your business, and it is therefore so important that you optimize it to perfection.


Every photo, video, and story you post, has to be carefully thought through to ensure that it positively represents and resembles your brand and your values.


You need to attract potential customers to your profile.


So, how can you create the perfect Instagram account?


It’s really easy!

1.1. Set your account to a business profile

This will allow you to have access to statistics on your followers and the engagement of your profile.

Instagram Buisiness

It can tell you a lot, this includes:

  • Their location
  • Their age
  • Their gender
  • When they are most active

Knowing who your consumers are is vital in marketing. 


The better you know them, the better you can tailor your content for them.


The Instagram analytics tool gives insight. You can learn:

  • How to market specifically to these demographics
  • How you should improve your current methods to reach even more followers
  • How to change your current methods to reach a different demographic entirely.
Instagram analytics tool

Instagram analytics tool

  • Include a brief explanation of your business, as well as a call-to-action (CTA) in your bio.

People don’t want to read a long, boring, detailed description of what your business does. 


Keep it short and sweet.

Spotify

Spotify keeps their Instagram bio simple and to the point. 


It’s easy for anyone who stumbles across their profile to immediately know what this business is about.


They also include a good, simple CTA, which is directly related to what their business provides, “Play, discover and share for free.

1.2. Use your logo as your profile photo

Instagram account

This makes it a lot easier for Instagram users to find your account. 


Make sure that the image is of high quality.

1.3. Add an action button

These are fantastic additions to your CTA links as it gives customers that extra push of persuasion.

Spearmintbaby

Spearmintbaby has created an action button View Shop which will encourage people to click on it, and then they will instantly be browsing through their products.


It’s also important to notice how Spearmintbaby has provided easy means to get in contact with them. 


Just one click and their customers can be sending them an inquiry!


Customers always want things instantly. 


They don’t want to have to try and search for your contact information or what service/product you provide.

2. Create Instagram Stories

Apart from posting to your feed, you can also make use of Instagram’s “stories” feature.

Instagram Stories

Instagram stories are only visible for 24 hours, but they can be saved and reposted again at a later stage.


This is a great way to give your audience a “behind the scenes” sneak- peek

  • if you’re a cupcake business, you could show the baking process, or shopping for ingredients.

You also don’t have to stick to the same formalities as you do in your feed. 


Stories are more casual and interactive.


Instagram stories generate more than double the amount of comments than a photo, as well as increase engagement by more than 20% - they’re definitely worth using!

2.1. Benefits of creating Instagram stories:

  • They are shown at the top of Instagram, with a pink/orange circle around them, so your followers will immediately be drawn to them.
  • There is an unlimited amount of stories you can post.
  • Instagram offers various editing effects and tools which you can use on your stories.
Instagram stories
  • You can create polls in your stories, which are relevant to your business. This can help you understand your target market better, as well as make your customers feel special because you’re asking them for their opinion.
  • You can create a question and answer interaction with your followers. This will allow your followers to feel heard, and to put their burning questions at ease.
Instagram stories
  • Collaborating with influencers and brands is possible through @ mentions.
  • You can add CTA’s and promotions to encourage your audience to make a purchase.
  • Use location tags. You can use a geographic location tag on your Instagram Stories, which will make your business or brand more discoverable both locally and internationally. Whether you’re tagging a specific location - bar, beach, mall - or a city, or country, it is quite an effective way to reach different demographics.

3. Follow Similar Instagram Accounts

Every business owner knows exactly how important it is to network, don’t let Instagram be an exception.


Follow other Instagram accounts that are similar to yours, as you can collaborate with them by making a deal to post their products/services, and they will post yours in return - everyone wins!

It's a win-win

Knowing other business owners and having connections in your industry is essential to spreading the word about your brand.


By following similar Instagram profiles, you can also track changes in your industry, and what the current trend is.


Networking can provide your brand with endless opportunities.


If you play your cards right, before you know it, you could have international connections all promoting your brand.


Not only will you make more connections with other business owners, but you will also gain more followers, because their followers are interested in the same kind of content that you post about.


More followers, more customers.

More followers

4. Use Hashtags

Hashtags will help your content become visible to Instagram users - regardless of whether they follow you or not.


How?


Because hashtags categorize your posts or Instagram stories- they’re like keywords.


Instagram users will sometimes search specific things, such as #beach, which then results in a bunch of posts that have that exact hashtag.


So, if you’re a business that sells costumes, sunscreen, surfboards, etc., this is a great hashtag to use when you are making posts related to this. 


Everyone who searched this hashtag, will see your post.


There are resources available to help you choose the perfect hashtag, such as Keyword Tool 

Hashtags

While these are great for promoting sales, don’t restrict yourself to using them for marketing campaigns only. 


Try to add them to all your posts.


But be careful not to overdo it either. 


That makes your posts look messy, and as though you’ve used all the hashtags possible - seems quite desperate, right?


Include hashtags that are relevant, but also ones that are vague enough for more users to find your post.


For this post, you could use #mansion, but you could also #house, which might result in more users seeing your post, as it’s a much more common thing for people to search for.

Instagram post

5. Post Valuable Content

Your content is critical.


When people follow you, they are following your brand. 


They want to see content that is related to your business, such as

  • Products
  • Promotions
  • Sales
  • Discounts

Your content needs to engage with your audience and convince them to support your business.


If you’re not that great with writing, hire a writer to create excellent content for you. 


Compelling pieces of writing can do wonders for your business.

While it’s super important to post about your business, it has also been observed that audiences enjoy seeing a business’ support for social movements, such as Black Lives Matter (BLM), Me Too movement, etc.


But, of course, your business should actually support these movements, and make real changes within the business’ dynamics - but visually showing your support by posting an image or a video will help your followers recognize and acknowledge your support.


Amazon tweeted this during the BLM movement, which received a lot of good feedback from their followers.

Amazon tweet

Posting about important topics that affect thousands, or even millions of people, can help your customers feel heard.


So, if your business feels strongly about a social issue, don’t be afraid to post your support! It can mean a lot, and people will appreciate it.

6. Maintain your Instagram Feed

When people follow your account, it’s because they’re interested in your business and your products. That means they’re interested in actually seeing your content.


If you only post once a week, or even worse, once a month, you’re absolutely guaranteed to lose followers.


Why?


Because you’ve lost their interest.

Instagram

You’ve got to post content consistently.


This doesn’t mean post ten times a day, but keep your content coming regularly.


This way, you will be constantly reminding your followers of your brand and what you offer.


To make this easier, it’s best to get a content calendar, so that you can manage your social media content more efficiently - you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to post.


There are various super helpful content calendars such as Loomly, Plannable, and Trello.


Maintaining your feed is also about keeping your style consistent.


In your feed, stick to the same color scheme for all your posts. 


If your brand has a style, this is the perfect place to flaunt it.

7. Run Advertisement Campaigns

If you’re going to create an Instagram marketing strategy, you’ve got to include marketing campaigns.


There’s no reason why you shouldn’t on such an enormous platform.


You’ve got options too!

  • Offer discounts to your Instagram followers via a post or a story
  • Run a referral program and promote it on Instagram
  • You can pay Instagram for a sponsored ad.

Instagram allows you to set your budget for the campaign.


You have a choice of one ad or a series of ads. Whichever you choose, will reach tons of users who suit your target market.


Sponsored ads come in many forms, including videos, stories, photos, stories canvas, and carousel ads.


A trick to give your advertising campaign an extra nudge is to post teasers building anticipation for any promotions you offer.

7.1. Benefits of running advertising campaigns

  • It’s free!
  • You’re attracting new consumers and encouraging old consumers to revisit your brand.
  • If you’ve started a new business, you can gain attention a lot quicker.
  • You’ll be encouraging people to speak about your brand more.
  • You have a genuine opportunity to understand what your consumers want from you.

8. Use your Analytics

Consistency is super important when it comes to business.


To maintain that consistency, you need to pay special attention to your analytics.

  • What is your reporting telling you?
  • How are your consumers responding?
  • When did you experience the highest consumer engagement?

When you’re analyzing those questions, your answers will tell you what the next steps of your marketing mediums should encompass.

Analytics
  • Consumer engagement. What percentage of consumers are interacting with your content by liking and commenting?
  • Your click-through-rate. How many users are clicking on the URL in your bio and arriving at your website? If you don’t have one, add one! This is how traffic to your business is coming from Instagram.
  • Mentions and shout-outs. Your consumers giving your brand a shout-out or mention means you’re doing a stellar job. How many of these are you getting per week?
  • Your followers. Have you been gaining or losing followers? If you’re losing followers, take another look at your marketing methods.
  • Your stories’ engagement. Are customers replying or reacting to your stories? Is what you are posting relevant to your business?

If you’re looking for some extra options, there are tools such as SocialBook, Hashtagify, and Iconosquare which can help you out.

9. Conclusion

Social media plays a huge role in our lives, and has formed such an important role for businesses as well.


Instagram has one of the biggest audiences of all social media platforms — it’s time you take advantage of that.


It has opened so many doors, as it is filled with potential to increase your customers and brand awareness.


Creating an Instagram account for your business will make marketing much more fun, as well as provide you with an excellent way of engaging with your customers.


So join Instagram, and watch your business take off!

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