Did you know you can use Instagram for your business? It's a great tool for boosting brand awareness and connecting with your customers but there a few do's and don'ts you should be aware of before setting up your profile and posting.
When you think of Instagram you may think of the typical “Instagram influencer” posts you see being shared around. However, Instagram is actually one of the biggest marketing platforms to establish and promote your brand on. According to Instagram themselves, there are more than 200 million business accounts and brands on Instagram which are visited everyday. Whether you are a small family run, a start up, or a fully fleshed business Instagram is an important platform to grow the reach of your business and brand recognition. There are, however, a few do’s and don’ts to really boost your business profile on Instagram. Luckily we have listed them below.
Everything you put on your business Instagram account needs to establish who you are as a business. Establish what your brand is and stay recognisable throughout every post. Instagram is very much a visual platform. Make sure you post things that have a visual appeal but that are relevant to your brand and industry. Once you start to do this your business will become recognisable through the niche you are showcasing. Don’t just post promotional images about your business and services, post real life behind the scenes things too. Unique images and videos that are full of personality - your brands personality - are more attention grabbing than typical promotional images.
Once you have established your signature feel and visuals make sure this is visible throughout your profile. This means try to stick to the same theme and, if you use them, filters on your posts. Sticking to the same colour palette and filters will soon become recognisable to your brand and will mirror your businesses overall tone.
There are a few current filters and editing techniques that are trending on Instagram and stand out above the rest. In general, brighter images receive more interactions than darker ones, busy visuals are liked less than images and videos with lots of background space, and having a consistent colour palette throughout your content is shown to gain more likes than busy, experimental colours palettes. This can be evidenced by the growth of the most used styles of editing. These are:
More information on each editing style and how to achieve it can be found on later.com.
Although it is good to try trends, remember that they do tend to change quite quickly. If you want to establish your brand with a specific colour palette, then forget about the above and do you.
Your bio on Instagram is the first thing people see when they visit your profile. It is also the only location where you can place hyperlinks. Use this space to promote your website, any new services you may be offering, new blog posts, and to encourage visitors to take further action such as contacting you. Be sure to use a call to action button (CTA) on your posts so followers can see what you are promoting in your bio. The most valuable use of the bio is to drive traffic to your website, so make sure you link this in your bio.
The most effective way to stay “relevant” and boost engagement with your posts is to keep in touch with your followers. Do this by replying to their comments, liking their comments, answering their messages, and re-sharing their posts. Everyone likes to feel recognised and Instagram is one of the easiest places to recognise and interact with your followers. Getting your followers to use specific hashtags related to your business or to tag your business in their posts is also a great way to engage with them, but also a way of “free marketing” as non-followers may see these posts and be inclined to find out more.
The 80/20 rule is pretty simple. It stands for 20% posts about your services and 80% content that focuses on lifestyle and not services, AKA engaging content. This is so your followers are not overwhelmed by content promoting only your services. You need to engage your followers and this is done by lifestyle content rather than service promotion.
Regularly posting is one of the most successful ways to gain followers and engagement for your business profile. However, this does not mean that you have to post every day, or even several times a week. Create a schedule that suits you and your business. If this means you only post once a week, your followers will soon catch onto this, and will await your next weekly post. Try not to post content just for the sake of posting. The quality of your images and videos needs to be consistent and posted with a purpose. Make sure each thing you post is relevant and engaging. If you do not have anything you think will suit your instagram feed, then maybe skip a post.
Instagram has a built in paid feature where you can turn your posts into ads. Alongside this, you can see the insight and analytics of each of your posts as well as how successful your paid ad was at reaching the result you intended. From this you can see what worked and what did not and develop better paid ads and better content for your business profile.
As mentioned above, posting for the sake of posting is one of the worst things to do. If your content fails to be engaging and looks as though all you post is service/product promotions, your audience will become bored and uninterested in your feed. As well as this, if you are posting too much in a short period of time, your followers may feel overwhelmed and spammed by your feed. You want people to remember your posts, not get fed up with seeing them.
Everyone knows that hashtags help our content reach new audiences and stay relevant for longer. However, what is the appropriate amount of hashtags? Instagram allows the use of up to 30 hashtags but we would not recommend reaching that limit. Not only can this make the caption of your content look busy, but it can also do the opposite for your reach. Too many hashtags, especially if they aren’t relevant hashtags can flag up as spamming in the Instagram algorithm and your content might not be shown in that category. Make sure your hashtags are unique, relevant and brief for the best effect.
Ignoring your audience - whether this is deliberate or not - is one of the worst things to do on Instagram. If you do not engage with your audience your followers may view this as your brand being uninterested, and they may take their interest elsewhere. Although you may think that this will not affect your profile's performance as much, Google actually uses interactions on Instagram pages as a way of gauging the engagement as to what their users might like. Google will always favour content that has a high number of likes, views, and comments. Alongside this, make sure you still answer any negative comments. This will show your followers that you care about feedback and that you can deal with it in a professional manner. Plus, if the negative comment is false information, you can display your version of events etc.
Although Instagram seems to be all about who has the most followers, and you may be inclined to buy followers to look as though you have reached more audiences, this can actually negatively impact your account. With this, you should always make sure that your followers are real and not bots, spam accounts, or inappropriate accounts. Making sure you have real genuine people following you, no matter if your number of followers is small, makes your business look more reputable and trustworthy. In the long run, this will gain you more followers and in turn, more reach.
Consistency is key when it comes to Instagram. Create a detailed social media marketing strategy, a strong consistent brand, and set yourself some goals. This will ensure that you stay on track and can see what elements of our plan and profile have been successful and what hasn’t. Without a plan and tracking the progress, you will never know what worked and what did not. This can lead to your profile reaching a stalemate where it will never grow in followers, engagement, and rech through your Instagram profile.
If you want to build a strong following and business platform on Instagram or any social media, but do not think you have the time or the assets to do so, take a look at our social media management service that we offer. Building a social media strategy can be time consuming, and confusing to get your head around. We can do all this for you to make sure you reach the results you want to achieve. If you have any further questions, please contact us and we will happily assist!