Now that Instagram has over 600 million monthly users, many brands are discovering ways to interact with the Instagram community and find customers who will keep coming back for more.
But it’s not just the numbers you should care about. It’s the people using Instagram.
Instagrammers are shoppers. 70% of Instagram users report having already searched for a brand on the social network. Similarly, 62% of users follow a brand just because they like it.
If this seems foreign and you’re new to the Instagram world, no worries. We’ll cover (almost) everything you need to know. Let’s find out how we can make it all happen.
1. Set up an optimized business Instagram account
If you’re going to use Instagram for your business, your account must be separate from your personal one.
A few smart ideas when getting started:
Include a link to boost traffic directly back to your site.
You only have one opportunity to directly lead a click over to your website. Always include the link to your website or a targeted landing page in this spot.
Stay recognizable with a consistent name and photo.
All your Instagramming will be for nothing if the pieces don’t easily fit together to show what your brand actually is. Make sure it’s something recognizable and professional.
Include an informative and interesting bio that will hook followers.
Include your business name and a concise description of what you actually do. You’ll need to convince them of the value and content that you’ll add to their feeds.
2. Take them behind-the-scenes
Instagram is very photo-heavy, which means it’s a great place for you to show your customers exactly what your team does on a day-to-day basis. Customers have a natural curiosity about where their products come from, and you can use Instagram to show them the whole lifecycle.
If nothing comes to mind, you can share something everyone has - sketches, notes, and filled whiteboards. That’ll give good insight as to how your company works as a team to come up with new and relevant ideas for the company and, more importantly, the customers.
Additionally, size your photos for professional quality and make use of Instagram’s editing tools to stand out. With so much visual competition, quality is an extremely important factor to keep followers interested and wanting more.
3. Expand your reach with #Hashtags
Instagram is the perfect social media platform to utilize hashtags to expand your reach. These can be specific or general - all that’s important is that they are relevant to your business and what you’re selling. Set up a main company hashtag and use it sparingly across Instagram. This will make it easier for people to find you when searching related content and accounts.
It’s best practice to use between five to ten hashtags per post. Use your own, industry-specific hashtags as well as more popular hashtags to increase the discoverability of your content.
Geo-targeting is also a great way to reach your audience. A geo-tag appears above your photo and adds a location (street, city, or country) to show followers where you’re physically located.
4. Collaborate and @mention others
Instagram is one of the strongest social media channels for highlighting collaborators and sharing company success stories. By mentioning other companies that you work with, or even customers, it opens up a new line of communication and loyalty, and it shows your audience how you use your brand to network.
Another idea involves using ‘shout outs.’ An unpaid shout-out is when you partner with another brand that has roughly the same number of followers as you to promote each other to your audiences and benefit from increased exposure.
The paid shout-out is for companies with a bigger budget. This involves paying a brand (or influencer) with a much larger following to promote your product or service. For example, if you’re a distributor of paper and packing products, you could partner with Uline to promote your brand.
5. Analyze your success and build on it
Measuring your progress is a great way to identify what works for your brand and what doesn’t. It helps decipher what your followers are enjoying and what you should be posting more of. The data you collect should make it easier to monitor your brand, discover emerging brand influencers, and identify top branded content.
This is where social media management tools come in handy. You can use them not only to schedule your posts in advance, but also to take advantage of social media analytics to measure your success. To refine and improve your Instagram strategy, make sure to regularly measure your follower count, engagement, clicks, etc.
You’ll be surprised by how much you learn about both your customers and your business just by analyzing this information regularly.
This generation turns to social media for references all the time. So the moral of the story is this: Instagram helps convert passive shoppers into confident customers. #LetsStartInstagramming
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