Instagram isn’t just a place for people to share staged pictures of their brunch or holiday snaps to make their friends jealous.
In fact, more than 20% of Instagram users visit a business profile daily and, out of one billion Instagram accounts, around 800 million follow at least one business on the platform.
This proves that users are tapping the app for product inspiration and to discover new brands to buy from.
Instagram holds huge potential for businesses to create deeper connections with their customers, raise awareness of their brand, and sell more.
Instagram has released a slew of great features since its arrival on the social media scene. One of the most anticipated (and most used) is its Stories feature.
These snapshots stick around for just 24 hours in user feeds, giving brands the chance to show behind-the-scenes, raw footage of their business, or snippets of events, products, and services.
This builds a connection with followers because it feels more personal and human compared to the often well-polished photos posted on profiles.
One of the first things people see when they land on your profile is your bio.
Unfortunately, you only get a small amount of space to explain who you are and what you do, so make sure your description is clear, concise, and includes a link to your website.
Hashtags expose you to new audiences that might not have discovered you otherwise.
Start by searching for a few keywords related to your industry or business and see what hashtags are most popular. Alternatively, you can use one of the many tools out there to help you find relevant hashtags that are well populated.
Once you’ve researched a handful or so, you can start getting involved in them by engaging with other posts and including the hashtags in your own captions.
Instagram is an inherently social platform, so one of the best things you can do is interact in a social way.
Imagine it’s like a big networking event and tag other accounts and brands in your posts, respond to comments, and leave comments on other posts that are relevant to your industry or that you admire.
As well as being a social place to hang out, Instagram is incredibly visual too. You don’t have to be the world’s best photographer to succeed on the platform, but it helps to have eye-catching images to share with your followers.
There are plenty of free stock image sites you can tap into, but mostly you just need your trusty smartphone and a simple editing app to create great pictures.
Videos perform really well on Instagram, so mix up your feed by sharing short videos as well as still images.
These tend to generate more engagement than regular pictures and can help deepen the connection with your audience.
You won’t know how well you’re doing on Instagram if you don’t track your success.
Make sure you’re keeping count of your followers and analytics (such as the number of likes), as this will help you determine what posts are performing well so that you can create more of them.
If you want to dig even deeper into the analytics of your account and the demographics of your audience, sign up for an Instagram Business account, which lets you track engagement, top followers, and more.
Social selling is a fairly new phenomenon on Instagram thanks to the recent shoppable features. You can now upload a product catalogue to your account and tag products in your posts. When users click on the product link it will take them to a designated landing page within Instagram where they can then buy direct.
Lots of people find product inspiration on Instagram, so it’s no wonder this new feature has had major results for brands.
You don’t have to create brand new content to share every day - who has the time for that?! Instead, there are other ways you can populate your feed with amazing posts.
Try regramming relevant content from your customers and other brands to create a curated selection of posts you love. This will help you make connections with other accounts and will make sure you’re not just using the platform to sell, sell, sell.
As well as using already-established hashtags, you can create a new and unique one for your brand.
Through this, you can encourage your followers to share their own content (like images and videos of them using your products or services) and re-share that content elsewhere across social media and your website.
Consistency is key in any marketing strategy, but it’s particularly important on a constantly-changing platform like Instagram. If you don’t show up in user feeds for a while, there’s a high chance they’re going to forget about you.
Instead, you want to remain front-of-mind by posting regularly and at the most popular times throughout the day.
Instagram ads allow you to expand your reach and expose your brand to highly-targeted accounts. Make sure you include eye-catching imagery and a compelling caption that makes people want to click through to find out more.
Giving your feed a cohesive theme can be incredibly satisfying - not just because it looks good, but because it establishes your brand image and ensures followers recognise your posts when they pop up in their feeds.
Whether you decide to only post pictures using your brand colours or you choose to post stuff in a specific order, give your feed a “look” to help you stand out.
Remembering to log in to Instagram, create posts, and interact on a daily basis can be time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead, you can save time and energy by scheduling your Instagram posts using social media marketing software.
Not only will this free up time for you to spend elsewhere on your business, but it will make sure you’re showing up consistently in your follower’s feeds.
Every successful Instagram strategy needs a plan. This involves key information like what you want to achieve with Instagram, how you’re going to do it, and the results of your activities.
Check out our guide to writing a marketing plan for a step-by-step run through of how to do this.
Finally, get creative!
Instagram is a visual platform at heart that lends itself to wildly creative ideas. There are over one billion accounts today, which means it’s harder than ever to stand out in user feeds.
This is why it’s not enough to follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing. Instead, you have to think outside the box and keep your target audience in mind in order to be seen.
Instagram has an endless supply of features that can help you get to know your audience and serve them better.
If you’re not already tapping into it, now’s the time to do so. With the tips we’ve laid out here, you can make the most of the platform and build solid connections with your audience. As a result, you’ll grow your reach and make more sales - what’s not to like?!