Statistics show that 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business account. Whether you’re just starting to build your brand on Instagram or it’s simply time for a refresh, with over 1.16 billion users, it’s undoubtedly a fantastic marketing tool – if you know-how. Fear not, here are our top twenty Instagram marketing tips to get you started!
Create Your Account
Starting with the basics – create an Instagram account! Even if you already have one, consider the below points as a mini audit to ensure you’re maximising your account.
- Profile Picture: You’re limited to one small profile picture on Instagram, unlike Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter who also allow space for a cover photo, so use it wisely. Your profile picture should be your company logo, and be sure to position it clearly within the circle space provided.
- Name: Your Instagram Name is the name that appears at the top of your profile in bold – this shouldn’t be mistaken for your Username (see below). Your Instagram Name can be up to 30 characters long and can only be changed twice within 14 days. This should be your business name.
- Username: Your username is your ‘@’ handle and is also limited to 30 characters but must be unique to you. Your username can only contain letters, numbers, periods, and underscores. Ideally, this will also be your business name or as close to it as possible.
- Website: You can choose whether to include your business website or a link tree URL, which will allow you to include ‘Link in Bio’ on your posts and not worry about changing the link each time you post.
- Bio: your Instagram Bio is limited to 150 characters, so be sure to include as many of your key points or USP’s as possible here.
Convert To A Professional Account
Next, if you’re using Instagram to promote a business, you should convert to a professional account. You can do this in settings or under ‘Edit Profile‘. A professional Instagram account will allow you to view insights about your followers and content, as well as share additional contact information on your profile.
Furthermore, once you have an account suitable for a business, you will be able to run paid promotions to increase your reach and exposure.
More info on Instagram Professional Account here: blog
Followers and Following
Now, it’s time to build your network…
Following Other Accounts
The easy half of this stage is following relevant accounts. As tempting as it may be to follow loads of accounts in the hopes they follow back, this could lead to a low-quality audience (who won’t go on to engage with your content) and a timeline full of irrelevant posts.
Consider who on Instagram is relevant to your businesses and industry and follow accounts related to them. You will likely gain a few follow-backs from this activity, but this isn’t the only way to gain followers.
You can grow your Instagram followers in several ways, including:
- Regularly sharing creative and engaging content on your Grid and Stories
- Including relevant hashtags in your posts
- Share your profile link outside of Instagram, such as your Website or Email Footers
Don’t forget we’re only on step three; if you stick with us all the way to 20, you’ll learn more tricks of the ‘gram.
Define Your Objectives
You’re looking to use Instagram as a marketing platform, so you need to apply some strategic, best practice thinking to what you’re doing and why. By defining your Instagram marketing objectives, you’re giving yourself or your team a measurable end goal to aim for.
You may wish to use Instagram to engage better with existing customers, or perhaps you’re hoping to reach new audiences? Either way, outlining your key objectives is an excellent place to start.
Form A Strategy
Once you know what you’re looking to achieve from the platform, consider your marketing strategy. You may wish to first spend some time ‘getting to know’ Instagram to ensure you’re getting the most out of your time on the platform. However, once you have a strategy in place, it will go from haphazardly posting to a Social Media platform to actively promoting your brand and working towards your objectives.
Digital Tone Of Voice
A brands tone of voice may differ industry by industry, but it could also change platform by platform. Your Instagram copy’s manner may be a lot more relaxed and punchy than what you’re sharing to LinkedIn, for example.
Understand that your audience may be different on Instagram, plus it’s a more visual space, so copy tends to be the afterthought. However, never lose your brand tone of voice, as this will help you stand out.
As part of your Instagram marketing strategy and perfecting your digital tone of voice, you should plan out your content. A Social Media content plan should cover each platform you’re posting to and highlight what you’re sharing, how and when.
Consider what creative assets you need to share alongside the copy and whether you’re going to schedule this in advance or not. Schedules could be monthly or quarterly, but don’t let this stop you from sharing any topical content ad-hoc.
As above, Hashtags are a great way to increase your Instagram reach and support your brand exposure. However, it’s critical that you’re reaching the right audience; otherwise, all your efforts will be wasted.
Hashtag research includes looking at the most commonly used Hashtags amongst your customer, competitors, and industry. Start by incorporating Hashtags relevant to you and those you’re trying to reach and monitor what works. You can include Hashtags in your copy, under a post as a comment and even in your Stories.
Instagram Advertising Budget
Where possible, it’s strongly advised to include Instagram Advertising in your Marketing Budgets because it will allow you to reach larger audiences with specific keyword targeting. Instagram Ads are also one of only two ways to share content on the platform with fully clickable (and trackable) links.
If you have a professional Instagram account, then you should take the time to understand the Instagram insights available and monitor your results regularly. These insights include:
- Number of Accounts Reached
- Content Interactions
- Total Followers
- Profile Visits
Influencers aren’t new to Marketing as brands have been looking to famous faces to endorse them for years. However, the art of just ‘anybody’ influencing using Instagram as their key platform is often underutilised by businesses.
The availability of influencers will vary from industry to industry, and there will be certain terms attached to their agreements with businesses, such as products or payment.
Nonetheless, businesses should know who the key influencer names are in the industry around them and absolutely consider utilising them to grow their reach.
Your Instagram Grid
You’re Instagram ‘Grid’ is the profile space you share your images to. Some businesses chose to introduce a ‘theme’ to their grid posts to make their account more aesthetically pleasing, but it’s worth noting here that it’s quite a commitment!
You can ‘archive’ your grid posts, and these are the ones that will likely make up the bulk of your content planner so you can ensure you’re sharing a balance of posts with strong visuals.
Instagram Stories, on the other hand, last for just 24-hours (unless you add them to a Highlight) and so tend to be more relaxed and spontaneous. Although you should consider planning your Story content in advance to ensure you’re posting regularly, there’s something about the 24-hour deadline that helps keep things fresh.
Instagram Stories are also a great tool to drive engagement as there are several interactive stickers available, such as Polls, Q&A and Reminders. 58% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories to it’s a vital part of Instagram marketing.
If you have over 10,000 followers, you ‘unlock’ the ability to add a ‘Swipe Up’ link to your Stories to encourage your audience to leave the app and head over to another website.
As above, Instagram Stories typically only last 24-hours. However, Instagram has added a ‘Highlights’ feature, which allows users to save their Stories. Highlights appear at the top of your profile, and you can add custom cover images to include a little branding.
If, for example, you’re sharing evergreen content on Stories, such as a product tutorial, you can save this in Highlights to allow you and your customers a place to refer back to.
Video uploads on Instagram must be no longer than 60-seconds. However, Instagram TV (IGTV) allows you to upload longer videos – up to 60 minutes – and is Instagram’s version of YouTube.
You may be thinking it’s all well and good Instagram giving you a platform to share video content, but it’s still costly to produce… enter: Reels.
Instagram Reels are a new way to create and discover videos up to 15-seconds long within the Instagram App. Users can shoot, edit, add filters or music, and publish their Reels within one handy platform. These are a fantastic way for businesses to get creative and share content on Instagram and other Social Media platforms.
Going Live on Instagram will allow your audience to interact with you in real-time and build a rapport with your brand. Lives are an excellent opportunity to answer questions, give demos and put a face to the business.
The more you encourage engagement via Lives, the higher the chances of customers continuing to engage on your content day by day.
If Instagram as a marketing tool wasn’t enough, they’re now working towards establishing themselves as a sales platform, too, with the addition of Instagram Shops.
List your products with images, descriptions and prices, and enable your audience to browse within the app. You can then choose to direct traffic off to your website.
As we’ve mentioned throughout, even if you’re sharing the best content going, it means very little if you’re not getting any engagement from your audience.
The best way to encourage engagement is to set the standard and initiate the conversation. Use your platform to connect with your audience, and be sure always to engage back!
Last but not least, evolve! Instagram, and Social Media in general, is a very fast-paced and ever-evolving industry, so you need to keep up.
Try new features, stay in the loop and understand what works for your audience but also you as a business. Keep setting new objectives and working hard to meet them.
If you feel like you can’t crack this alone, fear not – there are experts on hand to help.