Instagram - the land of photos. The internet of all things images. And also one of the most popular social media platforms of all time. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Instagram was specifically designed for mobile apps and mobile users. With over one billion Instagram users online each day, uploading photos, videos, and 24-hour long stories, more businesses than ever are climbing aboard the Insta-train to see how to use Instagram for business.
Business owners, from small to enterprise, everywhere have started creating profiles for their brands, storefronts and product-lines in order to reach their ideal audiences - new and existing. Unlike some platforms, it’s completely free to make a business Instagram profile and there are many ways to gain a following on Instagram without spending any money.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it's not, and that's why we want to give you the best tips about how to use Instagram for business.
So, why all the fuss about Instagram for business?
Instagram was originally meant for individual users to just share pictures, but now business owners have learned to use the platform to their advantage. From promoting new products, offering trials and promoting events, if utilized properly, Instagram can be a valuable resource for your business. Here are a few reasons why Instagram is all the social-rage with businesses:
On Instagram, all businesses have a level playing field. Any size business can thrive on Instagram. With the massive network of users on Instagram, there's literally an audience out there for every business to attract. When companies create a solid Instagram strategy and a fully optimized profile, businesses can grow a large following quickly. From small to enterprise, every company has to put in an almost equal amount of effort to get followers, so most businesses start out on an equal playing field.
Businesses can make money on Instagram. An amazing benefit of having a business profile on Instagram is the ability for businesses to make money directly on the platform via e-commerce. You can add a ‘Shop’ tab to your profile that allows users to look through products and purchase directly from your Instagram. Businesses can even tag their products that they show in their posts - making it even easier for followers to purchase.
Easy access to influencers. A staple of Instagram with some of them acquiring millions of followers, Influencers have saturated Instagram. Through the platform, businesses have been known to regularly partner with influencers to quickly promote like-minded products or services. Working with a well-known influencer can place businesses in front of users who otherwise may have never had the opportunity to come across your business.
Quick insights and access to data. When making posts on Instagram through a business profile, businesses can view insights to see how well their activities are performing - as well as if they're not. It's imperative to know what your audience typically responds to, so this type of information can be very valuable when trying to achieve your KPIs.
How to use Instagram for business
Now that we've provided some insight into why investing in Instagram can help your business, understanding how to literally start using it would be helpful, right? It isn’t too difficult to understand how to use Instagram for business, but we've put together some key starting points to help you avoid the missteps of starting things off on the right foot.
Create a business account. An Instagram account can either be a personal account or business account, so make sure that you're setting up a business account. This allows you to run promotions, view insights, and set up that handy Instagram e-commerce shop we mentioned earlier. If you’ve already made a profile for your business under a personal account, you'll need to switch that over in your account settings.
Narrow down your audience. Since Instagram hosts over a billion accounts, it’s imperative for you to make sure to narrow down who your audience is before you start trying to create a brand on Instagram. When you know as much as possible about your ideal customer, or audience, creating content with corresponding ad campaigns will yield a higher return for you, quickly.
Post quality images. Instagram was originally made to allow users to share pictures, so it’s no surprise that the platform is still focused on capturing audience attention with visuals. Using only a phone, your business can generate great images - so there's no need for you to spend incredible amounts of cash on expensive photography equipment. Your images should also have intent, meaning that they have a purpose. Cats photos are great and can draw a large audience, but if you're a candy shop, that cat better be your mascot otherwise, overtime, the quality of your page will decline. Basically, the growth-hacking approach will only take you so far.
Don’t underestimate captions. While Instagram is a visual space, that doesn’t mean you should forgo using captions. Be careful though, as Instagram will cut off your text after the first two lines, so capturing your audience in the fewest possible words is key. However, making longer captions to convey important information is OK - it all depends on what you're trying to accomplish with your post. Entertaining and relevant captions typically perform the best when trying to extend your reach.
Use stories AND highlights. Instagram stories are a relatively new part of Instagram’s design and have become vital to businesses on the platform. They disappear after 24 hours, but are a great way to engage your followers. With the ‘swipe up’ option, you can also encourage people to visit your website or a product page - further increasing the value of Instagram. Using Instagram highlights on your profile will let you permanently display any of your stories. This gives followers another place to find information, like learning more about your products and services.
If done right, Instagram can bring your business’ social media presence to a whole new level. There are several free features that will let you cultivate your unique profile to show what your business is all about. A mixture of these features, and maybe a few paid promotions, and you're off to the races with how to use Instagram for business.
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