Instagram for business: the definitive guide
Instagram for business and how not to use it that way? From the growth in popularity of Instagram Stories, to the latest expansion opportunities in advertising, it’s a great time to use Instagram commercially.
How can you get the most out of Instagram advertising for business? This post covers everything from starting and creating a content strategy, to building your brand and driving results. But before we start we want to make you clear why we should have an Instagram account for Companies?
If you are a SME or a large company, having an Instagram account for companies opens the doors to the metrics of your audience. Who follows you? What demographics do they share? How do they interact with your community? In any case, this is not the only benefit that this type of account will allow you to have. One of the best benefits to be able to project a reliable, business and uniform image to increase the security of your followers. In any case, we will talk about this and much more in more detail below.
How to set up an Instagram account for business
If you don’t have it yet, getting Instagram for business is very easy.
- Download the app on your mobile device from the Apple Store or Google Play (it’s free).
- If you don’t have an account you can create one from the app, or log in from your Facebook profile .
- Once you are in the application, you can switch to Business Mode in the settings menu.
- Once you have the business app you can include important information such as: office hours, location and a phone number.
These are some tips to optimize your Instagram profile for business.
Your username and bio
For easy search, your username on Instagram should match the username of your other brand profiles on social media.
The only additional information that appears on your public profile is your website (a URL, which you can change to promote new content or campaigns) and a short bio.
Use your bio to explain what your business is about and what people on your Instagram profile can expect. You should also include branded hashtags that you want your followers to use. Check out our post, including any advertising hashtags you want your followers to use.
Here are some Instagram instructions on how to edit your Instagram bio for business.
Your profile picture
Your profile picture on Instagram should probably be your business logo. Matching your other profile photos will help them to recognize you, as the people who follow you on Twitter or Facebook will immediately recognize your brand.
Your Instagram profile photo will be cut into a circle in the app, so make sure that the image you select looks good that way. Although the profile photo will be 110 pixels in diameter in the mobile app, please select a larger image as it will look larger on the Internet.
Learn how to change your profile picture on Instagram for business.
Follow other people
To boost the presence of your company on Instagram, you will have to follow many users. Find influencers in your industry, customers, and other people relevant to your brand and follow them.
Instagram demographics vary widely, so make sure you know exactly who you’re targeting. Search for industry hashtags and make your presence known by commenting on photos and following people who participate in these conversations. You would be surprised how quickly this can increase your number of followers on Instagram
Promote your Instagram account for companies
Add your Instagram business username to your web properties and other social profiles to promote the account. Additionally, you can send a message or two asking your followers on your other networks to follow you on Instagram as well.
Manage your presence on Instagram along with your other social profiles
Hootsuite makes it easy to manage and grow your presence on Instagram. From the same dashboard that you are already using for all your other networks, you can monitor comments and hashtags, interact with your audience, measure results, and schedule or post photos directly to Instagram.
Set goals on Instagram for business
All your Instagram efforts should be based on strategic goals. What does your business hope to achieve by using Instagram? Set goals that relate to department or company goals as a whole. For example:
- Increase product sales
- Generate traffic to your website
- Increase brand recognition
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Attract the best talent
- Identify and establish relationships with influencers
No matter what you’re trying to achieve, your Instagram goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely (or S.M.A.R.T., if you prefer acronyms).
Creating a content strategy on Instagram
Sporadically browsing Instagram, liking a few photos, and posting a photo of your dog’s face for the fourth time a week works well for someone using the platform.
But you need to have a more conscious marketing plan on Instagram for business if you want to create a strong community and real results for your company. Your strategy must comply with 4 key aspects.
1. Frequency and times to publish
You should have a posting calendar, but don’t fill your followers with posts. The smartest way to find out what works best for your business is by testing posts at different intervals and times so you can track the results. Once you’ve figured out the best pace, a shared content calendar is the best way to control what gets published and when.
2. Content themes
Varying the different content topics will keep things interesting for your followers, and will allow you to achieve different goals. For example, a higher education institute, whose goal is to increase recognition and attract new students, might use quizzes, graduate stories, and life within its facilities as its main content topics.
3. Style guidelines
Do you use emojis in your captions? Are there grammatical rules that your brand follows? What hashtags do you use? What kind of public photos? Are there visual cues that each post should stick to? Your style guidelines should cover all the ways your brand differentiates itself and maintains consistency. We will see in more detail how you can define these aspects in the next section.
4. Interaction rules
These rules should cover how and when your business should interact with other accounts on Instagram, from liking and commenting on other people’s photos to managing incoming comments on your own account. Pro tip: Don’t automate your interactions. We have tried and it does not work well.
Create an Instagram brand for business
On Instagram, the visual aspect prevails for the most part, so try to create a consistent and recognizable brand identity. Here are some ways you can do it.
Generate visual consistency
A WebDam report on the visuals on social media found that 60 percent of the top brands on Instagram use the same filter for every post. If you use the same filters over and over again, you will establish a style that will become recognizable to your followers. Because your goal is to stop Instagram users from scrolling once they see your image, (in order for them to interact with it by liking or commenting on it), the more they instantly recognize your photos, the better.
Check out 33 Acres Brewing Company, which uses white borders and a very white color palette in most of its Instagram photos. As you scroll through their news feed, the style is immediately recognized and you begin to match images that have these characteristics to the brewery.
Mobile photo editing apps like VSCOcam or Enhance may offer additional filters or editing options to help you discover your style. Even photos that have been edited or filtered in other applications can also be imported into Instagram.
Choose a specific theme
Visually, you must decide what content your publications will focus on. In some cases, the content will be obvious: a clothing line will display clothing, a restaurant will post photos of their dishes.
You don’t need to have a lifestyle brand to post such content. Hootsuite is a social media management solution, but our Instagram news section we post photos and videos of our staff, our dogs, and our offices.
Create a branded hashtag
Lastly, there are likely no visuals to add to your Instagram brand, such as common language or caption styling. A popular technique is the branded hashtag. This does not mean simply using your company name as a hashtag, it is about creating a hashtag that embodies your brand and motivates followers to share photos that adapt to that image.
Poler Stuff has not just one, but four branded hashtags (#campvibes, #adventuremobile, #bagitandtagit, and #beneaththebrim). #Adventuremobile is not directly related to any Poler product, but it does talk to its brand person about active outdoor living and has attracted hundreds of thousands of posts.
Be honest with your audience
Your business won’t be successful on Instagram just by imitating the strategy of other brands. What works with Starbucks or Red Bull will not necessarily work with a financial institution or non-profit organization. Focus on your audience and make sure you meet their interests and expectations. Analyze what works with your business on other social networks, the content that your audiences share on Instagram and how they interact with your competitors or similar brands.
Use of creativity with your Instagram content for companies
Take a photo, add a filter, and post it right away. It is not like this? That may have worked when Instagram was in its infancy, but the platform has matured and now provides many opportunities for businesses to share different kinds of engaging and interactive content. Here are some ways to get your imagination running wild and get creative with your Instagram content.
Don’t neglect the comments
Instagram is all about visually appealing content, but don’t neglect the comments that accompany each photo, these represent a great opportunity for your business to tell a story. Instagram comments allow you to explain an image, give it context and even make your followers laugh (especially if you are a professional with emojis). You can also link an image back to your company.
Use photo and video albums
You can add up to 10 photos and videos in a single Instagram post, giving users the opportunity to swipe and view each content individually. These albums offer companies a way to combine photos and videos to tell stories and convey information in a highly engaging way.
Take a Risk with Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories have quickly accumulated 250 million average users a day, and it seems that companies will not stop using them. Live stream and content removal features make Instagram Stories the perfect vehicle for businesses to take creative risks and create eye-catching photos and videos. For more information, see our post on how your business can use Instagram Stories.
Collaborate with influencers
Identify influencers on Instagram who are relevant to your brand or industry and start building a relationship. Give them control of your account for a day for a takeover, or ask if you can provide sponsored content on their own account. This could be a huge benefit as they will expose your brand to their huge Instagram community. While many influencers charge a lot of money for their services, even small and medium-sized businesses can use this tactic by partnering with local influencers. Learn more about this strategy in our guide to influencer marketing on social media.
Improving business results with Instagram business ads
Social media ads have proven to be an effective medium in generating new business, and Instagram ads are no exception. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to build brand awareness, get more website visits, or increase your mobile app downloads, Instagram ads can help you reach a huge and engaging audience.