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For many small business owners, Instagram may seem intimidating or maybe even "irrelevant" for your brand. According to Instagram, 80% of users say they follow at least one business on the app, with 60% hearing about a product and service through the platform. Chances are if you are trying to appeal to a younger demographic, it's essential to make your mark in the "IG" World. Instagram can be a powerful tool for marketing your business while giving your potential customers a bit more personal insight into your brand. This tool can also be used to gather information on your target audience. Here I'll lay out 7 go-to tips to get your Instagram for Business journey off to a strong start and get you on the way to securing Checkmate. Read through till the end, I have a little bonus for you !
Converting to an Instagram business account has several benefits for your brand. As with most aspects of your company, measuring stats and numbers might be high on your priority list to ensure you’re delivering quality products and services to your clients. Online content should be the same. With Instagram for Business you get access to analytics about your followers and posts, the ability to promote Instagram posts as ads and a more professional looking profile.
Know your Audience
Before getting into the swing of producing awesome content, it’s first super important to know who it is you’re creating this content for. This premise not only applies to Instagram but to any other platform and marketing venture. Knowing your target audience makes it way easier to create and curate content that is tailored to their needs, as well as, to increase the likelihood of you “making that sale”. Creating a brand persona, coupled with paying close attention to those awesome insights Instagram provides you with, can really help to keep you on the right track.
Gone are the days when Instagram was just a platform for scrolling through a bunch of images. Users of instagram are constantly looking to be engaged with. Providing them with ways to do so with your brand is a great asset to your business! Engaging with your audience not only boosts your chance of being seen in user timelines, it also gives your business a more human feel.
Your engagement can start with a simple comment, reply or post like from a follower, which you can then leverage and begin to interact with that fan. You’ll never know where that interaction could lead you, they could become your next client or best referrer! DMs, mentions, shout outs and replies are a few ways to engage with your audience but when engaging be mindful not to come off as too “robotic” or dry. Invest time in engagement, add a little wit and warmth to it, that’s how you build relationships with persons who are likely to invest in your brand.
There are several methods to creating engagement opportunities! I'll talk a bit more about that in a future blog!
Instagram is all about the visuals, so investing time to capture or curate quality imagery is a definite win for your business. Having the perfect picture doesn’t necessarily mean hiring the most pricey photographer to get images or spending thousand of dollars on stock photography (unless you’re a photographer or stock photo provider).
While visually appealing images are a must for effective Instagram marketing, keeping those images true to your brand while appealing to your intended audience is equally as important. That’s where the perfect comes in. When posting think about the who, what, why and when. Even when reposting, be sure to be mindful of the effect it might have on your “grid appeal”. Will it add value to your overall page aesthetics? If so, go for it! You also want to make sure your images are simple and not too wordy (copy heavy).
Here are a few pages with awesome grid appeal.
Captions are Key!
Your caption is where your potential customers get a bit more context about the product you’re introducing or just your overall tone of voice. Wording is key here. Just like your images/video, you want to ensure you’re speaking to the right persons in a way they’ll understand, while encouraging them to talk back or take an action.
Make your captions more appealing with emojis! There's no doubt that Instagram is a visual platform, this includes your captions! Adding an emoji only adds to your visual appeal as well and makes users feel a bit more connected to your message. According to Engadget, nearly 50% of captions and comments on Instagram contain at least one emoji so go for it, but don't over do it!
#Hashtags are your Friends
Instagram allows you to list 30 hashtags…. Use them! While 30 hashtags might seem a bit much, it’s a great way for your content to get seen through a wider cross section of timelines organically. When done right, hashtags can even garner more engagement than a poorly boosted post. But before you go attaching all the words you can think of to your posts, you have to be strategic here as well.
Time it right
As a general observation across most social media platforms, engagement is typically higher first thing in the morning and after 6pm with a slight spike between 12pm to 2pm daily EST. This can be a bit difficult for businesses working 9 to 5 as there’s a smaller window for them to get messages out in time for peak viewership.
The new algorithm Instagram has implemented can actually help you to get over that hump. You might have noticed in your own personal feed, that sometimes you’re fed content as far back as 4 days ago (or more in some instances). If you time your posts for peak engagement times, use the relevant hashtags and garner enough engagement during those key moments; you have a better chance of your content being fed through timelines for a longer time! Mind blowing right? It's all about timing and strategy.
NB. A great way to keep on track with posting is with third party Instagram scheduling tools. It always helps to plan and schedule in advance. I'll list my faves in an upcoming blog!
Get creative with Instagram Stories
A great way to get people to see your content is through Instagram Stories. The Stories feature can give even more insight into your brand through creative “storytelling” while allowing you to get insight into the behaviour of your audience through features like Instagram Polls. Stories are also a great way to bypass the timeline and avoid over posting or spamming users.
According to Instagram, Instagram Stories has helped to increase the amount of time people spend on the network. Users under 25 years old spend more than 32 minutes a day on the platform, while those over 25 spend more than 24 minutes a day. Here are a few simple ways to make your stories interesting.
Instagram has over 800 million monthly active users. This is definitely a market you want to tap into if you are looking to engage a wide network. With several useful and regular updates there's always an opportunity to find a method that works for engaging your target audience and to make it work for your business!
Meet The Author
Chauntae is our Digital Content Queen. Her alter ego is Nefertiti, she loves kids and binge watching Netflix series. If purple were a planet she would rule it. As a Chic Chick, she's constantly searching for new ways to represent @be.business.chic .
Yep, she's on Instagram! @chauniebu