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How to Optimize Instagram for Business

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Instagram is home to over 600 million users, 400 million of which are active on the social media network every day. So it’s no surprise that about 15 million registered businesses use Instagram to promote their products or services, with about 1 million active advertisers every month.

If you’re not one of the businesses that take advantage of this platform’s potential for leads and sales, it’s about time you take Instagram seriously. Aside from these stats, here’s why you should optimize Instagram for your business:

Reach more people

According to WordStream, an Instagram ad led to over 120 million Instagrammers visiting a company’s website, getting store directions, emailing, calling or sending a direct message to learn about a company’s product or service all throughout March 2017. There’s a huge potential for reaching more people who might be interested in what your business has to offer.

Increase sales

Instagram has a ton of visual shoppers, which means these users are triggered to buy a product they see presented in image form. Businesses who make an effort to create head-turning photos lead to more clicks to their websites, and higher sales conversion. Plus, if your company has assigned someone to man the Instagram account for following engagement, your business is more likely to be noticed by Instagrammers.

Expand online presence

It’s more than likely that your business already has a Facebook page and Twitter account. By adding Instagram into the mix, you’ll be able to expand your reach and take advantage of another marketing platform for your business. The cool thing about social media networks is that they make it easy to link between each other, so businesses can connect Facebook to Instagram and Instagram to Twitter without rearranging your company’s marketing plans significantly.

Joining Instagram is only the first step though. Getting Insta-famous is going to be more of a challenge, especially since many brands have mastered the art of Instagramming by now. So how can you compete?

10 Tips Businesses Should Follow to Succeed on Instagram

As with any other social media network, there are both successful and ineffective ways to promote a business. If you just decided to give your company an Instagram account, it’s best you do it right the first time. Follow these ten tried-and-tested tips to succeed with Instagram:

1. Choose Your Username Wisely and Take Advantage of Your Profile Space

Whenever someone uses Instagram’s search feature, the results list down photos and accounts that may be relevant to the search query. If someone looks for your brand, but your username or profile doesn’t indicate your company name, you immediately lost potential business. Make sure the username you choose helps Instagram determine your brand name.

Instagram only has limited space for links, which is why many businesses fail to prioritize Instagram with their marketing efforts. But if you use your account profile properly, adding a link to your website, and tweaking your 150-character bio section regularly, your company will be able promote events, new products, and other timely information right there where it matters.

2. Optimized Hashtags

Instagram does hashtags the best of all social media networks. These tags enable Instagrammers to follow you based on your posts. When you use hashtags properly, you’ll be able to attract users that are interested in what you have to offer. In addition, posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those without – this according to a study by SimplyMeasured.

Because Instagram doesn’t put a maximum cap on hashtags, you should use it effectively by researching what hashtags to use. You can check Websta to get some ideas, or manually search random brand-related hashtags and see which ones people have used.

3. Be Proactive in Finding Your Target Market

Instagram has a “Discover” tab that lets users find photos that are relevant to them. Since you’re new to the platform, you can use this tab to find people who have uploaded photos of your products in the past and connect with them.

4. Always Post High-Quality Photos

Instagram is a social media network that revolves around amazing visual content. If you’re serious about taking over Instagram, your company has to produce the best photos to share. Of course, the photos must share your brand’s voice, goals, and personality to get your message across.

5. Try Instagram Stories

This slideshow-formatted content may only be live on Instagram for 24 hours, but these stories are displayed at the top of a follower’s timeline. Meaning, simply creating an Instagram Stories increase your company’s chances of being seen in the fast-moving world of Instagram. This feature also gives brands plenty of space to show off their creativity, since videos, GIFs, photos, live videos can be mixed with stickers, face filters and more. Plus, Stories also has its own search function.

If your company has extra marketing budget, you can even turn an Instagram Stories into an ad and include click-to-action buttons anywhere. The photo-sharing company made this tool available to companies only in March 2017.

6. Get to Know the Trends

Don’t expect to use Instagram as purely for advertising. In order to succeed in this platform, you have to be in with the times. This means that the person who will be assigned to your company’s Instagram account must be up-to-date with trends to be able to connect to the masses. It will also serve your company well to know what’s being talked about on Instagram – if the topic is relevant to your industry, you can use #hashtag to your advantage.

7. Hold Contests

If your business is new to Instagram, the best way to get noticed is to hold contests in exchange for prizes. It’s one of the most effective, yet free, promotions brands use to capture the attention of new followers. And because of the viral nature of hashtags, including a hashtag to your contest ensures your brand gets as much free publicity as possible.

8. Update Daily

Instagrammers want content updated quickly and regularly. According to a study on Forbes, over 70% of Instagram users avoid accounts that are not regularly updated. If they see your business account with an outdated post, your account might even be unfollowed. Make sure you include Instagram into your social media content calendar to maintain your company’s presence on the platform.

9. Shout-Out Influencers

The cool thing about social media is that it has created an entirely new category of celebrities known as influencers, who are popular on their respective platforms. These influencers sometimes team up with brands to promote certain products or services. Note that influencers are paid real cash to become brand ambassadors, so companies may require some investment for the added promotional boost.

10. Use Instagram’s Business Tools

Businesses can pay for three kinds of ads – carousel, video and photo. Instagram provides businesses with a comprehensive analytics dashboard, which allow you to study how your paid ads are performing through data on engagement, impressions, shares, insights and more.

The Bottom Line

By the end of 2017, eMarketer has projected that about 70.7% of U.S. companies will use Instagram for marketing. If this turns out true, Instagram will move past Twitter for the first time since its launch. If Instagram isn’t included in your company’s marketing strategies yet, maybe this article will encourage you into joining the world’s #1 photo-sharing platform.

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