Making Instagram Work for Your Business in 2019
Are you a business owner?
Do you have an Instagram Business account?
Are you marketing your business on Instagram?
Are you struggling to make it work and generate sales?
Imagine you could physically travel through cyberspace to a place called The Social Media Market. Finding parking would be a serious challenge as you compete with 3.2 billion others pushing and shoving their way to the most popular spots. The Facebook stall is the most visited one, attracting more than 2.17 billion excited market goers every year. Right next door is Instagram, with its 800 million monthly active users waving and shouting for attention. Roughly 60% of this noisy crowd visits Instagram every day, apart from the 25 million companies visiting to advance their business. You might also notice that a good portion of the Instagram enthusiasts have come all the way from Central and Southern Asia, with their visits to the Market having gone up by 90% and 33% respectively, compared to last year.
Yes, it’s highly competitive out there. Getting ahead of the pack is no easy task, so you will have to make sure you are better equipped than the others. Build and nurture your profile and business account with care, make sure your message reaches the right people, have interesting and useful things to say, say them often and regularly, and answer your fans when they talk to you. Our journey to the Market has just begun. Buckle up as we take you on an exciting ride and show you how to beat the crowds.
Create a Business Account
Focus on your customers, drive sales and cut out the noisy bunch with a business account. If you already have a personal Instagram account and you are running a business, chances are you have content available that you can easily convert to a business account. If you switch, you keep your followers and the accounts you follow, as well as all your content. Switching gives you access to all Instagram’s business features, which has unique advantages:
- Your customers can contact you: You can include your email address, phone number, or physical address so fans can connect with you directly from your profile. When you add contact information, Instagram creates corresponding buttons (Call, Email, or Get Directions) for your profile.
- Your customers can see what you do: A handy Category pointer appears under your name and shows people at a glance what you do.
- Your customers can take action: You can add Action buttons to enable your customers to make reservations, buy tickets, and more, right from your Instagram profile. From your business profile, simply tap Edit Profile, then Contact Options, then Add an action button.
|Tip Box: How to Create an Instagram Business Account
Brag a Bit
It’s okay to show off! If you are going to beat the rest to the line, you want to look your best. So, it’s show & tell time: show them your best side and tell them what makes your product or service special. You already entered some basic profile information when you first created your Instagram business account (great!), now polish it for best results.
It’s a good idea to use a sharp, optimised version of your business logo as your profile pic. Make sure it’s good quality and the same one you use on your other social profiles for consistency.
Here’s some inside info: Your profile photo displays as 110 x 110 pixels, but it’s stored at 320 x 320 pixels. That means it’s a good idea to upload a photo at least 320 pixels square to ensure you’re ready if Instagram changes how profile photos are displayed. Your profile pic is cropped into a photo on the app, so make sure your logo is fully visible in this shape.
Don’t skimp on your Instagram bio. It’s only 150 characters long, so make sure you get to the point quickly, effectively and creatively. Remember, it tells first-time visitors who you are, what your brand is all about, and why they should care.
If you’re getting nervous about this because you’re not a writer and suffer from instant writer’s block, we have your back. Here are some quick tips:
- What would your brand say? Let your brand do the talking and show its personality. You know what your brand is about, so display it. Think of it as a billboard – what would your billboard say if you had to put it up at our Social Media Market next to your closest competitor? Allow your brand’s “voice” to be as sexy, inviting, cheeky or business-like as need be. If it’s honest, people will get it.
- Include hashtags: You know them, those innocent-looking little #symbols. Use them! Instagram bio hashtags are clickable and are a great way to guide your fans to your content.
- Use emojis: These little symbols are always popular and fun, and they often say a lot more than words do. Be creative!
- Make it readable: Remember how busy it is at our Market, so be sure your message is designed for a quick-read. Use line breaks and spaces to make it convenient to read.
Getting the attention of the crowd at our Market is difficult enough, getting the wrong people’s attention is a waste of very precious time! Make sure you create content that is designed and aimed carefully at the customers you want to attract. Keep in mind that the vast majority of Instagram users are under the age of 35, with about 30% between the ages 18 and 24, and another 30% between 25 and 34. There’s a fairly close split between male and female users.
So, who buys your product? These are the customers you want to talk to, so determine who already buys from you. Check the analytics on your other social media channels to learn who follows you there and do some thorough competitor research.
Once you understand who your audience is, think about what kind of content they want to see from you. What kind of content do they post on their own accounts? How do they interact with your competitors or similar brands?
Create Great Content
Instagram is all about the visuals, so it’s important to be visually on target and competitive. They’re your billboards at the Market, so to speak.
Use pictures that are compelling and consistent in style. That means consistent colors and filters and an overall aesthetic that is easy to spot as your fans scroll through their Instagram feed. And scroll they do – all the time, and they don’t mind dishing out compliments:
- Users under the age of 25 spend 32 minutes a day on the platform, while those over 25 spend 24 minutes a day on it.
- Instagram users dole out more than 4.2 billion likes every day.
- 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business on Instagram.
But it’s not only about pictures. Captions are important information partners of images because users look at the captions if they want more information. They enable you to tell the story that makes the photo meaningful, which helps connecting your customers to your brand.
Tell a Story
Instagram Stories offers such a great way to enhance your content and make it more compelling. More than 400 million people use Instagram Stories every day, and 39 percent of people surveyed said they became more interested in a product or band after seeing it on Stories. In fact, a third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are posted by businesses. Around 50% of businesses make regular use of Instagram Stories. Make sure you are part of that 50%.
With so much going on at the Market, you have to repeat your message over and over again, and again, before people start hearing it. So, be prepared to post content, good content, consistently and regularly. The top Instagram brands post, on average, 4.9 times per week. Once you start building a following on Instagram, your fans will expect to see posts from you on a regular basis. Remember, roughly 60% of Instagram users access the platform daily. You want to keep them aware of your brand and engaged with your content.
You also want to post when most eyes will see your content. Visiting the Market at the crack of dawn might help with finding parking but there will be nobody to see your product, so make sure your timing is right. There’s no one time that’s best to post for all businesses. Hootsuite and Unmetric analyzed 200,000 Instagram posts in 11 different industries and determined that the best time to post on Instagram varies greatly depending on your industry. The Food and Beverage industry, for example, finds the most success posting at 12 pm.
The key factor is to understand when your audience is online. Here’s how you can access this information:
- Go to your Instagram business profile
- Click the three bars icon in the top right
- Click Insights
- Click on the Audience tab and scroll down to see active times
Once you determine your best time to post, create a content calendar to plan and schedule your Instagram content in advance, with tools like Onlypult.
Instagram has a follower interaction rate of 2.2%, higher than any other social network. As Facebook refocuses on connecting people with content from family and friends, Instagram has become “the new home for brands,” where engagement is high, followers are brand-loyal, and real business goals can be achieved.
Influencer marketing is a powerful way of gaining access to an engaged and loyal Instagram following by working with an Influencer whose fans might be interested in your brand. Even small brands with limited budgets can use influencer marketing by working with micro-influencers: people with a smaller but dedicated following.
Look out for our next blog for real-world insights on how to best work with Instagram influencers to grow your Instagram business following.
As we said, Instagram hashtags are searchable, and helps guiding users to your content. Instagram posts with hashtags tend to get 12.6% more engagement than those without. It’s a great way to get your content out there and get the attention of new followers.
Remember: this is social marketing. You can’t neglect the social aspect. That means responding to comments and mentions of your brand on Instagram, so users feel motivated to keep engaging with your brand.
It takes some effort, of course, but it’s worth it in the end as your customers feel special and noticed and, best of all, tend to tell others about it.
Measure and Amend
Once you’re using Instagram to promote your business, you need to check in regularly to see how you’re doing. Track the results of individual posts, ads, and stories, as well as your Instagram business account as a whole. There are a lot of numbers to keep an eye on, and it can be daunting, but there are plenty of analytics tools to help you such as:
In Parting …
Instagram is going to be a great tool for your business in 2019. Always think of social cyberspace as a marketplace, imagine putting up a billboard for your brand at the Market and getting the attention of that vast crowd. Then let your brand do the talking. The results might astound you!
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