Did you know there are more than one billion active users on Instagram around the world? And of those, roughly 90% follow at least one business. Plus, 50% confessed they are more interested in a brand if they see an advert for it on Instagram.
So really, you’d be crazy not to use Instagram for your business in 2021.
But how exactly do you go about doing this? Well, that’s what we’re here to help you with. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at four steps for using Instagram to boost your brand and grow your business this year.
1. Set up an Instagram business account
Firstly, you need to set yourself up a business account. If you’re not on Instagram yet, you can do this from scratch. Or, if you already have a personal account you want to use, you can switch this to a business account without much fuss.
However, it’s best to make sure your Instagram name and handle reflect the name of your company. Therefore, if your current personal account doesn’t reflect this, you might want to set up an entirely new account for your brand.
You should also align your Instagram name with your other social media accounts for consistency and creating brand identity.
2. Optimize your profile for business
Once you’ve got a business account set up, you need to optimize this for maximum results. But with an Instagram profile, you only have a small amount of space to do this, so you need to get it right.
There are several ways you can do this. These include:
- Writing a short but snappy bio about your business. It must be 150 characters or less, including line breaks and emojis where relevant and include a CTA
- Adding a link to your company website in your bio
- Adding any other relevant contact information as long as there is space
- Choosing a relevant profile picture. Many businesses choose to use their logo as their profile picture as it boosts the brand and is easily recognizable
- Adding story highlights and covers. For example, these could be images of your products
- Including configure action buttons if needed. This is only common for service-based businesses as it allows users to book or reserve appointments
If you do all of this, or at least as much of this as you can, then you can create an optimized business Instagram page that is user-friendly and can help you to win more followers and, ultimately, more customers.
3. Put together an Instagram strategy
In order to put together a strong Instagram strategy for your business, there are several steps you need to take.
Firstly you need to define your target audience. You can do this by:
- Determining who already buys from you
- Checking out your analytics on other social media platforms to see who your existing followers are and their demographics
- Do some research online into other brands and companies in your niche
Understanding your target audience in this way puts you in a better position to create content. You can then start looking at the type of content your existing customers post and engage with and use these insights to inform your strategy.
Secondly, you need to set out your goals and objectives. These could be ways of increasing your followers, deciding whether to run paid advertising and how often, and perhaps even considering partnering with influencers on the platform.
Once you’ve thought about what you want to achieve, you can begin to get a content calendar in place and start posting.
Then finally, you need to track your metrics on any existing posts you’ve shared. This way, you can adapt your Instagram strategy regularly for the best possible results.
4. Start sharing high-quality content
Finally, with a strategy and content calendar in place, you can now begin to create and share high-quality content that your target audience will love. Remember, though, for the most part, Instagram is about great visuals, you also need to put careful thought into your captions and hashtags.
It’s also a good idea to choose a theme for your profile, for example, always using a certain colour scheme or style of photograph. This creates consistency and makes your profile more visually appealing.
Of course, you need to make sure your content is relevant to your audience. So, if you’re a clothing brand, you might share images of your products. Then use your captions to shout about new designs, styles, sales or offers.
You can look at other brands in your niche to help inspire you. Just be careful you don’t completely copy their style.
To help you get photos that will win you likes, comments and shares, we’ve also put together a few tips below:
- Use natural light as much as possible and avoid harsh light that can make your images too dark or unfocused
- Keep your theme in mind at all times to make sure your photos always complement one another and your brand
- Try to experiment with different angles, such as crouching down or standing on an object to get higher up
- Sometimes simplicity is the key. If you can make your images beautiful but visually very easy, this can be all it takes to get a like
- Use editing tools to fix the contrast, colors, brightness, etc. There are plenty of free and paid-for tools out there you can use
5. Write compelling captions
Finally, you need to write compelling captions for your images. These might give insights and tell stories about your brand. Alternatively, you can post about new offerings or sales, do ‘meet the team’ portfolios or just add a really simple caption that speaks for itself.
You should also do some research into the ideal hashtags for your brand and business. This will help to attract the right people. You can do this by looking at similar profiles and by using specifically designed tools that help you to generate the perfect hashtags for maximum reach.
Get creative with your captions, and over time, you’ll be able to compare these against one another to see what your audience prefer. For example, do they enjoy lengthy captions that tell a story or is three words usually enough to engage them?
Are you ready to make the most of Instagram?
Once you’ve got your business account set up, you can start sharing great content on Instagram right away. Be sure to optimize your profile as much as possible to make it easier for your target audience to find you and to increase your visibility online.
By getting a good content strategy in place right away and using our tips above, you can ensure you’re sharing great content that your audience genuinely wants to engage with. So, what are you waiting for? Do more with your Instagram account this year and you could be surprised by how quickly you see results
About the author
Stuart Cooke is the Blog Editor at Irish Parcels, a courier comparison service that helps businesses find the best shipping solutions for their products.