Instagram is typically a social media outlet people expect to use for only personal reasons. Personal selfies and pictures of your kids don’t usually fall under your business marketing strategies. Fortunately though, Instagram can and is being used for so much more in terms of business, branding, and advertising. Believe it or not, Instagram can be a very powerful digital tool for businesses. Like LinkedIn, Facebook and other platforms, Instagram doesn’t currently provide “Business” pages for marketers and business owners. When one opens a business profile, the page will operate and look just like a personal profile. The point though, is to make sure you use the platform in a business matter, with specific marketing guidelines and Instagram best business practices while representing your brand.
Here are some helpful tips for using Instagram for your business:
1. Use a Consistent, Professional Profile Photo
When I consult with clients, this rule is always #1 for me and my client’s brands. This post is specifically about Instagram but all of your social media pages and profiles for your brand/business should use the same profile photo. Your photo is the first thing people see when they find you on social media and if its consistent, trust will begin here between you and your potential clients. Instagram is no exception. Whether you use a logo or a photo on your social media pages, always use the same one on your Instagram account.
2. Use a Legitmate and Recognizable Name
The name you use should be your business name or very, very close to if you are worried about characters or length. For Instagram for business, make your name and username the same and make sure it flows with your other pages in which you have a presence on. For example, if your name is Paulson’s AV, you can easily create your Instagram handle to @PaulsonsAV if its not already taken. If it is, use @PaulsonsAVStore or something in that nature.
3. Create an Honest and Trustworthy Bio
When creating your bio, you have 150 characters to do it right in Instagram. I recommend keeping your bio quite similar to that on your business website, your business Facebook page and Twitter page. Share what your business is about, what services you offer and what products you deliver/sell. Make it trustworthy and consistent with your business.
Instagram allows one place to put a clickable link within the bio section. Place your web address in this space to take people to your website, which is your digital business card and professional listing that they may need to go to anyway. This will build even more trust and will allow people to spend time on your website to hopefully learn more about your products and services and make purchases if you offer that option.
4. Implement a Strategy
If you want to be successful on Instagram for business marketing, you need to have a successful strategy planned out. You need to have a consistent posting schedule, know who your audience is, and what you need to grow your audience and reach your professional goals. You will also need to track your progress and make adjustments accordingly if you’re not seeing the results you are hoping to see.
5. Be a Good Social Marketer
In my opinion, there are business people out there that focus way too much on ROI and numbers. These are important but it’s not the only bottom line when it comes to your digital efforts. You are now on social media as a business owner because, lets be honest, so are your competitors and you have to be to keep up in the current world if you want your business to succeed. We live in a digital world and if you’re not on social media you could be hurting your business more than helping it grow. Like other platforms, Instagram is a place to support other brands, share a good word and OCCASIONALLY sell your products and brand to others. It’s a place to interact and engage with your audience. Don’t only post photos about your products or business. Share photos of your employees, community events, charities you support, motivational quotes that make sense for your line of work etc. Create a personality, a likable one. Don’t just sell.
6. Create and Use Hashtags Appropriately
Hashtags are a way of categorizing a conversation and/or subject. When on Instagram for business, you should always use hashtags. When creating a marketing strategy, don’t forget to create a branded hashtag to use on your social media and on Instagram. This will increase your reach and exposure. However, it’s important that you use them properly. Always include 5-7 relevant hashtags on each post, more than that is not necessary and can be annoying to your followers. “Relevant” means it must make sense to your brand. For example, if you sell speakers and televisions your hashtag should not be #potsandpans.
7. Be Active and Engaging
There is no point to be on social media including Instagram if you are not active on a consistent basis and engaging with your community and clients. If you’re only on once or twice a week, you’re not going to see the positive results your competitors do. You or your social media manager should be posting at least once a day and checking in on a regular basis to answer questions and/or respond to the comments on your posts. You should also leave positive and supportive comments on other’s posts. “Like” posts and comment on other posts to show your support. This will build trust and relationships.
There you have it. Seven helpful Instagram tips to help your business grow. Good luck!