With more than 500 million users and over 95 million posts per day, Instagram is emerging as an important platform for marketers. While all social platforms allow brands to promote products and services, Instagram can showcase your culture and the more human side of your business, helping to build brand loyalty.
Like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, in 2016 Instagram got on board with tools to give brand accounts insights into performance and launched the Instagram for Business Platform. Let’s take a look at the new tools and best practices for brands on Instagram.
Instagram for Business Platform
1. Create a Profile. The new platform allows brands to update their account to a business profile, differentiating it from personal accounts. With the new profile, customers can contact your business directly from the app, account managers have access to follower insights (vs. using a third party application) and you can promote posts directly through Instagram. These updates all provide a better experience for your audience and for your social team.
2. Utilize Insights. Instagram insights tell you who your followers are (sex, age, location, etc.), what content customers are most interested in and when they are interested in that content (i.e. day parts). Based on what followers want, you can better customize content for them. Like all insights, reviewing often, understanding the numbers and implementing change based on the data is the recipe for success.
3. Paid. Prior to the insights tool, Instagram ads were run through Facebook’s Ads Manager. Now, once a business profile is created, brands can promote posts easily and stay on the Instagram platform. To determine which posts to promote, utilize insights. Which posts are currently resonating best with the audience? Promote your best posts to drive further interest.
Now that your business profile is established and you have data to guide your content, implement posting elements that work best on Instagram.
1. Quality Photos/Videos. Instagram founders “imagine a world more connected through photos.”* Good photos are THE most important element of an Instagram post. Be thoughtful about image quality and spend some time learning how to take good photos with an iPhone. There are great tools and resources available, including this article, 10 iPhone Camera Features Every Photographer Should Use. Be sure to try videos from time to time to see how they perform for your audience.
2. Content Details. In tandem with a striking, high-quality image, your caption should further draw in your followers. Write captions that will resonate with your audience; pose questions, mention relevant topics, offer giveaways and drive action. Use the caption to continue your storytelling through words that support your picture. And remember you are offering a look behind the curtain into the human side of your business, so maybe add an emoji or two ; )
3. Engagement. Brands can build stronger connections on Instagram by engaging with followers. “Like” and comment on posts from accounts you follow and those who follow you. If a follower takes the time to comment on your post, take a moment to respond in a comment of your own Additionally, using hashtags is an important part of increasing engagement on Instagram. Hashtags aggregate your content with other similar content, which will guide like-minded fans to your profile. Use the search feature to explore trending topics and hashtags to incorporate in your post.
4. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Continue to try new posts to find what resonates with your audience. From product shots to behind the scenes at the office to videos to motivational posts, continue to pull from a diverse content pool and review insights to determine success. The more you try, the more you will find patterns and learn how to drive your bottom line with Instagram.
Have questions about using Instagram? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org