Instagram has more than 700 million active users. These are people using Instagram on a monthly basis. Perhaps, what makes this social media network a great place to market and grow a business is the fact that the audience is more engaged and there is less competition in comparison to Twitter and Facebook. That means it’s possible to market products to more interested and targeted audience via Instagram without spending a lot of money on adverts.
From January 2018, the Instagram’s Application Program Interface or API started allowing users to publish videos or photos to Instagram Business Profiles via third party platforms. This allows brands to benefit from the platform more. Nevertheless, you still need to know how to use this platform to grow your business. With the right strategy, you can promote services and products as well as boost your brand and sales on this platform. Here is a guide on how to use Instagram for business.
Get More Followers for Your Business Profile
Set up an Instagram business profile to access important information on how to promote your business. A business profile allows you access to post analytics as well as the ability to add details like phone number and email address. This makes connecting with followers easier. Once you have switched to a business profile, focus on expanding your community by having more followers. Having more followers increases your chances of attracting more users. It also increases your chances of getting random users’ exposure which helps you get more attention from advertisers. One of the easiest ways to increase a followers’ base is to buy Instagram followers.
Leverage Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories is a popular feature on this social network and you can use it to market your services and products. Though these videos and photos disappear within 24 hours, you can use Instagram Stories to get your message to followers that may not see your regular posts.
Instagram Stories allow you to post still photos, recorded videos, boomerangs, basic text, focused photos, music, and live videos. You can also use this feature to add stickers like hashtags, temperature and user tags. Stickers for questions, sliding bars, and polls make interacting with users and getting feedback easier. You can also use Stories Highlights to draw more attention to your business brand.
Stream Live Videos
Streaming live videos on Instagram is sort of a cross between Snapchat and Facebook Live. This feature enables you to give customers and prospects a live look behind the interesting business and products aspects. It also lets you show products and answer questions live from comments.
After a live video session, the recorded video remains in the Instagram Stories for a day. You can have the video in the Instagram feed longer by uploading it. You can also change cover and add filters to a video that you shoot and upload on Instagram.
Add Professional Photos
Instagram is basically a social media platform for sharing photos. It’s therefore important to share professional-looking and visually pleasing photos. Take photos and edit them before sharing. What’s more, personalize photos by adding filters, writing captions, adding location, and tagging other users. Research has shown that tagging brands enables interested consumers to go to the product source directly. You can also use advanced settings to turn off comments if necessary.
Interact with Instagram Users
Just like with other social media platforms, you should interact with and engage your Instagram followers. You can do this by liking photos, double-tapping images or taping the heart button. You can also comment and mention other users. Other ways to engage and interact with followers include tagging them and direct messaging them.
Advertise Products and Services on Instagram
Instagram gives businesses the option to advertise their services and products. This social network provides the following formats to choose from when advertising.
- Photo Ads- The look of photo ads resembles that of regular photos. However, they feature a Sponsored label and a Learn More button.
- Video Ads- These have a look similar to that of regular video posts. However, they feature a Sponsored label too.
- Carousel Ads- These look like photo ads but they have multiple photos that can be swiped through by users.
These ad formats are found on the Instagram home feeds. They support click-through to websites, video views, mass awareness, and installation of mobile applications.
Hashtags provide a great way for users to find your content. They can include numbers, letters, and non-numerical characters. Users can search and click on hashtags. Common hashtags on Instagram include #selfie, #throwbackthursday or #tbt, and #nofilter. It’s however important to consider the hashtags used by established brands, bloggers, and personal users in your niche.
Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags. However, focus on using fewer hashtags to generate quality responses. Using many popular hashtags may earn you more likes though it might not boost your following. That’s because your interactions may involve users that are unlikely to be interested in your products, services, or brand.
Sell on Instagram
Instagram added a feature for payment in May 2018 for select users. However, the social media network eventually started rolling out checkout to all users. This payment feature has the potential to have a significant effect on small businesses. Users can use this feature to purchase products on Instagram. That means Instagram will eventually feature product images with checkout buttons. Users will need email addresses, name, shipping address and billing information to complete transactions. Payments can be made via MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, and PayPal.
Analyze and Build on Your Success
You need to take a step back to analyze what is working and what is not working. This enables you to avoid engaging in a guessing game. Therefore, measure followers’ engagement, clicks, and counts regularly. Keep tracking your Instagram performance as well as refining and improving your strategy.
To make the most of social media, you need to research and plan. Establish the objectives of your chosen channel, identify the audience, and then come up with a strategy. Use Instagram to promote your business and brand name, tell customers and prospects about your products, get feedback from customers, attract new clients or customers, and use existing relationships to build stronger ones.