With over 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, Instagram is one of the most popular social networking services. More and more features and social media tools on the site make it so easy to promote a product or service. How to use Instagram for business is a necessary skill.
The best part? The social service is free and saves businesses thousands of dollars in advertising. A little over one year ago Instagram allowed businesses to create specialized profiles. Knowing that this could be a great way to promote a company, IG changed its API.
Now, businesses can target an audience that is really interested in what they have to share. Given its enormous popularity, the chances of breaking through and having meaningful interactions are significant. Interested in using Instagram for business? This is the right place. The following guide is a breakthrough will all details on how to effectively harness its power.
Table of Contents
About Instagram & Setting Up
Embedded from: https://dustinstout.com/social-media-statistics/
The first step into starting a business account is to open a personal account. Right after the profile is completed, Instagram will present the option to convert to a business profile. It is important to note that in order to enjoy extra features, the account must be turned to a business account. Also, note that a business profile cannot be set to private.
To switch to a business profile, click on the three bars on the upper-right corner. On settings, tap on the option “switch to business profile”. Instagram will recommend connecting this new IG business account to the same Facebook account.
The next step, which Instagram has a guide for, is to add all the business details. This includes profile name, picture, website URL, and a short biography. The space for biography is an excellent opportunity to showcase what the business is about effectively.
- Bio: This is the bio section. It is a great opportunity to write what a business is about and to place a call to action.
- Direct Messages (DMs): This is where messages between user and business are kept private. It is advisable to keep troubleshooting or to manage claims via direct messages. These are usually referred to as “DMs”.
- Filters: Feature that enhances how the photo looks like.
- Follow: When a user follows an account, they can see their timeline. Users can also see the Instagram stories of the accounts they follow.
- Followers: The accounts that get to see the pictures posted.
- Hashtag: In a similar fashion to Twitter, hashtags are hyperlinks that index words or phrases. Clicking on a hashtag leads to all the posts using that same one.
- Highlights: Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours. Highlights are Instagram Stories that are kept on the profile above the photo gallery until removed by the user.
- Home: The feed from people being followed will appear here. It also features their Instagram stories on the top.
- IG: An abbreviation for Instagram.
- Instagram Handle: This refers to the username. This always starts with the symbol “@” before it.
- Instagram Stories: One of the most popular features on Instagram. It allows the creation of a series of photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. This is a great tool to present many photos without spamming followers.
- Tag: A handle can be mentioned on a post, a photo caption, or on Instagram stories. This is a tag. When a user gets tagged in a post, they get a notification on their mobile device.
How to Use IG for Business: 18 Easy Steps
Once the business profile is complete, it is time to get the ball rolling. It is important to follow these steps to know how to use Instagram for business marketing carefully. Breaking through the media noise is not only about nice photos. There are tested strategies that will get the content seen and the triggers fired.
Step #1: Sharpen Up The Profile
Although there is no “right” way to build a profile, the following short steps come really close:
- The company logo should be the profile picture.
- Account name and username should the company’s name.
- The only clickable URL anywhere should be the business or a link to a current event or promotion.
- The bio is a great place to capture potential buyers’ attention. Throw in here the company’s slogan, or describe what the business is about, or both. Be catchy and interesting.
Step #2: Create An Instagram Strategy
Define Target Audience
Once the target audience is detected, the questions to ask are: What do they want to see? What are they already posting in their social media?
Establish Clear Objectives and Goals
This step is important as it helps keep the focus on the objectives. It also helps stay on track towards the goals.
Step #3: Keep Track of Performance Metrics
Unless goals are connected to actual business results, these will not matter that much. Goals Should Align with One of the Four Stages of a Customer’s Journey:
- Awareness: This refers to metrics such as follower growth rate and post reach.
- Engagement: The number of likes provides engagement rate as a metric. Shares provide a metric on the amplification rate.
- Conversion rate: But not only conversion rate but also bounce rate and click-through rate.
- Customer: These metrics depend on clients’ actions such as UGC or providing testimonials and reviews.
Step #4: Harness the Power of Hashtags
Hashtags should be used sparingly in a post. The number recommended goes anywhere within 5. Technically, you can add up to 30, but this saturation might turn a post unreadable.
Employ general hashtags, such as #happyweekend and feature others that are more technical. Combine them or place them in posts that are exclusively relevant to them.
Sometimes, a hashtag is trending worldwide. Type in one of those to chime into what everyone is talking about. Just consider that this post will drown in the slough of posts being generated. Other times, generate specific ones to the brand. If the business is selling baby clothes, #babyclothes or #cute are appropriate. It is also important to generate a hashtag with the company name.
Step #5: Generate Shareable Content
Aesthetics is important to generate a good impression. Instagram is about images and taking advantage of the over thousand words they portray is pivotal.
First, a recognizable visual identity is important. Make it in such a way that followers are able to connect a color pattern to the brand. Establish what is to be shared and go for a consistent visual look. The entire look of the feed must look interesting and scrollable. Users should want to like and share
Step #6: Post Regularly Following a Schedule
To make a brand look alive, it must be kept as such. Followers expect regular posting. It is important to keep them engaged with regular posting but without overwhelming them.
Take advantage of post-scheduling services such as Buffer and Hootsuite. The best times for loading content will depend on the type of industry. A restaurant will find that doing so around meal times gets them more engagement, especially at 12 noon.
How frequent should posts be? According to Hootsuite, good brands upload content 1.5 times a day. To determine what is the best time to post and the frequency, you want to do some testing. This with the purpose of determining what times generate the most engagement.
Step #7: Take Stunning Photos and Edit Them Like a Pro
How professional photos look speaks loud about a business. Great photos will come hand to hand with a great Instagram marketing strategy. Fortunately, no professional equipment or photographer is needed for that. The mobile phone is the best tool as photos can be uploaded directly from it.
To Create Stunning Photos That Trigger Sharing:
- Avoid intense light: Keep the sun away from your lens. A cloudy day is better than a bright shiny one.
- Take advantage of natural light: For most cases, the flash isn`t an option. Best to take advantage of natural light.
- Try distinct angles: Stand, sit, crouch, lie down, and vary the position from where the photo is taken.
Step #8: Find and Follow Influencers in The Same Niche
To get started, follow some accounts. These should be those that will help and those that one can learn from.
The Types of Accounts Convenient for Following Would Be:
- Influencers in the niche. These are accounts that followers follow. They can be found through hashtags.
- Partner brands. Companies that work together.
- Inspirational brands. As said before, good inspiration is always great.
- The competition. To keep track of what they are doing. There is actually nothing wrong about that.
Step #9: Build a “Tribe”
Instagram for small business should start smart. It is not always wise to try to reach millions in one sitting. Having millions of followers is not a synonym of success. Instead of trying to reach that number, it is best to have a “tribe” mentality.
This means that there must be real engagement with real people. This is hard to achieve if one gets messages and/or input from thousands of users. Building a tribe means thriving for valuable one-to-one interactions. These are more meaningful and connected than general interactions with a crowd.
Step #10: Listen to Customers
There are many ways in which brands can interact with their customers. User-generated content is very popular nowadays. Using followers as a billboard to have them create UGC is a nice move.
Having followers tag the account in their posts works wonders to keep the brand alive and relevant. It also helps to create the image of a company that listens to its customers.
Step #11: @mention Others as You Collaborate
It is ok to try to get the attention of others. Using only a hashtag will not be enough as not everyone monitors them. The best thing to do is to tag them. Engaging and collaborating with other partner brands is a great means to showcase a particular business. Instagram provides an ideal platform to highlight those who collaborate and to share customer success stories.
Giving to charities or creating a fundraiser for a non-profit organization is a great way to shout out to an audience. Everything works great if the activity is connected to what the business does.
Step #12: Make Some Tweaks to The Profile
The bio is the first sentence that potential followers will come across. It is important to take advantage of that possibility. Some tweaks here and there might be needed to make the bio stand out:
- Add space and line breakers.
- Try to add emojis to make the reading more appealing.
- Use hashtags to promote user-generated content.
- The tone of the voice used is important. Try to be casual, fun, and refreshing. This can be personal, professional, or even a bit cheeky.
Step #13: Harness IG Business Profile Features to Your Advantage
- Add contact information. A When adding contact info of a business-phone number, website, email, etc.-Instagram generates clickable buttons for the profile.
- Category. It is seen under the name and gives people a glance of what a business does.
- AAction buttons. This feature allows visitors to click on buttons for call-to-actions. This includes links to a store, buy tickets, make reservations, etc. To enable this, look under Profile for Contact Options, and add an action button.
Step #14: Make Studies on What Post Types Work Best
As stated earlier, it is necessary to make studies on best schedules and frequency of posting. What type of posts work best is also important. Audiences are varied and so are their tastes.
Tapping into This Diversity Can Be Done Through Different Types:
- Posts About Products. To promote how a company works, these types of posts are fundamental.
- The Culture of a Company. These are great to portray the company as honest and transparent.
- Inspirational Posts are great to motivate followers. They usually come in the form of quotes and serve to inspire followers and connect to a more human level.
- Awesome facts. Everyone loves amazing facts that are hard to believe.
- Event photos. When attending an event relevant to the company, share photos.
Step #15: Find Industry Influencers and Tag Them
There are others in the industry that have a longer road or better experience. Tagging them or mentioning them in posts involves them in what is being done.
This strategy will help build a community, though the connections these big influencers have. Learn from them and implement their ideas. Not only that. Best practices by industry influencers can be shared on posts.
Make original posts when sharing material from another user. Even when loading their own pictures and art they must get proper credit for their work.
Step #16: Promote Events on Instagram and Share Exclusive Insider Scoops
Many companies apply geotags to indicate where they are located. Interestingly, though, not many corporations even seem to know that these exist. A geo-tag indicates the location (street, city, or country) of the user at that moment.
This means that they have not discovered the use of this feature. But geo-tags allow customers to know an exact location. In this manner, they invite followers to their special events and have them follow a map.
While an event for a brand is being prepared, sharing inside photos and scoops helps generate a special connection with followers. If a model event is being shared by a business, for instance, photos not found anywhere else can be posted.
Step #17: Find the Best Time to Post on Instagram
With so many active users, when a post is published, it is very likely to be shared and interacted with by many people. It was mentioned earlier that a study of the best times to upload is essential. This guarantees that the post reaches as many viewers as possible.
In order to keep the feed flowing during the day, businesses can use scheduled posting apps. This will cause posts to be written at the same time every day. Of course, these apps usually allow for a more customized experience.
Step #18: Build On Success
Marketing through social media (IG, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) should not be a guessing game. It is necessary to take a few steps back and look at the bigger picture of what worked and what did not. The only way to do this is through testing and measuring results.
This will help refine the marketing strategy.
Useful Instagram Facts & Stats [Infographic]
One can only trust in the power of social media when tangible results are seen. But also, the strength of the site is pivotal in having marketers turn their eyes on it. Instagram has pretty solid numbers that guarantee the success of a well-elaborated plan.
Embedded from: https://www.socialpilot.co/blog/instagram-stats-2019-infographic
1. Over 1 Billion Active Users Per Month
With 500 million users logging in every day, Instagram is only beaten by Facebook and YouTube. This is quite impressive given the fact that IG is much younger than the two above.
2. 80% Users Do Not Live in the US
One would expect most of the users to be from the US. But that is not the case. This means a whole lot of international users are eager to know what is the particular business being promoted.
3. Instagrammers are 39% Women and 30% Men in the U.S.
If you consider the population of the United States, that is a pretty solid number. The remaining percentage involve teenagers and other demographics.
4. 59% of U.S. Instagrammers are Under 30
This is a very important piece of statistics that help define how to reach out to a new generation. The marketing strategy on IG should be fresh and according to what age group is more likely to interact and like the content.
5. 95% of U.S. Instagram Users Also Use Youtube
What does this mean? For starters, that Instagrammers love a well-made video. YouTube users are all about vivid images and if Instagram can also offer them that, welcome it be.
6. 35% of Adults Online Use Instagram
Out of this percentage, 28% alone belong to the United States. Once again, consider that this age group does represent a piece of the piece, albeit not so significantly. This does not mean, however, that they should be dismissed.
7. In One Day, 72% of Teens Have Used Instagram
It is easy to see now what is the age group that spends most of their time on the ‘gram. This percentage represents a lot of emerging teenagers seeking emancipation. Anyone caring for their business enough should give them the importance they deserve.
8. Quick View Stats
- 38% of users check Instagram several times per day;
- 22% of users log in at least once every day;
- 34% of Instagrammers are millennials;
- 25% of smartphone owners use Instagram;
- Instagram Usage Statistics
It is also imperative to know how people are using Instagram. Instagram user statistics provide rich information on how are users taking advantage of the service.
9. In One Day, 4.2 Billion Posts Get ‘Likes’
Time to get those ‘likes’ coming up. This is what makes Instagram such a happy place! It is important to have the audience show some love. ‘Likes’ give the notion that posts have been seen.
10. 95 Million Posts in One Day
This was the statistics for 2016. Considering the exponential growth of the site since then, one can venture to estimate that to at least 120 million today.
11. 25-Year-Olds and Under Navigate Through Instagram 32 Minutes a Day
This number saw a peak when stories were introduced. The great thing about them is that they allow interaction with followers.
12. Speaking of Stories, 500 Million of Them Are Created per Day
Most brands are now using stories to interact with their followers. The number was 300 million in 2017, so it has come a long way ever since. Here’s an interesting fact: One-third of the most viewed stories come from businesses.
13. Selena Gomez Has a Total of 147 Million Followers
But she is not even the person on Instagram with the most followers. She is actually the third one. Cristiano Ronaldo comes first with 158 million, followed by Ariana Grande with 148 million are popular Instagram accounts.
14. Videos Increase 80% a Year by Year
When videos launched in 2013, 5 million of them were posted on the same day. That tells how much people love videos. These have quadrupled since 2017.
15. Quick View Stats
- Including stocks, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion
- Android users spend an average of 53 minutes a day on the app
- More than 600 million users seek and discover new products on Instagram
- Instagram for Business Statistics
Not only has Instagram’s effectiveness for businesses been proven. The site itself offers enormous benefits for brands. The following business-related statistics reveal how important the site has become to promote huge companies as well as gift shops.
16. Over 25 Million Business Profiles
The number has increased to more than that. There are over 200 million visitors to at least one business profile every day. Any business interested in boosting sales has to be on Instagram.
17. At Least One Business Is Followed by 80% of Users
People will not usually shy away from business profiles. If these offer valuable content and do not sound too sales-y, there is no reason why not to follow them. Another proof that Instagram means serious business.
18. Products Are Discovered by 60% of Users
This is one more than enough reason for businesses to get to Instagram STAT. Because, if being discovered by people is not what a business is about, then what is?
19. 75% of Users Walk the Walk
This is a very large number. It represents the percentage of people who actually tap on a link and take action. If a business wants visitors to their websites, Instagram can help.
20. 70% More Likely to Purchase a Product via Their Mobiles
This taps into the importance of making content appealing. More than 33% of users will purchase something that links them from Instagram. This makes them 70% more likely to buy online from their mobile than non-users.
21. The Interaction Rate Is 2.2%
No other network has this level of engagement. They do not even come close, not even Facebook with a puny 0.22 percent rate.
22. Almost All of the Top 100 Brands Are on Instagram
90% of the top 100 brands are there. This only proves how large corporations rely on Instagram to promote their services and products.
What is The Best Way to Use Instagram for Business?
- Create a profile that appeals and triggers emotions in the audience. Optimize it by filling up all the spaces.
- Post relevant and nice photos that make people want to like and share.
- Write relevant hashtags and events to promote and get more followers.
- Interact with the community of followers.
- Measure performance to grow.
How Do You Use Instagram to Promote a Business?
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy to promote a business through Instagram (or Facebook, for that matter). These are the top 5 things a business should do to promote their business:
- Stay active by posting regularly and engaging with the audience.
- Be part of the larger conversation. To do this, include relevant hashtags on the posts.
- Speaking of which, use them in a good measure. Jump into some trends when the opportunity shows up.
- Include videos. It has been established that people love them.
- Videos and pictures must be of quality. Make them appealing and relevant.
How Successful Is Instagram For Business?
Thanks to a large number of active users, the demographics are so varied. This is one powerful network that allows businesses to promote themselves and make people aware of the multiple services out there. A well-structured campaign on this network has a strong probability of success. The interactions and visuals offer solutions for users looking for trends.
All the statistical data shared here shows how powerful the site is to promote a product. People love photos and videos. When given engaging content like this, they are very likely to respond – making the ‘grama place when it comes to businesses.
How Do Businesses Use Instagram Hashtags?
There actually are many ways to employ hashtags. The idea behind using them is to have posts that are effective in all ways possible. Using hashtags will increase the reach of a post and generate more engagement. If done properly, that is. Businesses usually select different types to fuel up their posts.
In general, they will either try to connect their brand with a trending topic or come up with their own hashtag. Also, it is important to find hashtags already in use that can relate to the service or product being offered.
The Final Word
There is no doubt that Instagram has become a stronghold in the social marketing business. In terms of engagement and promotion, only Facebook comes near it.
This proves that images are a powerful tool to promote products. When this is combined with a place where millions interact, the possibilities significantly expand. Any business that intends to increase visibility and connect with users at a deeper level must include Instagram. It is definitely a must in any social media marketing strategy.
When did you decide to put your business on Instagram? Was it a smooth transition, or did you run into obstacles? Share your learning experiences in the comments below.