Did you know that in 2020 Instagram turned 10 years old? This app now owned by Facebook started as an app for amateur photographers to showcase their work. Now, it’s not only a really popular app for personal use but also a very powerful communication tool for businesses. Do you want to know how to get started so you can make the most of Instagram for business? Let’s have a look…

Who is Instagram for

According to Napoleon Cat, there were 27,100,000 Instagram users in the United Kingdom in August 2020, which accounted for 40.1% of the UK’s population, which means your customers/users are likely to be there.

Top Tip: Have a look to see if your competitors are already on Instagram, if they are – then you should be too! And if they are not… well, surely it’s an opportunity to get ahead of them?

Instagram for business

Instagram is widely used for personal use, but like Facebook, it offers loads of opportunities for organisations to build a community around them. Interestingly, according to Sprout Social:

“When 90% of accounts follow at least one business on Instagram, it goes without saying that brands want in on the marketing action, too. The platform?s users aren?t fatigued by brand presence either. According to a survey, 78% say that they see brands on Instagram as popular, 77% as creative, 76% as entertaining and 72% as committed to building community.”

People are receptive to engage with businesses, so why not start doing it now? Just remember, the purpose of having an Instagram is to:

  • To show how YOUR BUSINESS sees the world through images
  • To showcase your organisation values and what you do, visually
  • To connect with like-minded people (through hashtags)
  • To engage directly with other users, providing customer service
  • To build a community of customers and potential customers that you can market your services/products to

Benefits of using Instagram for business

  • More people are using the platform
  • Any size business can build a community
  • It allows you to make your business relatable
  • You can easily partner with other organisations for collaborations
  • You can effectively engage with customers
  • You can test how your customers feel about a product/service before you launch it
  • You can link it to your website and make purchases directly

What content works best

To post on Instagram you need an image + text, so always ensure your images are as high-resolution as possible.

In terms of what actual content works, we always recommend our clients to post 3 times / week. If you can post more often, great! But the key here is to be constant.

Instagram, like Facebook or Google, works around an algorithm. This means that they like when people are very active on the platform – posting and sharing a lot. This can be very time consuming, that’s why sticking to a routine that works for you is the way to go. If that means posting once a day, that’s grand. If that means posting twice per week, that’s ok too!

In our experience the content/type of posts that work very well on Instagram are these:

  • Testimonials to build trust
  • Behind the scenes images (Team photos/in the making)
  • Self-promotion (in moderation)
  • Events you are organising
  • Short videos
  • Polls, quizzes, Ask Me options
  • Giveaways/ competitions

The practical bits

Ok, so hopefully we’ve convinced you by now that it is a good idea to use Instagram to promote your business (it’s also a lot of fun, too!). Now we are going to go through practical ways you need to make sure to make the most of it:

Make sure your page is a Business page

The first thing you should do is to check or switch to an Instagram Business page. You can do this by going to your settings. This will help you personalise the page better, access to advertising options and some analytics on your post performance.?

Ensure your bio is clear and concise

screenshot of creative blend's instagram account

  • Your bio should be short and to the point.
  • You don’t need to include hashtags
  • You can only add 1 link to your bio, so you can add your website OR if you want something a bit more professional, you can use Linktr.ee – which is a free tool, that allows you to create a link with a menu, so when you send people to check your link in bio, they can access multiple links – clever, hey?

Alternate posts

Here is where you can get very creative. Your Instagram posts are the updates your users will see so you need to make sure they have a similar style/correlation between them so people can easily recognise you. We always recommend alternating a mix of:

  • high-quality photographs
  • graphics
  • testimonials
  • user-generated content (other people’s content re-shared on your Instagram feed). If you do this, ALWAYS tag the account you are taking the image from and add “#repost” so your users know you’re not taking credit for someone else’s image/work.

IMPORTANT: Please DO NOT add links to the text that accompanies your images – they are not clickable and therefore redundant. If you need to direct people to a specific link, always ensure you send them to ‘link in bio’ and make sure you update the link in your top bio section (whether is a simple link or a linktr.ee menu is updated with such link).

Here are some examples of Instagram feeds we designed and curated for some of our clients – as you can see, the idea is to balance the feed so there’s inspiring images, key messages (promotions/sales) and some posts that generate engagement.

examples of instagram feeds

Use hashtags (but don’t go crazy!)

While using hashtags on your text section below your images will definitely increase your chances of being found by like-minded individuals, aim to go for a maximum of 10 hashtags. Which ones should you use? That would depend on your market. We’d recommend doing different searches on the Insta search bar to see which ones are most popular, like in this example:

We thought the hashtag #healthyliving was a popular one but actually, #healthylivingtips is being used by many people (over 150k!) so definitely worth using that one instead.

example of search function on instagram

Instagram Stories

Instagram stories are a really big feature and almost deserve a guide in itself! A while ago we put together an overview of the different things you can do through Instagram stories. Have a look here. There are two things you need to know though:

  • You can share your content or other people’s content on YOUR OWN stories and they will last for 24 hrs only.
  • You can make those stories last longer if when you share them, you ‘add them to your highlights’. That way they will be saves in little folders that are visible on your profile:

    example of perfect instagram bio
    Image source: RUKAI Skincare

Instagram has a step by step section on how to share your posts as a story, you can read it here: https://help.instagram.com/691455604353423?es_p=6402976

Have you got any questions? Want to create a social media strategy that’s right for your business? Simply drop us a line for a free marketing consultation – we’d love to help!