If Instagram plays a critical role in your business—and due to the size of the platform in terms of active monthly users, it probably does (and your company may entirely rely on it, even)—then you know that you need to execute effective strategies for expanding your brand’s reach. However, success on Instagram entails much more work than creating content, posting it, and hoping it catches likes like flies in honey. You need to reach out to other users and influencers, up your content game, post at the right times, and more.
While leveraging Instagram for your business is more of an art than a science, there are still tried-and-true methods that can help you out—but you need to do them skillfully. Here are a few tips for creating an Instagram business account that does not fail as soon as you begin.
Polish your profile
First things first: optimize your profile. No one is going to follow you if you look like a seedy business, a spam account, or like you do not care enough to put effort into your page. Make sure that you have a photo to make yourself recognizable. If your profile picture is not your brand logo, then make sure it’s eye-catching and recent.
Include a link in your bio, too: driving traffic to your website requires telling people precisely where to go, and your bio (unless you have ten thousand followers) is the only place Instagram will allow you to share a link. And yes, your bio is essential—it might be witty, straightforward, or full of emojis, but people need a description or hint of what your business is like.
Content is everything
Content is, arguably, the most important part of your Instagram strategy. Without it, how do you promote your business? Why should people follow you? When getting started, have a lineup of fresh, exciting content that will provoke engagement. Instagram users come to the platform for entertainment, so do what you can to amuse people while sprinkling in some information about your business (limit the number of outright promotional and sales-y posts).
So, what kind of content should you create? Options include dynamic photography, interviews with people in your field, how-to videos, testimonials from customers, et cetera. While entertainment is imperative, never underestimate the value of information. If you can be both a source of amusement and education for people, then they have multiple reasons to follow you and stick around.
While you should always keep your content fresh and avoid repeating yourself, do your best to stay on-brand. When people click on your profile and take in your feed, they’ll think it’s odd if your images and videos are all over the place without any sort of common topic or aesthetic. Would you want to follow a profile that is completely unpredictable? Probably not—what if they post something you do not like or uninterested in? They just wasted your time, and maybe the posts you do enjoy are not worth sticking around for.
Remember that when you post matters. There are various social media tools that can give you insight into when your followers are most active. If you publish material in the middle of the day when no one is online to see it, it might be lost amongst Instagram’s algorithms and a sea of other content. Keep your audience in mind and post when they are most likely to view it.
Interact with other users
Don’t isolate yourself on Instagram. When it comes to audience-building, it helps to have relationships with other brands and influencers that can help you out. Instead of solely relying on your own efforts, you’ll appreciate the ability to tap into other brands’ pre-existing audiences when they give you a shoutout—and they can make their followers aware of your business with only a simple post or story. Provide something to partners in return as well: maybe you can offer special privileges to their customers, and give them a boost as well when your online presence is more established.
Engage with your followers
Don’t neglect your followers, either. When you follow accounts, do you appreciate when they acknowledge you? Respond to people’s comments, answer questions, thank them for supporting you, re-share user-generated content (with creators’ permission, of course), and let your audience know that you appreciate them. It’s essential that people find your content compelling, but they also seek recognition from you that your business is dependent upon them.
Instagram is a complicated platform to master, so some startups neglect essential components and fail to expand their online presence. If you put sufficient effort into your profile and strategy, though, you have a higher likelihood of building a loyal audience. What will your Instagram strategy look like?