Instagram is one of the most important social media platforms for businesses today. With 500 million users, Instagram’s power and reach is incomparable. With great potential, comes great challenge. How is it that you’re going to reach even a handful of these countless users?
Have a plan and do it right. Check out our list of must-do’s for Instagram success!
1) Creating a Business Account (or updating it to one)
It’s a very wise decision to update or create your page to be a business account on Instagram because it provides tools, resources, and opportunity not otherwise available. You do this by integrating and tying your Instagram account to your existing business Facebook Page. Doing this allows you to access insights and analytics about your followers and posts – which sheds light on which posts yield the most engagement, when your followers are online, and even where they’re located.
Moreover, a business account allows for CTA’s right at the top of your page. It gives visitors a 1-click option to call, email, or begin “GPSing” to your establishment. To top it off, when you integrate with your Facebook page, you’re able to share your amazing content onto both platforms. Ensuring that your content is seen by both sets of eyes. If you need a hand setting it up – check out Instagram’s take on it.
2) Utilizing Your Bio Properly
Your bio should be a one-stop-shop for a brief overview and an opportunity to learn more. Your bio is the only location that Instagram allows a link to be place. Use it! If you do, every viewer landing on your account has the opportunity to head to your website, latest blog post, or sales page where they may just become a converted prospect.
On your Instagram Business account, add your phone number, email, and location (if you have one.) This gives viewers the options to call, email, or visit with 1 simple click. Provide a great UX and make it easy on them, they’ll be more likely to convert.
Now comes the arguably most tricky part of Instagram – writing the perfect bio. You have 150 characters to say something. Tell them what you do, ask them to click the link at the bottom of the bio, share a promo or deal – whatever it is, maximize your storytelling power and use a CTA!
If you want to, break up your bio with symbols and emojis. It will make it look more appealing and aesthetically pleasing. Imagine a flawless bio, broken up spatially, with an offer and an emoji pointing down to your link for the visitor to learn more.
3) Posting Regularly – and Use Stories
This list is in no particular order, each of these points are equally important and rely on each other for success. But without posting regularly and sharing content, everything else is meaningless. Even an account with 1M followers is meaningless if nothing is being posted.
Posting more will yield more engagement, the same way posting less will yield less engagement. Instagram “rewards” accounts by showing them on their followers timeline. What?! It isn’t chronological for everyone I follow? Nope – that changed long ago. There is now an algorithm that essentially ranks posts based off of engagement. If your followers like what you’re posting and engage, more people will see it. That means posting great content, frequently!
When you’re posting, have a balance between providing value, and providing promotion. Your goal should be 3:1, value to promotion. Your followers don’t want to be sold. They want to see benefits, authenticity, and value. Teach them something! Solve their problems, but do it in a valuable way – not by pounding their timeline with the latest promo.
Use stories! Stories are a quick glimpse into the daily works of your brand or organization – and these are the types of things that people like to engage with!
4) Use your Captions!
Use captions. Every time. But do it correctly… be aware that links in a caption do not work. They are only clickable when they’re inside of the bio. But what you can do… in each caption, put a call to action! Tell your followers to click the link in your bio to get a coupon, free e-book, new video, whatever!
Use hashtags and locations too! These group together like posts and help people searching for these things find you. If someone if checking out posts in Ocean City, NJ and you recently posted a photo of a customer enjoying a taco in front of your storefront, the searcher will see this. Same with hashtags!
Want to break up your caption? Want them to look like “the cool Instagram Vloggers” do? Simple. Type out your caption. When you finish a sentence, put the punctuation mark and hit enter or return. (Don’t add a space after the punctuation.) Hitting enter or return will start you on your next line. Unfortunately, the platform doesn’t allow blank lines, so you’ll have to put a “-’ or “dot” if you want to create some white space.
5) Be Social on Social!
Engage with the people who send DM’s and leave comments. People want to engage – that’s why they’ll follow you. They want to see what you post and engage. If they ask a question in DM’s, answer it. (Be sure to check DM requests – more on that here – http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-find-hidden-direct-messages-in-instagram-2016-9)
Respond to, or at the very least, “like” the comments on your posts by clicking the small heart next to the message.
Most importantly, be proactive on Instagram – it is SOCIAL media. You’re a water bottle company? Like posts from people showcasing them doing active things, hiking, running, playing soccer, (maybe drinking water?) etc. Find your niche and engage with them.
How do you find them? Remember those fancy little hashtags and locations we talked about? Well they group posts together – and even as brand, you can still search for them! Search #Dehydrated on a hot day to find a great post to engage with! If you’re local-centric, use location search to engage. Searching “Doylestown, PA” will pull together posts of people who added that as their location of a post. If you’re business is located in Doylestown, PA – they’re ripe for the picking for you to engage with – comment, like, follow, etc.!
And lastly, if someone is clearly a good target for you, you found them through use of hashtag, location, or any other means, just reach out to them. Tell you have x offer running on x product/service. Direct them to your bio to learn more. But be sure not to overload them or be overly “ salesy” – do your best to provide value.