How to Effectively Use Instagram to Grow Your Business

Social media plays a hugely integral part of business these days, but for some it’s still a relatively new concept. Bearing this in mind, Citipost Mail have been doing some digging into what social media platforms can work best for your business. In particular, they’ve focused on Instagram which is fast becoming the most popular platform for businesses to reach their customers and followers. Be sure to check out the Instargram infographic at the bottom of this article as well.

Here, we’ll look at how to use Instagram specifically for business purposes, looking further into the both the positives and negatives of using Instagram as well as what the social network can offer you, such as business profiles and targeting.

We’ll also delve into how best to pick the right target audience for this particular platform and explain how it’s different to other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Maximizing the amount of interaction with your audience through a business profile on Instagram can be challenging if you’re not quite sure how to go about it. Using popular Instagram tools such as hashtags, creating the right sort of content and choosing the correct styling for your business can pay dividends. There are also a number of other tools that can be used to increase visibility such as using embed codes for placing a photo onto a website or blog, sponsored ads and regramming!

Why Should I Consider Instagram For My Business?

Over 400 million people use Instagram each and every day and over 80% of Instagrammers that use the platform regularly follow a business on Instagram. Due to this, it may seem pretty foolish not to harness at least some of those users. 48.8% of major brands use Instagram as an integral part of their long-term marketing goals.

What does Instagram offer Businesses?

Encouraging people to interact with you and your business is the key to success on Instagram, some of the top brands have an engagement rate of 4.21% per follower. That’s a massive 58 TIMES more engagement per follower than Facebook and incredibly, 120 TIMES more engagement per follower than Twitter!

Over 75% of Instagram users will take an action such as visiting a website after seeing an Instagram post and 60% of Instagram users say that they have used the platform to learn more about a product or service. When it comes to allowing your followers to learn more about your business and the services/products that are on offer, Instagram can be vital. This is also why it’s so important to have a great Instagram video marketing strategy.

If you’re looking to maximize exposure, a post from someone with a huge number of followers (commonly known as an influencer) can be a serious hit. Always know your limits though when it comes to spend, as a sponsored post from an Instagram influencer can cost upwards of $100,000 if not more!

Are you ready to go?

Your Instagram Strategy

The absolute first thing to consider is who it is that uses Instagram to see if they fit your target demographic:

  • 68% of Instagram users are female
  • 80% of Instagram users come from outside the US
  • 59% of 18-29 year old internet users use Instagram
  • Only 33% of 30-49 year old internet users use Instagram
  • 17% of teens rate Instagram as the most important social network

Sound like your kind of audience? If so, you could be missing out on some valuable exposure!

How To Get Started With Instagram For Business

  • The first thing to do is set up a business account. Always keep your business separate from your personal account.
  • Optimise your profile with a link to your website and always include a clear bio and location. Also, set a recognizable profile picture such as a brand logo, this will make you immediately identifiable.
  • The next step is to start posting, avoid hard sales posts and embrace the creativity of the platform. If your plan is to use images that aren’t taken using the app, make sure you size them correctly (1024×1024 px). These images should also be on brand and add value to what you’re offering. Lifestyle shots are great for this.
  • Always respond to your followers. Whether that involves replying to comments, thanking your followers or following someone that has followed you. All of these things will build connection with your audience. Liking other content will also help you to connect.

That’s the basics in place, now how do you improve?

How To Optimise Interaction

  • Post regularly, but not too often. Top brands purport to post an average of 4.9 times per week. Don’t be overzealous with the number of posts, this can discourage people from connecting with you and it may mean you lose followers.
  • Create a recognizable identity. 60% of the top brands on Instagram use a consistent filter when uploading images. The most popular filters used are:
      • Lo-fi: 14%
      • Valencia: 12%
      • Rise: 12%

Though it’s not one of the most popular, the Mayfair filter attracts the most interactions. Generally lighter, brighter images generating 24% more likes than those that are darker. When it comes to colours, images with a single dominant color generate 17% more likes. Blue as a dominant color will generate 24% more likes than predominantly red images.

  • Use hashtags. Instagram posts with at least one hashtag in it will average 12.6% more engagement than a post without. Adding multiple hashtags can draw even more engagement to your post. The most popular hashtags are:
      • #Love
      • #Instagood
      • #Me
      • #Cute
      • #Follow
  • Find out what’s popular. This will involve quite a lot of research time but it’s been found that pizza is the most Instagrammed food and the world’s most Instagrammed locations last year were Disney Theme Parks. Always remember to remain on brand though!
  • Consider paid ads. Ad recall from sponsored Instagram posts is 2.9 times higher than online advertising average, making it a significant and important way of promoting your business.
  • Run competitions, offers or make exclusive announcements. 41% of Instagrammers say they follow (or would follow) a brand for the perks and giveaways, 70% of those Instagrammers have taken part in a contest at some point, or would like to. This is a great way to generate interest and will encourage users to return later down the line. 33% of Instagrammers think posting on an official hashtag is the best and easiest way to enter a contest.
  • Use geo-tags. Posts with a geo-tag generate a huge 79% more engagement as compared to those posts that don’t. Use geo-tags when in important locations that are relevant to your business. This works particularly well for businesses such as retail stores and cafes.
  • Work with Instagram ambassadors and influencers. 78% of consumers make purchases influenced by a brand’s social media. Connecting with influential people and other brands from the same or a similar industry can significantly increase engagement and add further credibility to your own brand. Social media is most likely to influence purchases made by 16-35 year olds.
  • Regram your followers. 65% of Instagrammers feel honored when their posts are shared and they’re mentioned by a brand on social media. It will also help to build loyalty between you and your followers. On top of this, you will also save time as the content ready-made for you!

Does it sound good? Happy Instagramming folks!

 

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