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Want to build brand awareness, nurture communities, and celebrate your best customers - all for free? Then you need to get your brand on Instagram.
Over one billion active users are scrolling Instagram every month. And they’re not just heading to the social media platform to share photos with their friends and family: 81% of people use Instagram to research products and services.For business owners and marketers looking for a cost-effective marketing channel to build brand awareness and move audiences from product discovery to conversion, Instagram needs to be on your agenda. This is especially true if your businesses’ ideal customers are Gen Z and Millennials (as these are the largest demographics using the platform).But we get it: simply posting images to an Instagram profile isn’t enough to cut through and convert followers into shoppers.To succeed as a business on Instagram, you need to have a strategy in place that outlines your goals, defines your KPIs and harnesses best-practice content to build an engaged, loyal following.Ready to use Instagram for business and see tangible ROI from your social media marketing efforts? Let’s dive straight into our ‘How to Use Instagram for Business’ playbook.
You’ll find no shortage of Instagram statistics that further prove why Instagram can be so effective for marketing.But, aside from having a huge volume of monthly users, what’s the business case for building an Instagram following?Let’s walk you through the key reasons why you should prioritise Instagram as a marketing channel:
Whether you’re selling products or promoting your services, Instagram is an effective marketing channel to get your brand in front of potential customers.RELATED: Go ahead and sink your teeth into even more juicy Instagram statistics.
Before you dive right in with marketing on Instagram, you have a choice to make: should you get a business account or stick with a personal one? Let’s help you make an informed decision about which profile type is best for your brand.An Instagram business account is a type of account that distinguishes you as a business (rather than an individual) to your followers. The quickest way to identify a business account is by looking for “call” or “email” buttons like the ones below—that’s a feature that’s only available with business accounts.What are the benefits of making the switch to a business account? Well, there are a few:
How to Use Instagram for Business - WeWorkImage SourceIf you think there’s a hefty price tag associated with those additional features, think again. The Instagram for business cost is nothing. Of course, you’ll need to foot the bill for any ads you choose to run. But, the account itself is totally free.What’s the downside? There’s really only one: some people have complained that Instagram’s algorithm is programmed to encourage brands to purchase advertisements. This means that switching to a business account might result in a dip in your engagement—although, nothing definitive has ever been concluded.Ultimately, you’re the only one who can decide which account is the best way forward for your business. Regardless of which type you decide to go with, Instagram will still be an incredibly powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.Our tip? An Instagram business account is a no-brainer for brands using this platform as a marketing channel. Without analytics, insights and the ability to run ads, you’re going to struggle to measure and track your results on Instagram.So now, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work on growing your following, solidifying your brand, and winning you more customers.
The first step in your Instagram marketing strategy (or, really, any marketing strategy in general) should be understanding the audience that you’re hoping to target.Why? Well, having a solid grasp of your audience’s demographics, interests, challenges and pain points will help you craft a content strategy that really resonates with them and builds trust with your brand.If you already have some ideal customer profiles built out for your marketing efforts, those can just as easily apply to Instagram. But, if not, you’ll want to take the time to sit down and think through exactly what your target customer looks like—everything from basic demographic information to what their goals and challenges are.Be forewarned that Instagram’s audience does skew slightly younger (25.2% of users are between the ages of 25 and 34), making it a great outlet to talk to that age range in particular. However, don’t let that limit you. Instead, think of the people that you most want to target with your posts, and then go from there.So, what steps should you take to define your target market on Instagram?
From here, you can go a step further and build out in-depth audience personas to help you better understand the needs, challenges and motivations of your target market.Typically, this involves defining the basic demographic information (age, location, job, income) about your audience, what challenges or pain points they face, what aspirations they have as well as what content or messaging will convince and convert them.The better you nut out your ideal audience on Instagram, the more likely you’ll be able to design Instagram content that appeals to them and inspires them to engage with your brand.
Every great marketing strategy is built on these: goals and objectives. And the same goes for Instagram. That means you need to spend some time figuring out what business KPIs and metrics you want to hit and measure to quantify success.Start by asking yourself this one straightforward question: What are you hoping to accomplish with your brand’s Instagram account?Much like with any social network, it’s easy to get wrapped up in vanity metrics and only focus on getting your follower count to increase. However, that’s when it’s important to step back and remind yourself of your endgame.So, come back to the four stages of the customer journey to set goals and KPIs that align with these stages of the buyer funnel:
Here’s the thing: your goals and objectives are likely to change over time. In the early stages of building your Instagram following, your goals may be concentrated in the awareness stage.On the flip side, when you’ve got an engaged following built, you’ll likely be tracking decision stage metrics instead.Make sure to give each KPI or goal you set a clear timeframe to hold you accountable, too. Try setting monthly goals and benchmarks, and use your monthly Instagram reports to reflect on whether you’ve achieved these objectives or not.
Now you’ve clarified your audience and goals, it’s time to flesh out your content strategy on Instagram. In a nutshell, this step is all about clarifying how you’ll communicate with your audience and what content formats, assets and messages will effectively connect with your audience.Like with any other marketing campaign or initiative you tackle, having a strategy in place will both hold you accountable and ensure that your Instagram account is actually moving you forward in regards to your objective—you just need to follow the roadmap that you laid out.So, what key questions does your Instagram content strategy need to answer?
When sorting out your strategy, there’s one other important thing to keep in mind. Like so many other social networks, consistency is key on Instagram. To attract and retain followers, you need to show that you’re active in that space. Research shows that posting five times per week is a great place to get started.Think that sounds tough to manage? Fortunately, Sked Social can help you stick with your posting schedule—without any stress or headaches.RELATED: We have a post that dives into the nitty-gritty of developing your own Instagram strategy.
For businesses on Instagram, your bio is like your elevator pitch. In just 150 characters, you have to capture users, communicate what you do and convert them into followers (or even customers).So, what does it take to create a perfect Instagram bio? Here are the key ingredients you need to focus on:
By leveraging an impactful bio along with the other Instagram marketing tips for business that we’ve already touched on, you’re sure to make an impression on Instagram users—and, hopefully, convert them into loyal customers.[caption id="attachment_2110" align="alignnone" width="667"]
How To Use Instagram for Business - Progressive[/caption]Image Source
Instagram is a visual-first platform, built on the sharing of compelling images and video. So, to stand out from the crowd on Instagram, your business needs to craft a defined visual identity and visual strategy.A clear, consistent visual identity is what will help your brand remain top-of-mind with users and potential customers on Instagram. That means you need to craft brand guidelines for Instagram that explain:
Your businesses’ visual identity should represent your brand personality on Instagram. Do you want to be seen as sleek and minimalistic? Bright and colourful? Driven and adventurous?[caption id="attachment_2111" align="alignnone" width="966"]
How to Use Instagram for Business - Taco Bell[/caption]Image SourceComing up with those adjectives will naturally lead you to some different visual elements that you could incorporate into your visual aesthetic.RELATED: This only scratches the surface of how to use Instagram for business! Find out even more about creating an Instagram aesthetic for your brand.
With a top-notch Instagram profile set up and brand guidelines in place, it’s time to turn your attention to the name of the game: crafting high-quality Instagram content.To stand out from the crowd on Instagram and generate the best results from your Instagram marketing efforts, it’s essential to understand social media best practices when it comes to content format, assets and copywriting.So, let's walk you through what you need to know to succeed with Instagram marketing for business.
When crafting content for Instagram, it’s important to match your message to the most appropriate content format. Here are the top formats you have to choose from:
As a visual-first platform, the photography and assets you share to Instagram need to be striking to stand out on the feed.So, follow these creative guidelines when capturing or curating imagery for your Instagram account:
Again, draw on your brand’s tone of voice everything you go to write a caption for your Instagram content. Attention is scarce on social media, so make sure to get straight to the point.Here are some copywriting tips when crafting captions for your Instagram content:
When learning how to use Instagram for business or personal, mastering your hashtag game is a vital part of it all! When getting started with marketing on Instagram, there’s another question that many people are faced with: How do they get new users to find them?There are tons of Instagram marketing tips for businesses out there that promise to increase your following. But, one of the smartest is to always use trending hashtags in your posts.By using hashtags on your Instagram posts, you’re making your individual photos searchable by that specific term. Think of hashtags as your ticket to winning social SEO.In addition to getting your brand in front of new users, hashtags also make your Instagram posts far more engaging for your existing followers. In fact, posts with at least one hashtag get 12.6% more engagement than posts without.When it comes to the optimal number to include, many experts assert that 11 hashtags with each post are a good number to shoot for.That can seem like a lot of hashtags, especially when you’re feeling stumped on how to come up with ones that are relevant for your brand. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to zero in on the terms that best fit with your business:
RELATED: Want even more advice on how to use Instagram for business? Check out our guide to using the right Instagram hashtags.
Instagram is a social network—the operative word there is social. It’s not a platform for constant one-way broadcasting of your message. You need to plan to interact and engage with your followers.How can you do that? There are tons of different methods for engaging, including (but certainly not limited to):
Regardless of which specific tactics you choose to implement, the important thing to remember is that you need to converse and interact—rather than just post.Set aside some time each week that you can dedicate to engagement. Having that designated time to respond to comments, comment on other posts, and have friendly exchanges with other users will go a long way in boosting your Instagram reputation.RELATED: Discover even more ways to increase your Instagram engagement.
Finally, when it comes to learning how to use Instagram for business, it’s tough to beat the power of advertising on Instagram.As mentioned earlier, this is one of the perks of having a business account: You can only run Instagram ads if you have a business account (as opposed to an individual one) and a Facebook page.According to Instagram, there are numerous different options for the types of advertisements you can run:
Again, Instagram’s algorithm seems to push brands in the direction of purchasing advertisements. That’s frustrating. But, fortunately, advertising on Instagram can be effective.Much like with Facebook, businesses can zero in and target customers based on demographics, behaviours, and interests—meaning you can show your advertisements to people who are most likely to be interested in them (and, thus, more likely to click through to your profile).
There’s no denying the power of Instagram when it comes to marketing your business. But, when it seems like there’s so much involved, getting started can be intimidating. But don’t let this deter you from jumping right into our guide on how to use Instagram for Business.That’s why this comprehensive guide comes in so handy. Use it to lead your own Instagram marketing efforts, and you’re sure to leverage Instagram to solidify your brand, engage your audience, and win new customers.Now that you know how to use Instagram for business, why not start carving out hours in your social media workflow by signing up for Sked’s 7-day trial. Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week.
Brands and agencies with an eye for aesthetics use Sked Social to plan, schedule, and engage customers with visual content — On Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more.Start your FREE trial