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Instagram isn't just about posting nice visuals - to get the most out of the platform, you need to follow these 9 important rules...
Instagram holds some pretty kick-ass opportunities for businesses. First off, it provides access to over two billion monthly active users. Crucially, it can also help businesses grow their brand awareness, connect with potential customers, generate leads, and guide those leads swiftly down the path to purchase. What more could you want?
Yet Instagram for business also poses a unique set of challenges. Brands in some sectors (like travel, beauty, or fashion) face fierce competition from the get-go. Instagram for business isn’t new, after all; there are plenty of social media-savvy brands who have been in the game for a long time and are already killing it on Instagram.
When it comes to using Instagram for business, it’s not as easy as setting up your profile, adding a few posts every week, and posting about sales every now and then. Instagram shouldn’t be treated like a TV spot or a print ad.
Social media is about starting conversations, nurturing leads, and, most importantly, listening to your customers. For your business to really thrive on social media, you need to combine strategy and creativity and stay true to your brand.
And, we’re sorry to say it, but you also need to play by the rules!
Using Instagram for businesses means following a specific set of guidelines. These guidelines will ensure your account won’t get banned and will also make your Instagram account look far more professional. But what are the golden rules, and how can you ensure that everyone in your business is abiding by them?
Sure, you’ve set up your Instagram profile, but did you do it the right way?
First off, if you haven’t done so yet, set up an Instagram business account. An Instagram business account will show Instagram app users who visit your profile your contact information, your URL, your business phone number, and your other business information. Not only that, but you’ll be able to visit your brand’s business dashboard, which will give you unique insights into your Instagram post performance, page performance and will give you important insights about your audience.
Setting up an Instagram business account is simple. Just follow these steps:
Once you’ve got your Instagram business profile ready to go, you want to ensure you’re not missing any opportunities to optimize your profile for success. Remember; you want your Instagram profile to be fully filled out so it looks professional. You also want to make it as easy as possible for Instagram users to find information about your business or contact you if they need to.
Start by updating your display picture. Choose a clear image that best represents your brand, like your logo or another instantly recognizable image. Don’t choose an image that is blurry, out of focus or not relevant, even if you love it!
Next, set up your Instagram bio. This should concisely explain your business in simple terms.
For example, Australian store Anaconda uses a simple Instagram bio, with the words:
🏕 Australia's largest camping & adventure store
📸 Share your adventures by tagging @anacondastores
📖 Check out the blog for guides, tips & tricks 👇🏼
You’ll notice that they also use emojis in an attempt to capture the attention of Instagram users and quickly convey meaning.
When it comes to Instagram for business, many brands get great engagement. But they struggle to transform that user engagement into action. Having a link in your Instagram bio is a must if you want to convert engagement into traffic, leads, and sales. But how do you manage with only one little clickable link in your bio?
The answer is Sked Link. Sked Link is a customizable link that you can post as your Instagram bio. When Instagram users click on it, it will take them to a customized menu that you can update with your branding and a variety of links of your choosing. You can continue updating this menu as you continue to post new Instagram content or add new sales, giveaways, or events that require you to direct traffic to all different pages on your website.
So, if you want your business to look professional and you want a seamless path to purchase, get starting with setting up your Instagram profile, stat!
Next, you’ll want to gain new followers as quickly as possible. Yet it’s a well-known rule that engaging in “follow for follow” tactics or buying followers is a big no-no on Instagram.
Back when Instagram first started out, brands got away with this activity but doing it now it can get your account suspended or even banned. Besides, even if your Instagram account doesn’t get banned, your engagement rates will likely look lower than they should be. Low engagement rates mean that your Instagram posts will start to rank lower in the algorithm.
This means that over time, despite your best efforts, your Instagram posts may continue to suffer from low levels of engagement.
Growing your followers authentically means you’ll be making real connections with real people – and your account is likely to grow that much faster. You’ll quickly learn which types of content your audience resonates with – and which posts don’t perform so well. How? Well, you’ll have real followers interacting with your content.
Here are a few ways to grow your followers authentically:
There are plenty of ways to grow your audience on Instagram, but it can take time. Try to be patient and follow our other rules for Instagram to make sure you have all your bases covered, and your audience will grow in time.
When you’re first starting out using Instagram for business purposes, you’ll be faced with the task of setting up your account, growing your followers, and, most important of all, coming up with new types of content. To truly engage your Instagram followers on a consistent basis, you’ll need to create an Instagram strategy and a content calendar and schedule posts regularly.
With all of this to worry about, it can be difficult to stay aware of all the best practices and rules around using content on Instagram.
The rules are pretty simple; don’t use anyone else’s image without permission. Sure, you can do it and you might get away with it once or twice, but your Instagram business account is the same as any other online place in cyberspace – it’s best to play by the rules.
Even if you do have user permission, it’s best to credit the content creator wherever possible. Ensure you get written permission to use any user’s content, too, just to cover your back in case of a complaint.
Not only is it advisable to seek permission, but it’s also just plain polite. Would you want some business using your image on social media – without asking you?
So, where else can you find content, if not from your loyal fans? Well, you can always use free image sites like Unsplash or Pexels. You can also sign up for a paid subscription at companies like iStock.
Better yet, create your own content! Use designed content, infographics, or do a video shoot or a photo shoot. With so many up-and-coming photographers around, there are plenty of low-cost options for content creation.
When it comes to scheduling posts, searching for hashtags, or creating detailed reports on the performance of your Instagram business account, it’s best to turn to the experts.
Sked Social has been in the game for almost a decade now, refining and developing our software from the first day on the job. Our tool was initially created specifically to work with Instagram until we expanded to other social networks.
That means that Sked Social users can benefit from using a trusted third-party platform that understands Instagram inside and out. Sked Social allows you to:
Social media scheduling, planning, and reporting are important tasks within your wider digital marketing strategy. Without the right analytics tools, it’s going to be extremely difficult to complete these tasks easily. And, as the role of social media marketing expands for your business and your Instagram profile grows, it will only get more difficult.
Spend some time researching and investing in tried-and-tested social media tools like Sked Social. Sure, we might be biased, but we can guarantee you won’t regret it!
Automation is the key to success when it comes to social media management, especially for small business owners or entrepreneurs. Although it might seem like it, the majority of brands aren’t sitting by their phones posting on the fly when they happen to see something that they think their followers might like.
As much as we like to believe that Instagram really is “instant”, this is mostly just an illusion. Many brands and even influencers have a well-planned strategy informed by extensive research and scheduled posts that have been planned far in advance.
And that doesn’t mean there’s no room for spontaneity! The best brands on social will have the majority of their posts scheduled and then they will leave space for more ad-hoc content.
If you can schedule posts at least a couple of weeks in advance, you’ll benefit from:
Sure, you can schedule posts on your social media channels each month to save time, but how else can you automate your social media marketing efforts? Well, you can:
When it comes to Instagram for business, your brand needs to go further than just posting pretty content and waiting for your audience to react. Succeeding on any social media platform comes down to thoughtful, high-quality content with targeted captions and CTAs. A call-to-action, or CTA, gives weight to your posts and turns interested users into new customers.
Sure, not every post you upload needs to scream “BUY, BUY, BUY!”, but by adding a few targeted posts every month with relevant CTAs you can start to drive traffic to your website and make sales.
Your Instagram marketing strategy should include specific details about your posting strategy. Your Instagram content should serve to fulfill an objective every time you post, whether that is achieving:
For instance, many fast-fashion retailers like Shein have such a large catalog of images that they use product codes in all their posts. That way, Instagram users can head to their website and find items easily. Of course, they tag their items in the Instagram Shop as well, but this is an extra way to make it as easy as possible for customers to purchase from them.
Instagram for business can be difficult as there is only one clickable link on your page – located in your Instagram bio. To get around this, many businesses use Sked Link – skip back to #1 for more details on this!
It’s important for brands to use hashtags correctly on Instagram. Hashtags can boost the reach and performance of each Instagram post. If you can do that right and combine proper hashtag use with great content then over time, you’ll benefit from consistently high engagement rates. It will also make it far easier to generate leads and sales from your efforts.
There are several rules when it comes to hashtag use. Your Instagram hashtags should be strategic and relevant. The biggest rule is to ensure you don’t overuse hashtags. Your hashtags shouldn’t be stuffed into every single Instagram Story, news feed post, reel, and even in your Instagram bio. They should be carefully integrated into your copy (where relevant) after careful research.
You should aim to use 10-15 hashtags per post. Follow these rules and only use lots of hashtags where you feel it will add to (not detract from) your Instagram posts:
Influencer marketing is a tricky beast. Countless brands engage in influencer marketing without the proper know-how. But just remember, any influencers you engage to work with you should be:
Some red flags when it comes to influencers are:
At the same time, it’s important that as a business you provide a thorough brief and a detailed posting schedule with specifics on any approvals processes. You do want to give influencers some creative freedom, but the more information you can provide, the better. You may also want to have a contract in place to ensure that any influencers you work with don’t remove any of your sponsored posts a week later, collaborate with your competitor the next day, or post incorrect information about your brand.
Influencer marketing can be a powerful marketing tactic when done correctly, but it needs to be approached with care and a defined strategy.
Influencer marketing can help you achieve your Instagram marketing objectives, but if you feel it’s out of your budget, you might want to try hosting a competition. Competitions on Instagram are a great way to boost engagement, drive sales, and source user-generated content.
Not all businesses are aware of this, but when you’re hosting competitions on Instagram there are rules to follow. If you get reported your Instagram account may be suspended or even shut down, so it’s definitely worth knowing what they are.
Instagram’s full set of promotion guidelines are here, so we recommend that you follow them and also do the following:
Aside from these guidelines, you don’t want to make your competition too difficult, because you want to encourage as many Instagram users as possible to enter! Use an enticing prize that is relevant for your audience, instead of using a low-value prize or an item you’re just trying to get rid of. Show your audience that you care and you want to give back to them!
Using Instagram for business isn’t as easy as it sounds. Like any other social media platform, it requires a solid social media strategy, high-quality content, and comprehensive social media marketing tools. It also requires you to be consistent, and post regular content that is both relevant to your audience and authentic to your brand.
Sked Social can help you with all of this and more. It can help you to create high-quality posts on a consistent basis, instead of posting when you have time. Ultimately this will help you produce far greater results from your efforts.
Want to learn how to grow your business on Instagram? We’ve just launched a new powerful guide to help you – covering how to set up a successful Instagram profile, how to post engaging content, Instagram marketing tips, and more. Download our e-book on Instagram for Business: The Definitive Guide for Brands and Agencies.
Now that you know how to nail all the rules when it comes to Instagram for your business, why not take your Instagram marketing efforts to the next level?
You can carve out hours in your social media workflow every week by signing up for Sked’s 7-day trial. Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Instagram Stories, Reels, videos, and more. Tag locations, users, and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 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