Before you begin, you’ll want to:
- Understand how to get started and all the ways you can use Instagram as a business
- Be familiar with the types of content you’ll want to focus on that’ll help you create conversations
- Become acquainted with what a successful Instagram strategy looks like; one that’ll keep your customers engaged!
Unlike traditional marketing, social media is all about conversations—creating dialogues through photos, videos, copy, and GIFs. Having a presence on social media impacts your business in several ways including:
- Providing exceptional customer service
- Building customer loyalty
- Starting conversations around your brand
- Creating brand recognition
- Telling your business’s story
- Establishing yourself as a trusted expert
- Promoting your content and utilizing social proof
Why would you choose Instagram as a social media platform for your business? For starters, people come to this social channel so they can be inspired and learn about things they care about. As a business, you can leverage this curiosity by adding content from your own brand. Here are a few facts to consider:
- There are +1 billion accounts worldwide on Instagram being used every month
- 84% of people want to discover new products on Instagram
- 90% of people on Instagram follow a business
- 2 in 3 business profile visits are from people who don’t yet follow the company
Understanding the Basics of Instagram for Business
Getting started is simple. In just a few steps, you’ll soon have your Instagram for business account, which you can use to talk about your brand and attract new customers. All you need to do is download the app, create your profile, and fill it out completely.
Getting Started: Downloading the App
Once you’ve downloaded the app on your phone, touch Sign Up, then enter your email address. Click Next (or choose Log In with Facebook if you want to sign in with your Facebook account). Pick a username for your profile, and set a password.
To create new content, you have to use the mobile app or a publishing platform; you cannot create posts directly from a computer on Instagram.
Business vs. Personal Profiles: There is a Difference
Converting your personal Instagram profile into a business account allows you to give people more information about your products, services, and business in general. This also offers more ways for people to get in touch with you.
With a business account, you can:
- Get real-time metrics on how your posts, stories, and ads are performing
- See detailed information about your follows and how they interact with you
- Add contact information to your profile, such as email, location, and phone number
- Communication directly with followers through Instagram messages
Completing Your Profile
You’ll want to be sure you add your company’s name, a profile photo, bio, and website URL. Once that’s done, you’re ready to find people to follow.
Instagram offers a huge list of features, including:
Single photo posts
Feature a single photo that highlights your brand and the products and services you offer.
Choose up to 10 photos that showcase the work your company performs.
Create a 60-second (or less) video that captures the look, feel, and culture of your company.
Share photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Stories are good to use when you want to show something as it’s happening in real life so you can truly capture the moments. Because Stories disappear, people tend to be more authentic and real when adding to their Stories versus when they publish posts.
Instagram’s live video feature takes Stories to the next level, allowing you and your followers to engage with one another in real-time. You can host a weekly Q&A chat to raise general awareness on a particular topic, or host a live “workshop” in which you explain in detail what’s happening at various stages of the process.
Instagram’s take on TikTok has become pretty successful since its inception. Reels allow you to post longer-form video content that’s saved to your profile. These videos are more viral and trendy in nature and can add an extra layer of personality to your brand.
With any post, you have the ability to tag where the photo or video was taken. This helps people find your business as they’re searching by location on Instagram. Location tags give people who are searching or businesses in your area on Instagram a higher probability of your company being seen in the search results. This is a great way to set yourself apart from competitors who may not use location tags.
While Instagram Stories are temporary, you can create collections and pin stories to your Instagram profile permanently. You can create multiple collections with each of which serving a specific purpose to make it easy for people to learn about your business. Consider incorporating sections that talk about:
- Your company
- Your team
- Local outreach
- Before & afters
Instagram for business allows you to reshare people’s IG posts directly to your story. For instance, if a customer tags your business in their photo or video, you can reshare it to your story. This is an excellent way to share real-life testimonials with your audience, and sharing Stories is a really fun way to create engagement between your brand and the customers you serve. You’re showing that customer that you truly care while simultaneously highlighting a project your company did that one of your customers was kind enough to take a photo of, post, and write out the description.
Connect with your customers, industry partners, associations, and other local businesses in your area by following hashtags. With Instagram, you’re able to follow specific hashtags on the platform, in addition to profiles. When you see a post where you can offer help, post in the comments with your advice. (Just be careful not to be too salesy!)
Keep in mind that it’s a great idea to follow other businesses and people in your area, especially if the things they’re interested in are related to what you do. Instagram recognizes when you build followers, and you do so by following others.
With a business profile, you can add a promotions tab directly onto your profile. From there, you’ll have the ability to select a post or story to invite new customers to learn more about your business.
You can also gain access to additional insights by having a business profile. You’ll be able to view by the last seven or 30 days. Plus, you’ll be able to see the accounts you’ve reached and how they’ve interacted with you (such as the types of actions they’ve taken, the days of the week on which they’re most engaged, and which posts and Stories caught their attention). You can view your followers by a number of demographics, including location, and gender.
With all of this information, you’ll be able to see when your audience is most active so you can successfully post at times that make the most sense for your efforts. You should never go into a post blind; use the data in front of you to really engage with your customers. The higher engagement you have, the more likely you are to be successful on Instagram.
An Instagram for business account lets you add a phone number and email address, both of which will be front and center on your profile. This makes it super easy for new customers to contact you. The most important thing you can do is provide an area where your customers can come to you for help outside of Instagram when they’re ready to take the next steps with your business.
Engaging Your Customers on Instagram
What Types of Content Should You Create on Your Instagram for Business Account?
One reason business owners have so much trouble creating content for IG is because they feel like they have to choose one type of content over another, or they simply can’t conjure enough ideas to curate a well-balanced mix of content. Sound familiar?
Fear not! If you’re feeling stuck, here are some types of content you should consider leaning towards as you get to posting on your Instagram for business account:
Brand awareness is very important. This is the stage and foundation of your business digitally. If you don’t have brand awareness and you’re going straight into sales, your customers are going to be intimidated. They want to know about you—who’s going into their home? Who is this company? How long have you been in business?
Share updates about your company. Postings that highlight a new website launch, new hires, employee spotlights, local initiatives, and anything else you can use to distinguish your brand from competitors are a great use of your online real estate.
It seems like a lot of businesses are afraid to tell their secrets to their customers because they’re worried their competition will see what they’re doing and want to replicate it. In fact, educating people and offering help actually brings in a whole new set of customers. The more information you share, the more you establish yourself as an expert in your industry. Education is a great tool to turn a DIY customer into a great customer for you. Tell them you’re the expert and show them why they should work with you using education posts.
Share general information pertaining to your industry such as how-tos and helpful hints that can spark connections with new people who are in need of your products and services. Get them to ask questions by delving a little deeper into the things you do without giving your secrets away.
Establish yourself, your team, and your brand as trusted experts.
When people are in the research phase of the buying process, they want to know, “Who is this company?” on a deeper level. What do others have to say about your brand?
The most convincing marketing is when you put the spotlight on your customers. Show people how your business can help make their quality of life better. Be sure to encourage your customers to post updates and tag your business, then reshare their posts to your stories.
Product & Service Photos
A lot of customers know what they want, but they may not know the steps to get there. This is an amazing opportunity for your business if you can guide them along the way. Just like education, the more you can provide them, the better your results will likely be. Share photos and maybe even consider going live to show the inner workings of what you do.
Give potential customers a peek at what their hard-earned money could get them in return for becoming your customer. Take your customers behind the scenes of how your business operates, too. Here, you can help alleviate a lot of stress, doubt, and concerns your customers may have throughout their journeys.
Promotional & Seasonal Offers
While you can’t include clickable links in your Instagram posts, you can still share your promos, including a clear way for people to get in contact with you.
With a business profile, it’s easy and fast for a potential new customer to see your offer post, tap to view your profile, then tap again on your profile’s contact button to contact you.
What a Successful Instagram Strategy Looks Like
There are four pillars of any successful Instagram strategy.
Consistency means maintaining an active presence by publishing content frequently. Create an editorial calendar to help you conquer this task so you always know what content needs to go out to the universe when and which major days can support special content, such as holidays or special promotions.
At Surefire Local, we recommend about two posts a week (or an average of about eight posts per month). Keeping your posts consistent does a few things. First, it allows your customers to know that you are active on the platform. Second, on the backend, it allows Instagram’s algorithms to recognize that you’re utilizing the platform and wanting to make a difference for your business.
Everything you do should be about your business. If you’re making a post about something your business has done, add your logo to it. There are a lot of easy-to-use editing tools available online, so you don’t have to be a graphic design genius to incorporate your branding into your posts. At Surefire Local, we highly implore you to investigate these tools (such as Canva) where you can easily drag-and-drop photos, save them, and post them on Instagram.
If you don’t want to use your logo, be sure to use brand-focused colors, fonts, and other visuals that may enhance your photo to make it actually look like it belongs to your company. Everything should be made with your brand guidelines in mind.
When you incorporate branding into your Instagram posting strategies, you’ll be creating an instantly recognizable brand, using your logo, colors, fonts, and visuals. Make sure every photo, video, and caption is in line with your brand guidelines.
Don’t be afraid to tell stories with your posts. You can use single posts, multi-photos, go live, or whatever it takes to get the story of your brand out to your audience.
Utilize social proof and user-generated content (UGC) whenever possible. Don’t just tell people what the photo is about; tell them the backstory. Not only does it make people feel good to be seen, but it also puts you above your competition when your customers are posting directly about you.
Encourage your customers to tag your business. Always ask thought-provoking questions when you can, and be sure to like, comment, and share others’ content.
When you’re building and executing your strategy, be sure to think about:
- Completing your Instagram for business profile fully, taking care to establish consistency of information across your digital footprint.
- Establishing a consistent brand reputation to help people know what to expect from you.
- Following relevant hashtags and engage by offering advice and helpful tips.
Don’t over-post to your profile because, ultimately, you’ll end up cannibalizing your reach and engagement. Instead, incorporate a variety of content, including Stories, Reels, and comments on other posts.
Manage Instagram with an All-In-One Platform
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform Demo
See how the Surefire Local Marketing Platform makes online easy for your small business. When you schedule a demo with us, you’ll learn how we can enhance our efforts with SEO, Google My Business, social media, online advertising, and more. We can’t wait to hear from you!