HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM FOR YOUR BUSINESS

VALUE

Focus on the solution you provide, not the products you sell. On Instagram, it’s essential to add value to your customers and look pretty while you do it. Never underestimate the fact that your most important asset (and downfall) on this social media network is visual content.

If your business is service-oriented, focus on showcasing the process behind providing the service. Show your company culture, share your mission with the world, or simply share some tips and how-tos.

It’s possible to upload photos, short videos (similar to gifs) and videos up to one minute in length. The newest addition, Instagram Stories, is a video collage that consists of images and videos that can be edited with text, color and the sort. Instagram stories are available exclusively on mobile and are live only for 24-hours (though this can be refreshed if you choose to keep them for longer.

VIDEOS

It’s possible to upload short videos (similar to gifs) and videos up to one minute in length. The newest addition, Instagram Stories, is a video collage that consists of images and videos that can be edited with text, color and the sort. Instagram stories are available exclusively on mobile and are live only for 24-hours (though this can be refreshed, if you choose to keep them for longer.

ORIGINS

Customers have a natural curiosity about where their products come from, and you can use Instagram to show them their whole lifecycle. This is especially relevant for companies that sell environmentally friendly or FairTrade products. Source images to demonstrate how products are made – from the base material, production and distribution.


If nothing comes to mind, you can share something that everyone has – sketches, notes and filled whiteboards or blackboards. Every business has brainstormed ideas, it’s up to you to take a pretty picture and upload it to Instagram.

#HASHTAGS

Use hashtags to expand your reach. These can be campaign specific or general – all that’s important is that they are relevant. Make sure to also set up your main company hashtag (#yourbrandname), and use it sparingly across Instagram (Twitter is good too). This makes it easier for people to find content related to you as well as your main account.


It’s best practice to use between five to ten hashtags, despite the fact that the maximum you can add is 30 per Instagram post. Use your own, campaign specific hashtags as well as the more popular hashtags to increase the discoverability of your content. For example, try adding hashtags like #instagood (used is 300 million posts), or #tbt (Throwback Thursday), and don’t forget about industry specific ones. If you are in IT, the hashtag #IT or #tech will do just fine.

@MENTIONS

Instagram is one of the strongest social media channels for highlighting collaborators and sharing customer success stories. Even if you don’t officially partner with a non-profit organization, you can give to charity or fundraiser a couple of times a year. It’s all good as long as the cause aligns with your brand values and mission.

Another technique involves use ‘shout-outs’. An unpaid shout-out is when you partner with another brand that has roughly the same number of followers as you, to promote each other to your audiences and benefit from increased exposure.

The paid shout-out is for those with a bigger budget. This involves paying a brand (or influencer) with a much larger following to promote your product or service. This is a great way to gain a large number of new followers quickly, providing that you create a strong call to action.

USE WHAT WORKS

Without taking a step back and analyzing what worked and didn’t, marketing becomes a guessing game. The truth is, you can read all the articles in the world about the best practices and publishing times, but you will only find out what works for your business through testing and measuring results.

Social media management tools can help, though. You can use them not only to schedule your campaigns in advance, but also use social media analytics to measure their success. Make sure to regularly measure your follower count, engagement and clicks, all to refine and improve your Instagram strategy

These tips will not only improve your channels performance, but also hopefully attract new customers.