Does my business need an Instagram account? Will it be worth the effort? How do I know if I’m doing the right things? If you’re trying to figure out how Instagram works—you’re not alone
As the number of active users on Instagram continues to grow, lots of new and established entrepreneurs are asking these questions. And at Jimdo, we were too! So we decided to delve deep into Instagram—to discover all things glamorous and ‘grammable. Our first stop was an awesome workshop run by our friends over at Online Marketing Rockstars. In this article, I want to share our most important findings and insights about Instagram trends that every small business owner needs to know about.
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Does your business need an Instagram account?
Here’s the short answer: If your target audience is already on Instagram, and if you’re willing to put some time and resources into creating content they’ll love—then yes! Learning how to use Instagram could help you grow your business.
Let’s take a closer look. First and foremost, Instagram is a visual channel. So if you’re always taking sumptuous snaps of your day-to-day, or you sell beautiful “instagrammable” products—ones that look good—then this is the platform for you. Think about it this way: if you’re a B2C brand, photographer, artist, blogger, or DIY guru, then you’ll already have lots to show off. With Instagram, you can use the visual content you already have to reach a wider audience, and connect with more potential customers online.
Did you know? 8/10 Instagram users are following a brand account.
Does Instagram work for B2B marketing?
B2B (business to business) brands don’t always see Instagram as a useful channel. Yes, it’s a consumer-focused platform. But that also makes it a great place for B2B companies to tell their brand story. If you want to join these B2B brands who are rocking it on Instagram, my best advice is to get creative and don’t be afraid to have a sense of humor—B2B doesn’t have to mean boring! Give it a shot and you’ll find that Instagram can be a lucrative way to grow an engaged following for your company.
Here is a great example:
Ready to get started? Check out these handy Instagram B2B strategies and tips from HubSpot.
Why does your business need an Instagram presence?
Not only is the platform’s audience is growing fast but Instagram also boasts an average engagement rate of 1.73%—which might not sound like much, until you compare it to Facebook’s more modest 0.16%. In fact, Facebook predicts that Instagram will overtake its own growth in terms of active users in 2019. That’s some serious global reach, making Instagram a great place to interact with your existing and potential customers. For many niches, the platform has already proven itself to be a strong sales channel.
And as if the deal wasn’t sweet enough, Instagram reports that a massive 80% of its users follow a brand account. With data from Facebook showing that ⅔ of people who are interested in fashion and beauty take action after seeing a product on Instagram. So, although we might glaze over when we see ads online (guilty!), we still pay attention to relevant products and services that show up in our social feeds (I came for the cat videos, but I stayed for the yoga pants).
Instagram business tips: What’s important for a brand account?
Social media is a battle for attention. You’re not just up against other brands but also your audience’s friends, family, and favorite influencers. This is may be old news but it’s particularly relevant on Instagram.
Set up your Instagram business account
To get started, switch your personal IG profile to a business account. Check out this quick guide on how to create an Instagram business account if you get stuck. Once you’re done, you’ll be able to:
- Access to your Instagram insights and monitor your progress (more on this in my next post)
- Add additional contact information so your customers can get in touch
- Use Instagram ads
Pro Tip: Switch to an Instagram business account. It’s really easy.
What to post on Instagram
Deciding what to post on Instagram can be tricky at the start. Here are my favorite Instagram tips to help you get real followers and get noticed!
- Use high-quality images for your Instagram feed. This platform is all about eye-catching imagery and there’s stiff competition—so make yours pop! Users on Instagram tend to scroll through their feeds quickly, so it’s important to use crisp, clear photos that will catch their attention.
- Find your style and stick with it. Brilliant branding is all about consistency. Leave followers in no doubt when it comes to what you’re all about, by following your brand style in every post. This will keep your feed looking sharper than a carefully collated co-ord, so your brand stands out.
- Tell spontaneous Stories! Instagram Stories are like little snippets of real-life—and they only last 24 hours. They’re designed to give followers an exclusive glimpse into your world. And you don’t need to use your highest quality pictures or videos for these, in fact, lower resolution snaps can add your story’s authentic feel. Be fun, spontaneous, and if you’re going in front of the camera try not to over-rehearse. Want to boost interaction from your followers? Answer their questions with a live Q&A or get instant feedback by adding a poll sticker to your story.
- Share user-generated content. If you’re a consumer brand, encourage your followers to post pictures with your products (ones they love!) and then repost them in your feed or in your story. Do your followers need a gentle nudge? Run a competition with one of your products up for grabs, and ask winners to post a selfie with their prize as part of the deal. You can include this requirement in your Terms and Conditions of entry.
- Post more videos. Video is definitely a trend that’s going to keep growing in 2019. Users watch and interact with more videos than any other content, so IG’s algorithms give them the best reach. And you don’t need to hire a professional video production team to create a ‘grammable clip. A DIY smartphone video can work just as well! Uploading more off-one video clips to your story, going live, and using the boomerang app will also improve your account’s visibility on Instagram.
Remember that variety is the spice of social. It can be easy to get comfortable on social media. But make sure your followers don’t get bored! Here are some content inspiration tips for Instagram for when you need to shake things up. Keep in mind that there are no set rules—you can experiment with these ideas or mix and match them in your feed:
- Promote your products with pictures, videos, and boomerangs (basically, anything goes)
- Go behind the scenes—give your followers an exclusive look at your business with backstage access to your brand HQ, an Insta-story of your next team lunch, or some off-the-cuff interviews with the “faces” behind your brand
- Hold competitions, promotions, and giveaways
- Post photos and videos of customers using your products
- Share testimonials from real customers
- Inspire followers with your favorite quotes and thoughts
- Pay attention to special holidays and events so you can tailor your posts to get more engagement
How regularly should you post on Instagram?
There are no set rules on how often to post on your Instagram business profile. Some say that the algorithm works best with up to 10 posts per day. But seriously, who’s got time for that?! And Instagram has never actually confirmed these statements, so there’s no real reason to believe that this strategy will benefit your brand account.
That said, regular posting is important. If you want to grow your business on Instagram I’d recommend being active at least 5 times a week. Your content can be a mix of posting in the feed, adding to your story, going live, or broadcasting on IGTV—they all count!
How to get discovered on Instagram
Getting found is important, especially if you’re just starting an Instagram account for your business. Here are a few tips on how to broaden your reach:
- Use #hashtags to get your post noticed by people who aren’t following you, but are interested in the same topic. You can use up to 30 hashtags in each post. Here’s a quick guide on how to use hashtags for Instagram.
- Only use hashtags that are relevant to your business or your post. Avoid using very broad terms, as these will be used by lots of people at the same time and your new account might be drowned out by bigger players. Instead, use a combination of more specific business hashtags along with general ones to describe your post. For example, if you’re a personal trainer then using #fitness is a no-brainer. But remember to add hashtags like #boxing, #mma #muaythai, for example, to dial-in on your most relevant audience.
- Add hashtags to your Stories to help them reach more people, just like posts in the feed. Now it’s possible to follow hashtags as well as accounts on Instagram, so lots of people follow specific topics they’re interested in.
- Tag your location. If you’re a store or a local business and want to attract customers from your community, use a location tag in posts and in your story so people can find you.
The hottest Instagram trends for this year
- Users still love videos! We watch videos more than we look at any other type of content, so Instagram’s algorithm often gives them priority. Producing videos might take time and involve a bit of a learning curve, but you can use different types of video to keep your content fresh. There are loads of ways to use video on Instagram: standard video posts, videos in your story, IGTV, video ads, short videos created with the Boomerang app, time-lapse video, and slow-motion clips. And they can all be created straight from your mobile!
- Insta Stories were more popular than feed content in 2019. Instagram predicts that users will spend more time watching Stories than scrolling in their feed. This means that you definitely want to add to your story regularly for your business account to get noticed. The good news is that users don’t expect to see super-polished content here. Your followers will be totally happy to see rough and ready, instant content, that you’ve created on the go.
- Story Highlights will let you keep your favorite Stories indefinitely. Like pinned Tweets or Snapchat Memories, Instagram now lets you immortalize your favorite stories on your profile. Use them to tell new account visitors about your brand and your products, and to promote special deals.
- There will be more ways to engage. People spend more and more time on Instagram, which means that your audience will spend more time interacting with your brand. Use polls, questions, and other cool perks available in Instagram Stories to engage with your customers.
I hope these tips have been helpful and will inspire you to try out Instagram for your business. If you’re ready to get started, go for it! Then come back next week for my guide to understanding your Instagram metrics—when I’ll share the best ways to optimize your Instagram business account and boost its performance.
Have you already used Instagram to grow your business? How did you do it? Let us know in the comments!