If you want to tap into the potential of Instagram from a business perspective, you’re not alone. As of 2017, over 70 percent of American businesses were on the network, and that number is expected to grow.
Through Instagram, businesses and contractors have an opportunity to reach prospects right where they love to spend time — naturally, seamlessly, in a way that works. Whether you sell HVAC services or copywriting support, this photo-focused app offers a great resource for building relationships and interest in who you are and what you offer — at least if you do it right.
So, how can you make the most of Instagram for content marketing? Here’s a look.
How to Use Instagram to Your Business Advantage
Whether you’re an SEO company Chicago companies need or a freelance writer serving clients around the world, here are some key do’s and don’ts of using Instagram — from a content marketing perspective.
1. Do think strategically about your profile.
Your Instagram bio offers 150 characters to describe yourself, promote products/events and/or call followers to action. This means you need to be strategic. You get one clickable link, so use it to move followers toward a goal.
Do you want more traffic on your site? Link to a landing page that is meant to turn followers into regular readers. Do you want newsletter signups? Link to a signup form. Depending on what your goals are for your business, you can determine how best to use this space.
2. Do post your best and most beautiful photos to your feed.
Instagram is a visual platform where looks matter. This means if your branding isn’t cohesive, viewers will notice. Rather than posting photos willy-nilly, think strategically about what content you share.
Keep it in line with your business branding, but make it as attractive and interesting as possible. It may help to view your feed like an art gallery — a curated collection of your best and most beautiful content.
3. Don’t limit yourself to only photos.
Some brands are turned off by the idea of Instagram because they feel their industries aren’t as conducive to pretty pictures. If you’re a copywriter, for example, what do you post — your desk, your computer, an open Word doc?
Keep in mind that photos are only part of the story with Instagram. Other content that can serve you well, depending on your industry, includes infographics, charts, how-to videos and other useful, relevant information that might connect with your audience.
Choose inspiring quotes and set them in text on visually appealing backgrounds. Run surveys relevant to your industry and create infographics to showcase results. Think outside the box to see what will work for you.
And, if all else fails, pay attention to what kind of content your successful competitors are using to engage their audiences.
4. Do tag your location.
Always choose a geographic location for your Instagram posts. Why? Research has shown that posts using Instagram’s geo-tagging feature get 79 percent more engagement than those without them.
Additionally, if you’re a local business, creating a location for yourself on Instagram allows other users to tag their photos when they visit, essentially promoting you online.
5. Do use hashtags.
Hashtags make it easier for users to find your profile — through relevant keywords that relate to what you’re posting. According to Simply Measured, they also receive 12.6 percent more engagement than photos without them.
If you want to avoid clogging your caption with a long list of keywords, try adding hashtags several spaces down or, for another option, in the first comment on your post.
Likewise, you can generate buzz around new products, events or ideas when you create a hashtag and get engaged followers to post with that term.
Branded hashtags should be unique to your company, but they can be as simple as your name or the name of a particular product or tagline.
6. Do show your human side.
Especially for B2B brands that don’t offer the typical Instagram-friendly product lines of fashion, home goods, tourism spots, etc., it’s important to remember Instagram is a great tool for connecting.
One in five organic stories from businesses will get a direct message, according to Instagram — that’s a pretty good engagement rate.
Use both Instagram Stories and posts to humanize your brand, showing what’s happening behind the scenes at work or revealing more of your corporate personality. Your prospects may like seeing more of what makes your business tick.
7. Don’t forget about Instagram Insights.
Instagram offers insight into your interactions through what it calls Instagram Insights. With this analytics option, you gain metrics on your account’s reach, impressions, profile views, website clicks and more.
You can also get demographic info on your followers, such as age, gender, and location — to help you better understand who’s looking at your content and how to reach them effectively.
8. Don’t quit posting.
The best results on social media tend to come through consistency. While setting up a profile is good, you’ll lose people’s interest if you never post.
Find a way to be active on the network, posting regularly and on a schedule, if possible. This helps you stay at the front of your followers’ minds and keeps expanding your reach.
Whether your business is marketing services or cleaning products, Instagram offers the potential to connect with more customers and build your influence — so keep the do’s and don’ts listed above in mind when promoting your brand! When used properly, Instagram is a great tool for making meaningful business connections.
Shanna Mallon is a senior copywriter for Straight North, a Chicago web design firm providing specialized SEO, web development and other online marketing services. A freelance writer, Shanna has been creating online content professionally since 2007.