How To Use Instagram For Business in 2018: Tools and Tips for Marketers
Instagram is one of the most evolving social platforms these years. Instagram Stories, Live streams, Square videos and Mobile-First trend made this network incredibly useful for products and companies promotion to over 800 000 000 (with more than 25m active business profiles) users around the globe.
The more popular it’s becoming, the more potential is revealing for using Instagram for business purposes in 2018.
In this article, I’m going to share some useful tips & tricks to build your community on Instagram and attract more leads for your business. Moreover, I’ll share tools that you can use to optimize your time promoting your brand on Instagram. In combination, you’ll have powerful key instruments to build your own Instagram for business strategy.
Instagram for Business starting point: great content
Mobile content is the new black
98% of Instagram members use the application on mobile devices. That’s why the maximum length of an Instagram video is quite short (less than a minute) and video Stories last 15 seconds only – content on this platform should be snackable for your audience.
Keep in mind that people like different types of snacks, analyze customers to find what will work the best for your Instagram business audience. This way, your account will be on mobile screens of millions of people around the world, sooner or later!
Make your visuals memorable
Instagram is a mobile platform for visual content. The best destination to aim with the quality of your visual content are photos and videos which people would like to watch again and again!
Your visuals should represent your style, ideas and value in the most memorable way possible. As a result, users will remember your profile as the place to find this kind of captivating content and have positive associations with the company in general.
A great example of what I call an easy to remember visual content style. Source
How to create great Instagram content for your business
Brainstorm and try different ideas
It’s a simple rule which is not that easy to follow.
I’d begin with planning what you can do around your activities and what resources you can use to create every piece of your future Instagram for business content. Come up with two or three best ideas. Check out some of the best existing practices, e.g. in our previous article 10 Must-Have Videos for Your Business.
Brainstorming is a great way to discover how to promote benefits of your product. You can come up with backstage videos, quotes of your customers, “food porn” with your product (something with focus on details and artistic view on it), something educational, or even video series with funny animals (works great by the way!).
It depends on your product, but the best way to stand out on Instagram is adding some fantasy to the usage of your product or interpretation of the product vision.
Here are various instruments you can use on Instagram:
- Photo/series of photos
- Square Videos
- Live Videos
- Paid Content
Bonus Tip: Making good content for Instagram for business takes time, so plan your activities based on your resources. Instead of spending a week to film a small video, try doing it with less effort using series of photos and text.
Best practices for using photos on Instagram
- Looking for the best way to repurpose your written content? Make it visual! Put valuable information from your blog on photos and combine them into series like experts tips, customer reviews or product descriptions.
- Create a set of branding colors which will be dominating in your Instagram profile.
- Make your images eye-catchy: use juicy colours, be stylish and inspirational.
- Keep it simple, don’t use too much text or objects on your photos.
Tools: I can recommend Canva for editing pictures both on mobile and desktop. Some great mobile apps for turning your images into pieces of art: Over (for iOS), VSCO Cam, Snapseed, Afterlight and Typic.
Best practices to create Instagram videos for your brand
- Adding text captions to your videos is a must. Using wave.video, you can easily place captions on video and decide on the go what it would be: Stories or Instagram square video! Videos can tell much more about your brand than static pictures.
- Square videos should be prepared in advance because they will be in your profile forever and it will be played thousands of times.
- Don’t forget about the watermark!
- Be assured that there is a potentially great cover inside your video, you can choose this frame when you’re publishing your video. If you have a series of videos, don’t forget to include the same fonts, backgrounds or colors.
- Add text to your photos and make a slideshow video from them. It’s a great and cheap option which can solve many production problems.
- Using CTA in Instagram videos for ads is a very powerful instrument for your business. Using CTA in your ”organic” videos is not a bad thing, but seems useless for me, because there is no button or clickable links there.
- Instagram Stories and Live videos are great if you want to share authenticity of your brand, real-time events or interesting aspects of backstage reality of your brand. Add some valuable text on Stories to encourage people to visit your profile and site.
- 70% of people watch Instagram Stories with the sound on, don’t hesitate to use music or voice.
Tools: Wave.video is the only tool I use to change a size of any video to Instagram “friendly” stories or square videos, and add text and music to it. I also use Boomerang app to create looped video clips. If your video is longer than 15 seconds (which is too long for Stories), use tools like CutStory or Storeo to split the story into 15-second parts.
How to Use Description and Comment Section
- There is no formatting standards right now, but there are many different ways to format your descriptions and comments. Here’s a popular one:
- Add some story into descriptions of some of your posts. For example, it can be interesting facts about why you’ve published the post or some fun facts about the product usage.
- There are many hashtag studies with different takeaways. I’d recommend to experiment using hashtags from DisplayPurposes tool and analyzing hashtags of your competitors. Find your optimal number of hashtags between 7 and 30.
Tools: I really like the simplicity of the tool DisplayPurposes, it gives me a lot of ideas what Instagram hashtags I can use in every case. All-Hashtag is also a great free way to find good hashtags and understand how they perform.
How to grow your audience on Instagram
Building your audience is a long-term project, but you can accelerate it if you have a developed database of customers already.
If you think about bots and automated following, I have something to say. I’ve tried some of them and completely agree with this Hootsuite article. Spoiler: it’s a bad idea!
Here are some useful tips to get more followers on Instagram on daily basis:
- Choose 3-5 popular Instagram profiles in your niche or public persons you work with (influencers, customers) and start every day by following their new followers. They are active, they follow a similar topic, there are great chances to have a followback. The main rule – if they follow you back keep them, if not just unfollow in 1-3 days.
- Additionally to the first strategy, make a habit to like and comment your new followers, it can help you increase your following “conversion rate” and start being found more often.
- Don’t buy followers! It’s better to have less yet active followers, than “dead” thousands. Invest your money in the quality of your content instead.
- Emailing, blog and social channels are good places to promote your new Instagram channel. Just tell your audience that you have an Instagram account where you will publish many unique things dedicated to your brand!
- Don’t forget about hashtags and location tags. That’s how people are looking for new profiles on Instagram. You’ll see that many people will find you if you use right hashtags or popular locations! This strategy goes along with community building and interaction with users in your area. And it’s proven, posts with location have 79% more engagement than those without.
- I can recommend Audiense Insight tool to find Instagram users, using hashtags or words in the description. I choose always followers ratio between 0,6 and 2, this is how you can find people who also are growing their audience. My next tip, two days follow/third unfollow all the non-followers. The tool has also a whitelist feature, so you can follow and engage with posts of GaryVee even if your relationship is not reciprocal. The tool won’t unfollow him by mistake!
- Giveaways and Instagram contests can generate a huge engagement. Check out the great Wordstream post which helps you to run a giveaway people will be eager to participate in.
Tools: Audiense (ex. SocialBro) is awesome for audience control. Tailwindapp and AgoraPulse are two great tools to schedule posts for Instagram. Use Icon Square and native Instagram insights to study analytics of your profile.
Uncle Funky Skateboards from NY post shots of their happy customers. Simple and cool!
Community Building on Instagram: Tips & Tricks
- Location is your starting point in promoting your local business. If you represent an international brand, start from 2-3 locations where the most possibly your audience is.
- Commenting is the starting point to a conversation. Use not only dry “great pic” phrases but questions or personally tailored comments.
- Don’t hesitate to ask your audience questions in your posts or under the comments of other users. If you have some media partners, it’s a great way to cooperate and mention each other in many ways. Also, you can use tools like Repost to reshare some popular great posts of your social friends.
- If you start a communication with people, you can go further using Direct Messages where you can propose some individual discount coupons or future collaborations!
Tools: Repost App is great to share your friends’ content with your audience.
Takeaways for using Instagram for business
A strategy you build around your Instagram marketing is a key factor for creating a magnificent profile for your audience. Take maximum from your previous marketing insights (repurpose, focus on your audience, communication) and apply it on Instagram. And of course, try our tips and best practices, find what works for your business, and think how you can amplify the effect. Step by step towards success!
Follow us on Instagram: @wave.video, and share your #1 tip for Instagram marketing in the comments!