So you decided to join in. Opened the account. Linked it to your Facebook. Set up your profile and bio. Now what? Well, the good news is Instagram is currently brand Valhalla. Ever since Facebook bought it, they’re focusing more on the business side of things. Especially after the customer backlash that has them re-calibrating Facebook itself.
And as the ‘mother platform’ restores to its original focus on connecting family and friends, IG is is adjusting into a business-facing platform. So what Instagram tips for business can you apply to save time and money while still building your brand?
- Ask yourself why
You may simply want to raise your follower count, show off your (product) photography skills, or join the bandwagon. Even if you simply opened your account because ‘they said you should’, be clear about your reasons. They’ll inform your entire strategy. Also, remember that unlike other platforms, small can still be good. On IG especially, a thousand followers who talk back every day are more valuable than the millions who passively ‘like’ every post. Each story should have a goal. Know the response you’re going for, and craft your post accordingly.
- Make friends
On that note, one of the top Instagram tips for business is to connect. You want them to engage, so assess your page metrics for the best times to post. Users scroll through their feed and click on whatever catches their eye. When you connect, they’ll come to IG specifically looking for your new content. Get your customers to ‘pimp’ you by asking them to post products they’re happy with, and reward them with a shout-out (or a discount). Never pay them in cash though, or you’ll end up draining your profits, so keep your customer incentives non-monetary. You can also comment on the posts of users whose niche is relevant to your brand.
- Find the right tag
Still on that same trip, don’t jump onto super-popular hashtags. Look for something a little more niche. It’ll have fewer ‘listings’ on it, but that means yours is more likely to be seen. For example, as a colorist, you’ll get further with #BlueHairMonday than you would with #ChicagoHairdresser. And while you’re at it, have conversations. Look at all those blue hair posts and comment on them, forming one-one-one relationships that you can leverage later. It works. And you don’t just have to talk to the poster. You can talk to the commenters too. After all, they’re already on team #BlueHairDontCare so they’re potential customers as well.
- Spend a little money
While you don’t have to pay for ads or sponsor your posts, it appears among Instagram tips for business because it does work. You could start with as little as $10 and still see a huge impact. But craft your ad strategy carefully for maximum results. Pay close attention to your targeting time and demographics. If you have a post or story that’s already doing well, promote it for better reach. And always review your analytics. You want to see what works and what doesn’t, constantly tweaking your own brand algorithm for enhanced results. It’s not rocket science – just go with the basics. For example, you may notice peak times are 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm. So try posting at 1.15 then 2.47 and see what works best. It’s all in the little things.
- Avoid the time warp
It’s easy to find yourself spending hours on IG. That’s kind of the whole point of the platform, so that’s how it’s designed. But as a business, you can’t afford it. Use scheduling apps to post on your behalf, then designate yourself an IG-hour. It should be during peak, allowing you to respond to comments immediately. Fans will soon learn what times you show up, and they’ll come to engage you during your ‘activity window’. It’s more satisfying for both of you, and makes your strategic Instagram tips for business more effective.
Bonus tip: Cross platforms
An LPG brand had a cheeky Valentine’s promotion where they tagged any user that had food photos on their Twitter feed. They simply RT’d with the ‘nervous sweat’ emoji and two hashtags: #ThatsWhatsCooking and #HashiGas. If the retweeted user responded, the brand began a conversation about the food in the photo, how they cooked it, where they bought it, and what kind of fuel they used, and who they were sharing the meal with.
They didn’t directly imply the user should ‘switch to our brand’ but every response had their #HashiGas tag, so the subliminals were in place, ranking it high among Instagram tips for business. It kept them visible all day and earned a lot of curious, amused follows. Pick a day and push your brand on Twitter, redirecting traffic to you IG page. Don’t overdo it though. Once a month is beyond adequate. It’s especially useful because IG doesn’t have a ‘retweet / regram’ button, so this is a cheeky way to cross-post. And if nothing else, it’ll make a great case study!