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Instagram for business in 10 easy steps

At some point or other you may have found yourself sitting at your desk, analysing your social media marketing plan (if you have one, which you should!) and puzzling over how else to get loyal followers who will not only engage with your company, but also become paying customers.
You probably have a Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter account, and you’re hopefully using them to their full potential. But what else can you try?

Instagram for Business tutorial

Instagram started off way back in 2010, however it was only over the past few years that it really became huge. Huge enough for even marketers to start using it!
Originally a social media platform where users could share polaroid-style snaps, Instagram has grown to a state where companies use it to reach out to particular audiences. Of course, it’s up to you to know whether Instagram is right for you, but if you think that there’s even a slight possibility that it is, then read on to find out how to make the most of it.

1. Know your audience

You’ve got to know who you’re communicating with. Instagram is generally used mainly by a younger crowd, with most users’ ages ranging from early teens to late twenties. Moreover, most Instagram users are female, which explains why big brands like TopShop make it a point to invest time in creating great content for their Instagram followers.
Instagram for business

2. Refine your brand strategy

If you’re doing your marketing well, then you probably have a brand strategy. (If you don’t, last week’s article will help you get started). It’s important that when setting up an account on a different social media platform you keep the same brand identity. Use the same colours, logo, and tone of voice for a consistent, recognisable feel.

3. Separate your content

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram all have similar things in common, but at the end of the day they are successful social media platforms because they’re not replicas of each other. So if these social media platforms aren’t exactly the same, then neither should your content be a copy + paste from one platform to the next. Learn what works and what doesn’t and adapt your style in order to pitch the same information to different demographics.
After all, the same people could be following you on different social platforms – if all they see is repeated content, they’ll lose interest. If you keep things interesting by offering different content for each platform, you’ll keep them checking in again and again.

4. Follow sparingly

Ideally once you’ve created your account you’ll announce it on other social media platforms, inviting people to follow you on Instagram. Once people do start engaging with your brand, keep calm. Don’t follow everyone back.
Be nice, but don’t be desperate. If an Instagram account has 200 followers but is following 600 then something is clearly wrong in the marketing department. Keep your follower to following ratio at a stable level, where you’ve got a majority of followers. You’re not expected to follow everyone back, you’re a business… not an attention-seeking teenager. Remember that it’s quality over quantity. (Check out the discrepancy on Intel’s Instagram account! That’s right, with a little creativity, any brand can be an Instagram hit.)
Intel's Instagram account

5. Social Media flirting

Flirting? Yes!
While we’ve just explained that you shouldn’t go crazy and follow everyone back, you are allowed to flirt. Find companies with similar interests and keep an eye on their posts, like the ones related to your work, and even comment if you feel it’s the right thing to do! Don’t be shy to do the same with fans. Look up trending topics and like posts by people with similar interests. They might get curious to see who you are, and they might even follow you back. Just remember to be subtle and play it cool – just like flirting in the real world.

6. Engagement

This one’s a no brainer, but we’ll say it just to make sure it’s clear. Engage your audience. Keep in mind that they’re human beings and like to be treated that way. Be friendly, informative, and witty. Reply to comments, even if it’s just a simple “thanks, have a great weekend”. People like to feel appreciated and are always flattered when brands respond.
Instagram Business

7. Show your fun side

First of all, if you’ve read this point and find yourself desperately trying to figure out what your fun side is, you might want to rethink your marketing strategy. If you’ve got a fun side don’t be afraid to show it. Whether it’s a costume party at the office, or a funny quote about the business you’re in, don’t be shy!
Film your fun side

8. Faces, faces, faces

Imagine if you’re scrolling down a feed, faces automatically catch your eye. Throwing in a slightly different post every once in a while and instead of uploading a picture of your product, upload a picture of the staff, or a happy customer!

9. Good visuals

Speaking of visuals, when uploading photos be sure that they’re good quality. Don’t go crazy with filters, (sometimes they’re not even necessary), and try to include an artistic flair to your photos. Whether it’s stacking products in an eye catching way, or placing them in a different location (try a pair of sunglasses on a dazzling beach), be creative, giving your followers something different to look at each day.
Oreo excel at this. They have 1 product: A classic cookie. The cookie has looked the same for years and years, but they always manage to show it in a different light through great images that keep fans hooked day in, day out:
Oreo's account

10. The special club

Make your followers feel as though they’re part of a special, elite club. Create competitions just for them, or have special giveaways targeted to Instagram followers only. It will boost brand loyalty, attract more people to follow you on Instagram, and make your followers feel appreciated. And we all know that a happy customer is a loyal customer!
If you feel you’re now confident enough to join Instagram and start marketing, why not check out this handy post on GrowthHacking your way to the top by using the platform?

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