Instagram for Business Owners: How to Setup, Leverage, and Win
With well over 2 billion active users, Instagram is no more just a popular social media platform for brands to connect with their audience. It is a powerful marketing channel that carries the bulk of the heavy lifting in digital marketing. From raising brand awareness to organic entertainment to online shopping, Instagram can help you do it all.
The potential of Instagram in business is a no-brainer. With a good measure of visual content, both photo, and video, Instagram is a great place for businesses to showcase their products and services. Whether it is a static image, a long-form IGTV video, or a quick snappy reel, Instagram has it all.
Due to this very reason, and many more, IG has snagged a coveted place in the marketing funnels of nearly all businesses out there.
As a business owner, there are certain essentials that you need to orient yourself with. While you don't have to achieve IG mastery, it definitely helps to know the basics of how the platform works.
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through an introduction to Instagram and also show you how to make the most of it.
Setting up your account
We’re starting all the way from scratch…. with setting up your account. Instagram primarily offers you three types of accounts.
Personal, Creator, and Business.
The personal account is best utilized for connecting with friends, family, your favorite brands, and celebrities.
The creator account is more geared toward influencers, content creators, and personal brand enthusiasts, while the business account is perfect for brands and companies who are looking to promote their products and services, such as yours.
The IG business account provides you with access to features that are not commonly available with the other two accounts.
From in-depth Instagram analytics to paid advertising to IG shopping and adding links to stories, each feature provides you with a ton of advantages. Therefore you need to ensure that you pick the business profile.
Optimizing your Instagram bio
Your Instagram bio is essentially the first thing that your audience will read about you. Therefore you need to ensure that you give them a clear idea of what you do, who you help, and how you help. Keep in mind that the bio has a 150-character limit. So you need to use the space judiciously while still being able to convey your message.
Below are a few tips to keep in mind….
- Don’t beat around the bush. Keep it brief and concise.
- If you have a Facebook business page don’t forget to connect it to your Instagram account.
- Feel free to add emojis to showcase your personality and brand voice.
- Don’t forget to add a CTA to your bio. Words like “Buy Now”, and “Order Now” will encourage people to take that action.
- Use a strong profile pic that isn’t blurred or pixelated. A brand logo works just fine.
- You only have the ability to add 1 clickable link in this space. Take advantage of it and direct it to a website or landing page. If not create a stand-alone Linktree to share multiple links and allow your audience to choose their preferred destination.
- Use the action button that Instagram provides. This is a separate clickable CTA button that allows customers to take action directly from Instagram.
Build your IG marketing strategy
When it comes to strategy, each social media platform has its own nuances, preferences, and best-kept secrets and the same goes with Instagram. Being a visual-heavy platform, your strategy should be focused on creating engaging visuals and entertaining video content.
To be able to do that you need to first…
Define your target audience
The success of your Instagram content depends on your target audience and the relevance it holds to them. Look into your customer persona, and if you don't have it, we highly recommend creating one.
A customer persona or customer avatar is a fictitious depiction of your ideal customer. It gives you an overarching view of who they are, what their challenges are, what their aspirations are, what communities they belong to, and where they hang out online.
Pro Tip: An easier way to get to know your audience is to go through your competitor's followers and see what hashtags they’re using, how they communicate and engage, etc.
Set goals and assign KPIs
Your presence on Instagram should ideally contribute to a business goal. Some of the most common objectives when it comes to IG are sales, engagement, follower count, brand awareness, and user-generated content. Each of these targets requires a subtle strategy change to ace them.
For example, if your goal is to boost sales you’ll have to initiate Instagram shopping on your account. If your goal is to build brand awareness, you may have to get creative and come up with a branded hashtag which you then encourage your audience and influencers to use. If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, you’ll have to attach links on your bio, as well as stories on Instagram.
Whatever may be the goal, assign a corresponding KPI to it and then create content that helps you achieve it.
Track your performance and metrics
The only way to understand your Instagram performance and know if your efforts are paying off is by measuring your metrics. With in-built data analytics and tracking on your business account, you can easily see what is working right for you and where you are falling short. From engagement rates to follower counts to video impressions, all these metrics are available right at your fingertips.
If you want a more in-depth insight into your performance, you can even utilize and integrate other social media analytics dashboards like Hootsuite, and Sprout Social into your account.
Brainstorming Content Ideas
Depending on the goals you’ve set, it's now time to follow them up with intentional and strategic content. Content on Instagram are of two types: visual static posts and videos ranging from a few seconds to an hour long. Figure out what type of content makes a natural fit for your brand and create accordingly.
For DTC e-com brands, this may look like product visuals, informative how-to videos, influencer reels, UGC posts, etc. For service-based brands, this might include educational solution-oriented posts, video case studies, authority building, etc.
Don’t rigidly stick to the status quo. Color outside the lines and test different types of content. Throw in a good mix of educational, entertaining, and engagement posts to your strategy. Create content buckets and stagger them across your strategy. Leverage real-time events and specific occasions that are relevant to your niche and create content around it.
Map out all your content ideas on a content calendar and determine the posting schedule. Stay consistent and do your best to post when you’re ideal audience is most expected to be online.
Creating quality engaging content
Creating content on Instagram is an opportunity that allows you to let your branding shine. From color palettes to graphic fonts to brand voice you can double down on your brand vibe and create an iconic and recognizable imprint on your audience. Plus, since Instagram is all about visuals, this is a must.
If you have the budget for it, you can take the help of a graphic designer or a professional photographer to make your posts stand out.
While Instagram is heavy on visuals, it doesn’t imply that you can ignore your social media copy. Captions are a terrific way to share your brand message and boost the overall impact of your visual. You can use this as an opportunity to start social conversations and build trust.
Try to stay consistent and on-brand while creating captions. Use a beginning, middle, and resolution framework for your captions and break down the text into smaller paragraphs to improve readability. Use emojis and hashtags relevantly.
Keep an eye out for the posts and content that receive the most engagement and recreate more of them.
Listen and Engage
Once you have a fairly good content schedule set in place, it's not the time to stay idle. To make the most of Instagram you need to be constantly engaging with your audience and other businesses.
The most basic engagement activity that you can do as a business is to respond to comments. Whether it is the customer reaching out to you or you respond to a customer, it is important to associate your brand as engaging and conversational. Likewise, social listening is just as important in order to learn about customer needs and what can be done to fill in the gaps.
While it can be exhausting to keep up, it helps in the long run. It puts your brand in a good light and prospects are more likely to engage with you because of your reciprocation.
An additional way to keep your audience engaged is through influencer marketing. Scout for reliable content creators and influencers in your niche. Play around with branded hashtags and ask your influencers to use them so that your content finds a place in a wider audience territory.
If you are a small business with a limited budget, you don’t have to miss out on the benefits of influencer marketing. There are plenty of micro-influencers who have a better engagement and closer rapport with their audience, thus providing you an upper hand when you hire them.
It’s a known fact that Instagram algorithms are tricky to navigate and all over the place. What works once may not hold true the next day. To combat this situation, Instagram ads are your best bet. It is a surefire way to get your content seen by your desired audience. Plus with targeting capabilities and ready-to-use CTA buttons, you can reach a wider audience and customers take quick action without leaving Instagram and thus reducing the friction.
From a strictly photo-sharing platform to a base of multiple business activities, Instagram has undergone a major overhaul over the span of just 10 years. And it still continues to evolve and reinvent itself as time goes on. As an entrepreneur juggling a lot of tasks, It can be a lot to keep track of all the new updates and moving parts of Instagram… especially if you’re new to the world of social media.
No worries! We’ve got you! If you’re looking to take your Instagram game up a notch without having to figure it out all by yourself, do reach out to Growthhub.
At Growthhub, we’re obsessed with helping businesses like yours get the growth it deserves.
Get in touch with us and we can match you with videographers, marketers, content creators, and influencers in as little as 24 hrs. We screen and pre-vet the marketers on our platform, so you don’t have to. Book a call with us today!