Are you someone who is having a hard time cracking Instagram for business best practices to achieve marketing results? Or are you a newbie who doesn’t know what, when, and for whom to post?
Then keep reading. This blog is for you.
Gone are the days when Facebook used to rule the social media world unchallenged. Because now we have a platform that is on a meteoric rise. It’s Instagram. After launching in 2010, Instagram has risen to 1 billion global users in late 2020, making it one of the top 3 social media platforms worldwide.
In simple terms, almost one-quarter of the world’s active internet users access the app every MONTH.
It’s a highly engaging platform with tremendous potential. The exact reason why Facebook paid USD 1 billion in cash and stock to buy Instagram just 24 months after its launch. It’s all paying well now.
History of Instagram
Like any other platform, Instagram isn’t an overnight success. But it has surely come a long way in a short timespan.
Imagine there was once a time when you went on a trip with your friends but couldn’t share updates with your network. You relied heavily on Facebook check-ins and status updates. But all that was so complicated, right? Instagram made things easier. It indeed is a blessing in disguise.
Instagram was founded with the motive of becoming the top photo-sharing platform globally. And guess what? It did it.
It is safe to say that Instagram has grown to become our modern cave wall. The uses are multi-faceted. We use Instagram in our daily lives for communication with friends and family, store our happy moments, entertain our followers, and market our brands.
Importance of Instagram in Marketing
The exponential growth of this photo-sharing platform, from around 400 million users in 2016 to over one billion users in 2020, has driven brands and influencers to use Instagram for business best practices. The overall engagement rate on Instagram is 0.96% which is considerably higher than other platforms.
High engagement makes it the preferred marketing platform for brands looking to generate awareness and leads.
Instagram, like other social media platforms, acts as a customer touchpoint. It helps you engage directly with your customers, initiate conversations, build trust, and grow your network and sphere of influence.
With its growing user base and engagement ratios, this is the perfect time to concentrate more on developing Instagram marketing strategies and getting the best out of it.
20 Instagram Best Practices for Businesses
: #1 Keep your profile SEO-friendly and easy to understand
The first and foremost step in your Instagram marketing strategy should be optimizing your profile with SEO-relevant keywords. The first thing that users see when they arrive on your account is your profile picture, your username, and your bio.
Making it easier to understand what you do through these three mediums can help drive more users to hit that follow button. Many famous brands, marketing specialists, and influencers specify what they do through their bio.
Proper biostructure can be-
Line 1: Who are you or What do you do?
Line 2: What are you helping with? (increases the credibility factor)
Line 3: About your/brand’s achievements
Line 4: CTA (ideally your website link)
Including your niche beside your name can also provide clarity to your audience and make your profile discoverable on search engines. Take for example a sports consultant-Jack Stevenson. Keeping his name just as “Jack Stevenson” is right but not that useful as his profile won’t appear when someone searches for “marketing consultant”. Instead he should name his profile as “Jack Stevenson | Sports consultant”.
#2 Understand and study your target audience
Unless and until you know for whom you are creating content, you won’t be able to go forward. It is essential to step into your audience’s shoes to understand what they like and what they don’t. It also helps you decide your brand voice and tone. Content marketing is impossible to execute unless you know what type of content actually brings you numbers.
#3 Plan posts and be consistent
To use any platform, you need a clear plan. That is when content calendars come to recuse. You must have heard that “Content is king”. It is true but posting quality content CONSISTENTLY works wonders.
And how do you make sure you are consistent with your posts? You plan.
Content calendars take into account all the major events, national holidays, brand campaigns, and help you curate content accordingly. Stating out what to post and when to post gives you a clear path and helps save time. This way, you have more time to boost the quality of your content and make sure it is well-detailed.
#4 Run targeted ads
Sometimes, paid methods help you achieve faster and better quality results over organic means. Instagram ads are known to be more expensive than Facebook ads but the results speak for themselves.
Nothing beats organic growth, especially in the long term, but if you are a new brand looking to generate awareness in the market, then Instagram ads are the best way to go.
#5 Invest in a good camera phone
Instagram was initially launched as a pure photo-sharing platform. It was only years after that features like stories, messages, and reels were incorporated in the application. People get attracted to captivating visuals and videos more than content.
In the beginning, it is not essential to burn a hole in your pocket and invest in a DSLR. But, investing in a good phone with a decent camera can make all the difference.
#6 Partner with influencers
Influencer marketing has grown leaps and bounds in the past few years. According to a recent study, 17% of companies spend over half their marketing budget on influencers.
Influencer marketing is giving tough competition to celebrity endorsement in 2021. The basic functioning of influencer marketing is straightforward. Brands partner with influencers in return for cash or in-kind deliverables to increase their brand awareness.
If you are a small brand just starting out, it is advisable to approach young micro-influencers to gain initial traction.
#7 Get creative with your content
No one likes to follow accounts with boring and outright sale-sy content. Yes, it is obvious that you have to post marketing content for promoting your products, but overdoing it has repercussions.
Instagram is a space where creativity and artistry rule, and content that is engaging ultimately wins. Make sure you relate your posts with the trending discussion topics to generate maximum response.
#8 Make full use of Instagram features
Instagram is a platform that is full of fun-to-use features. Stories, Reels, IGTV videos, Live videos have a lot of marketing potential and a high consumption rate. Stories, in particular, are watched the most by Instagrammers daily.
Producing 15-second videos (reels), polls on stories, QnA rounds on stories, and quizzes are a great option to solicit feedback and generate ideas for new content. Such formats generate higher engagement and have a high probability of gaining more traffic than regular posts.
#9 Ask relevant questions to engage the audience
Instagram is a social media platform that has the highest number of engagements. But it becomes a bit tricky to engage your particular set of audience with every post. A simple technique to use when your account’s engagement rates drop is asking questions. What is better than getting customer feedback on a one-to-one basis for a brand? Nothing.
Adding a personalized touch to your questions can interest your followers and tempt them to respond with an answer. Asking for actions like: “Drop an emoji to describe your day”, “What is your favorite song?”, “What do you like about our brand?”, “What type of content is interesting according to you?” can help improve your engagement ratio, and engaging content ultimately wins!
#10 Make your audience the face of your brand
Your Instagram audience is most likely your future set of loyal customers. Endorsing their profiles on your account would help build credibility and give that personalized touch to your brand.
Re-share their stories and posts that mention your brand on your official business profile. Such practices build a community around your brand and help you gain organic followers.
#11 Use emojis
According to Statista, almost half of all Instagram posts feature at least one emoji.
We all love using emojis while talking to our friends and family. It gives that interactive and authentic touch to our virtual conversations. Then why not use them on Instagram posts?
Emojis lead up to 48% more Interactions on Instagram. Using emojis in your bio, captions, and stories helps build engagement which brands often crave.
So the next time you post, remember to use 3-4 related emojis in your content.
#12 Maintain a give-and-take relationship
Social media is not a one-way street. It is a give-and-take relationship. Just making sure someone follows you is not enough. You should keep your audience busy. Hosting small contests like “Photography competitions”, “Like, comment and tag three friends to win the giveaway”, “DM us to get a discount” at regular intervals keeps your followers entertained and makes your account worth following.
#13 Use clear call-to-actions
The most skilfully designed posts can be futile if not complemented by clear CTAs that ask viewers to act in a specific manner. Most efficient marketing messages give the recipient a single, clear, and very short action to take.
It can be anything- Sign up, Call now, Register here, Learn more. Basically, any call that prompts a clear action. Keeping your call to action informative and to the point can help increase the number of conversions and boost the ROI of your campaign.
#14 Using filters and editing tools
Did you know that you can create your own filters on Instagram?
It is a strategy adopted by a lot of brands out there. Curating your filters increases engagement on your account as people love playing around with filters.
Using new filters on your page can help boost engagement too. Experimenting with different editing tools like Inshot and Snapseed can help your profile stand out and make a long-lasting impression.
#15 Make use of the Instagram shop
Instagram shop is a new plugin introduced by the app and is useful for both small and big brands. Shops are an immersive full-screen storefront that enables businesses to build their brand story and drive product discovery – all in a native shopping experience.
This feature enables your audience to visit your Instagram store by tapping into your post or story. It is a great plugin to use if you are starting on Instagram.
#16 Create a feed that stands apart
As stated above, visual appeal can make or break your brand’s reputation on Instagram. When you are aiming to grow in the Instagram space, understanding design gives you an extra edge. Here’s how you can create a visually appealing profile:
- Pick up a color scheme and stick to it
- Choose one filter/editing tool and use it consistently
- Take quality photos
- Audit your images as per standard
- Use natural light
- Plan your feed layout and structure
#17 Experiment with timings and select the best one
As much as what you post matters, WHEN you post it matters even more. Instagram is all about experimentation. The algorithm changes regularly and in order to keep up with it, you need to experiment.
This also helps you understand when your audience is active on the platform and up for engagement. Post during different timings and judge what works out and what doesn’t. It will help you go a long way.
#18 Plan your hashtags
Using industry-specific hashtags makes your posts more discoverable and effective. There are several do’s and don’ts of making hashtags which you should religiously follow. The major catch while selecting hashtags is to not go for those with millions of posts already but go for those with around thousands.
Including very specific hashtags makes your post reach the right and more users at the same time. For example- If your post is about some business strategy, using #business or #entrepreneur won’t help you that much but using #entrepreneurialinsights or #businessstrategies may prove effective.
#19 Analyze your account
One of the most overlooked techniques when it comes to Instagram marketing is measuring and analyzing. Instagram has some free analytical tools that efficiently tell you about your followers’ demographics, gender, age, and many more metrics.
They also let you know about every post’s engagement rate and provide insights to help you stay at the top of your game. In addition, the tools provide information in the form of detailed reports that help you know which post is performing well and which isn’t.
#20 Revisit your top-performing posts and recreate them
Once you analyze your account and get to know your top-performing posts, it’s time to recreate them. Yes, you heard it right. Recreating by no way means copying.
It simply means if your followers like a particular pattern of content once, they would definitely like something similar in the future. So, hang on to that theme and increase your chances of making hit content.
Follow the Best!
Instagram is all about finding beauty in the mundane. Even their official website encourages you to curate distinct and compelling content to make your brand stand out.
It takes a bit of effort, but once you integrate these simple best practices for planning your Instagram marketing, you will reach that spot where you consistently grow organically.
The practices we have mentioned in this blog are applicable across all brand categories, so please feel free to customize these practices to ace your Instagram game.CTA: Content scheduling and planning are key to ensuring marketing success. Use SocialPilot to schedule your posts and seamlessly execute your marketing plans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hashtags are the best way to discover new audiences. Users follow hashtags pertaining to topics of their interests. Using those hashtags strategically in your captions will help increase the visibility of your posts and expose your content to a broader audience. The maximum allowed hashtags on Instagram is 30.
It is a common misconception that one can post on Instagram using mobiles only. However, you can also use desktops for the same. There are several softwares that help you bulk post and schedule your Instagram content on a desktop.
For instance, using SocialPilot, you can upload your Instagram content using your desktop. It is a tool that removes a lot of hassle in your Instagram marketing strategy and streamlines the schedule scheduling and posting process.
The number of times you post in a week or a month depends on your marketing goals and objectives. You need to understand what you want from Instagram before curating a calendar. However, we think that posting thrice a week would be a good start in general.
There are several factors that you should consider before deciding the best time to post on Instagram, such as the type of industry, demographics of target audience, and lots more.
However, generally speaking, the best time to post on Instagram is between 6 am to 11 am (PST).
You can now sell products and accept payments directly on Instagram using its Instagram marketplace feature. This feature does away with the need to redirect customers to your website to shop for your products.