7+ Essential Basics on Getting More Instagram Followers

How To Use Instagram To Grow Your Business

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Instagram is all about community and as a business that is the best way to use Instagram is to do the same and develop a community around your brand. Instagram is a very visual media but you won’t need to hire a professional photographer to take advantage; of eighty million photos posted daily, most as natural shots or moments caught on camera.

So how do you build a community and how will it grow your business?

Your Profile

The first thing to do is to either create a business account or make sure your current business Instagram is a business account. This will give you extra analytics and insights, as well the ability to promote your Instagram.

On top of this, a business account also has a few extra details you can fill in for your business. You can add your address and contact number your profile – which then appear as a ‘contact’ button on your page. This makes it a lot easier for prospective customers to get hold of you – remember Instagram is a mobile app – 90% of its features are only available on the app. You need to make sure people can contact you straight from their phones.

The link you use in your profile bio is important too. Links in captions aren’t clickable and the only one that is in your bio. To gain the most from this link you don’t want to just point it to your website and leave it to go stale. Change it to different pages of your website, different products you want to highlight, something you’re releasing, a sale or press release. You can point people to your profile by highlighting it through a caption on a relating image.

Photos, Videos and Stories

As mentioned Instagram is a visual media that you can easily use to your advantage in different ways. Even with simple single images, there are a number of ways to promote your brand and products. You don’t necessarily have to have a physical product either as a simple product picture is not going to be interesting enough to capture the attention of the average user scrolling through their feed.

Using behind the scenes photos are a good way to get people to engage with your company. Pictures of how your products are made, images of your staff, behind these scenes pictures and locations relevant to your company. A balance of business images and fun images make for a more interesting feed for your followers. Quotes are also popular on Instagram – adding them to a background or using an app like Quotes Creator can add something a bit different to your feed in between all the images straight from your phone.

There are two ways to visually curate your feed. One is for it to be natural, a simple collection of pictures and videos that aren’t linked to one another visually. The other is to connect the images through design. If you have a brand identity this may be a good way to implement it, using the same colour palettes and choosing filters that fit or achieve that colour, the same fonts and perhaps your logo somewhere in the image can make for an attractive image and an attractive profile.

A reminder: you can get your free two weeks of graphics and social media marketing instruction by requesting a Sample Kit from our website SmartSocialKits.com/Kits

Promoted Posts

Promoted posts are for business account holders and you can turn any existing image into a promoted post or start from scratch with a new image or video. You can even promote a slideshow of images.

When first starting out with promoted posts it’s best to start with a new image. By doing this you can see exactly how well it performs without having to work out how much engagement you got for free and how much you’ve paid for. Insights will also help you figure out exactly what works for you in terms of promoted posts. A few trials of different types of ads – using different hashtags, images and captions will help you narrow down what’s most successful for your business. This is going to save you money in the long term and get you the most engagement, and business, for your money.

Ads look identical to normal posts on Instagram but with ‘sponsored’ either at the top or the bottom of the post. They appear in feeds as users scroll the app. There are four different aims for promoted posts on Instagram: video views, website visits, app installations, and awareness (of anything from products to sales). Knowing exactly which of these you want will also help you decide which sort of post you should promote – videos for videos views of course but slideshows for product awareness and app installations.

Engagement and Community

Engagement can come from likes and comments, but also from your customers and fans who will post their own pictures of your products or results from using your products. This is the community you want to cultivate on Instagram.

Your caption will be important, but more important than that is how you describe your image will be the hashtags you use on each image. Each image has a limit of thirty hashtags; anything more than this and the image will be posted with a blank caption and none of the hashtags whatsoever so you need to be careful if you’re going to use this many.

The more the better is definitely the way forward when it comes to using hashtags on Instagram. While they’re a detriment on facebook posts, and tweets works better with two or three – Instagram shines when more tags are used. Anything over eleven hashtags per post is going to give you the most engagement (likes and comments) on your posts.

If you use insights you can see which posts perform well, using different types and amounts of hashtags so you can find the right amount and the

HashTags

Anything relating to your business and industry is a good way to start. Check out what hashtags other businesses in your industry are using, use the same hashtags you use Twitter and most important use your own hashtag. Create one using your business name, or something unique to you and use it on every post. This way when people click on your specific hashtag they’re going to be directed to you. Eventually, customers and users are going to start using it too, helping drive more traffic to your Instagram and to your business. This will also help you create that community that is so important on Instagram.

Hashtags can also be used to convey a message on their own, or an emotion. They can be funny or serious, depending on the post and use them effectively will make your post more natural. You can use them within a caption too, turning any word in a sentence into a hashtag, and you can use them in comments. Remember even these hashtags will count towards your max of thirty per post too.

There are also community-based hashtags that are immensely popular - #picoftheday or #instafood. These are used by businesses and users alike and are another good way of getting your posts seen. Finding the ones that fit your business is easy enough – look at competitors or even googling the information will give you a wealth of tags to you.

Trending tags that relate to your business will be popular and drive users your way, but other trending hashtags that might not necessarily relate can do. Holidays and events will all have hashtags of their own, everything from Christmas to International Women’s Day will be celebrated on Instagram and you too can celebrate and gain engagement from these posts.

Another way to use hashtags effectively is to use hashtags that are less popular and used less by the millions of users on Instagram every day. These include variations on popular hashtags, for example, #catsofinstagram has over 75 million posts related to it, meaning your cat-related post could very well get lost in a sea of cats. However, #catsofinsta  only has a million posts meaning your post has a much higher chance of being seen by people using that hashtag.

Of course, with room for thirty hashtags, you can afford to use both, but targeting audiences with specific tags like these can really help grow your Instagram.

Like and Comments

To create a community you need engagement and you also need to engage in the community. Putting posts up and using the right hashtags will only get you so far. Posting when your followers are more active will certainly boost engagement (Instagram analytics will show when this is) but making the effort to engage with those same followers will make a lot of difference.

The same goes for people who are not yet your followers. Search your industry-specific hashtags, your business hashtag and like pictures and posts that use them. Comment on posts that relate to your business and especially those that feature your products. These may already be followers and customers but engaging with them rewards them and turns them into returning and loyal customers.

Reply to every comment you get on your own posts, even to say thank you or hello. You can also use this as a way to get information to customers albeit one at a time – a copy and pasted message about a sale, or an upcoming announcement. This won’t be very time effective once you have a large following but when you’re starting out it will be a great way to connect with your customers.

Start Your Story Now

Once you get started on Instagram the possibilities are endless. With carousels, stories and videos there is a lot you can do and it’s a great way to connect with millions of people every day. With sixty-eight percent of all users engaging with brands you can’t afford to ignore Instagram.

A reminder: you can get your free two weeks of graphics and social media marketing instruction by requesting a Sample Kit from our webiste SmartSocialKits.com/Kits