Is your business on Instagram yet? With over 500 million active monthly users, if you're not yet on Instagram you are missing out on reaching a lot of potential customers.
If you don't yet have a business Instagram account, what's stopping you? Perhaps fear of not understanding the platform or not being sure how to use it correctly?
If you do have an account, can you confidently say that you are maximizing your exposure and engagement? If not, then ensure you are implementing ALL of the below tips.
9 Tips to Master Instagram for Business:
1. MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR IMAGE CAPTIONS
Don't just post a string of emoticons as your image caption. Make the most of this section and use it to show your brand's personality. Always try to tie your caption back to your business or industry. This is a subtle reminder of what you do and ensures a consistent theme across your account.
2. ENCOURAGE ENGAGEMENT
The more engagement your photos get the higher up they will appear in your followers feed meaning the higher your chance of your followers seeing them. They are also more likely to be featured in the 'explore 'section of Instagram, giving your account and business more exposure. So encourage engagement. Ask your followers questions and try to start a conversation. This also creates a more personal connection between you and your followers, increasing the likelihood of them engaging with your future posts.
3. USE HASHTAGS STRATEGICALLY
The more hashtags you use the more exposure you will get. Instagram allows you to use a maximum of 30 hashtags per photo so it's important that you use all 30.
I know 30 sounds like a lot of hashtags to include in a post. Are you wondering why you don't see other people using 30 hashtags in their captions?
Well here's a little trick that is commonly used...
Post your hashtags as the first comment.
Instead of including the 30 hashtags in your caption, comment on your photo after you post it with your hashtags. This way whenever someone else comments, your comment will role up and the hashtags will be out-of-sight, keeping your posts looking cleaner and more professional.
So how do you know which hashtags to use?
3 ways to find the best hashtags for your business or industry:
1. Look at competitors or influencers within your industry. People who would attract the same target audience as you and see what hashtags they are using.
2. Use apps such as Websta to search for hashtags relating to your industry. Websta will display a list of hashtags relating to the terms you searched along with how many times they have been used.
3. Use the search screen of Instagram. Type terms relating to your industry and select 'tags'. Instagram will show you a list of similar hashtags along with the amount of times they have been used. Once you click on a hashtag, you will also see other related hashtags along the top of your screen.
Now you probably have so many hashtags that there's no way you will remember them all!
Here's a useful tip:
Use the notes section of your phone to save your hashtags.
You can then copy and paste them each time you post a new photo.
We like to have different notes for different types of photos. For example, if we were posting a laptop photo we would use hashtags like #WorkplaceSelfie #OfficeSpace, #OwnBoss, etc. If we were posting a photo out exploring, we would use hashtags like #TravelGram #WeLiveToExplore #DigitalNomad, etc. If we are taking a photo in a new location we will also spend time researching hashtags relating to that location and include some of these.
4. TAG RELEVANT ACCOUNTS
When you tag an account the photo will be displayed in the tags section of the accounts page.
Tag popular accounts within your industry and you will gain exposure to anyone viewing this section. There is also the chance that the page you tag may share your photo, which will give you exposure to their followers so have a field day with your tags.
How do you find popular accounts to tag?
use the same 3 techniques you used to find hashtags:
- Look at competitors or influencers within your industry - who are they tagging in their pictures?
- Use apps such as Websta to search for terms relating to your industry - Websta will display a list of popular accounts relating to the terms you searched.
- Use the search screen of Instagram - Type terms relating to your industry and select 'people'.
5. POST AT IDEAL TIMES
It's generally best to post photos in the morning or evening, outside of work hours, but this will vary depending on your industry and target audience so you may need to test different times to see what works best for you.
Keep in mind your target audience's schedule and time zone. Where are they located? Approximately what time do they wake up and go to sleep? Avoid posting photos when they are most likely sleeping,
6. TELL A STORY through your photos
Your followers are more likely to engage with a photo that they can connect with emotionally and the best way to do this is through storytelling. This is a great opportunity to include your product (if you have one) into your photos to help tell your story.
Elise Cook does this well for her wine brand's Instagram account, @downtherabbitholewines, where she includes selections of her and her husbands wine into some of their photos. As soon as you see them you think of fun times, winding down and relaxation.
7. KEEP IT CONSISTENT AND PLAN AHEAD
It's not enough to just post good photos on Instagram. If you want to get more followers, you will also need a consistent theme.
Whether it be the color scheme, filter or props you use or the location that your photos are taken in, try and find some common theme to make your account consistent.
A good way to do this is by scheduling your posts in advance.
Our favorite tool for doing this is Later. Not only does Later allow you to schedule your posts ahead of time but it also provides a visual plan of them so that you can see how each post fits in with the others.
8. INCLUDE A LINK TO YOUR WEBSITE
There's no point of being on Instagram to promote your business if your followers don't know how to purchase your products or services. Make the most of the profile section of your page. Use it to explain clearly what your business does and entice visitors to click through to your website. Don't forget to include a link to your site!
9. JOIN A POD
A pod is a collective group of cheerleaders + engagement boosters who want to see you and your business succeed. Joining a pod is a great way to meet and collaborate with others in your industry and increase your engagement at the same time. Check out this blog post to learn how you can create or join a pod.
There you have it!
Implement these 9 techniques and I guarantee you will see an increase in exposure and engagement.
So what do you have to lose?
Have any other Instagram tips? Help another entrepreneur out and share them below.