Instagram is a social network that isn’t just about sunsets, selfies and scran! In the UK alone there are 23.82 million Instagram users, with 95 million photos being shared daily all around the globe!
Gone are the days where Instagram was merely about uploading a quick image with a dodgy vintage filter. Companies use Instagram to increase brand awareness, generate leads, drive sales and build an audience. You have to find a way to cut through the noise of this crowded marketplace in order to get your message in front of your target market.
As a business it is an absolute must for you to be active on Instagram, but it’s not just as simple as uploading an image and the likes come pouring in. It has to be done right, or you won’t reap the benefits.
At Revolution Four, we’ve decided to share our Instagram expertise to help you master the platform. With this, you’ll be successful in no time! ?
Post regularly and mix the content up between photos, videos and graphics
Profile – This is where all of the content you post will be saved, with the latest picture being at the top. It is also where you can see who you follow, who follows you, your tagged photos and your bio. This is all about you!
Bio – A small section under your name and profile picture where you can include details about your business. There is a limit of 150 characters, so make sure that you make the most of them!
Feed – This is where you can view the content posted by accounts that you follow.
Stories – These are vertical format videos or photos that can be up to 15 seconds long and disappear 24 hours after posting them. There are circles at the top of your feed, the first circle being your story and the rest being the stories of accounts that you follow. You can add to your story by swiping left on your feed and either take a photo/video with your camera, or upload from your camera roll/photo album.
Highlights – When you upload to your story, you can also save the posts to your highlights. Highlights are situated below your bio on your profile, so you can show all sides of your business here. You can categorise your highlights and create multiple highlights sharing up to 100 stories to one highlight category.
You don’t have to post in all of these, all of the time; but by making sure you’re aware of each one and what they do will help you be able to use them to their full ability.
Change up links in your bio, depending on content in your feed
If you’re posting to Instagram about a new product available on your website, then make sure to put the link in your bio to good use! Update the URL link in your profile and then it in the post captions, you can simply say ‘Click the link in my / our bio,’ an easy way to direct your audience to your website.
Add locations to your posts
By adding a location to your posts, you’re helping your customers find you. If you’re a business with a physical address, make sure your shop name/business address is in every post. However, if you’re a business who covers a wide area then make sure that your location is tagged as England or the city that the post is based. Think of it like a ‘Check In’ on Facebook. Customers may also use your location in their posts, which should always be encouraged!
People often use the location search as a way to find local businesses, such as if they’re looking for a nearby restaurant or dog groomer. It makes sense for your business to pop up when they’re searching for your product / service.
Interact with people who interact with you
Consumers automatically expect brands to interact with them online!
If they follow you, follow them back. If they comment, reply to them. Open a conversation with them. If they tag you in a post, leave them a comment or perhaps even reshare their post.
Here are all of the ways you can engage with customers;
- Direct Messages
- Story Replies
- Follow back
Use between 20 – 30 hashtags
Think of hashtags like categorising your Instagram posts. But, instead of just your images being viewable on this hashtag, all posts using the hashtag will show. This is a great way to find people who are interested in the product / service you are offering. Sounds like a match made in heaven, right?
We recommend creating 3 separate groups of hashtags that you can alternate between (you can save these on your phone/laptop to keep them handy). Some hashtags can cross over into all 3 groups e.g. your brand name but try to keep them different. Make sure to add hashtags that are relevant to the post but remember that Instagram has a limit of 30 hashtags per post.
When users search via hashtags, the content is filtered in 2 ways; most recent and most popular. This is why you want to encourage conversations to happen on your posts, as Instagram will deem these as the most popular content for that hashtag. Bear in mind that more popular hashtags (such as #fashion, #business, #marketing) will have more competition than less commonly used hashtags.
Don’t let this idea scare you! A live video is a great way to show that your business is human. It’s also a great way to announce new products and sales, ask/answer any questions and engage with your followers.
There’s a time and a place for emojis but use them! You’ll notice that your customers use them in their social posts, so why wouldn’t you? Using emojis captures attention, visually compliments the text and also gives your audience a sense of how you’re feeling.
Have a scroll through all of the emoji options and add them into your messaging, stories, and replies to customers.
But ? let’s ? not ? be ? annoying ? with ? it ?
If you’re an influencer, creator, SME or are running your brand alone, then you may forget about posting on Instagram from time to time. We understand that social media isn’t always at the forefront of your mind like it is ours, but if you just spend an hour or two to schedule your weekly content, you won’t have to think about it for the rest of the week! It’ll make life so much easier and will keep your audience interested at all times.
You can use Facebook’s Creator Studio to schedule all Facebook and Instagram content with ease. There are also scheduling tools such available such as Buffer, Hootsuite and Later which have a monthly fee to use, all offering various features to make life even easier.
Be ‘on brand’ at all times
Make sure your content is always ‘on brand’ and stays relevant. This means everything from imagery, down to words and phrases used.
Posting regular content will keep your audience engaged and interested, so if this content isn’t on brand, you run the risk of losing trust and reliability in your product or service.
Tag other businesses / people
Instagram is a social network, meaning they want you to act social. You can tag a profile in your caption (using the @ symbol) and also in the actual image/video, which will show up on that account’s tagged photos feed. All you have to do is tap on ‘Tag People’ when uploading your post and select the profile that you’d like to tag. They will be alerted of the tag and might end up reposting this image on their feed, ultimately leading to your profile getting more visits and hopefully followers.
Insights are probably one of the most valuable parts to building a successful presence on Instagram! Here you can find out everything about your audience and who’s interacting with you. To view your insights, go to your profile and tap on the three lines in the top-right corner. This will bring up a menu where you can access your Instagram insights;
Under the Content tab you can see:
- The total number of stories and posts you have posted this week.
- You have the option of filtering posts by time period or interaction to see the list in a particular order. This means you can see what posts are most successful.
- You can view story insights in the same way as posts.
- You can see any paid promotions within the app.
Under the Activity tab you can see:
- Discovery: This displays how many people see you, your content and how they found it. It covers reach (how many unique accounts have seen your posts) and impressions (how many times your posts have been seen in total).
- Interactions: This shows how people are engaging with your profile. It covers profile visits (how many times your profile was viewed) and website clicks (how many times the URL in your bio has been clicked).
Under the Audience tab you can see:
- Followers: This shows who your followers are. It also shows the locations your followers are in, as well as their age, gender and when they are online.
- Growth: This illustrates how much your audience has grown week upon week.
Take this information to see who your followers are and how you can reach your target audience better. For example, if you’re selling a product targeted towards men but your insights say that women make up the majority of your audience, you can then change up your content to make it more focussed.
Here’s a list of things that we recommend avoiding because it could put your customers off interacting with you and ultimately leading to them unfollowing ?
Sell, sell, sell
Your audience will switch off from your content if all you do is sell, sell, sell. Mix up content with reviews, product demonstrations, customer content and lifestyle pictures of the office / shop.
Post content without a caption
Your audience has no knowledge/context other than the image /video, if no caption has been written. There are also no hashtags which means your post hasn’t been fully optimised.
Use spam hashtags (e.g #follow, #followback, #likeforlike)
There are reasons to believe Instagram’s algorithm doesn’t like them, with certain hashtags even being completely banned. By using spam hashtags, you not only run the risk of being flagged for spam but are also wasting a hashtag that could be put to better use!
Post bad quality images
Instagram is primarily a visual platform. If you post bad quality images (e.g. blurry or pixelated), then people may unfollow as it isn’t pleasing to the eye. It’s as simple as that.
Post more than 3 times a day
You must find the correct balance of how many times to post a day for your brand, but we recommend no more than 3 times as they then end up competing with one another for engagement.
When you first start putting an Instagram strategy together, make sure to have a trial period! You have to be creative (maybe even get a little weird) to see what works for your business and what kind of posts your audience react with. After this trial period, you can look at your analytics / insights to determine what kind of posting strategy works best for you.
Now, good luck and go have fun with it!