When you are managing a business, there will be a lot of aspects to worry about. For example, you will need to worry about what products to produce as well as whom to hire. One of the business functions that you will need to pay much attention is how to market your products. After all, you do need customers. This is a guide for marketing—and more particularly, a strategy of using Instagram for business.
Why use Instagram for business?
The first question to answer perhaps is the reasons for using Instagram for business. The answer is simple—using Instagram for business will be able to help you effectively market the product or services that you want to promote. Take a look at some statistics and you will know why to use Instagram for business.
Just in the USA, there are already more than 77.6 million active Instagram users. We are only talking about active users in this figure, and of course, there are a lot of occasional users. Therefore, when you use Instagram for your business, the engagement level will be very high. One photo or one video will be able to attract a lot of views and attention. The purpose of marketing is to increase the awareness of public on your brand, and therefore Instagram will fit this purpose very well.
At the same time, the bonus for relying on Instagram for business is that compared to another form of advertisement, Instagram marketing is very cheap—in terms of both money as well as time. A TV advertisement can easily cost you millions of dollars while this will never be the case for Instagram (and of course other social platforms as well).
With all these benefits, it is not that difficult to explain why to use Instagram for business, and at this moment, about half of the major brands are using Instagram, and the figure is expected to rise up to 71% next year.
How to use for business?
Now, you know the importance of Instagram for your business. The next issue for you to consider is how to use Instagram for your business. In fact, there are multiple ways for you to rely on Instagram to benefit from it.
The first thing is that you can use Instagram profiles to reach a larger base of audience. It can be an important Instagram marketing strategy. Imagine you only have a physical store and are not doing any marketing effort. Those who will know the presence of your shop is only the ones who pass through your store and happened to be interested in it. So, you can see that the number will be very limited.
If you are using traditional ways of advertisement, then there will be more people that are aware of your presence—those who really see the advertisement. So, if you remember well, there are a lot of users on Instagram, and therefore if you are using Instagram for business, number of people will be able to see your brand. You can regularly post updates on your company’s products and services or any promotional campaigns on the profile account to catch attention.
Apart from that, Instagram is also a popular site for photo contests. It is not only easy to set up one, but it will be a nice change to create engagement with your customers. I think I do not need to explain the importance of engaging with customers since it will enhance the loyalty of the customers due to an increased sense of belonging. If you want to start one, you just simply require the users to use a hashtag by tagging their pictures on a particular topic.
Photo contests have been a successful tool to bring the company and customers closer together, and you can look at the example of Sony, who has launched several photo contests campaign like the #WonyX picture contest as well as the #SonyLove. This will bring you more Instagram followers and increase the level of engagement with the people and is, therefore, one of the Instagram marketing strategies that you can rely on.
Another way to use Instagram for business is to get feedback from the customers about your products or services. It is often said that the key function of a business from a marketing point of view is to create customer satisfaction—and in order to know that whether or not the customers are satisfied, you will need the feedback from them.
While traditional ways only allow one company to get feedbacks from perhaps complaints from the customers through phone call—after all, without social platforms, the cost for customers to show that they are delighted with the products are just too high and usually the customers will not bother leaving a phone call, or doing a written survey just to let you know that they are happy. With the Instagram available, they can easily leave a comment or leave a like if they are happy with it. Therefore, it is a reason for you to use Instagram for business.
Of course, sometimes there will be negative feedbacks, and you do not need to worry about it. You can know more about where you can improve your products or services, and this will only bring you more goods than harms. It will be a good idea to reply to that critical feedback in order to tell the customers that you acknowledge their honest criticism.
How to set up Instagram for business?
So, I am sure that until now you are already interested in using Instagram for business due to all of its benefits. The next question is, therefore, a more practical one—how to set up Instagram for business? Well, it is actually as easy as setting up a personal account, and here is a step by step guide.
Step 1: First you will need to have an Instagram app—it is quite obvious. You can download it easily from Android or Windows or iOS.
Step 2: Once the application is downloaded, open it.
Step 3: Tag the ‘Sign up’ button and then you will need to enter some personal information like email address or your phone number. If you already have a Facebook account, you can also sign in using Facebook.
Step 4: Visit the main page of your profile, and you will see a cogwheel icon at the top right-hand corner. There is an option called ‘Switch to Business Profile’ in the Settings. This is the button that you will need to press.
Step 5: Keep on tapping “Continue”.
Step 6: You will need to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook account. Select the FB page of your business so that it can be linked from your Instagram profile.
Step 7: Start posting content on your Instagram page.
Some expert Instagram tips for business
Of course, in order to run a successful Instagram marketing strategy, you will need much more than merely set up an Instagram account. You will also need to consider the following tips for your Instagram marketing campaign.
Rely primarily on photos
When you are really using Instagram for business, you will need to decide on the mode of the advertisement—basically, the options are words, photos or videos. I will say that the second one would be the most appropriate one while videos will be useful sometimes. According to a study in May 2017, it is out found that more than two-thirds of the output in Instagram is photos.
After all, IG is the social platform for photos—take a look at the icon of the Instagram app and you will know it. In general, it will be easier for photos to catch the attention of the audience since they do not need to click ‘Play’ and spend more time on looking into the content of the advertisement. This will especially be true if the video is a very long one. Therefore, the result is that the photo will bring more engagement relative to videos.
At the same time, a video is also much more expensive and time-consuming than photos to make. So, one Instagram tips for business is that you should rely more on photos than on videos.
Target Group is important
When you are planning your Instagram marketing strategy, you will also need to have a sharp focus on target group—this is exactly same as any other traditional marketing campaign.
However, how you divide all of the IG users into different segments will depend heavily on your products and services. What you are providing is quite a kind of daily necessity; perhaps it will not be that important relative to have a sharp and concentrated target group. However, for other products like cars, toys or jewelry, you will need to consider which group of users on Instagram you are focusing on. After all, it is unrealistic to target all of the IG users at one go.
You will also need to pay attention to the demographics of Instagram to see the features of the users of IG. For example, needless to say, most of the IG users will be the younger generation. 55% of 18-29 years old people use IG while the number is only 28% for those who are 30-49 years old. So, if you are promoting a product that is targeting for the younger generation, it will be more effective when your products are targeting the older generation.
Also, most of the IG users are living in the city, while there are in general less IG users among locations in the rural area. Therefore, if you are promoting items that are closely associated with city life, like a movie or coffee, using Instagram for business will also be a more effective marketing strategy.
As you can see, Instagram marketing strategy will require you to carefully consider the demographics of Instagram users, and in order to have a successful Instagram marketing strategy, you will need to find your own target group of that marketing campaign based on the demographics you got as well as the nature of your products.
The Photo/Video is important
The main concern when you use Instagram for business is the promotional content itself let it be a photo or video. Therefore, you will need to make sure that the photo or video is designed well. Since designing is ultimately a subjective thing, there are quite a lot of approach that you can follow. However, you should understand how to catch the attention of IG users.
When you are scrolling through the wall of your own IG account, usually you will do it at quite a high speed. You will only stop and pay close attention to a particular post if you are really interested in it. However, the thing that catches your attention will be the design of the photo for you most of the time, or the thumbnail of the video, but not the description (in words) below the post.
With this behavior of IG users in mind, it makes sense that you will need to think of a design that can easily catch their attention. You will need to consider the mixture of colors as well as the main design (the theme) of your photo and video. If you decide to use a video instead of a photo, the thumbnail of the video will be crucial to catching the attention of the audience.
Manage the marketing campaign after posting
When you are using Instagram for business purposes, you must not think that it is the end of the project right after you have posted your content. Sometimes, it is more important for you to keep on managing the campaign after you have posted the photo or video.
What you will be paying attention to is the statistics that tell you the views or the likes of the content that you post. At the same time, you will want to know whether your advertisement is effective in turning the audience into followers of your IG account—this is quite important since more than 80% of users will follow at least one business on IG.
After all, the ultimate aim for using Instagram for business is to bring more sales and thus profit for the company, and if this is not happening, then the Instagram marketing strategy will be a failure. While the views of the IG post are important, you should also take a look at the number of likes and followers together with the views. If you are having a lot of views but the number of followers and likes are not that high, then perhaps you are having some troubles with your advertisement for which people do not like it.
As mentioned above, you should also pay attention to the comments and feedbacks left by the users. This is a way for you to evaluate the performance of your Instagram marketing campaign.
Things to consider
1. Use bright colors
Brighter colors will be able to attract the attention of the audience in general than darker colors. Therefore, it will be a good idea to consider using brighter colors like red or orange for the subject matter as of the main theme of the design of your photo. You can, of course, use darker colors for the background. However, you will still need to pay attention to the color mixture issues. It is not encouraged for you to use all bright colors in your design—the audience may not like it.
2. Use the Geo-tagging feature
Basically, the geo-tagging feature on Instagram refers to tagging a location. This can be an Instagram tip for business since it is found out that posts with a location will get 79% more engagement than those who do not have a location. I will reiterate here again: the engagement of viewers are more important than anything else since the engagements are a form of positive response from the customers towards your advertisement campaign.
3. Post at specific time of day
When you are posting your advertisement, you will also need to pay attention to the time you are posting the advertisement—consider everything when using Instagram for business. Usually, time that is right before working hours or right after that would be the peak hours considering the traffic of IG. As a result, that will be the time for you to post the content. After all, most people will use their IG account when they are traveling to or from work.
4. Invite users for comments
Again—engagement from customers is the key. Therefore, when you are using Instagram for business, it will be a good idea for you to invite viewers to leave a comment or to leave a like. If you are more creative, you may provide some questions on your advertisement for the viewers to answer in the comments sections below. The example includes: Which design do you prefer?
5. Utilize the power of other social platforms
While I am focusing on how to setup Instagram for business and why use Instagram for business here, you must also look at other social platforms apart from IG. After all, there are other users who are mainly using FB or Twitter for example, but neither is using IG. If you can link the Instagram advertisement to those social platforms, you will be able to catch their attention as well. For example, you can share your IG post on FB or provide a link of your FB page below your IG advertisement.