By Audrey Rowe
You’re probably already familiar with the features of Instagram for personal use. People want likes, people want followers, and they upload everything from what they had for breakfast to what song they’re listening to on their stories. However, profiles for businesses offer much more. If your business isn’t on Instagram yet, take a look at these facts and figures:
• 70% of Instagram users report having looked up a brand on the platform.
• Less competition. 36% of marketers currently use Instagram, whereas 93% use Facebook.
• Instagram’s ad revenue is expected to be almost $7 billion by the rapidly approaching end of 2018, which is up from $3.6 billion in 2017.
These are 5 mandatory guidelines to help your business hop on the bandwagon:
1. Switch to a business profile.
Business profiles allow you to create ads, track metrics, provide contact info, and identify with an industry, which lets users know you are a business. The Instagram analytics tool for business pages helps you understand your audience and identify which of your posts are most successful. This is an example of how specific your audience breakdown could be:
If you already have an account, you won’t lose any of your content by switching to a business profile, but the analytics will only be accessible for what you post after the switch. Another benefit of switching to a business profile is the ability to use tools like Sprout Social, which provide more analytics, and allow you to “schedule” posts, which I discuss further later in this post.
2. Pick the right profile picture.
The circle shaped profile picture on Instagram is very small, so it’s important to make the most of it. Your brand has to be recognizable in that little circle, so make sure it includes your logo and is not cluttered. Altering your profile picture throughout the year to reflect current events or holidays is a way to help your account appear active, but always keep branding in mind. For example, in honor of Pride Month, Hubspot updated their picture while keeping their logo visible:
There is plenty of room for sharing more exciting photos than your logo in your feed; that’s what Instagram is for.
3. Write a bio.
Keep it brief but tell users who you are and what you do. This is the place to incorporate keywords to improve your SEO within Instagram. Include hashtags if appropriate, but no more than one. Remember, you want to give users a reason to follow your account in under 150 words. If it’s relevant to mention anyone associated with your company, tag them in your bio by using the “@” symbol followed by their username. Include a link to your website, especially because this is the only place Instagram will allow you to insert links.
Using emojis and page breaks will improve your bio’s readability. Emojis can take the place of bullet points if you want to employ a list format, which is common for Instagram bios. Just don’t overdo it with the emojis because that is not exactly valuable content.
4. Create ads.
Similar to Facebook, you can control how much you want to spend on each ad, how long the ad will run, and you can target your audience, increasing the bang for the buck. Ads can be photos or videos, they can be incorporated into stories, or they can be “carousel” ads, which are essentially a slideshow of photos or videos. In contrast to Facebook, it’s easier for your ads to be seen on Instagram, and there are less marketers on Instagram right now. Instagram ads offer several call to action buttons:
• Apply Now
• Book Now
• Call Now
• Install Now
• Contact Us
5. Post at the right times.
The best time to post on Instagram isn’t the same as on Facebook or LinkedIn. Keep in mind that people rarely use Instagram on a desktop because the features are not the same as on mobile devices. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the days you should post on Instagram, and these are the best times of day:
Thanks to the Instagram insights feature, you can see when your target audience is the most active, which may be different than the generalized recommendations. You probably would rather be sleeping than posting at 2:00 AM, and that’s where Hootsuite and Sprout Social come in. These tools allow you to schedule posts for later dates and times. While you probably shouldn’t post 10 times a day, studies suggest that posting more than twice a day won’t hurt your Instagram account following or growth. It’s not a bad idea to check out successful accounts similar to your business’s and see how often they tend to post.
By Victoria Page