— August 25, 2017
I know Instagram has been around for a while now but I have only recently registered a business account on this social media platform. As a company, you should not be on every social media website just for the sake of being on it as you should keep your account interesting with a steady stream of high-quality content. That requires time and effort.
Frankly, I did not know what kind of photos to post for my translation agency on Instagram. For about 1.5 years now, I also have a Dutch blog on lesbian parenting, called Meemoeder.com, which provides ample opportunities to engage with my audience on Instagram in a fun way. Therefore, I have reviewed articles with tips for businesses on Instagram and I will share what I have learned so far.
I have compiled a list of twenty tips from four articles by the following authors: Matt Sweetwood, Ruby Rusine, Ian Matthews, and Adam Coombs. There was much overlap, but there were also new ideas in each and every one of them.
20 Instagram tips for your business
Here is what I have learned:
1. Create a branded hashtag for your business or products
Give users of your product a short and easy-to-remember hashtag to tag in their photos when they use your product, such as Redbull’s #PutaCanOnIt.
2. Do hashtag research
See which hashtags related to your business have the most usage simply by typing them in. Target hashtags posted numerous times before as it is a good indicator that these hashtags have their own audience. There are also hashtag analysis tools you can use, such as Command, Iconosquare, and Union Metrics.
3. Place hashtags at the bottom of your message
When posting your content, put spaces between your caption and the hashtags you want to use. The flood of hashtags at the bottom is there to maximize the post’s exposure in hashtag searches. Put as many relevant hashtags to your business and the post in general as possible to maximize the post’s engagement on Instagram.
4. Use your Instagram bio wisely
Putting links to special offers, contests, or giveaways in your business’ Instagram bio will give users an incentive to follow you. You can also place your catchy hashtag for a campaign there.
5. Post consistently
Do not leave your followers hanging by posting infrequently but do not annoy them by posting too much either. A good rule of thumb is to post once a day.
6. Give a behind-the-scenes look at your workspace
The people that use your products can get a behind-the-scenes look at your business through your Instagram profile. This also works as a great tool for recruiting. It gives a chance for prospective applicants to see what life in your office is like and the awesome conditions you are working in. You can post things like workspace setup, kitchen gatherings, employees socializing, brainstorming meetings, and after-work playtime
7. Follow industry peers
Stay in contact with what your peers and competitors are doing within your industry by following them. Influencers, competitors, or top-brand names from your industry are great places to start. Following others usually entices them to follow you back, which will help grow your follower base. Comment on their content, grab some of their ideas based on which posts are creating engagement, and pay attention to their hashtagging to come up with new ideas for your own. Being active within their content builds awareness in places with a built-in audience.
8. Use established or new trends
Pre-established trends already have built in audiences, so it is important you put a brand-specific spin on them to make them relevant. Whether those are trends like #TBT (Throwback Thursday), you can re-purpose your visuals to fit those hashtags.
9. Use Instagram stories
While the brief videos of Instagram stories will only be around for a period of 24 hours, their short-lived existence can be a benefit for businesses using Instagram. With more daily users than Snapchat on Instagram’s Stories, the application is now a robust platform that is outperforming its Stories’ predecessor. Utilize the two-fold functionalities of Instagram to increase your business’ audience and engagement.
Instagram stories have an algorithm that places the order of the stories’ in a user’s feed based on their interaction with that profile. Thus, by being active and driving people to your content and simultaneously interacting with the content of your viewers, you will increase the likelihood of having your story be placed at the top of the order.
10. Be authentic
Be legitimate and put in the time and effort to bring rewarding and helpful content to your business’ niche Instagram community. Do not resort to bots for followers.
11. Use high-quality images
As a business, it is important to ensure the images and videos you post on Instagram are aligned with the quality of the company itself. Use high-quality videos and images to convey an attractive quality about your brand.
12. Repurpose your Instagram content
One way to increase awareness for an Instagram page is to embed posts into your blog content as either a replacement or in addition to static images. It is a great way to increase engagement on posts and repurpose your social content.
As you can see, an Instagram post is a fun alternative to a static image.
13. Use people in your images
Businesses that sell products should use people in their images. People are much more engaged in posts when the picture is of a person rather than only a product. Showing people in posts can help your brand convey emotions and connect with your followers on a deeper level.
This post received more engagement than the basketball post.
14. Set aside a budget for Instagram Ads
Instagram, like any other social media platforms, is “pay to play.” Want to get immediate results, scale organic reach or be in front of more leads? Pay. You can use social media for free but if you want to scale growth faster, advertise your business. You will need a budget for that.
15. Follow other Instagram profiles intelligently
Do your research when you follow people back. Are they accounts that your business would like to follow? Check their Instagram profiles if it is complete, check if their posts are on-topic, and check if they are within your geographic target. Should you follow private accounts? That is up to you.
16. Never leave the caption section blank
You would probably be able to get away with this if you are National Geographic, but you are not National Geographic. Tell your story in the caption section.
17. Questions help create a dialog
Create a dialog and keep your audience engaged. Asking question in social media demonstrates your willingness to begin a conversation. Respond back, within reason, when someone finally responds.
18. Find your ghost followers
Locate the people who follow you but do not interact with you — also known as your ghost followers. Some of these may be spam or inactive accounts, but a lot of them are real people who just do not see your content anymore because of the algorithm. Interaction with these accounts will remind them why they followed you in the first place and bring you back into their feed.
It is a lot easier to convert engagement from existing followers than it is to get new followers or chase engagement with hashtags. A higher engagement rate from those who follow you will increase your credibility within the algorithm and your likeliness to hit the explore page, leading to more followers.
19. Join a POD
Some experts recommended joining an engagement pod, which is simply a group of ten fellow Instagrammers who agree to like and comment on (with five words or more) each other’s posts within the first 30 minutes This, according to most sources, accelerates the Instagram algorithm and boosts your post to more people.
20. Be creative and original
If you can find the picture you are posting on Google, you are not going to get much engagement. If you take a picture of a common place or thing, make sure it is amazing.
Things a business should NOT do on social media
Hope this helps you reach more followers and engagement on Instagram. These tips have sure helped me in the first few weeks of being on this social media platform.
If you are curious about what a business should not do on social media, you can read (and learn from) my blog 14 Easy Things a Company Should NOT Do on Social Media. After all, making a mistake on social media can damage your brand, alienate customers, and cost you money.