Complete Guide to Using Instagram to Grow Your Business

— April 3, 2017

Visuals play an important role in marketing. They appeal to customers and increase engagement. Hence, Instagram is the perfect platform for any successful Internet marketing campaign.


Unfortunately, few social media marketing teams understand the true value of the platform, especially when sharing captivating pictures translate into engaged followers and more sales. Several social media marketers never even start an Instagram account.


There are some who are under the impression that Instagram won’t yield results. They start Instagram accounts and then close them.


Whether you have tried and failed, or have never even logged in, now is the time to get on the Instagram train. A solid Instagram account can transform your social media following and generate revenue for your business.


Fortunately, Instagram is not as confusing as it initially seems. This guide will help you to understand what Instagram is all about. Then, you will be ready to finally win with Instagram.


Your Instagram Profile



Many business owners dive right into Instagram without taking the time to correctly set up their profiles. That is a big reason why so many businesses fail with Instagram. Take the time to create a compelling profile, and you will gain traction on Instagram.


To get off on the right footing, here are five important components for creating a compelling profile.


Instagram Profile Component #1: First, you need to create an impactful profile photo. Don’t go with a generic photo or people won’t understand what you offer. Instead, use your company logo so that your ideal customer will identify your brand by glancing at your photo.


Instagram Profile Component #2: Your account name is next. No need to come up with anything cute for this. Your company name will suffice.


Instagram Profile Component #3: Use your company’s name again for your username and take out the spaces which aren’t allowed in usernames. For example, if your company was named “My Company,” your username would be mycompany.


Instagram Profile Component #4: Add your website’s URL. You have two options for this. Either use your main URL, or send people to the link that contains your special offer. You can always go back and change this URL as your offers change.


Use your social media listening tools to find out what offers your audience respond to, and then change them accordingly.


Instagram Profile Component #5: Finally, complete your bio. This is your chance to let people know what you offer. Speak in clear language. Explain your business’s value proposition, products/services, and how your ideal customer can reach you.


Instagram Profile Cheat Sheet:


Instagram-Profile-Tips - Using Instagram to Grow Your Business


Build Your Community


Many businesses think in terms of followers when building an Instagram presence. Because of that, they buy followers, or use other nefarious tactics to increase their following. Then, they wonder why they are not getting results.


Instead of thinking in terms of followers, think about building a community. You don’t just want followers. You want engaged fans who will act as brand advocates. These are the people who will comment on your photos and engage in conversations. They will @mention your brand and help build excitement. These actions will help your community grow even bigger.



The thought of creating a community might seem overwhelming, but you already have a community you can tap into. Use your email list to reach out to people. Let your list know that you’re on Instagram and would appreciate a follow.


You should also utilize your social media networks. Announce your account and include a link. Many of your followers will head over to check out your Instagram profile.


As you move your community over to Instagram, it’s important that you keep them engaged. Instagram might be for pictures, but that doesn’t mean you can’t include a call-to-action on those pictures. You can caption your pictures, so use the caption for your CTAs.



Use your caption to instruct people to tag a friend or ask a question below. Use the caption to ask questions and instruct people to respond in the comment section. Play around with different ideas. Over time, you will discover what your audience responds to, and then create more of the same. This will happen sooner than you expect, provided you use social media monitoring tools.


Gain More Traction with Hashtags


You’ve started building your highly engaged community. Now, it’s time to take it to the next level with branded hashtags. Your community members will use the hashtags, and that will increase your Instagram presence. Create a branded hashtag and add it to your bio. That will let your followers know what hashtag to use when talking about your company. People can also click on the hashtag to see the posts associated with it.


Don’t be afraid to switch out branded hashtags from time to time. Create various hashtags for different campaigns. Then, measure your results to find out how your hashtags perform.


It’s Time to Strategize


Once you lay the groundwork, develop an Instagram marketing strategy which might seem like it goes against the very nature of Instagram. It’s true that Instagram photos often contain spontaneous moments. You don’t have to throw spontaneity out the window when strategizing.


Successful social media management teams use two types of Instagram strategies. First, there is the overall strategy. This is the strategy you will employ for all your Instagram campaigns. Then, there is the strategy you will employ for your individual campaigns. This strategy will change from one campaign to the next. For instance, you might run a campaign to get more followers, and another campaign to get clicks to an external URL. It makes sense that these campaigns would have different strategies.


Regardless of the strategy that you’re creating, it needs to contain certain components to be successful.


Begin with your goals


Every strategy must have measurable goals to access whether your strategy is successful.


You also need to think about the types of photos that you will use. You don’t need to list the actual photos. Just think about the kind of photos you will need.


In addition, you need to consider when you’ll post. Think about how many times per day or week you’ll post, and when you will add those posts. Will you post in the morning, or do you need to post at night? Maybe you need a mixture.


Hashtags are also an important component of a good strategy. From branded hashtags to general ones, add the list of hashtags you will use, and include them in your posts.


Next, create a list of the influencers you want to reach. Influencers can amplify your content and help you build trust with your followers. Find out which of your market’s influencers use Instagram, and then decide which ones should be a part of your campaign or overall strategy.


Finally, include a competitor analysis. The analysis will let you know how to overtake your competitors.


Build Your Story


Stories aren’t just for the written word. You can build a story with pictures as well. If you can tell your story with pictures, you will kill it on Instagram.


While there is a lot that goes into a story, it is based on one thing. It’s about your brand. What is your brand’s message? What is the purpose of your brand? If you can answer those questions, you can begin to build your story.



Let’s say that you run a camping supply store. Your brand was built with the goal of increasing happiness for customers by helping them enjoy the outdoors. Using that as the basis for your story, upload photos that show the joy of experiencing the great outdoors.


The joy of experiencing the great outdoors is your main narrative which you can build upon by including pictures that tell their own stories. For instance, include pictures of individuals enjoying the great outdoors. These stories will fit into the main narrative, but they will stand on their own as well.


Reach Out to Influencers


Once you know your brand’s story, you will be ready to reach out to influencers in your market. Influencers are also considered to be power users. These users will help you to rapidly build a following. If you want to be taken seriously on Instagram, this step is essential.


You have three options for leveraging influencers.


First, you can pay for shoutouts. Some of the biggest power users are constantly approached so they charge for the service. You pay a fee, and then the influencer gives you a shoutout. This can be expensive, but it is also effective. Once you receive the shoutout, expect your traffic and followers to spike dramatically.


If you don’t want to spend money, go with the free option. This takes extra work, but it will help you get authentic endorsements, and build some additional trust with your followers.


In order to do this, you need to engage with the influencers. Follow them on Instagram and then comment on their photos. You can also tag or @mention them. They will be notified when you do this.


You should also go beyond Instagram when reaching out to influencers. Find them on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. Continue to interact with them on those channels. After you spend time getting on their radar, you can send them an offer.


If that still doesn’t work, you can up your game by offering samples of your products. For instance, you can send an influencer a sample in exchange for an endorsement if he or she likes the product.


Try Your Hand at Ads


There is a good chance that you aren’t familiar with Instagram Advertising. It hasn’t been available for that long, but it is a great tool, because Instagram Advertising is a part of Facebook Ads. That means you can target your ads like crazy and get the results you want.


Choose between image, video, and carousel ads. Include a clickable call-to-action in each of these ads. Your social media management team can track the clicks to find out how your ad is performing. Then, find out which leads are coming from Instagram, and which one originate from different channels. Your team can also find out how much you are spending on Instagram leads. This will help you determine your budget.


Start out small and scale up. Over time, you will be ready to run a huge ad campaign. By then, you should know what your audience wants, and you will be able to get instant results.


Get Creative with Promotional Posts


What’s the number one rule on social media?


Don’t make too many promotional posts.


That might be true on Facebook and Twitter, but you can make lots of promotional posts on Instagram, as long as you get creative.



Instead of making posts with generic shots of your products, have a little fun with it. You can stage your products in a fun way, or include pictures of influencers or fans using your products. You can even use Instagram’s grid layout when showcasing your products.


You don’t have to copy what other brands have done with this. Blaze your own trail in order to get the most engagement.


Get Started Now


Instagram might seem like the great unknown, but anyone can master it. It all comes down to using the right techniques and strategies. Use these tips to build your following and become a power user. Then, you can send people over to your website and make more sales. Get started using Instagram to grow your business today.


Original article was published on the Buzzlogix Social Media Marketing blog.

Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community

Author: Scott Sims


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