Everyone knows what a sword is. It's a long, sharp weapon that you've probably never seen and will probably never use in real life. But that's not the point. While everyone knows what a sword is and what it looks like, only a tiny fraction of people actually know how to use it. And that's what Instagram is like. You definitely know what Instagram is: a cool app where you post photos of yourself and your cat, caption it with far too many hashtags and watch people like it. But is that really what Instagram is all about?
If you're just on Instagram to have fun and explore, then you probably shouldn't be reading this article because you're doing just fine. On the other hand, if you’re trying to utilize Instagram for your business or brand, then you definitely need a deeper insight into how this platform works.
So grab a pen, paper and your smartphone or PC (whichever works for you) and let's get down to the basics.
How Do I Use Instagram for My Business?
If you've been asking yourself this question, I'd like you to relax. You can still have loads of fun while using Instagram for your business. It doesn't necessarily have to be technical captions, hashtags and campaigns.
Let's show you how:
#1 Finetune Your Profile
This is obviously one of the first and most important steps. Your profile is what determines if your audience will click the follow button or simply backtrack and hope never to see your account again. Thus, you definitely want to create a winning profile.
For starters, ensure that your profile picture is a clear picture of your company logo. This way, your potential customers and visitors can easily identify your brand everywhere they go.
Next, work on your bio. Now this is the tricky part. When it comes to creating a bio for your business, you may want to cram your entire values, mission and modus operandi into your profile. Well, Instagram's developers anticipated this and set a character limit for bios. You should be able to tell your audience what you do and how you can help them in one sentence or too.
Keep it simple, creative and just intriguing enough to make them want to stay longer on your page.
Finally, don't forget to leave a clickable link to your website on your bio. You can constantly update the link when you have new posts or new events coming up. This way, clients who visit your profile will immediately be redirected to your website.
#2 Use Your Hashtags Right
Here's one area many business owners seem to get it wrong: hashtags. Hashtagging is an art that's way more than cramming numerous hashtags into one post. Remember the story of Goldilocks and the three bears? She kept trying out different hashtags until she found one that was just right. Okay, that's not how the story goes but you get the point.
When it comes to using hashtags on Instagram, people often make one rookie mistake. They focus solely on using crowded tags that probably have millions of posts behind them.
While this isn't a bad idea (people search for these tags everyday), you may want to uncover your own niche hashtags as well.
Set up your main company hashtags and use it once in a while. This will help people to find content or posts related to you and your business. You could also try out campaign-specific tags as well as holiday tags. This way, you'd know that you're covering all angles and leaving no stone unturned.
#3 Use Instagram Stories
For the oldies on Instagram, you can tell that the story feature wasn't always there. There were the good old days when you simply posted a picture and hoped against hope that someone somewhere liked it. Today, you now have the opportunity to use Instagram stories and create even more entertaining content for your customers and audience.
These stories appear in a Slideshow format and last for up to twenty-four hours before they disappear. You're probably wondering why I'm encouraging you in a not-so-subtle manner to use Instagram stories.
● For starters, stories are typically displayed at the top of users' time lines. This way, they don't even have to search for your content. Instagram brings it right to them.
● With stories, you get to try out and experiment with different content types that you never even thought of before. You could try out live videos, Boomerangs, rewind and basic photos and videos.
● With creative features, you can always edit your content on the go, making them fun and entertaining to look at.
● You can tag other accounts and brands in your story - an ideal strategy for influencer marketing.
● You can use Instagram stories to target new audiences, promote your content and basically gain more reach.
With these pros, it's obvious that there are so many exciting possibilities for your business when you use Instagram stories. Think of it as a positive catalyst providing you with mind-blowing results.
#4 Offer Exclusivity
Believe it or not, your audience loves exclusivity almost as much as Goldilocks loved Baby Bear's porridge. They want to know that you're offering them something no one else can offer. So here's what to do: build anticipation by offering teasers and exclusive content.
Create and release teaser photos about new products, events or services. This way, you'd be building anticipation and heightening their curiosity, keeping them coming back for more.
Instagram is a really fun platform especially if you're just there to explore and connect with people. However, it can also be fun for your business too. You get to create mind-blowing content, increase your reach and connect with your customers without having to give up fun.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to utilise Instagram's features for your business and experience awesome results.