Regardless of the size of your business, Instagram is a key marketing platform that you should be looking to capitalise on. This is particularly the case if your target market consists heavily of millennial and Gen Z segments, and even more so if your brand or products are uniquely aesthetic.
Indeed, Instagram stands apart from other social media platforms, allowing current and potential customers alike a chance to get to know your brand organically. With a plethora of approaches and techniques that you can utilise to achieve results, it's essential for you to know and understand the benefits of each one.
Whether you're familiar with the platform or not, this is how to promote your business on Instagram.
1. Optimise Your Business Profile
As with many things in business, your first step should be to separate your work from your play. An optimised business profile allows you to ensure that your friends and family only receive your personal posts – not the content that you post on your business' professional, branded profile.
Once this has been set up, refrain from posting irrelevant material to the profile. In fact, let your Instagram profile reflect that of your wider company profile: pay special attention to highlighting your services, products and mission statement, as well as throw in a recent, triumphant achievement.
2. Brand Your Visuals
An essential component of an optimised business profile is maintaining consistent brand imagery throughout the entirety of your followers' visual experience with you. For example, if your business has a yellow and black logo, then incorporate those colours into your feed, weaving them into the user experience as they scroll through your page.
Every single one of your posts on Instagram – be it a photo or video – should be consistent in some way. To begin with, pay particular attention to the colours within your photos, as well as the composition of each image, the filters used, and the layout in which your content will be posted to your feed. Ensure that everything is coherent, relevant, and cohesive.
You can even take things a step further by carrying your branding into your captions. Create captivating content directly relating to what it is that sets your business aside from your competition.
3. Take Advantage of Instagram's Analytics
Market research is hugely important, which is why it makes sense to possess a better understanding of your Instagram business analytics. Not only do their free analytics tools help you better understand how often people are engaging with your content and looking at your profile, but they also paint a clear picture of when this is occurring. Consequently, any business looking to capitalise on Instagram's market should make themselves aware of these easy-to-decipher statistics, posting content at key times as outlined by your findings. By targeting your audience at a time when they are present and most active, you maximise your engagement opportunities.
4. Consistently Feature Industry-Related Hashtags
Regardless of your personal feelings towards them, hashtags – words or phrases preceded by a hash sign, used to group specific subjects – are a critical part of Instagram's makeup. Therefore, knowing how to use them correctly is an important marketing technique.
Keep up to date with your industry's most prevalent hashtags and post appropriate images alongside them. Individuals interested in your given industry will be perusing media related to that search term, and will thus be exposed to your Instagram feed. This may earn you extra likes, comments, and even followers.
It's also a good idea to create your own hashtag specifically for your business, and use that in your posts. Your customers can then signify their positive customer experience by using the hashtag, enabling you to find these individuals and like, comment, or even follow them on the platform.
5. Tag Your Location
Using location tags on the post itself, as well as incorporating location-based hashtags, is a great way to draw local and regional attention to your business. This is a particularly advisable strategy if you operate a localised business, such as a bakery, a clothes store or a flower shop.
6. Engage With Users
If you're going to use Instagram to promote your business, then you need to engage with your audience. This means replying to (and "liking" comments), as well as running giveaways and competitions (see below).
Ensure that you reach out to other people, too. Follow users and related potential business partners and comment on their posts. By doing this, you create a sense of community with your audience, helping you to establish trust and build relationships.
Remember: Instagram is primarily a promotional tool, but it is also an excellent opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of what your customers want. Invested users are more likely to tell you what they love about your products, what they wish you would make, or even what they would like you to change. Taking this advice on board can make for both a better customer experience and an improved product.
7. Pay for Instagram Advertisements
Although this may be considered a promotion basic, Instagram's paid advertisement programme is a relatively failsafe way to gain the online traction that you are seeking.
Thanks to the ability to dissect your audience – via sex, age group, country of origin, or even particular interests – you are broadcasting your material to the exact people that you want it to be seen by. Furthermore, you can choose how your audience will view the images or videos: on their stories; as a photo, video, or carousel post; or as a collection advertisement.
8. Run a Giveaway or Contest for Your Followers
As already mentioned, running a giveaway or contest on your Instagram account is a great way to attract engagement. Whether it's something as simple as having your followers tag their friends in the comments to gain entries, or asking viewers to share their thoughts and feelings on a given topic, be clear on how they can enter by creating a defined set of contest rules:
- Be clear that the content is not affiliated with Instagram.
- Note whether or not it's co-sponsored with another brand (if so, tag them and use their branded hashtag).
- Be clear on any entrant restrictions (such as country or age constraints, for instance).
- Note a clear start and end date, including the times and time zone.
- Let contestants know when (and how) the winner will be announced and notified.
Remember, only share images and videos that you have the right to distribute!
Learning how to promote your business on Instagram is a worthwhile endeavour, especially given the exposure and engagement that it offers with younger audiences. It is an opportunity to organically grow your connections with both current and potential customers, as well as network with potential business partners and influencers who can help to give your product exposure.
Are you an Insta-genius? What Instagram promotion strategies would you recommend? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.