I have been keen to use Instagram to help Framework Digital grow its community, engagement, online presence, get more leads to our website and show our portfolio and skills. I’m sharing my learning to help you decide if Instagram is the right platform for your business marketing.
Designing the Framework Digital Instagram Profile
At first, I researched on the internet; so much can be learned online! I used this knowledge to map out successful strategies for the best performance. With all social media, the steps are quite easy. The challenge is held in the details that make the difference between a fun profile or a marketing tool that generates professional outcomes.
From the information gathered, I planned a grid layout pattern that shows our brand aesthetics. I designed layouts for all posts and focused on three subjects: Testimonials, Web page designs and Tips/FAQs/updates.
The style is led by our visuals and branding; mostly grey, with a splash of red. I decided to highlight one post in red to carry our logo colour through the design. This leads the eye down the page.
Having posted the designs to our Instagram account, it was time to get active on it! My focus was on building followers and interacting with others. This is as important as posting. Each step of enhancing our Instagram profile helps develop my knowledge and interest in this social media channel.
I personally use it the most than any other social media platform, but a personal account is not the same as a business account. It’s been fascinating to learn how to use Instagram to reach a specific audience and achieve marketing goals.
I have noticed quite a lot of businesses have been joining this social media platform as it offers many integrations to help businesses grow and showcase their offer.
Keen to learn more, I signed up for a HubSpot course ‘Instagram Marketing Strategy Course’. Having undertaken and implemented online research, it was easier to digest the information. It helped me build on my base knowledge, so I can continue to improve Framework Digital’s social media profile.
I’d like to share the best tips that I gathered from this course. ↓
How to use Instagram for Business
STEP 1: Strategy – Think, Research and Plan
Is Instagram right for your business?
‘Brands, in particular, love Instagram because engagement is higher. Ten times higher than Facebook, in fact, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and a whopping 84 times higher than Twitter’. This shows the potential reach and engagement opportunities on offer for businesses using Instagram.
Before you start using Instagram, make sure it is the right platform for you and your business. You need to know your audience and plan your goals. Is your ideal buyer using this platform and is your offer relevant when they are? What would be a successful outcome for your business? Research and planning can help you avoid spending time and money where it is not going to generate results.
Are your customers on Instagram?
Firstly, you need to know who your ideal buyer is. If you already have buyer personas and other marketing strategies in place, you can draw from those to help. Some factors to consider when narrowing down your target Instagram audience are age, location, gender, income and interests. What motivations or pain points influence their purchasing decisions?
After you determine your Instagram audience, do a competitive analysis to see what other marketers in your field are posting. If you already know your top competitors, start by searching for their Instagram profiles. If not, try searching for terms related to your business or industry to find similar accounts.
Conduct a quick audit of related accounts to see what types of posts are getting the highest amount of engagement. Look at the popular hashtags they’re using, what kinds of captions they’re writing, how often they’re publishing, and how quickly they’re growing. This information will serve as a benchmark as you start growing your account.
Consider how your business goals will align with your goals for Instagram. If your goals are increased sales but you’re a B2B company, it will be harder than for a B2C company.
To better understand if Instagram is a fit for you, let’s look at the best ways to use Instagram to market your business:
- Build brand awareness
- Delight customers with the content of value and interest
- Extend customer loyalty and retention
- Attract new prospects
- Directing sales for B2C companies
- Advertising – product launches, seasonal products, events, latest trends and more!
STEP 2: Take Action – Optimising your business profile
First, keep this professional. Make sure that you set up a business account to take advantage of all integrations for businesses that support growth. Connect your profile to a business email; check there is no link to your personal Facebook account.
BIO – Account details
“Instagram is essentially a digital magazine, and each post is a page that you’re turning that goes back to the promise that you make in your bio, which is essentially the cover of that digital magazine.” … – Sue B. Zimmerman, Owner Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise
- BIO DESCRIPTION
It is a good practice to put relevant keywords in the Bio; what do you want your business to be known for? Instagram users look at keywords to filter the content of interest to them, so this helps your profile to be found. To give you an example, I’ve included ‘web design’ and ‘digital marketing’ in our bio. According to SocialMediaExaminer, putting a keyword in your name triples your searchability scores.
You can also add tags, or bio links if you want to tag someone. Adding relevant hashtags is helpful because users follow hashtags, which increases your chance of being seen. Hashtags help the Instagram algorithm to put your content in front of people who might be interested (in a similar way to search engine optimisation on websites).
If you would like to get creative add emojis, which are also searchable, and line breaks for visual effects.
- ACCOUNT PICTURE
A picture is one of the first things that people will see from your account. Make sure to use a high-quality image or logo, fitted to the correct dimensions 200x200px.
The only way to put a clickable link on Instagram is in your bio. Most businesses add their websites. Make sure that your link leads to a mobile-optimised site, as most users are viewing Instagram on mobile. If you would like to add more links, maybe to related external sites, the solution LinkTree. This creates a window with all the links that you want to include. It is a valuable tool for businesses and one that I was quick to apply to the Framework Digital Instagram page.
- OTHER DETAILS
Remember to fill in all the boxes, including the location and contact details as these are also helpful when it comes to being found from all different kinds of search categories.
- CALL TO ACTION
Including a call-to-action on your profile is very important. What would you like interested prospects to do; call, email or message? Your call-to-action will be displayed as a button on your profile under your description.
Include a clear and enticing description in your bio. You need to convince people to click on the call-to-action button. Your content should motivate people to act.
STEP 3: Create Your Content, Set Up Ads and Engage
With your business profile fully set up, your success on Instagram is down to consistent and aesthetic content creation.
- CREATING CONTENT
When it comes to aesthetics and designing content, there are free templates that you can use and adjust to your branding colours. This provides a means of using high-quality designs that make your account look more professional and aesthetically pleasing; a must for Instagram.
Consistency and frequency are also important. How often to post? When is best to post? On which days and times? I learned that Instagram visits peak on Monday and Thursday mornings. We do not limit our posts to those times, but that does inform our posting schedule.
Make sure your content is of good quality and in the correct format of a post. Posts on Instagram are square and the size of 1080x1080px. If your content doesn’t fit in only one square Instagram has got a different option; a carousel post.
Framework Digital uses the carousel post when we have valuable tips or information. This way we can spread it over a few slides, instead of cramming it onto one static post. It is an effective way to display more content appealingly. A carousel can contain up to 10 slides.
Tags and geolocations are very important. People can search profiles, tags, also follow tags and can search by location. When you add location and tags to your posts you will be seen and discovered by more people. One thing to pay attention to is tags reputation. Some tags get banned because accounts that used them haven’t follower Instagram’s policy. So, check the tags you use, and the type of posts they relate to. Does this fit with your brand?
- ADS CONTENT, SETTING UP ADS AND ANALYSING YOUR ADS
Creating ads content is a little bit different than usual posts. Ads need to be more entertaining. Statistics show that videos generate greater interest, engagement and actions than static posts. If you create videos, keep them simple to understand even when the sound is muted, because the default is for Instagram videos to play with the sound off. Consider using text in your videos or expressive body language to communicate your message.
There are two ways to create an Ad; through the Facebook business management platform or by boosting an existing (and popular) post on your Instagram account.
Instagram Insights is one of the prime benefits of having a business profile on the social network. While not a deeply robust/dynamic tool, Instagram Insights provides easy-to-digest and current data about the effectiveness of your content. Use this to make smarter decisions about your marketing strategy!
- GETTING FOLLOWERS AND BUYERS
A question that every business wants to know – ‘How to get more followers?’
Firstly, do not buy followers! Firstly, it may harm your reputation; you can get banned from Instagram. Also, the focus has to be on quality over quantity. You need genuine followers; people that are interested in engaging with your brand and your content. Social media revolves around developing a community of shared interests and values.
Another fact learnt on the course that changed my actions was “Richard Lazazzera recommends that you steal from your competition”.
He ran a test and followed 100 of his competitors’ followers. Later he followed another 100 but he also hit the ‘Like’ button on their photos. Finally, he followed a third group of 100, liking and commenting on their photos. He found that in the first test only 14% followed back, the second approach generates 22% follow back and in the third test 34% followed back. This shows that by engaging and showing interest in the people you follow, you can drive reciprocal actions.
Your Instagram profile can also be promoted on other social media platforms, add it to your email signature or website. This will help to spread the word and encourage more people to reach you.
Overall, there isn’t an easy way of getting more followers quickly. The most important tip that I can give you is to ENGAGE with your followers to keep your existing ones and attract more.
- KEEPING ACTIVE AND GROWING
As mentioned before keep engaging with your followers so you can keep them and attract others. To stay active, look through posts to see what generates responses and keep track of what your competitors do. Follow, like and comment on others’ posts and don’t be afraid to reach out to competitors’ followers.
When you have built up a good volume of followers, one option on Instagram is to add stories (they are only shown on your account for 24 hours). Stories can be a good way to share some of what goes on behind the scenes of your business. These days, people are curious about what happens in the background of the business they follow; understanding the people and values.
Including polls and questionaries in your stories help to encourage interaction and gather insight. If any of the stories generate a high response level, you can pin it to the highlights section on your profile, so they can be viewed beyond the standard 24 hours.
On this point, I have categorised our highlights so people can easily discover a little bit more about us. Our highlights are:
- Our Business
- Our Team
- Our Services
- Updates…with more to come!
If Instagram is a platform that you are considering for business marketing, I hope this post is useful. Follow these tips and you will soon be on your way to building a bigger audience base and turning your followers into customers.
Emona Savova – web and graphic designer at Framework Digital
If you are ready to learn more about how we can help your business grow, then please do contact us.