In 2019, Instagram for Business is helping millions of small brands all over the world increase their sales and hit desired revenues. If you are someone who has not yet experimented with Instagram for Business, now is the right time to start.
Instagram for Business: Emergence and Growth
With more than one billion active users every month, every brand wants to be on Instagram. From being one of the coolest social platforms for individuals, Instagram has evolved into the perfect destinations for brands.
This change has not come overnight. As more businesses realize the benefits of Instagram for Business, Instagram keeps rolling out more business functions for brands. Given the right social media marketing strategy on Instagram, brands can-
- Reach out to existing and new customers.
- Promote their products and services.
- Increase branding and credibility.
- Develop a loyal customer following.
- Maintain healthy engagement with their consumer base.
- Increase direct sales from social media marketing.
Let us look at some official statistics from Instagram itself. This is important, as it gives us concrete reasons why brands, global and local, should consider Instagram for Business.
There are 25+ Million Business Accounts on Instagram
More than 2 Million Businesses Advertise or Promote on Instagram
More than 60% of Instagram Users first discover a Product or Service on Instagram
More than 200+ Million people on Instagram follow at least 1 Business Profile
80% of people on Instagram spend more time on Videos than static images
Of all stories on Instagram, brands contribute 1/3rd of them all
These statistics are staggering in terms of the volume of people and brands on Instagram. For brands, it does not make any sense whatsoever to ignore Instagram. Given such high numbers, Instagram for Business is the preferred choice of many brands. Some brands do not even want to be on Facebook. All they ask is for a brilliant Instagram social media marketing strategy.
How to Set Up Your Instagram for Business Profile
Unlike a normal profile, Instagram’s business profile gives you access to a host of professional tools. These include statistical insights, added features and reports. Creating an Instagram for the Business profile is easy. However, optimizing it requires investment, effort, and smartness.
For small businesses, Instagram for Business makes real sense, as it is free, and we hope it always will be.
Step 1: You need to download the Instagram App for Windows, Android or iOS.
Step 2: You need to Sign Up using your brand email id.
Step 3: At this stage, Instagram for Business will ask you to choose a username and password. (Make sure the username is exact or similar to your brand name).
Step 4: You need to enter your Instagram for Business profile information.
Step 5: Select a Profile Picture that represents your brand. It can be a logo or a location, but it needs to be legible and attractive. (It will become the identity of your brand).
Step 6: Done. You have your own Instagram for Business profile complete.
If you already have a personal account, which you want to convert into a business profile, you can do that as well. Once you have created the account, you need to focus on three key things-
- Your Instagram for the Business profile should have your website URL
- The profile should have an attractive bio about your brand.
- The brand’s contact information should always be visible so that people can connect.
Once you are done with setting up your account, you need to start creating content and sharing them with the Instagram world. Many sites will tell you what to do after reaching a certain point in your Instagram journey. However, our advanced guide to Instagram for Business will help you start your profile from scratch.
How Brands New to Instagram should start their journey
If you are new to any social media platform, the world can seem unmanageable and confusing. However, we are here to help you make sense of the chaos, create your own method to madness story.
1. Identify your Target Audience:
This depends on what kind of a brand you are and what is your target audience. An insurance company and a toy brand cannot have the same kind of social media strategy. You need to identify your audience based on-
- Rural/Urban divide
- Linguistic/Cultural Affinity
Once you have created a list of affinities, you can have some surety of what kind of audience you would want to attract.
2. Set a Narrative for your Brand:
Instagram is all about authenticity. If you are not ‘real’ on Instagram, you will not be successful. Given the high number of young users on the platform, every brand needs to have an authentic storytelling process.
This involves evolving your own narrative and sticking to it. Gone are those days when brands used to play it safe and be diplomatic. Even a brand like Nike went ahead and reaped billions because of its anti-racism Colin Kaepernick advert.
Whatever the brand, if you strike a chord on an emotional level, you will succeed. From a food brand to a clothing brand, you can align yourself with various social issues. Audiences want brands to speak out and take a stand.
3. Create an Identity for your Brand:
Borrowing from the previous point, creating an identity on Instagram is essential to success. No matter what size your brand it, the platform offers you such an opportunity. After you have chosen your target audience and set your narrative, it is time to create your identity.
The following are some of the options that your brand can espouse-
- Female empowerment or gender equality
- Anti-racism and universal citizenship
- Global warming or environmental friendly
- Sexual independence (LGBTQ Rights)
Again, no matter what industry you are in, the above topics have a huge following. This is not to say that you should not believe in an issue to start promoting it. You definitely need to believe in something close to your heart and create a brand identity out of it.
4. Plan a Social Media Marketing Strategy:
The above three points also qualify as being part of a social media marketing strategy. However, specifically, this means creating actionable plans. Here you need to decide how many posts you are going to do in a day. Alternatively, what kind of content format you are going to publish.
You should plan the following things before you start creating content-
- Number of posts per day and per week.
- A number of stories per day and per week.
- What type of content you would want to push- images, albums, videos, GIFs.
- Your post timings.
- Content strategy (for each day, week and month)
- The Instagram Team- Designer, Copywriter, Account Manager.
- The theme, color scheme and brand logo placement on your social media.
- How you are going to integrate your narrative and your identity.
Planning a social media marketing strategy for Instagram for Business is not an easy task. It is a roadmap. You will have to define it properly before you jump right in.
5. Do Your Research:
Once you have a clear idea of what you want to do, you should see what others are doing. In every industry, there are always global players and local players. As a brand owner, you should be aware of what both are doing.
Go through their social media feed (including Facebook) and see what kind of language, imagery, content types they are focussing on. See which posts are getting more traction than the rest. Check for the hashtags they are using.
Doing your research is crucial for you to understand what direction your brand should take. I have often seen brand owners have a stringent view of what they want to do. However, it does not have any correlation with the existing reality.
6. Create Content:
Only when you are done with the above is it time to create content. A content strategy is something that will help you identify the types of content topics. A brand’s Instagram for the Business page should have-
- Posts about the brand’s products and services
- Posts about the brand ethos and its employee/work culture
- Customer appreciation or positive feedback posts
- Milestones and other targets (new store openings, launches, etc.)
- Topical Issues that are in vogue
- Brand location, physical on-site characteristics
It is key that your content strategy is a healthy mix of all the above-stated content types. The content needs to be beautifully shot in a professional way. If you are planning to do videos, it should be edited professionally. Brands should also try to limit the ‘text on image’ limitation of Instagram (lesser the text on the image, better it performs).
7. Leverage Instagram Stories:
Instagram stories are the next big thing in terms of reaching audiences. Statistically, stories have a more extensive organic reach than even posts on Instagram for Business. A good social media marketing strategy requires that you post at least 5 to 6 brand stories every day.
The best part about stories is that they will be gone in 24 hours unless you choose to share them as highlights. The best content for stories can be daily experiences about the brand. According to Sprout Social, more than 400 million Instagram users share stories every day. By strategically using stories, you can increase your engagements and audience base quickly.
8. Post Regularly on your Profile:
The key for brands, which are new to Instagram for Business, is to post daily and regularly. Do not do three posts in a day and then have no activity on your page for a week. Try doing at least one post per day.
This will help define your brand in a positive way. The impact will be effective on both Instagram’s algorithm as well as on your audiences. They will have something to look for every day from your brand.
To grow a steady follower base and engage people, posting regularly is a must for any small business.
9. Engage and Reply to People’s Comments and Likes:
I have already said that Instagram is all about authenticity, Unlike Facebook, which has tended to become a formal sphere, Instagram is still all about the community. By personally engaging with people, you will create a following that will last for a very long time.
It does not require much- just responding to comments and likes that you receive on your post. This might just take 15 minutes every day, but it contributes a lot to brand building.
As a brand new to Instagram, engaging people who like your brand will set in motion a chain of events. These reactions will help you grow organically. Again, unlike Facebook, Instagram retains some organic reach potential.
10. Regram your Client Pictures:
Resharing or Regramming (Instagram lingo) will help you get the word out about how your customers perceive your brand. A new business can use this effectively to help gain new customers.
Regram is an app on Play store. It is used to post client pictures to your Instagram account. Rather than you saying good things about your own brand, let your customers be your brand ambassadors. Let them speak on your behalf.
Reframing helps build credibility and positive vibes about your brand on the market. Regrams should be part of your content strategy. You can use Regram once a week and put out the content on your page.
Other Strategies to Pursue on Instagram for Business Pages
I have already stated at the outset that this guide is a guide for new brands who want to venture on Instagram.
However, once you get familiar with the process, it is time to optimize the page and the strategy. This is where a proper hashtag strategy for your brand needs to be implemented. Following some experience, you can also go for some local Influencers and a preliminary Influencer Strategy for your page.
However, these are advanced mechanisms that should be done only after you have gotten a hang of it. Strategies like paid promotions, Instagram advertising, and shop features come later on, once you are familiar with the platform.
(If you want me to do a separate post on such strategies, please comment in the comments section).
Instagram for Business: The Final Word
As more and more brands are moving away from Facebook, Instagram is becoming the new destination for them. The emphasis on visual on Instagram helps it appeal more to brands. There are some brands, which ask about the future of Instagram for Business. The skepticism is genuine, given Facebook’s organic reach bloodbath.
However, in the case of Instagram, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Instagram has already started rolling out an e-commerce platform for brands. This will enable brands to set up a virtual e-commerce shop on their Instagram page.
The entire digital industry is talking about how Instagram might bite into Amazon and Alibaba for example. For new brands, who sell products, this is a very interesting opportunity. The rollout has already in the USA. It is expected to be launched globally by the end of the year.
Let me know what you think of this advanced guide to Instagram for Business in the comments section.