May 5, 2022

Instagram 101 for Business - The Simple Guide

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Anyone can set up an online business. Online website builders don't require any coding experience, so you can set one up on your own quite easily. Ecwid even offers an Instant Site that you can use to sell up to ten products, complete with hosting and domain, entirely free of charge. If you don't need e-commerce features, WordPress offers an easy and free way to set up a site for your business.

However, setting up a business site is just the first and easiest step in establishing an online presence. The challenge is getting traffic to your site, which typically means a whole SEO strategy and social media marketing.

Fortunately, the most popular social media platforms are making it easier for businesses to reach their audience. Instagram for Business is one such accommodation where brands can use community-based marketing strategies to increase their visibility and send traffic to their sites. An e-commerce business can even sell directly on the platform, making it easy and convenient for active users to buy.

Even if you don’t sign up for a business profile, Instagram can still be incredibly valuable for driving brand awareness through hashtags and mentions. It is also an excellent source of user generated content. Read on for Instagram 101 for business.

Instagram for Business

There is no question that Instagram is a popular social media platform. It hit 2 billion active monthly users globally in December 2021 and claims that 70% of eCommerce shoppers use the platform to find products.

Instagram’s internal data for 2019 reveals that 90% of users follow at least one brand. A Facebook-commissioned report in 2018 (Project Instagram) indicates that 50% of users between 18 and 64 find businesses more interesting if they see them in Instagram ads. When it comes to promoting a business on social media platforms, it is hard to beat the visibility and flexibility of Instagram.

Why Use Instagram for Marketing?

The simple answer is because of its 2 billion monthly users globally, many of whom are willing to engage with brands. In February 2022, Instagram had 6 billion visits (not unique). As a small business, including Instagram in your marketing campaign is a no-brainer for that reason alone.

However, the value of Instagram as a marketing tool in long-term campaigns is in the continual expansion of its offerings and the addition of more features to benefit small businesses. If you sell products or services that have visual appeal, there is no better social media platform to promote your business or sell products. After all, Instagram started as a photo-sharing site, so it has that down pat.

Below are the following benefits of creating an Instagram page for your small business.

Conversion

Having an Instagram page does not directly lead to more sales, but user generated content does. About half of all consumers trust UGC more than brand content, so your Instagram followers are effectively selling your products or services to each other.

If you registered an Instagram for Business account, they don't even have to go to your website to make a purchase. About 44% of consumers go to Instagram to shop. That’s how the conversion magic happens.

Engagement

Instagram users tend to be highly engaged. According to Hootsuite, a good engagement rate for social media business pages is between 1% and 5%. For all post types, the average Instagram engagement rate is 1.94% for 2022. To put it in context, the average Facebook engagement rate is 0.07%.

Increasing website traffic

When you have good engagement on Instagram, your followers and visitors are more likely to go to your website to buy or browse. Half of all Instagram users visit a website after seeing it on the platform, so Instagram can really amp up your brand awareness campaigns.

Branding

Instagram has what Facebook calls a “halo” effect on brand perception. Simply having your brand on the platform leads users to think it is popular (78%), creative (77%), entertaining (76%), and relevant (74%). Additionally, 58% perceive a brand as more interesting if they see it in Instagram Stories.

Personalization

Personalization is the marketing watchword of the day. Instagram creates limitless opportunities to create a personalized experience for your followers using community-based marketing strategies.

Content creation

Instagram is no longer just a platform for posting photos. Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, Messenger, Video, and Shopping are all features you can use to create content for Instagram marketing campaigns. Polls and Quizzes are also very popular with users. The best thing? You can mine user generated content for your posts.

Advertising

Instagram ads are a good choice if you want to go the paid reach route. As of Q4 2021, ads on the platform have a potential reach of 22.7% or 1.39 billion users. To put it in perspective, Facebook ads have a potential reach of 37% or 2.28 million.

Building trust

Community-based marketing is perfect for your Instagram business page. If you follow best practices when building your community on Instagram, you are well-positioned to earn their trust.

Sharing announcements and updates

About half (58%) of Instagram users check their accounts daily, and 38% visit the platform several times a day. Your Instagram page is an excellent venue for posting announcements and updates to keep your new customers in the know.

Creating connections

The top reason people use social media is to stay in touch with family and friends (48%). Other reasons include finding products to purchase (26.2%), sharing and discussing opinions with others (24.4%), and making new contacts (23.8%). Instagram is a sharing platform, and it is all about making a connection with everyone on the platform, including brands.

Gathering feedback

Instagram users post an average of about 450 comments per image, 700 for carousels, and 850 per video. For followers of your brand, you can gather some valuable insights from their comments.

Showing off creativity

Because Instagram is a visual platform, you can get really creative with your posts, live videos, and stories. Unleash your inner artist and wow your followers when announcing new products or promotions, and see your engagement grow.

How to Create an Instagram Marketing Strategy

Effective social media marketing depends on knowing the peculiarities of each platform to inform your strategy. You might feel tempted to simply wing it when creating your Instagram business page, but that is not a good idea. Creating an Instagram marketing strategy can inform your decisions about your account and the posts you publish.

Define Your Goals

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of a strategy, you should first define what you want to accomplish with your Instagram page. Small business owners and entrepreneurs typically want to create brand awareness or increase conversion, which is understandable. However, you can achieve these goals in several ways:

  • Build a community of engaged followers around a social cause
  • Showcase your product through video tutorials and demonstrations
  • Position your brand as an outlier in the industry
  • Post attractive offers through Instagram Shopping

Whatever your goal for your Instagram page, make sure you have it clear in your head. Once you have a goal, you can move on to the next step, which is defining your target audience.

Define Your Audience

Keep in mind that Instagram is a social media platform that attracts certain types of people. You should know the demographics of your potential audience to use it as a marketing tool.

Generally, Instagram users are young adults (18 to 34 years old), evenly split between genders, in the higher income brackets, some college education or college graduates, and live in urban or suburban areas. Almost all (91%) use the platform to follow an interest. The top interests are travel, music, and food and drink in the US.

Of course, these are general trends and do not mean your target audience should fit tightly within these parameters. However, if your business deals with farm machinery, you might not get too much business traction on Instagram.

Decide On Your Posts

Given your goals and target audience, you can now drill down to the types of posts you should publish on the page. Whatever you decide, you need to make sure they look great and compelling.

Remember that Instagram is a visual platform. While anything too high-quality might be off-putting (you’re going for authenticity here), your images and videos should at least be clear and in focus. Additionally, ensure your posts tell a story or elicit a response or reaction from your audience. Nothing is more deadly to an Instagram page than boring posts.

Among posts you can consider for your business page include:

  • User generated content such as unboxing videos
  • Behind the scenes photos with captions
  • Cartoons
  • Infographics
  • Quotes with image backgrounds
  • Tutorials

If you need more Instagram post ideas, check out this Hootsuite article.

Create a Post Calendar

While spontaneity is an excellent quality in your photo and video posts, it will not do for scheduling your posts. Having a calendar can help you plan your creative efforts and ensure you have enough time to produce fantastic posts every time.

Pro Tip: Knowing your audience puts you in a better position to create content. Look at the type of content your customers post and engage with, and use these insights to inform your creative strategy.

Instagram Best Practices for Business

Time is money, so you want to achieve results and achieve key metrics from your Instagram marketing as soon as possible. While there are undoubtedly many ways to leverage your Instagram for business, you can stick to these ten best practices for now.

Work with the Instagram algorithm

No one really knows precisely how Instagram displays posts for individual users. One thing you should remember is its algorithm prioritizes posts based on relevance rather than chronology. You can persuade the algorithm to think your posts are the most relevant to your target audience by using the following tactics:

  • Include an alt text in your images using keywords your target audience is most likely to search
  • Leave two comments on your posts immediately after publishing to encourage other users to like or comment
  • Encourage followers to save or share your posts
  • Post entertaining videos or engaging captions to increase the time people spend on your posts

Write interesting captions

Instagram is a visual medium, but people like a bit of context when viewing a post. Captions are an excellent way to provide that context that can also help you establish your brand’s identity and message.

Instagram allows up to 2,200 characters of text but truncates it after 125 characters. Use those 125 characters wisely so viewers will click "more" to see the rest of the Instagram content.

Make sure you include a call to action (CTA), such as inviting viewers to comment or check out your website (link in the Instagram bio). If you're dealing with writer's block, you can download the CapGenius app for help. Add a couple of emojis while you’re at it.

Use hashtags strategically

You need to use hashtags for all your posts if you want people to find you easily. According to some reports, having at least one hashtag can increase post engagement by more than 12%. However, random hashtags are a no-no.

When choosing your hashtags, make sure it is relevant to your niche, purpose, target audience, and region. Below are some hashtag best practices.

  • While you can use 30 hashtags, you should only use between 3 and 5 per post
  • Have a mix of big (more than a million posts), medium (less than 250,000), and small (less than 50,000) hashtags so your post will show up in relevant feeds without too much competition
  • Switch hashtags up occasionally to maximize exposure
  • Make a branded hashtag so followers can use it; it’s an excellent way to find user generated content
  • Follow hashtags your followers use to keep tabs on what’s happening in your community

Engage with your audience

Social media is a two-way street. While you might be busy crafting entertaining and relevant posts for your audience, you should also reciprocate. Engage with your audience as much as you want them to engage with you.

  • Visit and follow their pages
  • Like and post comments on their posts and make them personal and meaningful
  • Respond to their comments and feedback on your posts as a direct message
  • Share their posts so they will share yours
  • Join their groups when appropriate

The more you engage with your audience, the more they will feel a personal connection with your brand. Engaging with your audience is also an excellent way to get insights to help you make adjustments to your marketing strategies.

Offer giveaways or run a contest

People love freebies, and many will go out of their way to get some. You can get them to share a post, follow your page, tag friends, and even make a small purchase to get free stuff or a discount.

You can also run a contest if you have an appealing prize to offer, such as a smartphone or one of your pricier products. Ideally, the returns in terms of traffic, followers, or sales will outweigh the cost of the prize. Keep the contest period short (not more than five days) to sustain interest and excitement and announce the winner or winners with as much fanfare as possible. The next time you run another one, the buzz will be much more.

Partner with micro-influencers

As a small business owner, big-name influencers are not likely to be within your budget. However, you can do quite well by striking a strategic alliance with micro-influencers to advocate for your brand.

Micro-influencers have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers, enough to significantly increase credibility and awareness of your brand if they have an engaged audience. They typically charge between $100 and $500 per post, so it won’t burn too big a hole in your pocket to work with one.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Find an Instagram influencer in your niche. You might already have one in your community, or you could do a hashtag search. If you don’t have time, check out the free plan with Intellifluence to test the waters.
  2. Check the influencer’s personal account to see if their followers are real people or bots. You can use this free fake Instagram follower check tool to save time.
  3. Make your pitch to the influencer to see if you can agree on the terms.

Use sponsored ads

If your business has a professional Instagram account, you can promote posts or stories to reach those in your target audience who are not yet following your page. It's an excellent way to build brand awareness and increase conversions.

Instagram makes it easy for you to create an ad. All you do is click the Promote button on any post or story. Fill in the blanks according to your goal, audience, and budget.

After running the ad, you will be able to get data on its performance. The insights will tell you if you did a good job or what you should do to improve your next campaign.

Be consistent with posting

Using Instagram for your business requires consistency. That means establishing a schedule for posts, testing if it works, tweaking it when it does not, and sticking to the best one.

In most cases, the best time to publish posts on Instagram for business is Tuesday between 12 noon and 3 PM EST. Weekdays are best for the most engagement with a business page. You can publish between 3 to 7 times a week and no more than once a day.

Some people might not agree with this generalization, and they could be right. The best way to find out for your business is to try. Track your engagement to see if your schedule is working as expected. If you are not getting the attention you want, tweak it. As a rule of thumb, stick to weekdays.

Use Insights

Instagram for Business provides you with a nifty feature called Insights, which you can use to track and optimize the performance of your page. The data you will see includes:

  • Follower age and location
  • Follower statistics
  • Engagements per post
  • Taps forward, backward, next story, exits, and replies on Stories
  • Top posts sorting by likes, comments, followers gained, etc.

You can use the data to identify your best-performing posts and inform your creative and marketing decisions moving forward. Instagram Insights is only available on the Instagram app and not accessible with a personal Instagram profile. You have to create a free Instagram business account for this one. Don't worry. Insights is free to use as well.

Promote your page

Ensure you promote your page by placing a linked Instagram icon on your site, so potential customers and visitors know where to find it. Share posts from Instagram to your Facebook page and vice versa, and include links to your Instagram page on other social media platforms. For example, if you repurpose your YouTube video for your IGTV post, put a link on the YouTube description to the post.

Want To Leverage Your Instagram Marketing Strategy? Try Archive for Free!

Instagram might have been built for promoting a business. Because it is a visual medium and constantly adding features to benefit business users, it has gained global popularity as a sharing and marketing platform. The best thing is Instagram users welcome brands on the platform, provided they follow best practices in their posts and promotions.

However, the most important thing about Instagram is the sense of community and connection it promotes. This encourages engagement, but it also creates a great deal of user-generated content that is gold to marketers.

If you want to know how to leverage Instagram for marketing, you can get helpful information about Instagram, community-based marketing, and user generated content on Archive. You can also explore the benefits of the Archive App to your digital marketing efforts.

Check out Archive Today! We help businesses of all sizes leverage community content and creativity and make their digital marketing more efficient using our software.

FAQs on Instagram 101 for Business

How effective is Instagram marketing?

According to Sprout Social, 98% of marketers consider Instagram the best platform for influencer marketing. That indicates it is very effective.

What makes an Instagram post successful?

A successful Instagram post engages the audience's attention, increases followers, generates likes and comments, and gets shares. It requires a deep knowledge of the audience to create a successful post, so it is crucial to do your research.

What business can I start on Instagram?

Instagram is primarily a channel to promote a brand, service, or product and lead the audience to the relevant site. However, you can also sell on the app itself, so it is a definite possibility for a retail business. You can also make money on Instagram by becoming an influencer. Get enough followers, and you can monetize your page with sponsored content or affiliate links.

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