Did you know that Instagram has over 500 million daily active users?

You want the right people to know about your business – and Instagram is a great way of achieving this for some businesses.

It is widely believed that Instagram is only used by the ‘millennial’ generation, but this isn’t true. Over 30% of Instagram users are aged 35 or older.

If you know how to locate people who are interested in your business, you can have real success on the platform.

If you want to know whether Instagram is useful for your business – and how to use the platform effectively – then read my key bits of advice below.

No matter what your business does, it’s important to have a presence on Instagram.

Who does Instagram work for?

As Instagram revolves around images and videos, it really helps:

  • Interior design
  • Food
  • Beauty
  • Health & fitness
  • Travel
  • Fashion

But does this mean that professional services have no place on the platform?

Actually, no! It’s important to have a strong presence on all social media platforms because it gets your brand out to a wider audience. You never know who could be in a legal dispute, or have grandparents looking for equity release advice, so you need to be visible to all.

Also, linking back to your website through Instagram posts improves your website SEO, and pushes your site higher in Google search results for your field.

Setting up your account

Now you’ve decided that Instagram is worth spending a few minutes on each day, you need to set up your account.

The app takes you through the key stages as you do this. Make sure you set up a business page, rather than a personal page!

When deciding your username, profile picture and biography, make them relevant to who you are and what you do.

You need:

  • Recognisable & easy to find username
  • Bio that explains who you are & what you do
  • Relevant profile picture – your logo
  • Location details
  • Contact details

When setting up your business page, you can specify what industry you work in. That way, Instagram is more likely to flag you up to people looking for your services.

Understand your strategy

When posting your images or videos on Instagram, you need to consider:

  • What you post
  • When you post
  • How often you post
  • Whom you’re targeting
  • Your caption

Instagram is a great tool for your company – but if you rush into using it without much thought, you won’t harness its full potential.

If you have a clear sense of your target demographic, you can target your posts to match what they want to see.

It’s also worth conducting research about which days and times are optimum for posting. That way, you can maximise the credence of your posts.

Post relevant content – consistently!

Creating ‘original’ content (content you’ve come up with yourself) is crucial to Instagram success.

Your pictures and videos need to:

  • Resonate with your target demographic
  • Add value to your audiences’ lives
  • Relate to your brand

If you can’t create your own content, stock images and videos can help keep up the quality of your feed.

You need to post content relevant to what your business does – for example, an artist might post the above

Some great ways of using pictures to inspire interest and intrigue include showing:

  • Expertise
  • Community spirit
  • Personality
  • Promote new products / services
  • Events

Sharing content related to charity work gives a human quality to your brand. Obviously, you want people to know what you do – but you also want them to know that there’s a caring human face beneath the company logo.

Remember your posts have more credence if you show a smiling face. Photos showing faces get 38% more ‘likes’ than those without.

After this you need to post consistently! We reckon about 3-4 times a week is right for many businesses.

Your Instagram content must add value to your audiences’ lives

Using effective hashtags

You need your pictures and videos to be visible to those with an interest in what you do. Using relevant hashtags is a great way to do this.

You can use hashtags in your:

  • Posts
  • Biography
  • Stories
  • Captions

All of your images are accompanied by a caption. Make good use of this space with optimum hashtags.

Generic industry hashtags such as ‘#lawyer’, ‘#food’ or ‘#clothing’ will disappear in the platform and limit the amount of people that see your post.

Instead, using a location in your hashtag will massively increase the likelihood of seeing your post. Instead of using ‘#food’ for your Watford-based restaurant, use ‘#watfordfood’.

Growing your followers

For people to see your amazing content, you need to grow your number of followers. Finding people with an interest in what you do is a great way to start.

Often users ‘like’ or comment on hashtags or company posts related to what they’re interested in.

To reel in people interested in what you do, search for rival companies and relevant hashtags and follow those interacting with them. This includes:

  • Niche industry hashtags
  • Rival business
  • Location posts

Engage with your audience

You need to show your audience that you care about what they have to say.

You do this by:

  • ‘Liking’ comments on your posts
  • Responding to comments
  • Tagging followers in post (when relevant)

Another great way of engaging with your audience is through Instagram ‘stories’. A ‘story’ is a way of sharing a video or picture separately from your feed. These appear at the very top of a user’s page when they first enter the app, and disappear after 24 hours.

There are many things you can do with an Instagram story. These include:

  • Quiz
  • Poll
  • Q&A

All three of these provide a personal quality to your Instagram page. This will increase follower interaction – and make your company show up high in the Instagram search engine.

Businesses on Instagram get up to 37% of their total impressions from Instagram Stories. They can be a fun and successful way of engaging with your audience.

By liking and responding to comments on your post, you show that you care about what your audience has to say.

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