Instagram is seen by many as that ‘thing’ on your mobile device where you upload an image, fiddle around with a couple of filters, smack on a thousand hashtags, and share with your follower(s), one of which may be your weird uncle.

But have you actually ever considered its potential as a tool for business?

Despite the fact that this platform was conceived for this specific function way back in October 2010, being initially focused on providing users with the possibility to give their pictures a Polaroid or Kodak Instamatic feel, the social network has grown exponentially. With added features such as video-sharing, social media connectivity, and the now year-old (October 2015) launched video loop app Boomerang, Instagram has become more than just a photo-sharing service.

Its acquisition by Facebook in April of 2012 opened the platform to an even larger market of users, and provided new possibilities to what could have been yet another ‘fad’ app. In fact, Instagram currently has over 500 million monthly active accounts, of which over 300 million are used on a daily basis.

The versatility of this app and the large base of users, over 80% of which are located outside the United States, make Instagram a perfect app for doing insta-business!

So if it’s Instagram Business knowhow that you’re looking for, then you have come to the right place.

Regular Instagram can be a headache for new users, so Instagram Business will not come easy for many. Well, we know the pain, and we can make it go away. We’ll take care of your Instagram account for you, ensuring that there’s regular and fresh content, so you don’t have to ever think what hashtag to choose.

#Success.

Why should I use Instagram for Businesses?

When I started engaging Instagram for my personal and recreational use, I had next to no understanding of the different capabilities of this application. Truth be told, I classified myself as an avid lover of the ’Valencia’ and ‘Hudson’ filters, and I sometimes could not seem to even make it past ‘Lark’ when I posted something to my account.

I had also thought that adding hashtags was a ‘win’ at one point, until I started reading up on the various ways of how you can actually caption and keyword an image to reach a certain target audience.

The point I am trying to make here is that Instagram is not simply about posting photos and hoping to beat your personal ‘likes’ record. With an estimated 4.2 billion daily likes, and over 95 million posts, also on a daily basis, there is a reason why Instagram is becoming an increasingly important tool for every kind of business.

Even if at least one of those daily posts might involve some aspect of your business, this will generate more traffic to your website or social media profile, increase your brand awareness, and in turn drive up company sales.

Keep scrolling to find out some key tips on how you can use Instagram to boost your business.

Top Instagramming for business Tips

So if you’re a novice to Instagram Business, or are simply a casual personal user of the app, how can you be on your way to using this powerful platform to boost your business? These are just a couple of tips that we have been using with some of our clients:

1 . Start off with an Instagram strategy

“If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn’t plan your mission properly.” – Colonel David Hackworth

Planning is by far the most important step that you should take when thinking about Instagram for your business, as you cannot afford to muck it up first time round. As with any great plan, you should start by conducting some market research.

I am not talking about number crunching over here, but simply a bit of snooping into the social media activity of your competing brands. Your competitors will be a great source of inspiration and ideas to get the ball rolling, but make sure that you do not outright plagiarise their strategy!

Lastly, you need to set yourself some solid business goals by asking a simple question – ‘What will this strategy allow my business to achieve’?

I’m not about to lecture you about the concept of SMART goals, but some solid ideas for Instagram Business goals would include increased traffic to your website/social media profile, increased product sales, and an amplified brand awareness.

2. Create your Instagram Brand

So I’ve already spoken about the relevance of Instagram as a social media tool, but I have also mentioned the importance of images and visuals. Most Instagram users would probably have the same understanding of the app as I did way back when I was still dumbfounded by which filter I could choose.

This means that your target audience would generally be attracted by stunning visual cues. Businesses should come up with a unique style for displaying their images and/or videos on their accounts. Ideas include sticking to the same filters, using the same borders, and choosing custom effects. This is important as it establishes the identity of what your images will look like, making them instantly identifiable by your clients.

Lastly, you cannot have an Instagram brand without considering the content strategy! Use specific hashtags and keywords when posting images, and remember that an image is nothing without a witty caption, as this would entice users to engage with it by commenting and liking.

3. Download the app and set up

This is the point where you go on over to the app store and download the app for free. You do not need to start away, as you can keep the account hidden. However, you should set up the account details and start thinking about following key people.

Part of the market research should be identifying trendsetters in your business industry that you can follow, especially if these have a lot of followers themselves that can also end up following you.

4. Consolidate with other Social Media Platforms

Instagram can easily be linked to other social media platforms such as Facebook. The great news is that your Instagram posts would immediately be uploaded to your Facebook page, increasing your target audience over two social media platforms!

This was one of the major successes that one of our clients reported. King Shoe Shop Malta had quite a healthy following on Facebook, but its presence on Instagram was lagging behind.

So we sat down with them, proposed a solid strategy, came up with a visual identity, and starting posting new content that led to a new generation of followers that prefer Instagram to Facebook! They don’t have thousands of followers at the time of writing, but the following is real and organic.

Get inspired by these Instagram Business Accounts

There are too many successful Instagram Business Accounts to mention, each of which have managed to reach their individually set targets and goals. I will mention three very distinctive and established brands that use different strategies to increase their following.

#OREOThins: a delicate cookie deserves proper manners

A video posted by OREO (@oreo) on

Oreo uses its signature blue colour when it posts images to its account, and has since shifted its focus on short clips that are very appealing to its public – it averages a staggering 50,000 likes per post!

Shipping company FedEx prefers the art of user generated content (UGC), which is very popular with several businesses. FedEx always posts vibrant photos taken by fans, which generally include a FedEx vehicle during its routine work.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLM5kaUB3Xp/?taken-by=fedex&hl=en

Audi is pretty much a stalwart in the automotive industry, so you wouldn’t expect much action on Instagram. You would be surprised to known that the brand keeps its 4.4 million followers regularly updated with cool action shots of its various car models.

It’s in the name. #Audiallroad

A photo posted by Audi (@audi) on

What are you waiting for?

These are just a few of the most prominent brands that use Instagram for Business, and by 2017 it is predicted that almost 71% of all brands will have migrated to its service.

It is currently estimated that brands engage with their clients on Instagram almost 10 times more than Facebook, 54 times more than Pinterest, and 84 times more than Twitter.

This makes sense when one considers how Instagram has a younger demographic and what many may consider a more attuned audience.

When it comes to doing business online, #YOLO so make sure that you get it right the first time!

Get in touch with us at #Systemato for more information on how we can make your Instagram Business Strategy a reality!

Oh, btw, we’re on Insta too.

Estimated % of brands using Instagram by 2017

Author Antoine Borg Micallef

More posts by Antoine Borg Micallef

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