How to use Instagram for business
Whether you’re starting out as a new business or have already established a name for yourself, you probably know the importance of social media when it comes to reaching potential clients. If Instagram is a mystery to you, read on to find out how to use Instagram for your business and make your content work for you.
Why should I use Instagram for my business?
Using a business Instagram account can be great for increasing brand awareness, boosting sales, and allowing you to collect data about your audience from your posts.
The analytics available on a business profile allow you to view statistics such as how many accounts your post reached or how many accounts engaged with your content. All of this information is important to consider when trying to reach a wider audience with your content – which posts had a high engagement rate, what time of day resulted in a high number of views?
Let’s start with the basics. Instagram is made up of a few important parts:
- The feed – the main page where you see posts from accounts you follow and interact with.
- Stories – where you can upload images or videos to be displayed for 24 hours before disappearing.
- Highlights – these allow you to save previous stories to be displayed on your profile which can be viewed any time, even after 24 hours is up.
- Explore page – a page where you can see new accounts and posts related to content you’ve engaged with.
- Reels – short videos you can upload to your feed and add background music, text and effects.
- Reels page – you can browse reels from other creators in the reel tab.
Each part of the app has its own algorithm, and it’s important to understand how they work and how you can use this knowledge to boost your content and reach more potential customers on Instagram.
Understanding your Instagram feed
When you interact with other accounts on Instagram, their content will be shown higher up on your feed. Interacting can be anything from liking a post to adding a comment or sharing the post with friends. If you encourage your followers to interact with your posts, they’ll start to see your posts higher up on their feed. The goal is for your brand to be one of the first things they see when they open the app.
Think about using a question in your captions to give your followers a chance to comment and interact with your content – thus, boosting your post engagement! Add relevant hashtags to your posts so your brand will appear when potential customers search for relevant terms. We’d recommend sticking with three to five hashtags per post – using too many can flag your posts as spam, and this could lead Instagram to show your posts to fewer people.
How to use Instagram stories for your business
Interaction with your stories is key – the more your followers interact with your stories, the higher your account will appear when they open Instagram. Story replies, reactions and shares all count as interactions. Adding interactive elements such as polls or asking questions to encourage a response can help to increase engagement and keep your brand top of mind as well as top of the feed.
Adding highlights to your profile can help your customers to easily access important information about your business. Whether that’s opening times, a price list, or directions to your location, posting these as stories then adding to a highlight on your profile will be beneficial to your followers and potential customers.
Explore page and reels
Engagement is even more important on the Explore page than on your regular feed. Comments, likes and shares all tell Instagram that a post is liked by viewers, and indicates that it’s a popular post. Instagram recognising that your posts are engaging and popular ncreases your chances of being displayed on the Explore page. More popular posts rank higher on the Explore page, meaning more users outside your followers will see these posts. A post landing on the Explore page can be a great way of reaching a whole new audience.
Reels are an exciting way of sharing short video content on Instagram. Try creating a short ‘day in the life’ video to show what a day looks like at your business, or maybe you’ve got some footage of an event you went to recently that your followers would find interesting. Instagram has even introduced templates to help you start creating your own reels based on popular content.
Choosing a popular or trending sound to go with your reel can be another way of boosting engagement. People can search for or scroll through a list of reels that use trending sounds – they might stumble across your content that includes trending sounds and fall in love with your brand!
When should I post on Instagram?
Ideally, the best time to post on Instagram is when your audience is using the app and is at its most engaged. However, if you’re new to Instagram or you don’t have time to test different content at different times, there are some best practices you can follow.
If you’re just starting out with posting regularly, stick to some popular times until you find out what works best for your audience. For instance, according to Sprout Social, the best day and time to post on Instagram is a Wednesday at 11am.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Fridays between 9am and 1pm are also said to be popular time slots, so give these a go until you find out what time your audience is most active. That way, you can make sure you’re posting at a time when your followers are likely to see and engage with your content.
By checking your post analytics, you can make a note of which days and times have the best results and create a posting schedule that works for your followers and their lifestyles. Instagram prioritises recent posts, so working out when your most engaged followers are online and posting when they are most likely to see your content will keep your brand at the front of their mind.
Instagram for business tips
This may seem like a lot of information to remember, so we’ve rounded up the key points below. Think about these when it’s time to post on Instagram:
- Check you’ve done something to encourage interaction on every post – add questions, polls, or even competitions.
- Post your content at the times you know your followers are online – until you have this data, try researching popular times depending on your niche.
- Create a content calendar and a bank of content so you can post regularly and keep your audience engaged.
If you’re still not feeling confident, get in touch with us. We’re experts in social media and content marketing, so we can help guide you on how to use Instagram for your business, and get results.