GUEST BLOG: 5 Ways to Use Instagram for Your Business

Instagram remains one of the social media powerhouses of today, with over one billion monthly active users all over the world. Because 80% of these users follow a business, the social media giant launched Instagram for Business, which allowed big and small brands to create a business profile on Instagram.

So, how do you use Instagram for Business to grow your following, reach your target audience, and boost your profit?

  • Switch to a Business Account

It’s quite easy to set up a business account on Instagram regardless if you’re a large enterprise or a business startup. You most likely have an existing Instagram account that’s set up as a regular account, which you can switch to a business account in the settings of your Instagram app.

After doing so, you can add business information such as your hours of operation, address, and phone number. With a business profile, you’ll also have access to extensive data analytics you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see without a third-party tool.

  • Be Visually Creative

Instagram is a highly visual platform where users can immerse themselves in stunning photographs, so be sure to tell your brand story and convey your value using visual content with compelling posts. Focus on the solutions you provide instead of the products you sell.

If you’re a service-oriented business, showcase your process and give them a glimpse of the things that go on behind-the-scenes.

  • Set Strategic Goals

Just like your other marketing channels, your Instagram strategies should be created with your goals front and center. Ask yourself what you want to achieve by using Instagram.

Do you want to drive traffic to your website, boost your sales, improve brand awareness, or increase audience engagement?

No matter what you’re trying to achieve, your Instagram marketing goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Your content strategy will be bound to your strategic goals, and every post should contribute to the success of these goals.

  • Leverage Instagram Stories

60% (over 300 million accounts) of Instagram’s daily active users are using Instagram Stories, making it imperative for you to maximize Instagram Stories in engaging followers. This interactive, vertical video format that disappears in 24 hours (unless otherwise saved in your device) is quite effective in grabbing and keeping the attention of your target audience. It’s only available for mobile phones to make it even easier for you to create stories on the go.

In fact, over 50% of businesses use Instagram Stories every month. It’s prominently displayed at the top of user timelines, so your followers can immediately see if you posted a story. It’s pretty easy to use. You can even add fun stickers and filters to make your content even more interesting.

  • Don’t Forget Your Hashtags

We cannot stress this enough – use relevant hashtags in every post! Hashtags allow your compelling posts to be discoverable, further expanding your reach.

Do some hashtag research to determine which hashtags your target market is using. Create a unique, branded hashtag so that you can lump all your posts together and supplement them with three to five more hashtags relevant to your specific post.

Unique, branded hashtags improve brand awareness and establish a solid brand personality. Branded hashtags can help you collect user-generated content. Nothing creates a more compelling brand story that images and posts of real people interacting with your brand.

Place a branded hashtag on your bio and encourage your followers to use this hashtag when posting photos of how they used your products. Of course, comment on their photos and regram their posts to show your appreciation.

While there are more ways for you to maximize the power of Instagram for your business, these five Instagram strategies will help you get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Paula Arce
MicroCreatives

GUEST BLOGGER: Must-Have Tools to Become a Master Instagram Curator

With 800 million monthly active users and 40 billion photos uploaded on Instagram so far, it has become understandably challenging to make a feed stand out from the rest.

Slapping just about any photo on your feed without premeditation will no longer do if you want to be eye-catching and grow a loyal following. Remember, there are 500 million daily active Instagram users that are also sharing images on this platform. So, if want your feed to stand out, you need to be more methodical about it.

For starters, take time to examine the most trending Instagram accounts. Most likely, you’ll find that most popular accounts are the ones that are posting quality images on optimal times and frequency, and are maintaining a neatly organized and impeccably curated feed. The top accounts are the ones posting images that are planned and picked.

Certainly, creating social media posts that will click-particularly on Instagram involves a degree of curation. Each image posted has to be consistent with the one that came before it to create a sense of cohesion. Additionally, every post must fit the over-all predetermined theme or aesthetic of the feed.

While possessing an innate eye and acuity for visual art can make coming up with a curated feed easy, turning to tools to help you won’t hurt. On the contrary, utilizing tools can polish and sharpen your aesthetics. Not only that, they can help you plan and organize your feed so that you can bring your Instagram game up to a whole new level one post at a time.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Luckily, we’ve listed the best tools to help you get started. Check out the tools on this list, as you’ll need them need to become a master Instagram curator.

  1. VSCO

To achieve cohesion in a series of images you plan to post, it helps to use either the same filter or a similar one.

VSCO is especially useful for this. Not only does VSCO give you a wide array of beautiful filters that can instantly enhance your photos, but it also helps a great deal in keeping the look of your feed consistent, as the app allows you to copy-paste edits from one photo to another. This nifty function ensures that everything—from exposure to contrast to saturation are consistent across your feed.

  1. Later

The most efficient way to curate your Instagram feed is to preview it in the grid before even hitting the share button. How many times have you posted a photo but ended up deleting it right after because you realized it doesn’t fit your feed aesthetic after all? Or how about the instances where you stopped in your tracks while editing a photo and checked your feed to see if your edits will be consistent with the photos you’ve previously posted?

We can bet that has happened to you once or twice, if not often. Previewing in grid definitely saves you from that hassle. That’s where Later’s visual Instagram planner becomes handy.

The visual planning feature makes it delightfully easy to organize and design your Instagram feed beforehand. On top of that, you can also auto-schedule images so that they are postedat ideal times.

  1. Plann

How incredibly convenient would it be to have one tool that has filters, other editing capabilities, a functionality that allows you to preview and pre-arrange your grid, and at the same time, lets you save your favorite set of hashtags so that you can easily copy-paste them into your future posts?

Well, that’s Plann for you. This tool lets you preview your feed and move your posts around until you find the grid configuration that screams “beautifully curated.”

Unless you’re a celebrity with an existing fan base or a creative agency, you’ll want to start curating your feed instead of churning random and slapdash posts if you wish to grow your Instagram following and engagement.

So, don’t forget to keep this list at hand. Or better yet, install these tools and have fun curating!

Paula Arce
MicroCreatives