Instagram has taken the social media world by storm, with growth rates soaring and expected ad revenue of 2.81 billion by 2017. The platform started as a way for users to share photos of their everyday lives and has turned into so much more.

Instagram is defined as “an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them either publicly or privately on the app, as well as through a variety of other social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr.” With over 400 million users posting 80 million posts per day, this platform is nothing but a giant opportunity for brands to reach their ideal customer.

Just like any other social media platform, figuring out how to best utilize Instagram for your business can be tricky. Here are some tips to help get you started and turn your Instagram goals into a reality.

What Works Well on Instagram

Instagram is a great platform to showcase the human side of your brand. It works best to show the value your products and services bring to your customers and showcase the many people that work hard to bring your company to life.

Posts that Work Well:

  • Customers using your products
  • Services being performed
  • Posts that show the human side of your company

Opportunities for Businesses:

  • Influencer Marketing
  • Targeted Advertising
  • Customer Relationship Building

Getting Your Business Started on Instagram

Setting Up Your Account

First, choose an account name that is easily tied to your business. Make sure this name is short and easy to remember.

Next you need to upload a profile picture. Your company logo will work best so your followers recognize the brand.

Then, you need a short description about your business and a destination URL, which should link followers to your website.

It is important to note that traffic from Instagram does not track in google analytics. Since the traffic mainly comes from mobile devices, when a follower clicks on this link they are shown a “view in web browser” box that pops up. When they click this box, the origin data is stripped and you lose the ability to track the traffic from Instagram.

To get around this, create a version of your URL with UTM parameters that create a new campaign for Instagram traffic. You’ll end up with a big, long, ugly link. We turn this link into a bitly to make it a little neater and then use that as the profile link.

Decide on a Look and Feel for Your Instagram Account

Before you start posting on Instagram, you need to decide on a look and feel for your account. Draw from your company’s brand guidelines, and establish a filter/editing style that you like as well as typography usage, and a photography style.

Then, create a brand hashtag to tie all your posts together. This also gives your followers a hashtag to use when talking about your brand.

Lastly, decide on a posting schedule. Do #throwbackthursdays or #tacotuesdays work well for your brand? If so, start by building those posts into your schedule and work around it. Aim to post at least three times per week in the beginning, varying the time of day to see when your followers engage the most.

Determine the Goals of Your Account

It will be impossible to measure the success of your account if you don’t set goals. The goal of your account will also determine the type of content you create and what additional tools you’ll need. The goals I’ll talk about reaching are:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Increasing Sales/Generating Leads
  • Recruitment

Using Instagram for Brand Awareness

When trying to reach new customers and raise awareness for your brand, Instagram can be a great platform. The best types of posts are:

  • Posts about your Customers and Customer Reposts
  • Influencer Posts/Guest Takeovers
  • “Behind the Brand” Posts
  • Giveways/Contests

If you have a budget, Instagram advertising can also be used to get your posts in front of a new audience. Mass awareness, clicks to website, page post engagement, reach and frequency, and video views are all great advertising methods to use.

Kate Spade influencer marketing example

Kate Spade (@katespadeny) often sends products to key influencers. Both the influencers and Kate Spade share the photos on Instagram to bring awareness to the brand and the products.

Using Instagram for Generating Sales and Leads

When trying to generate sales and leads from Instagram, the best types of posts can be:

There are also Instagram ads for website conversions, mobile app engagement, and mobile app installs that could help you reach your goals, depending on your product.

Flash Sales

Many companies, like Emily Ley (@emilyley) will hold “Flash Sales” where they release coupon codes for certain items on their site, exclusively on Instagram. This makes your Instagram following feel special as they have an opportunity other customers don’t have.

Using Instagram for Recruitment

Instagram is a great platform to show off your company culture, give followers a behind the scenes peak of your product or service, and recruit new talent. By posting employee centric posts, “behind the brand” posts, or using mass awareness Instagram advertising, you will showcase the sides of your brand that people don’t necessarily get to see, but make your company unique.

the skimm company culture on instagram

The Skimm‘s Instagram account (@theskimm) has a very unique style when it comes to showing off their company culture. The news source keeps things light while showing off their team building activities, office lunches, and much more.

Growing Your Account

There are two ways to grow your account, organically or with paid ads.

Growing Your Account Organically

  • Follow accounts that match your “ideal customer”
  • Like and comment on your followers posts
  • Build relationships with other Instagram users
  • If they like your content, you will slowly turn them into customers

Growing Your Account with Instagram Advertising

  • Instagram offers photo ads, video ads, and carousel ads
  • Instagram ads are manages through Facebook ads manager and can use the same targeting profiles
  • Instagram ads are pay per click

Each method has its benefits. Organic growth gains your followers who are essentially hand selected by you, suggested by your followers, and who are true brand enthusiasts. Paid growth comes from being in front of more people, who may or may not be interested in your content. These followers may not be as loyal at first, but hopefully by providing them with great content, you can turn them into customers.

Overall, Instagram is a great platform for marketers to utilize. There are so many opportunities to let your brand shine and attract new customers.

Need help getting your company’s Instagram account up and running? Let us know! Our social media experts are well versed in turning Instagram dreams into reality.