1. Switch to a business profile ASAP
2. Use free Instagram tools
Business profiles on Instagram aren’t all that different from Facebook business profiles.
Through Insights, you can view statistics like impressions, engagement data, and more.
3. Post product teasers that will (gently) urge people to buy
Now, brands can promote their photos to anyone that fits their target audience to increase their reach further than ever before.
You can turn existing posts into sponsored ads, too, so keep an eye on your top posts.
You can push these high-performing posts out later to potential customers in the form of sponsored ads.
Run multiple posts to different audiences simultaneously for even more engagement. Keep in mind that there are many different forms of sponsored ads that you can post, such as:
- Carousel/Dynamic Ads
- Stories Canvas
5. Use Instagram Stories
Brands can use stories to capture behind-the-scenes insider posts that may not be as “high-quality” as regular posts.
And you don’t have to worry as much about posting content that aligns with the “aesthetic” of your brand or your Instagram page when it comes to Stories.
Instagram also makes it easy to experiment with different types of content in the Stories feature, like photos, short video, rewind video, live video, or Boomerangs.
Face filters, text, or stickers make it easy to edit images or create fun, eye-catching visuals.
6. Partner with influencers for a wider reach
If you want to reach potential customers on Instagram, the fastest way to do that is through influencers who have already built an audience with a large following.
More and more people are buying services or products based on what they see in their feed from the influential people they follow. They trust them.
If you partner with the right industry influencer, you can get your brand out in front of those users.
The first step is to try and identify a few influencers that have an audience that is relevant to your product or service.
Here’s an example of how Gravity Blankets used influencer Jessi Smiles to promote their product on her Instagram page.
The post has thousands of likes.
The brand sells weighted blankets for sleep and stress. Their Instagram page has under 10,000 followers.
But Jessi’s page has 493,000 followers that will likely trust her recommendations.
That means that the brand just exposed themselves to thousands of potential customers (and new followers) through one post.
If you throw aside the short-term gains and direct sales that you can make from an influencer campaign, there are even more long term-benefits.
If you build a relationship with each influencer, you’ll build lasting brand awareness with a new audience.
And if you play your cards right, you could even work with a top influencer in the future to gain millions of likes, like Coca-Cola did with this post from Selena Gomez.
Your existing customers might not be influencers, but you can still use their posts to influence people to buy your products by collecting user-submitted photos.
7. Collect user-submitted photos
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to create great content for your Instagram page without doing any of the hard work?
Through user-submitted photos, there is.
You already have an engaged audience. Whether it’s hundreds of people or thousands, you can leverage your audience to generate useful content for you.
And your followers will probably enjoy user-generated content even more than they enjoy yours because it’s authentic and unpredictable.
Cosmetics brand MAC uses tons of user-generated content that they promote on their Instagram page to show off products.
Here’s a photo one of their users posted that they then added to their Instagram page. Notice how they used the hashtag #regram and tagged the user in the image.
You might be wondering exactly how you can get your users to create engaging content without being pushy.
It’s actually fairly simple. Your audience probably wants to grow their own following, just like you do.
Just let them know that you’ll tag them in your post if you choose their photo to regram, then they’ll have an incentive to post user-generated content on a consistent basis.
It’s a win-win for you and your customers.
GoPro is notorious for this. The brand chooses a #FeaturedPhotographer every week.
The brand (and their followers) treat this like a weekly competition.
If you try something similar, you’ll probably be surprised at just how eager your followers will be to participate.
Remember to choose the photos you want to post wisely. This can be difficult, but try to remember these things when considering a winner:
- Does the photo fit in with the brand image you’ve already created or are trying to create? Or does it go against it?
- How big of a following does the person whose photo you want to share have?
- Is the photo appropriate for your current audience and following?
When you’re running a business, you have to be sure that everything you post is in tune with your brand’s message (and audience). Even on Instagram.
If someone shares a user-generated image with a large following, those followers will probably be interested in checking your page out, too.
Look at how this user-submitted photo from Boosted Boards aligns with the brand’s aesthetic. It’s high-quality, intriguing, and unique.
Choose images that successfully mimic your brand’s tone, like this one.
That being said, try not to be too biased about the content you want to post. Mix it up and watch your follower count and engagement grow.
It also helps to come up with some kind of branded hashtag that encourages Instagram users to be more interactive with your company.
8. Come up with an interactive branded hashtag
If you’re looking to create instant engagement, interactive hashtags are a great way to get it.
Red Bull has racked up over 299,612 posts featuring their tag, #itgivesyouwings.
Customers can then use the tag to post user-generated content. This allows users to search through all posts relating to your brand.
It also lets you easily search through images that you might want to consider re-posting on your own page.
Creating a hashtag that your company (and other users) can search for is essentially free advertising.
Every time someone posts a photo using the tag, they’re exposing your company to their followers.
If you already have a popular brand slogan or phrase, consider making that your branded hashtag. Coca-Cola successfully accomplished this with their hashtag, #ShareACoke.
But no matter what you’re posting, you need to post at the right times and refrain from over-posting.
9. Post at the right times (and don’t over-post)
Over-posting on Instagram is a surefire way to turn off your existing followers.
If all they see is your brand on their news feed, they’re probably going to unfollow you as fast as possible.
But you want to post on a consistent basis so that you stay in their news feed regularly.
One of the best ways to do this is to only post during peak days and hours when your followers are online.
According to SimplyMeasured, the worst days to post on Instagram are Wednesdays and Sundays, while Mondays and Thursdays are the best days to post.
And according to research from CoSchedule, the best times of day to post are between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM, as well as 2:00 AM.
The hour between of 8:00 and 9:00 AM correlates with the time of day when people are getting ready for work or commuting to their jobs (and checking social media for the day).
And 2:00 AM is the time of day when most folks are up scrolling through Instagram when they should be sleeping, so this makes sense as a second most popular time to post.
You can find when your followers are most active in Instagram Insights, so your best days and times to post might be a bit different depending on your specific audience.
Schedule your posts to go live during these days and times with a tool like Hootsuite, CoSchedule, or Sprout Social.
The research also shows that you should post between one and two times per day, but no more or less.
If you’re tempted to post more, then use Instagram’s carousel album feature to post multiple images in a slideshow format.
That way, you won’t overwhelm your followers’ feeds.
After you’ve made these changes, track your metrics to keep an eye on areas where you can improve.
10. Make sure you track the right metrics
Begin by tracking your follower growth rate.
The total amount of followers you have is commonly seen as a vanity metric. And it is.
But your follower growth rate isn’t.
When you keep an eye on what the growth rate of your followers looks like, you can see how the kind of content your posting (or your posting frequency) is affecting things.
Track your follower growth rate with a tool like Influencer Dashboard.
Next, measure engagement rates. This includes likes and comments.
You want to find out the average engagement percentage of your total followers as well as the average engagement rate of each post to get a clear picture of how your page is performing.
If you’ve got a smaller following, your engagement rate should be higher. Here’s what your rates should look like based on your follower count:
Finally, you need to track your URL click-through rate.
If you don’t already have a link to your website in your Instagram bio, add one ASAP.
Then, measure how many people are clicking through to your URL.
The average CTR on Instagram is 0.94%, according to Conversion XL.