Instagram recently changed a lot about how the application works, especially for businesses. Let’s just say it’s a lot and as an entrepreneur, you need to be aware. For more information about the changes, check out Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Changes in 2016 courtesy of Later.
Now, even though somethings have change, your approach for your brand is essentially the same. There are steps to take to help grow your following and engagement that are simply standard processes. That’s why I want to share 8 Instagram Tips for Any Business with efforts that you can attack IGers with purpose.
1. Have a Great Bio
This may sound dumb, but some businesses don’t have a bio. Check out Lil Wayne for instance:
Yes, he has almost 4 million followers, but that’s because he’s Lil Wayne. Until you reach that caliber of an audience base, you will definitely need an effective bio. This should include your name or business name, some letting the viewer know what you or your business does, and any contact information for people to reach you outside of Instagram (e.g. website link and email address). Here are two examples of bios with all three elements:
Notice the company name is listed; a quick description of the company and other companies to help the viewer get an even better understanding; a Snapchat name to connect more; an email to contact the company; and a call-to-action (CTA) link with information on what the viewer will get by clicking it.
Once again, this bio includes the company’s name, a quick explanation of what the company is about, a contact email address, and a link to its website. This bio even took it a step further by including a hashtag associated with the account. I’ll talk more about this in tip #5.
In essence, be sure to have a nice bio that’s clear of what your company does and how it plans to provide value to viewers.
2. Utilize Your Links
So you have your website link in your bio and that’s probably your staple CTA. But what about when you have a new blog post, YouTube video, or podcast episode you want people to access immediately? Simply change the link! Here’s an example:
You can see here, the link has been updated from the bio you saw in tip #1. Instead of a direct website link, it’s a link to a piece of content on YouTube, which I’m 99.9% sure will be a video. Make sure to include what the link is about, but try to make it eye catching like “How to Dab on Your Investments.” This is catchy, because dabbin’ is a popular dance and someone who may not know about investing will be more inclined to click because he or she does know about dabbin’.
You don’t have to update your links every day, but if you have a new piece of content (especially if you think it’s really good) why not make it easier to share?
3. Develop a Theme
What is an IG theme? It’s essentially how you want your brand to be viewed. This can be through quotes, vivid colors, grayscale images, image patters, and the list goes on. Check out these themes below:
You can see that this profile has a consistent theme including three different image styles. The first you see if a musician with a quote by that artist; the second is a quote or statement by the person running the company; and third, is a graphic including a word and its definition. When someone comes to this page for the first time, they’ll see a nice clean theme of these three image styles making it easier to scroll and see more of what the company is about.
This company highlights successful people of African diaspora. It uses a grayscale of images of the people it features to make it a clean and consistent vibe.
Although a theme isn’t mandatory, it’s is great to have one to make your page more appealing. Even if it’s simply vivid images of different sorts, OWN IT!
4. Share Great Images
What good is a theme (or Instagram feed for that matter) without great images! Check some examples below:
This image is simple. Photo backdrop with quote to related to the company’s mission. This type of image can easily be created for free at Canva.
This image is crisp and simple with a grayscale splash. It’s mostly likely a repost, but the filter allows the company to make it its own to a certain extent. Don’t be afraid to use filters, but don’t go overboard. A great app for phone pictures with filters is VSCO.
Keep your theme consistent and your pictures popping.
5. Use Appropriate Captions + #Hashtags
People don’t really want to read a lot on Instagram. It’s for pictures (duh). So why make novel type caption if nobody wants to read all of that? Keep captions short and to the point with appropriate hashtags. Don’t tag #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT on a #ManCrushMonday just because you think it’ll get more likes. It’s actually insulting. Here are some examples of quick captions with appropriate hashtags:
The caption in three quick sentences explains what the picture is about and help the viewer can gain something from it. The hashtags are fitting to the company (develop your own hashtags), but also add one or two popular tags to your personal branding ones so it can boost your posts in searches.
This caption is also short and direct. It highlights the person in the picture as well as her background all linking to her and her business pages. The hashtags are fitting to the company as well as a few that are particular to the company’s brand to boost in search results.
Captions and hashtags should be easy to read and fitting to you and your business. Consider adding extra elements (e.g. lines, dots, dashes) to separate different thoughts within the caption.
A big help to your brand and growing your page is tagging other people and pages as well as geotagging locations. See below how the person or business is tagged as well as the locations.
This image features a quote from an artist. The artist is tagged in the photo (so he’ll be alerted of the post) and the picture is geotagged to Los Angeles, CA. This allows for people in the LA area to be more inclined to the see the post and like it.
This post is also tagged, but to the person in it as well as her business ventures. Now, she and all of those pages will be alerted of the post. It’s also geotagged to Washington, DC to boost the post.
Tagging and geotagging are easy and should be considered when wanted to connect with a person, business, or surrounding area.
7. Engage Audience
When people comment on your posts, comment back! Let them know it’s a human behind this machine and not just machine. Be thoughtful in your engagement as followers will feel special to in being noticed. Here are a few samples:
Check out the comments in this example and see responses. First, the post prompted thought and caused people to comment. Second, reply to comments accurately and with authenticity.
You can see the comments in this sample and also the recognition of those commenting. This will make them more inclined to comment and like more of your posts.
With engagement also come the actual images you post. Maybe propose a question in your caption or a CTA prompting your audience to do something. Running a contest is a great way to do this.
8. Be Active
Did you think that only people would like and follow you? That’s not how this works. You also have to be active. Follow others with similar tastes. Like their posts and comment. This will help them find out who you are and what you offer in regards to your business. See some examples below.
Don’t just be troll. Be active!
9. Collaboration is Key
Serial entrepreneur and author Ryan Levesque has a book called Ask. Its focus is on how to ask the right questions so you know exactly what people want and how to profit from it. The key to this is surveying your friends, or strangers for that matter on their biggest challenge with a specific task or product.
Notice the collaboration between two companies in this post. This causes both pages to post the image increasing the reach of both audiences with only one image.
Consider doing things also like Twitter chats or Blab sessions, make ads for them, and have all participating parties post on their pages. This will grow your Instagram reach and other social media outlets you may have.
10. Look at the Numbers
Check your analytics for your page. You and do this manually by simply keeping a spreadsheet of likes, comments, followers, etc. You can also try big data tools like Iconosquare or InsTrack.
Monitoring your analytics will let you know what’s working and what isn’t. Who is really digging you and who isn’t.
Investor Takeaway: Be sure to maximize your IG page’s potential by utilizing these 10 tips. You may not have to do all of them, but using none may be at a disservice to you and your brand. Also, did you know the logos throughout all of @black_market_exchange‘s posts? BRANDING!
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