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Mainstreethost Social Media Marketing Mainstreethost Social Media Marketing

How to Use Instagram for Business: An Easy Walkthrough

These in-app features and advertising tools can lead to actual sales and leads for your business if you put time and effort into Instagram for business.

Reading Time:7 mins August 22, 2016

People still seem to think that Instagram isn’t worthy of their business’ time and efforts, despite countless facts and statistics telling us otherwise. But even with statistics, it can be tough to get a concrete idea of what, exactly, Instagram can do for a business. Well, look no further!

In this post we’ll talk about:

  • How Instagram can directly benefit your business
  • Instagram features you can use to generate sales and leads now

Download Our Free Ebook Here to Learn How to Win over Your Audience on Social Media.

Instagram For Your Business

At the risk of sounding repetitive, here are some stats you may have already seen about Instagram that are so important they’re worth mentioning again.

  • There are now over 300 million daily active users
  • Engagement rates for brands on Instagram are around 8 times higher than other networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest)

What these statistics tell us is that Instagram’s user base is very, very active on the app. They don’t just sign up and forget about it. 300 million people are scrolling through their feeds every single day, and they’re not just looking – they’re engaging with brands in a big way.

Instagram Brand Engagement Track Maven

TrackMaven Study

If you’re spending most of your social media budget on Facebook, where brand engagement levels are significantly lower, you may be wasting resources that could be spent on a platform where people want to interact with brands. That makes Instagram extremely valuable for any business, no matter how small.

But how and where do you allocate resources to Instagram? Let’s dive deeper into some app features and Instagram for Business tools that will make your life easier.

Features and Tools

There are so many ways your business can use Instagram to help with branding and market awareness, leads, sales, and more.

In-App

Some of the most effective ways are through free, in-app functions that anyone can use. One of the best examples of this is the new Instagram Stories feature that was recently rolled out. Instagram Stories is similar to Snapchat’s Stories feature, with a few important differences.

If your business is on Snapchat, followers can be hard to come by. It’s very difficult for individuals to find users they want to add without knowing the exact username due to the lack of a search function on Snapchat. With Instagram Stories, you get to post informal Snapchat-like content where more of your followers will have a chance to see it. That means more interaction with your audience.

And the older features are just as significant when it comes to audience engagement with brands.

Hashtags (#), for example, are extremely useful for any business looking to expand their audience. When you post a photo, you can pick out a few relevant hashtags that describe your business or the photograph and include them either in the caption or in a comment below. People who don’t follow your business will be able to find your post using these hashtags – thus expanding your reach.

If you use relevant keywords as hashtags, the people finding you are likely to be interested in what you’re posting about. Refine your hashtags by seeing which posts perform best with which tags to attract the most new users.

Mainstreethost Instagram for Business Google Partner

Geotags are another in-app feature that can expand your audience and allow you reach people who don’t already follow your brand. Whether you’re at the office or putting on an event, geotagging the location of your post can attract the attention of others interested in that venue or area.

You should also regularly check other posts published with relevant geotags (just click on the geotag to do this). There may be some great opportunities among these posts for interaction with customers. For example, if you own a coffee shop, you should check the geotag for your shop at least once a week to see if anyone is posting Instagrams while enjoying a cup of coffee.

You can interact with these people via comments in any way you want. Thank them for stopping by, reward them for their loyalty with a free item during their next visit, etc. Be creative!

But you don’t need a brick-and-mortar location to utilize these functions. For example, Mainstreethost recently participated in a HubSpot User Group meetup. In an Instagram post, we included a geotag for the coffee shop that hosted the event. This targeted people who weren’t at the event but might have a dual interest in the coffee place and business/marketing.

Mainstreethost Instagram for Business Geotags

Instagram for Business Advertising

Last but not least, to facilitate a more strategic approach, Instagram created a resource for business accounts called Instagram for Business. One of the most important parts of Instagram for Business is advertising – paid ads are a fantastic option if your budget allows for it. You can create your ad in Facebook’s Ads Manager or Power Editor platforms and choose how much you want to spend, how long you want it to run for, and what you want it to look like. Click here for a comprehensive guide on how to make impactful Instagram ads.

Pick your audience, image, and caption carefully to attract the most engagement possible, and don’t forget to include a relevant CTA based on what type of action you want to encourage. Do you want to link your ad to a product page hoping people will buy? There’s a CTA for “Shop Now.”

What if you just want them to visit a particular web page or blog post? Choose the “Learn More” CTA instead. Instagram allows you to customize these ads pretty much any way you want – and the results are worth it.

But while the ad dollars spent help increase your business’ influence, the results will be nothing without a thought-out strategy by the ad creators to make sure it’s reaching the right people.

Click Here to Download a Free Guide to Identifying Your Business’ Ideal Target Audience.

You can track your ad’s performance in whichever platform you choose (Ads Manager or Power Editor) to learn how to improve the next time. The result of doing all these steps correctly will be boosted Instagram likes, comments, and (hopefully) account follows.

These in-app features and advertising tools can lead to actual sales and leads for your business if you put in the time and effort to make your Instagram profile stand out. It’s well worth it!

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2 Comments

Chris joe

hey Lauren , Great article ! I too believe that video can complement the photos in your Instagram account by telling stories through moving animation.

Reply to Chris
Lauren Marchese

Hi Chris. So glad you enjoyed it! It’s a very good point about video content on Instagram – maybe I’ll have to include that in a future post…

As for this piece, I wanted to keep it simple for those people who are still resisting Instagram as a platform that can help their business expand. But for those who are already on the platform and who know how to use it, video is a great option.

Thanks for reaching out!

Reply to Lauren

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