Ep. 10: Instagram For Business with Sue Zimmerman

20 years ago, meeting your customer was only at the storefront. However, the internet brought with it Instagram, that allows you to build a relationship with your audience. 

How do you find your audience on Instagram and keep them engaged? How do you have conversations about your business and what it has to offer? How do you sell your best products on Instagram?

We have been asking ourselves those questions too. That’s why for our 10th episode, we sat down with the Instagram queen herself – Sue Zimmerman to create the ultimate guide on Instagram for business. Sue has been an Instagram educator for over 8 years and has an extensive training program that helps businesses crush it on Instagram. We’ll talk about everything there is to know – algorithm, content strategies, engagement tools that you can leverage to grow your business on Instagram.

Let’s dive right in!

 

Plan of action:

  1. What makes Instagram such a great marketing channel for businesses?
  2. Understanding Instagram’s algorithm
  3. Identifying your business’s objectives
  4. Setting up profile on Instagram for business
  5. Creating content for Instagram
  6. Planning a successful content strategy
  7. Tips to increase growth and engagement

 

Instagram for business

 

1. What makes Instagram such a great marketing channel for business?

When Instagram was first launched in 2010, it took the world by storm and people flooded their feed with selfies, pet pictures, and food photos. Over the years, Instagram has slowly transformed into a marketing channel that allows businesses to reach out and connect with their audience. Their latest features like shoppable posts, swipe up stories, reels, and engaging stickers have been built keeping businesses and marketing in mind.

Not only do these features help you engage your audience by starting a conversation but they each let you get quality data from them – stuff that you wouldn’t be able to find on any other platform.

 

5 reasons why Instagram is such a great marketing channel for businesses

(i) Instagram’s bite-sized and super-visual content makes it very addictive and engaging for its users. It also makes for a great space for retail and e-commerce businesses to build their visibility and showcase their products.
A recent study on this suggests that most users who shop online have made their purchase decision after seeing something on Instagram. The most benefiting industries in their case were make-up, jewelery, accessories, and clothing. 

(ii) Unlike other platforms, ads and marketing content are interspersed with content from your friends, family and celebrities you follow – it is why we enjoy consuming content from our favourite brands.

(iii) Instagram is a marketing platform in the truest sense. If your audience loves your content, they will follow you – allowing you to connect with them and reach out to them. 

(iv) People on Instagram are looking to connect with like-minded pages, who share their interests and beliefs. If they feel connected to your brand, they will share your posts and stories with their friends and on their profile. Not only are they building a relationship with you but they are also getting more people to notice you. 

(v) More importantly, Instagram is built for mobile, which is why people are constantly logging in – when they’re travelling, grabbing a bite, or just killing time at the office. You’re catching people at a moment when they want to be entertained and they are listening to what you have to say.

 

great marketing channel

 

Before we jump into content strategies and business objectives, let’s first get to know Instagram and understand how its algorithm works.

If you already know how to use Instagram for business but want to know more about how to sell on Instagram, we have a separate guide for you.


2. Understanding Instagram’s algorithm

Instagram moved from its original chronological feed (the latest published content will be displayed first) to an algorithm in 2016 which is constantly being updated to improve the end user’s content consumption experience.

An algorithm-feed is more personalised for Instagram users and prioritizes their feed according to what is relevant to them and what they usually like to see. It is influenced by many factors and works differently for all kinds of Instagram users.

How much time did you spend on a post? Did you leave a comment or share it with your friend? Did you react to a story? Did you swipe up to go to another website? All of these actions and more play a role in determining what type of content you will be seeing on your feed.

 

Instagram’s algorithm

 

Let’s look at what factors influence the Instagram algorithm so you can leverage them to ensure that your posts get maximum eyeballs.

 

(A) Interest – Who did you engage with?

One of the key factors in Instagram’s algorithm is the interest of the audience. Your feed is curated based on who you have engaged with. If Instagram feels that these are the kind of posts you are mostly to like or share, based on your past behaviour, you will see more of it, as compared to posts from pages you have not engaged with.

Essentially, what you see on your Instagram stories and feed is a mixture of all your past behaviours. For example, if in the last few months you have interacted the most with posts of football, dogs, and the black lives matter movement, you are more likely to see posts about them on your feed as compared to a food tutorial video.

Engagement goes beyond likes and comments. Instagram is also checking for whether you have saved a post, shared it with your friends on DM, or posted it on your story. The most important engagement for feed rankings are likes, reshares, comments, and views for videos. Instagram saves are the hot new metric to chase because this allows your audience to go back to a post and gives Instagram a clear indication that they are interested in that content.

 

(B) Timeliness – How long ago was your photo or video posted?

Even though Instagram’s feed is no longer chronological, it still matters when you posted your content. The new algorithm prioritizes new and fresh posts over something that was published weeks ago. The platform has been paying more attention to the posting time to ensure that it serves the latest and most relevant posts.

One of the key ways to rank high on timeliness is to know when your audience is online and most active. If you are consistent in posting on Instagram when your audience is most active, they are more likely to see your post.

 

(C) Relationship – Do you have a relationship with your followers?

The algorithm is set to show you more posts from people you most care about – like family, friends, brands, and people you admire. How does Instagram know who you are close to and share a relationship with?

Well, Instagram tracks your interactions with other accounts and pieces it together to find links in the ones you have been most involved with. For example, when you comment on a post or you have been tagged in a picture on your friend’s account, Instagram sees this as a relationship. It even makes a note of the people you are DMing, searching for and whose content (stories and feed) you are consuming. You are most likely to see more posts from them on your feed.

You may have noticed that when you follow someone, you see a lot of posts from them but depending on how you engage with those posts, you will see more or less of them in the future. This metric gives you a clear idea of how your behavior affects how your feed looks.

 

(D) Frequency – How often do you use Instagram?

If you’re someone who frequently opens and scrolls through Instagram, you’re most likely to see your feed in a chronological order because you are active when people are posting. However, if you use the app once a day or even less frequently, Instagram is going to curate the most relevant posts based on what you like.

 

(E) Following – Who are you following?

The number of people who you follow plays an important role in deciding what posts you see. If you are following only a handful of accounts that clearly indicate what you like, it is simpler for Instagram to curate posts for you. However, if you are following a lot of accounts that fit in different categories (like news, fashion, animals, and sports), Instagram has a lot more options to filter and curate your feed from.

 

(F) Usage – How much time do you spend on the app?

This is very similar to how Instagram sees frequency. If you spend a lot of time on the app, browsing through the feed and watching stories – you are more likely to see a lot of posts that Instagram curates from a deep catalogue, keeping in mind the things you like. If you don’t spend as much time on the app, the algorithm is most likely going to show you highlights of the day. 

 

Understanding instagram's algorithm

 

As a business, here are 3 things you can do to beat Instagram’s algorithm:

 

(A) Post when your audience is most active

We can’t stress how important frequency and timing are for Instagram. When you are consistent with publishing your content, your audience knows when to expect you in their feed and will engage with you every time you post something. You want to catch your audience when they are active on the platform and want to engage with you. Using Instagram’s Activity metrics, you can track when your audience is most active online. 

 

instagram insight

 

It is important that you check for all days and create patterns. For example, for a usual Instagram user, the weekdays will have the most active time slots when they are travelling to and from work, during lunch, etc. However, they will be more active on weekends, especially during mid-morning and in the evenings. Mark these patterns so you can come up with posting windows to give you maximum engagement.

 

(B) Encourage your audience to engage with you

When you post on Instagram, have a call to action, in your feed caption, or on your story (you can also use engagement stickers) that encourage your audience to start a conversation with you. 

 

Encourage your audience to engage

 

When someone drops a comment on your post, be sure to like it and start a conversation. You don’t want to post and ghost your audience. You need to reply to comments and get your audience to respond. Don’t simply say ‘Thank you’ and put a full-stop to the conversation. Instead start a conversation, something that relates to the post or your business. When your audience is engaging with you in your comments section or DMing you after watching your story, it tells Instagram that they share a relationship with your business.

 

(C) Show up consistently

One of the keys to unlocking Instagram’s algorithm to show more of your content is being consistent. If you are consistently showing up and posting quality content, you are not only engaging your audience but letting Instagram know that you are a quality account.
If you’re wondering how often you should be posting, the general answer on the internet is that it depends on your business goal and objectives. While that is somewhat true, you need to be cognizant of how much time you can dedicate to Instagram marketing.


Instagram marketing.

 

You must choose right at the beginning the best posting frequency for Instagram that you can consistently maintain – even on busy days. Many times, businesses start with posting 2-3 times daily and then slowly shift to posting only a few times a week (especially when they feel they have got their ideal follower number). To this, Neil Patel says, “If you make a habit of posting several times a day and then transition to only a few times a week, you will start to lose followers and generate less engagement per post.”

Even if you decide to post once every 3 days, it’s okay as long as you are consistent and show up. So, the best posting strategy for Instagram for business is the posting strategy that you can maintain on good and busy days.

 

(D) Spend the other half of your time engaging with top fans and potential audiences

Instagram has become a space for people to come together and interact with each other. You must tap into this ecosystem and make the most to build connections with your audience and potential audiences on other pages.

You will find users who interact with your content regularly – these are your top fans. Take the time to engage with them by responding to their comments, pinning their comments, starting a conversation on DM, etc. Your top fans will become your biggest spokespersons and power partners and will get more people to notice your business.

All successful businesses that use Instagram as a marketing channel will tell you this one trick that works wonders for getting more people to notice you. You’ll find many interest-based pages on Instagram, for sports, travel, photography, and everything under the sun. You need to find pages that most suit your business and cater to your target audience. Engaging with people on their posts and starting conversations in the comments section can get you noticed by an interested audience who will come and check your profile and if they find value, follow you.

While this is an overview of how the Instagram algorithm works, if you want to dive deeper into what factors affect the algorithm with each content tool, like IGTV, Stories and more, read this guide.

 

3. Identifying your business’s objectives

Now that you know how the algorithm works, let’s talk about what are your business’s objectives and goals on Instagram. As a business, you must have a goal in mind when you are using any social media platform. This allows you to plan a strategy to achieve your goals and measure your success.

Are you looking to create brand awareness and reach out to more people? Do you want to showcase your products and drive sales on the website? Are you using Instagram for business to grow your community and increase brand loyalty? Or are you here to educate your customers about your industry?

Everyone measures success differently and it’s important to know that the goals you choose will have a direct influence on the insights you track on Instagram. For example, if you want to increase brand awareness and grow a community, the most important metric you will be tracking is engagement – who has liked, commented, and shared your posts. Whereas if your goal is to drive sales, you will keep a check on the traffic that comes to your website from Instagram.

There are a lot of opportunities on Instagram for all kinds of businesses and their objectives. It is honestly up to you to make the most of the platform but for that, you need to fix on a maximum of two goals.

 

list of common goals for businesses

 

Your business goals may not necessarily fit into any of these categories and you could be chasing a completely customized objective. In such cases, here are some questions you’d want to ask yourself:

 

custom goals and objectives

 

Make sure to write your goals and objectives down so that you keep it in mind every time you are creating content or setting up a strategy. You can also have smaller goals within your overall objective that can be reviewed quarterly, to ensure you’re on track.

 

4. Setting up your profile on Instagram for Business

Your Instagram business profile is essentially your homepage. It should tell the viewer who you are, what you do, and also give them a reason to follow you. Let’s look at how you can set up your Instagram for business.


(A) Connect your Facebook page to your Instagram

To shift your Instagram profile from personal to business, you need to have a Facebook page. If you already have a Facebook page for your business, skip ahead, if not, here is a 3 step process to make a page for your business on Facebook.

Step 1: Open Facebook and click Create Page in the drop menu on the right-hand corner of the screen. 

 

Facebook page

 

Step 2: Select your business category and give a name to your page.

Step 3: Upload a profile photo and cover photo and fill in the details in the About section. That’s it, you now have a business page on Facebook!
Upload a profile photo

How to create an Instagram business account?

Now that you have a Facebook page, go to your Instagram profile and click on the hamburger icon (three-lines stacked together) and then click on Settings at the bottom.

 

Professional account

 

This will open up the Settings menu. Click on Account and at the bottom of the list, highlighted in blue, you will find the option to switch to a professional account. When you click on that, it gives you a choice between a creator account and a business account.

 

are you a creator

Click on Switch to business account.

Note: Your profile needs to be set to Public. You will not be able to convert a private Instagram account to a business account.

It will ask you to connect to Facebook. If you don’t see your Facebook page as an option, make sure that you are an admin on it and then try again.

Click ‘Next’ to create Instagram business account.

 

(B) Set up your business profile

When you switch to a business account, Instagram will ask you to fill in details like your contact number, email ID, and address for people to be able to reach out to your business.

 

(C) Edit your bio

Your description is representative of your business and should tell your audience about you and why they should connect with you. A lot of businesses also put in their tagline – especially if people are very familiar with it. For example, Nike’s Just Do It.

You can also include a brand hashtag in your bio which may change with your campaign.

 

instagram biodata

 

(D) Profile picture

The profile picture on your Instagram business page is the best place to do some branding. The image you choose should help people relate to your brand. You can choose to put your logo, the logomark (logo without text) or even a picture of your mascot.

 

instagram profile picture

 

(E) Add a link

Unlike other social platforms, Instagram does not allow you to add links to your posts and so the only option for putting up a link is in your bio.

You can use this link to direct your users to your website, YouTube video, an online store – wherever you want to drive traffic. If you want people to purchase a product you posted about, make sure you write ‘Link in bio’ in the feed post and stories and you can also mention it in your IGTV description.

Third-party tools like Linktree allow you to curate multiple links and share them on your Instagram profile. So when someone clicks on the link, it opens up a menu and you can choose where you want to navigate to. 

 

Instagram link

When you shift to a business account on Instagram, you get your hands on important data that give you quality insights about your audience and what they need. Read about everything you need to know about Instagram insights

 

5. Creating content for Instagram

With a clear objective and your profile set to business, let’s now look at how you can create scroll-stopping content for Instagram. Being a visual platform, Instagram has solutions for both – short and long-form content. All of their content tools have been specifically designed to cater to different marketing needs. In this section, we are going to understand how to market on Instagram using each of these tools. Let’s get straight to it.


(A) Feed posts

Think of your feed as an evergreen, curated blog that lives on and so, it should represent your business and its portfolio. Your feed should let people know who you are, what you do, and what you have to offer to them. You need to consistently show up on the feed to be visible and build trust with your audience.


instagram feed post
Let’s look at the basic thumb rules of posts:

– You can post a single still image, multiple images (carousel), or a 1-minute video on your feed.
– The maximum length of your description can be 2200 characters.
– Your audience can like, comment, share (in both DMs and on their stories), and save your feed posts.

 

(I) Photos

Easy to create, edit, and share, posting a photo on your Instagram feed the most popular form of content. You can share images in a square, landscape, and portrait formats.

 

(II) Videos

Instagram allows you to post 1-minute videos on your feed. Even though feed videos are not a popular choice, they do attract a lot of engagement and should be a part of your marketing mix.

 

instagram video

You don’t need a professional crew to help you create stunning videos for your Instagram. With InVideo, you’ll be able to create scroll-stopping videos in less than 15 minutes, even if you’ve never edited a video before.

You’ll be able to choose from 4000+ templates, an inbuilt library of 1 million+ premium photos, and videos from Shutterstock. There is also music to suit every mood, animated text, stickers, and effects that you can add to your video ad. Most importantly, for novice video creators, IVA, the world’s first intelligent video assistant will help you make your video seamless and perfect.

 

(III) Carousel posts

A carousel post allows you to share multiple photos and videos to your Instagram feed. They have become very popular and many businesses have creatively used it to show their product range, photos from an event, before and after images, and also tutorials on how to use the product.

Carousel posts can be shared in all the three formats – square, landscape, and portrait but you have to stick to your choice for all the consecutive images and videos. You can share a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 10 photos and videos on a carousel post.   

 

Carousel posts

 

(IV) Shopping posts

Imagine if your audience could purchase your product directly from your Instagram post. A shopping post on Instagram allows users to tap on a product they’re interested in and buy it, without having to redirect them to find a link in your bio. 

All your customer needs to do is tap on the product or shopping bag icon if they’re interested in buying the product and Instagram will redirect them to the URL you provide to make the final purchase or let them check out on Instagram itself. It is a great way to showcase your products and drive sales from your Instagram feed. 

 

instagram shopping post

 

Check out our guide on how to sell on Instagram to know more about shopping posts.

 

(B) Stories

With many people tuning in to stories every day, it is no wonder that it has become an essential channel for marketing on Instagram. A lot of businesses are using stories to create short-lived video content that is fun, light-hearted and more personal.

Instagram stories are the best fit for getting quick feedback on your product, announcing a sale or launch, giving away discounts, and to shift the conversation to your DM.

 

Instagram stories

 

Let’s look at the basic building blocks for Instagram stories:

– Each story lasts for 24 hours and will disappear unless you add them to a highlight. It will then show on your Instagram profile, below your bio and contact details.
– If you have more than 10K followers, you get a swipe up feature that allows you to redirect your audience to a URL of your choice when they swipe up on your story.
– Your audience can engage with your stories by reacting to them, sending you a message on DM, or responding to an engagement sticker (like Ask me anything, Yes/No).
– Go live on Instagram via stories and engage with your audience in real-time. You can also save your Instagram Live as an IGTV video.

One of the best features of Instagram stories are the engagement stickers that were created keeping marketers in mind. These stickers on Instagram stories are perfect for businesses to engage with their audience and also collect quality data. Let’s take a look at some of these stickers.

 

(I) Location and hashtag

When you use the location sticker on your story, you amplify its reach to someone who is currently in that location – like when you add the location sticker for a restaurant you’re having dinner at on your stories.

It’s the same for hashtags too. When you use a hashtag sticker on your stories, it will show up on the corresponding hashtag page.

 

Location and hashtag

 

(II) Polls and emoji sliders

Want to conduct a quick survey of your new product? Use the poll or emoji slider stickers on Instagram stories and get your audience to engage with it. You can see the results live as your followers engage with it and you can also check who clicked on what option and maybe DM them if you want to take the conversation further.

 

(III) Question stickers

Unlike a poll sticker where your audience can only vote one of the two options, a question sticker gives them space to type in and send a response. Whether you want to get feedback on your products or you want to understand your audience better, the questions sticker is a powerful marketing tool.

 

questions sticker

 

(IV) Countdown sticker

Got an upcoming sale, opening event or launch? Use the countdown sticker to get your audience excited for it. Interested people can subscribe to your countdown sticker and they will be notified when your countdown is complete.

 

instagram countdown sticker

 

(V) GIF stickers

Want a fun, expressive GIF to tell your audience how you feel or what’s going on? In 2017, Instagram paired up with GIPHY to build a library of high-quality GIFs that can be posted to Instagram stories. Using GIFs can add a fun personality to your brand and will help your audience relate to you. 

 

GIF stickers

 

(VI) Challenge sticker

Are you planning an Instagram challenge to promote your next product line? Just use the challenge sticker and nominate as many people as you want. A great challenge can spread like wildfire and soon you will have many people participating in it – increasing brand awareness and visibility.

 

Challenge sticker

 

Stories are a way to amplify, promote, and broadcast your content. You can share your feed posts, reels, and IGTV videos on your Instagram stories.

Want to create engaging and fun Instagram stories? Use InVideo’s templates to create thumb-stopping stories in mins.

 

(C). IGTV videos

One of the things Instagram was short of was a space to share long-format videos. It launched IGTV in 2017 as a standalone video platform which would enable businesses to showcase their products, talk to their audiences and give information.

IGTV videos are not supposed to be necessarily planned and perfectly curated like your feed posts. You can consider them to be a step up from your Instagram stories. IGTV videos are best fit for tutorials, product demos, showcase collection videos, BTS videos, and interviews. 

 

IGTV videos

 

Let’s look at the basic thumb rules of IGTV:

– You can post videos that range from 15 seconds to 10 minutes. If you have a verified account, you can post videos for up to 60 minutes.
– You can tag other Instagram accounts, put relevant keywords and links in your video description on IGTV.
– It is recommended your IGTV video is vertical and should have a maximum aspect ratio of 9:16 and a minimum of 4:5

IGTV wants to be more like YouTube and Netflix and that’s why it has been encouraging businesses and influencers to use the format to create content. It is the right time to start posting on IGTV and join the party early rather than be too late.


(D) Reels

Instagram’s latest addition to its content roster is a fun way to reach out to your audience with a 15-second video clip. This quirky form of video is quick for instant gratification and can be used to send offers and updates to your audience.

Instagram reels are best for giving your viewers a quick sneak-peek into your new collection or to announce a discount or sale.

 

Instagram reels

 

Let’s look at the basic building blocks for Instagram reels

– Add audio tracks, effects and choose to play with the speed of the video on Instagram reels.
– Timer and countdown on Instagram reels makes it easy to record your videos hands-free.
– Create seamless video transitions within Instagram reels.
– Get found on the explore page, especially by using trending effects, soundtracks and hashtags.

Instagram provides so many options to share a variety of content to grab your audience’s attention. It is important to make the best use of each of these content solutions in your strategy to achieve your end objective.

Each of these content formats on Instagram has its own insights that can provide important data for your business. Read our guide to dive deeper into understanding Instagram’s algorithm for each content format.

 

instagram content

 

6. Planning a successful content strategy on Instagram for business

Instagram business account, check.
Scroll-stopping posts, check.
Successful content strategy, on it.

Good content is the heart of any marketing strategy because it takes the story to the audience. On a completely visual platform like Instagram, which allows you to tease many senses together, it is important to have a killer strategy that delivers your content to the right people. 

Let’s begin!


(A) Audience research

One of the first things you need for a successful content strategy is to know who your audience is. Who are you creating content for?
If you already know who your target audience is, you could find people with similar personas on Instagram.

Unsure of who your target audience is? Don’t worry, we’ve been there too!
Just research your competitors’ profiles. See who is following them, what are their interests and how can your business add value to them.
One of the things you should not do is go and follow everyone on your competitors’ list – they may never follow you back. Instead, use the information you collate to create a strategy and target them organically.

Another way to find your audience is with hashtags. You can see the popular hashtags that work in your space on your competitors page. Use these hashtags in your posts to get noticed by interested people. Hashtags are traditional but still one of the best ways to reach new audiences on Instagram.

Once you know your target audience well, you can create posts that are most relevant to them and post them at a time when they are active on Instagram. It is also easier for you to strike conversations and direct them to your business when you know what they are looking for.

 

(B) Content pillars

A good content strategy needs a solid foundation or what we call content pillars. There is so much to share with your audience, whether it is about what is happening behind the scenes, product-centric and relatable content and even stories from your workplace. Content pillars lets you categorize your content into themes, making it easier to pull out ideas and strategize them towards achieving your end goal.

common content for businesses

 

When you have chalked out your pillar content for your business, take a notebook and scribble down first thoughts about what you can create within these frameworks. You will be surprised at how many ideas can come out of a single brainstorming session – especially if you get your teammates to join you.

It is important that when you start you don’t have more than 2-3 pillar contents and then you slowly add more as you see the interest of your audience peak. Let’s look at businesses who ace at the Instagram game by leveraging their content themes to create quality content.


(i) Pop Tarts

Pop Tart’s fun and engaging Instagram account are very creatively product-centric. It is almost as if the Pop Tarts have their personalities. Their quality images, shot on vibrant backgrounds and witty copy makes for a great Instagram feed and they also post a lot of user-generated content.

 

engaging Instagram account

 

(II) Fenty Beauty

Fenty Beauty’s Instagram feed is so well-curated – it is no wonder that most of their sales happen from their Instagram account. Their pillar contents include product catalogues, tutorials, and user-generated content. They encourage their audience to be a part of their feed by throwing challenges, asking them to send their created looks and also helping them find the right product via DM on Instagram. 

 

Fenty Beauty

 

(III) Made by Google

Like many big businesses, Google too has more than one business account on Instagram. This specific one – Made By Google is a great example of how you can showcase your product catalogue. The content pillars for this Instagram account are purely product-centric and revolve around what inspired the product, how it makes your life better and the product itself. It is aimed at an audience who wants to know what is baking in Google’s oven and to be the first ones to get their hands on new merchandise. 

 

Made by Google

 

(C) Create a style guide

Once your content pillars are in place, it is time for you to think of executing them. Since Instagram is a visual platform, it is important to consider how your content will look when it is published as a single post and amongst other posts. To make things simpler, you can create a style guide that will ensure that your feed matches your brand’s aesthetics.


(I) Composition

How your subject (in your case a product) is placed in an image can make a big difference. Good composition intrigues the viewers and makes them stop scrolling to see the image. You don’t necessarily need to be a photographer – these quick and simple composition techniques can help you create great images.

– Try to have a solid colour, clean background to make your product pop.
– You can use simple composition rules like the rule of thirds, leading lines, and symmetry to create images. Check out the video below to understand simple rules of composition that will help you take more compelling photos.

 

 

– Leave breathing space in your images for adding text. You can crop it later if you don’t need it but having space makes it easier to edit.

 

(II) Color palette

Don’t we all love a well-curated aesthetic feed? Choosing a colour palette will help you stay focused and consistent with the content you create. Your colour palette does not need to be a strictly impressed rule but rather, it can be a guideline to create familiar content.

 

Color palette

 

If colour theory is as new to you as it is to us, check out this website that gives you colour sets that you can use as a guide to creating posts that will complement each other.

 

(III) Fonts

If you plan to post a lot of quotes or images with text, it is important to fix on a font family to stay consistent with your brand. You can choose from the font family you have used on your website and other marketing materials like packaging, newsletters, etc.

 

marketing materials

 

(IV) Captions

Captions are a great way to connect with your audience. While a visual can get their attention, a great caption can seal the deal with good storytelling. Your captions can be a space for you to share stories, product details, information about new updates – anything really. What matters is that your copy is aligned with your brand guidelines. 

 

instagram caption

 

If you’re a retail brand, check out this excellent copy example by Everlane in which they not only talk about their pants but also give away the price upfront. 

 

copy example by Everlane

 

You don’t need a professional copywriter to do this for you. Check out our complete guide for copywriting on social media.

 

(V) Hashtags

Hashtags are synonymous to Instagram. It is a way to categorize content and deliver it to the most relevant audience on the platform. While you can add over 30 hashtags to your post, Instagram suggests that you keep it to 10-15 most relevant hashtags.


instagram hashtag

 

(D) Make a content plan

With your content and style guide in place, let’s chalk out a plan to publish the content. It is important to make a realistic content plan for Instagram – like we mentioned earlier, be consistent even if you want to post twice a week.

Make sure that you choose the days and times based on your audience research. You can also test and try different time slots when you are just starting out before you commit to anything.

When making a content plan make sure that you have kept an hour dedicated to respond to comments and DMs after you post. The first hour is the most important to get maximum engagement and rank your video.

It is important for you to regularly audit and check your insights to understand what is working for you on Instagram and where you can improve. Read our cheat-sheet to understand Instagram insights for businesses.

 

7. Instagram marketing tips to increase growth and engagement

You’ve almost got everything you need for making Instagram a successful marketing channel. We’re leaving you with some extra tips that will ensure that you get the maximum engagement to grow your business on Instagram.


#1 Add a CTA to your captions

Always end your captions with a CTA that directs your audience to take an action after interacting with your post. Your call-to-action does not need to necessarily send them to your website or have them purchase a product, instead start with simpler stuff like commenting with an emoji on your post or responding to a question.

In the example below, Sue Zimmerman talks about Instagram Live in a 5-minute IGTV video that is also shared on her feed. When you read her caption, you will understand how much value she has packed in for her users when they interact with her post. At the end of the caption she asks her audience to tell her when they are going live on Instagram and what they will be talking about. Scroll down and browse through the comments – she has replied to so many of them, asking them relevant questions to help her understand her audience better. 

 

Add a CTA to your captions

 

#2 Focus on adding value-adding content

What you put out on Instagram every day is of utmost importance. Don’t just put a post because you have to. Each post must add value to your users. Get to know your audience better and understand their need gaps to know how you can add value to their life.

Find different ways to connect with your audience to get to know them better, like going live or doing a Q&A on stories. The more interactions you have with your audience, the more focused and value-adding content you will be able to create.


#3 Use visual cues to subconsciously make people take actions you want them to

Make the best use of visual cues by adding arrows, GIFs and other elements to your Instagram posts and stories to subconsciously make people take the actions you want them to. For example, if you want people to save your post, put an arrow pointing at the save button to lead their attention to it.


#4 Get more people to save your posts

When someone saves your post, it tells Instagram that you make quality content and they are really interested in it. People will save posts that are super helpful to them so that they can revisit them when needed. Content that gets most saved are how-tos, checklists, informative and perspective shifting posts and inspirational posts.


#5 Find your golden content

Golden content is the kind of content that gets you the most engagement on your posts. This does not necessarily mean the number of likes, comments and shares but it also looks in depth at the kind of conversations the content sparked with your audience.

According to Harry Needham , your golden content is staring right at your face. All you need to do is comb through your best performing posts, compare them to find recurring themes and viola, those 5-7 ideas are your golden content.
Innovating and recreating more of these value-adding content pieces will help you get higher engagement and grow your Instagram.

 

get higher engagement and grow your Instagram

 

#6 Make the most of quick replies on DM

One of the coolest features of Instagram DM is that you can save customized quick replies to your most asked questions. These can also be links to your website, blog, payment link, etc. Set up quick replies in DM to make your job faster and easier, enabling you to interact with many people at a time, especially when you announce something people would be most interested in, like a flash sale.

Here’s how you can add quick replies to your Instagram DM:

 

Here’s how you can add quick replies to your Instagram DM

 

We’ve spilled the beans on everything you need to know about Instagram for business to help you plan and execute successful marketing for your business. You’ve got everything you need to crush it on Instagram, all you have to do is start and when better than today.

With social media always upgrading to something new, here’s a space for you to find answers to all your questions and of course, inspiration. You’d love what we have built at the InVideo community – a place for you to connect and learn from 15,000+ other marketers, business owners and creators like yourself.