Social media provides a powerful method for you to reach an audience in an authentic and engaging way. There’s simply no better way to promote your business and find new customers while sticking to a limited budget. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram all offer businesses and brands the opportunity to connect. 

Out of all of these, Instagram has become the dominant way for brands to embed themselves in the digital and social world — let’s find out how to tap into Instagram marketing to grow your business.

Why your business should use Instagram

If you’re not already familiar with Instagram, it’s a social media platform that relies heavily on visual imagery for its appeal. Traditionally, an Instagram feed was all square-shaped static images, but in recent years it has diversified into multiple formats — short, fleeting videos called Instagram Stories, which were released back in 2016 (seems like only yesterday, right?), long-form video on Instagram TV and reels, Instagram’s Tik-Tok challenging portrait video platform. 

The upshot of all of these formats is that they make it incredibly easy to create visually engaging content — why tell your audience how great you are when you can show it?

Additionally, Instagram is highly integrated into Facebook, meaning that you can create ads on Instagram and simultaneously run them on Facebook as well. The platforms run ads interchangeably. You can use the built-in tools like Facebook Ad Manager and Power Editor, tools exclusive for business accounts, and see what features are available to you.

Refined demographics

When you’re marketing your business, you know that the stats show the way. Well, Instagram has got you covered — it has over a billion active monthly users on the platform, out of whom almost three-quarters have used the platform to purchase a product. That’s a lot of potential customers!

Instagram has a reputation as a platform favored by the younger generation — according to their own latest statistics, three out of every four 15-24-year-olds have an active profile. But Instagram is growing in popularity in all age groups and 47% of 30 — 49-year-olds are also engaged on the platform. As a growing business, you can’t afford to ignore this audience.

There are no shortcuts

One thing we will say before we get on with our guide is that you can’t take too many shortcuts on Instagram. Building your profile to have an active following is essential, but too many brands get lured in by the low-hanging fruit: buying followers. It’s always encouraging to see your followers grow and you may be tempted to splash a little cash in boosting these numbers, however, this strategy never pays. 

Instagram is the home of authentic experience, and Instagram users are a savvy bunch who can sniff out a faulty strategy from a mile away. Grow your followers through organic strategies to produce an active fanbase who are genuinely dedicated to promoting your product and you’ll reap the revenue in the long term.

LivePlan no guesswork

How to grow your business on Instagram

Let’s take you through the first steps towards growing your business on Instagram. From building your bio, scheduling content to the best Instagram hacks for promotion, this is everything you need to know.

1. Building your bio

First impressions count. Instagram has built a landscape of competitive content where the audience’s attention comes at a premium. Many users may be casually drawn to your profile, and you’ll only have a few seconds with which to entice them to hit the “follow” button.

Instagram bios don’t offer tons of opportunity for customization — choosing your username, ideally closely connected to your brand for instant recognizability, and your profile picture comes first. You’ll have an opportunity to place some clickable links in your description — take advantage of this space to install a gripping CTA (call to action) that draws users to your website or landing page.

What’s more, there are plenty of third-party services out there that cleanly expand the opportunities you have when using your ‘link in bio’. Services like Feedlink and Linktree allow you to add more links in a clean, customizable list of links, which can be great for leading your users off in the different directions you want them to go.

On the other hand, if you’re promoting something special, it can be a great idea to keep your link clean and just have a single link. If you’re promoting a cause, a special product release, such as selling a book, for example, just having a link to the product page will be all you need.

2. Sharing great content

On Instagram, content is king. The whole platform is built to bring visual content to the user’s eye, in order to grow your business on Insta you need to be producing high-quality visual content. Nowadays most mobile phones are equipped with a good camera so you won’t need to invest in any new technology. But hold yourself to a high standard when taking and sharing images — whether you’re running a bijoux cafe or you’re a chainsaw-running tree surgeon, ensure your images are clean, crisp, and unique.

Don’t forget, you don’t need to stick to just photos. Instagram has a ton of content options, including short-form videos in the form of reels, long-form video content in the form of IGTV, and videos you can upload to your profile or your story, so there are endless ways for you to get creative.

Try to think outside the box. Think about including post content types like podcast snippets or clips, infographics, customer case studies, and so on.

It’s also important to build a coherent schedule for sharing your content. If you’re committed to growing your business on Instagram then you need to provide a steady stream of content, uploaded at the right intervals to stay relevant on your follower’s feeds. You can take advantage of some online tools such as Hootsuite to automate this process — you never want to miss a post.

3. Exploring the stories feature

What was once a platform built on static images has evolved into a thriving community of vibrant videos. Instagram’s Stories function has become a great way of capturing your audience’s attention. This is a space for time-limited, images or videos that appear on-screen for fifteen seconds and then disappear after 24 hours. Sharing offers and giveaways in your stories is guaranteed to build a buzz around them.

You can save your favorite stories to your profile, preserving your promotions, and adding another dimension to your page. Stories are so important. Especially when averages show that around 70% of people tend to stick around the end of a business’s story when they are made of 7-8 different uploads.

70% of people watching your stories until the end. That’s a fantastic opportunity to send a message, so don’t forget to use this feature and try it for yourself!

4. Hashtag hacks

Instagram allows you to add up to thirty hashtags to each post you share and navigating which hashtags to include is vital to ensuring your post finds the right audience. A few days of clicking around Instagram to see what your industry rivals are sharing will give you an indication of what’s on-trend — but don’t forget to explore the content that your users are sharing to find out the best way to connect with them.

Don’t forget, one of the best ways to both navigate and share your content on Instagram is to use hashtags. Try to avoid spam hashtags, like LIKE4LIKE, etc., but instead use tools an online tool to search for relevant hashtags you can stand out in.

Which hashtags not to use is equally important. Because of the premium Instagram’s user base places on authenticity, packing irrelevant hashtags into your posts to reach a wider audience can be a losing strategy. Make sure you stick to hashtags your brand is genuinely connected with.

5. Leverage exclusive offers and giveaways

Promotions are your way of bringing new customers to your brand and can be paired perfectly with reaching a wider audience. A “hashtag challenge” is one such way you can engage your followers to share your brand — create a hashtag and encourage your followers to use it in their posts, being sure to tag your profile.

Offering discounts or product giveaways will incentivize people to promote your brand and it offers a way of interacting authentically with your user base. There are other approaches you can take, such as collaborating with other businesses and influencer pages or creating a hashtag for people to upload their own images for you to share. This is a great way to build your community!

6. Insights from analytics

Instagram provides business accounts with a range of analytics so you can assess which posts are working for you and which are missing the mark. Make sure you’ve converted your profile to business mode. You’ll be able to see how many people shared your post in a message, how many saved it for later, and which posts drove the most traffic to your profile. Utilizing this info to guide your strategy will make you an Instagram success.

Success on Instagram is built on authenticity

Instagram offers a huge opportunity for your business to engage with a connected and enthusiastic audience. By turning your business into a vibrant brand you’ll tap into the essential values of trust, loyalty, and authenticity. New customers will be instantly intrigued by your brand when they see the thriving community you’ve built around your product or services. Tap into Instagram marketing today.

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AvatarKendra Beckley

Kendra Beckley is a marketing manager and content strategist at AcademicBrits and PhD Kingdom. She harnesses the power of social media strategies to bring brands to a wider audience. You can find more of her work at Next Coursework.