The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

Have you heard the BIG news? CoSchedule will launch Instagram programming in a few weeks! Yes, you listened well. Listen even more about this feature, and new ones that will be published soon, in our recent live show with Garrett Moon.

In all our excitement, we want to give you everything you need to know about Instagram marketing so you can jump right away.

Where to start? Worth it? What are the best tools?

More than 500 million active users , we can assure that the development of an Instagram strategy is worth every penny! Not only that, but 65% of high-performance Instagram products have products, which means that your audience is looking for you in your company and on Instagram. When you look, what will you find?

At the end of this post, you will know exactly how to build your Instagram strategy, what types of publications can help you achieve your goals, how to make them look amazing, what tools to use and, finally, how to increase your audience with a greater commitment.

Let’s dive!

The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

How to start marketing on Instagram

The first thing to do to start marketing on Instagram is to do your research. Take your time and use Instagram yourself before using it too much for your business.

In doing so, investigate who are the big influencers in the industry, what kind of content works for them and find out what their competitors are doing. You will learn a lot!

Pay special attention to the story you are telling both your product and behind the scenes, and ask yourself why it is effective.

For some impressive examples of the best Instagram accounts out there, make sure to check out these five businesses. Write down what you notice, both good and bad, and save it for later:

1. What attracts you to your Instagram posts?
2. How often are they published?
3. What do you dislike about your publications?
4. What kind of information do you include in your profile?
5. Is there a consistent theme?

Set your goals

Once you have some research and saved inspiration, it’s time to think about your business! What are your goals as a company? These are some of the Instagram goals you can focus on:

  1. Increase the number of followers
    2. Growing brand awareness
    3. Greater commitment

Whatever your goal may be, make sure it is clear and concise so that you can always refer to it throughout your Instagram process. When it comes to your goals, you’ll also want to make sure use SMART goals . Is your goal specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based? Use SMART goals to purify your goal to its simplest and most effective way.

The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

For example, a great objective would be: “I want to increase our follow-up by 20% over the next month”. This objective is specific to which metric to follow, indicates the desired result and has a clear deadline for that result.

Register your data

I can not stress how important this is.

Whether you’re starting or renewing your current Instagram, it’s time to start recording your data! Remember that one aspect of SMART goals? Measurable. If you can not continue your efforts, you will never be able to see if your strategy is working. Take out a notebook, create a Google Document, Evernote, or your favorite tool, CoSchedule, to see the analysis behind your publications. Be sure to register these 5 elements of each Instagram message from here on:

  1. Date
    2. Total followers
    3. Type of publication (ie, Culture, Product, Inspiration, etc.)
    4. Time
    5. Commitment after x amount of time

The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

Once you have this data of all your messages, you can make smart and strategic decisions every time you post. Find what works, take what does not work and see how your Instagram account grows.

Tell your story

The final step in defining your strategy is a brainstorm on how you can connect the story of your product to your audience. What was the original idea that made your business idea come alive? Take that and run with him.

For example, Lululemon was founded on the idea that working together could also bring the community. According to its website, “Our vision for our store was to create more than a place where people could get into the sweat, we wanted to create a community center where people could learn and discuss the physical aspects of healthy living, care full and life A life of possibilities. ”

The idea was simple: Health and community to live a fuller life. That is his story.

In its Instagram account , that same narration continues telling the story between all its posts:

The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

It’s almost instantly obvious what it’s about, and it’s consistent across your page.

To find your own narrative, ask yourself these three questions:

1. What is the central idea behind your product?
2. What do people like about your product?
3. What would lose your audience to your company if it stopped tomorrow?

These three questions will help shape your story. Combine your narrative with your goal, and now you have a strategy.

The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

Just start

Of course, it is always intimidating to jump into a new area of ​​content that you may have never tried, or tried before and failed completely, but there is never a better time than now to begin with. Even if you are not sure of your Instagram strategy, you just have to start and develop as you go. Within a few posts, you will begin to notice what works and what does not and that will help you to lead to your goal and storytelling.

So please, just start! What are you waiting for?

3 types of Instagram messages

Now that you have an awesome strategy in place, it’s time to decide what types of messages you want to share with your audience. Each audience is different, so trying different types of posts to see what works will be very beneficial for the construction of the audience and a greater commitment.

1. Inspiration

Inspiration posts are really great to motivate your audience. Who does not need a good morning pick-me-up? Inspiration messages often come in the form of quotes, so find some key people who believe in your narrative and / or goal, and use it as a starting point. For example, here is a great quote from Gary Vee:

Inspiration may come from you, too. Take what you have learned from the company and encourage users to go to the next level with you. CoSchedule often does this with wise words from our co-founders. Here is one of our Garrett Moon favorites:

2. Culture

The poles of culture are those that truly align with the heart and core values ​​of your business.

It could be for fun and play, or something that you personally support. Either or, the poles of culture are great to be transparent and honest with your audience. Show them who you really are! Let them share in their jokes, office shenanigans behind scenes.

Here is an example of when marketing reached its goal of reaching 100k email subscribers. Nathan planned a surprise for all of us, and it translates into an intensely hilarious game of laser tag:

3. Product

While perhaps the most obvious, the product posts are also some of the most essential types of Instagram to use. After all, the goal of all present is always to grow your business. Remember to tell your audience the benefits of your product and how that will help them in everyday life. Show them the value behind what you do, and do not be afraid to say it more than once. According to the National Association of Sales Executives, 80% of sales are made in the fifth-point 12 contact!

Be proud, use your narrative, and show your product.

Use these three main types of publications to relate, participate and increase your audience at the same time you sell your product. Be transparent with culture posts, motivate your audience with some inspirational messages, and do not forget to tell them the benefit of your product with product publications.

Building your style and brand on Instagram

One of the unique qualities of Instagram among all the other social platforms is that it is mainly visual with its continuous feeding of images. This allows businesses to visually show their product, instead of just saying; However, this also presents a challenge.

How can you make your business narrative seen through a consistent and visually appealing brand? Here are five key factors that will ensure that your Instagram feed looks great and tells your story well.

The Bare Essentials

While a high-end, expensive camera gear surely has its benefits, it is definitely not necessary to have a large visual presence on Instagram. What you need is a smartphone with a camera, and good natural light. Whether you’re taking pictures of people who experience the benefits of your product overseas, or taking pictures of physical products inside, these two are essential to get going.

ADVICE: To see how to post on Instagram on your iPhone, see this video by Jana Williams.

Natural lighting

Quality lighting for your photos can take them to the next level!

The best light source is outside, but there are also ways to capture this beautiful light inside. If you want to take your picture outside, the best time of day for lighting is called golden hour . This is the hour after sunrise or before sunset when the skies turn golden and make everything look magical. Depending on where you live, taking pictures at those times of the day may not be ideal, so if you need to take pictures in the middle of the day here are a couple of tips:

1. Avoid direct sun and noon outside. In the middle of the day, the sun is directly above which can cast harsh shadows on your subject. Instead, we want the light evenly illuminated to highlight your subject to avoid the bright sun, find some shade. In the shade, your image will even have light, making for a wonderful photo.

2. Avoid dark interior spaces. While it is common to have offices and buildings with tiles, white fluorescent lighting on the ceiling, this is not ideal for your images, as it will make it look yellow. Instead, try to find a nearby window that has room for your photo. In this way, it will capture the great natural light while it is still inside.

3. Use a reflector. If you can not get out and you do not have windows nearby, you can buy a $ 20 reflector to help you bounce the available light. I personally use this for my photography, and it is always useful. Simply choose to add more light with silver or gold sides or remove the light with white, diffuser side. Tilt the reflector from side to side, as well as up and down until you see the desired light, and you’re all set!

Rule of the thirds

When it comes to images, the design of your themes can also be optimized to create visual interest. Using the rule of thirds , you can make sure your image is balanced, natural and professional. The rule of thirds creates a 9-part grid that provides four lines where the subject can be placed.

The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

Choose your filter

One who has taken his image with great illumination, placed with the rule of the thirds, and have taken his image, his time to edit it! The first thing you will want to do is choose your filter. The filters are several different styles and editing presets that are ready to use. There is an extremely high number of filter options out there today from a variety of apps, including the 21 Instagram filter options so be careful when you choose your filter. Ask yourself the following:

1. Does this filter reflect the mood of my commercial narrative?
2. Does this filter draw attention to itself or improve my subject in the photo?
3. Is this filter compatible with my other images?

Once you have chosen a filter or two that works best for your business, be sure to keep that filter. While it’s okay to experiment right away, many different filters at once can alter the mood and emotion of your Instagram feed as a whole. When your audience goes to your account and sees nine images together, coherence needs to be evident in telling your story well. Find a couple of filters and stick to it.

Some of my favorite tools

From the beginning to the end, there are applications and tools available to help you get the best possible picture. Here is a great list of some of my favorite photo creation tools to hit publish:

1. VSCO : Use your camera grid to apply the rule of thirds, and use your handmade filters for great color.

2. Snapseed : Once you have taken your image, open it in Snapseed for several advanced editing tools and filters.

3. Filterstorm Neue : Although only available for iPhone, the application has a diverse collection of customizable editing options.

Four. TouchRetouch : Do you need to edit something? This application is perfect for detailed retouching!

5. ProCamera : If you want more control of your iPhone camera, this application allows you full functionality.

While there are several more tools out there, these are the ones that have worked best for me and CoSchedule. Explore the different options and see what works best for you. Each workflow is unique, so choose an application that best matches your photographic process.

Growing your audience and commitment

First of all, congratulations! You have thoroughly developed your Instagram strategy, created some awesome Instagram posts, saved your data, and now it’s time to optimize everything for the next level of audience participation!

The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

At this point, you know what works well and you are ready to fine-tune everything to achieve your goals faster and better. There are eight easy steps to optimize your entire Instagram account from descriptions and images, to tag others and create a community.

Use of Hashtags

Hashtags are really important for your Instagram posts, as they allow others to find you and have not heard of your product before. They allow you to reach a wider audience, and who does not want that? An easy way to find what hashtags you are currently doing is to use Top-Hashtags.com . They provide a nice and clear list with the highest rated hashtags and how many posts currently have that hashtag. It also allows you to click on the hashtag to see examples of how others are using it!

How many hashtags should I use? That’s a great question. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags for each post, but its best practice to use 5-10 hashtags. While more hashtags are often better, it is always important to remember to avoid being spammy. You can find the perfect amount of hashtags to use by doing two things:

1. Look at what other hashtags the influencers in your industry are using and how many.

2. Test your own Instagram messages with a variety of hashtag amounts, and see what works best.

Industry Tag Influencer

In order to grow your community, look for the big influencers and see how you can involve them in your Instagram strategy. Not only can you learn from them, but you can easily share your quotes, products and other resources within your own posts that align with your business narrative. For example, we are big fans of Seth Godin and his mantras so we have read a lot of his content. He has so many great places to go, and we want to share that with our own audience, too.

When you share content from others, make sure your posts remain original. Take your own images, design your own quote graphics, and still create something that matches your own business, but remember to give them credit. Label them in your publications so they can see it, your audience could see it, and then watch your audience grow.

Adding a location

Each Instagram post has the option to add a location to it.

This is another way that Instagram users can search to find people to follow. If your business is especially known in a specific region, this is even more valuable! You can search your location and find it using maps, or you can create your own custom location. Customized locations can be especially useful for business events, as you can add a personal touch.

Using Instagram locations is an extra simple way to let your potential audience find it.

Optimize your link in your profile

Instagram has a very minimal profile space to personalize the information to your business and your goals, so companies should take advantage of what is given to them.

One of the best ways to do this is to update and modify your link for each Instagram post. While a good practice is to have your business or product website link there in the long term, do not hesitate to customize that link with the messages that direct your audience to something more specific.

Do you have a launch of the climbing feature? Was your business presented in a reputable news source? Use those opportunities to post about her on Instagram, and link directly to her in your profile.

This allows your audience to avoid mis-writing anything, and gives you instant access to what you want them to see. Just remember to add “link in profile” to your Instagram post description, and then you will know to click on the link in your profile.

For example, CoSchedule recently announced our new podcast series, Actionable Content Marketing, and used Instagram to direct our audience to that specific page for easy access:

The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

Create an Engagement Power Instagram

InstaRevealed recently launched the new idea of ​​comments or pods so users can connect more with their niche in the industry, while increasing the commitment of others. Once you register, they place you in a direct message of 5 to 10 people where you can send the heart icon every time you post. The heart alerts the group to see, like and comment, and increase their commitment.

If you want to do this for your business, you can register on your website.

Maybe you would like a commitment comment pod, but with the people and companies that you know! Well, that is possible too. Make a list of the 5-10 key people you want to include in your group. Get in touch with them, tell them what it is and let them accept your invitation. Then, simply create a direct message, and add your biggest fans, industry influencers, or anyone else on your list.

The next time you share an Instagram post, go to that direct message and choose the heart icon. Your commitment group will know exactly what to do and, suddenly, you will have a great commitment and interaction in all your posts.

The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

Of course, this commitment group is for their positions as well. Be sure to match Instagram love by commenting and participating with your content. By simply choosing to work as a support community, you will also interact with everyone in your audience. It is a win-win for all involved.

Publish at the best times

Remember the data you started to collect? This is where it comes into play. We can analyze all the times recorded in your note, as well as the commitment levels for that position to find the best time to publish for the commitment of your companies.

First, to simplify your times, sort them by time. (That is, all publications published within 9am, 10am, etc.). Then, count how many messages you had within each hour. Now let’s look at their commitment. Under the same hour categories, write down all the commitment scores associated with that hour. Once it is complete, add the total commitment score for that hour. Then, divide it by the number of positions in that hour. Now you have found your average commitment for the posts published during that hour. You will want to repeat this process for each of your hours, and then it will be strong and clear what time (s) work best for you!

The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

Of course, several other studies have also analyzed the best Instagram times, including CoSchedule . During the last 6 weeks we have registered data from each of our Instagram posts with the data we noted above. At first we did a variety of times to see what we would receive in return.

After a couple of weeks, we found that both during 9 am and 11 am, we received the best commitment. That is a great result, but we wanted to be even more specific. So, for a solid week directly we post only during the 9 o’clock hour and we review our commitment. The following week we did the same with only 11am positions. What we found was amazing!

On average, we received twice the commitment amount at 11 in the morning!

Taking the time to do that simple test was totally worth the double participation. The recording of your data is key, and there are tools available to help. Our personal favorite is Iconosquare. Whether you use a tool or try it as we did, it is very important to measure your results and improve your goals.

Everyone has a different “better time” that works for them. For CoSchedule, it was 11 in the morning. For the Huffington post it was 2am and 5pm. For MarketingProfs it was 1-2pm. Choose a time when you think your audience will be attentive, publish, record the data, try. This optimizes publication times.

The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

Know often to post

Along with the best time, frequency is an important factor when posting to Instagram. On the one hand, you do not want to post so often that it looks like spam and rejects your followers, but on the other you want enough publications that continually accumulate for your Instagram community. According to Buffer, the most important brands publish about 1.5 times a day. So what does that mean for you? We’re going to try it.

For each week that you recorded, count the number of Instagram posts you have published. Then, take your first day of the week’s follower count and the last day of the week’s followers account, and find the difference. Perform the same process for each week in which you have published content.

The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

Advertising with Instagram

Instagram ads are 2.8 times higher than other forms of online advertising. Once you know what kind of Instagram post works, it’s time for it to be an ad and let it work for you! Instagram ads are integrated with Facebook ads and can take the form of image, video or carousel style, in which several images are on a roll for your audience to access. Using what you already know, you can simply promote your publications to go a little further, making a big difference.

Instagram advertising is great for business because it is another thing you can measure to achieve your goals. Not only that, but it adds a direct call to action in your ads that can direct your audience directly to your product. When more than a third of Instagram users have used their mobile to buy a product online, their Instagram is an easy way to get to that moment of purchase.

Using the Facebook Ads Manager to create an Instagram ad, you can choose a custom audience, define the region you want to reach, age, gender, language, as well as demographic interests or behaviors.

The latest guide on how to use Instagram for business

Instagram ads are still relatively new, but so far they have proven to be quite competitive among online advertising and offer the perfect opportunity for your audience to connect with your product goals. Find a publication that works, become an additional promotion ad and see how your business grows.

There you go! Eight ways to optimize your Instagram account from head to toe. Start with one or two, and perfect them before entering the next. Slowly but surely, you will notice not only a great commitment but a greater ROI in your product.

SUGGESTION: see this video on how to set up Instagram ads.

Instagram best practices

That may seem like a lot to remember, so let’s go over the best practices. If you must remove one thing, or maybe three, these would be it.

Brand: focus on what is unique about you

Each product has a story to say that it is unique and personal at the heart of the company. What idea initially inspired the business? What problem did you solve? Find that story, and tell the world with Instagram … and again. Emphasize why it is important and how your business can help. Use your unique business narrative in the brand of your Instagram account of what you say to how you show it.

Craft: Be thoughtful about what you share

The quality beats the quantity. While you want to build up your posting schedule over time, it is even more important that you spend time on each post that makes you thoughtful, even if that means an Instagram post a week.

Take out your phone, find some natural light, use the rule of thirds and take a quality photo. Think about how your brand narrative connects with that image, and then elaborate your description. Your audience will immediately be able to distinguish your quality content from the average content of others.

Community: participate, interact and participate

Instagram was founded on the idea of ​​community and bringing people together, so let’s use it like that! If you want your brand and product to grow, be sure to interact with your followers, comment on others’ posts, create Instagram stories and follow other important influencers in the industry. Whenever you can, be kind and share behind the scenes. This will not only grow your nearby community, but it will spread your internal culture to your audience.

These three best practices will guide you through your Instagram post. Use your story, do it well and participate with your community and you will create success.

It’s never too late to start

In today’s world there is so much social media marketing out there, that it can be difficult to keep up with everything. But when Instagram’s commitment is 10 times better than Facebook and 54 times better than Pinterest, we must take note. Fortunately, with some simple tools like the CoSchedule calendar and the analytics, associated with some photo applications like Snapseed or VSCO, it can be a start of Instagram rock in your industry! Using the highly visual presence of Instagram, you will be able to distinguish your business above the rest with your unique brand narrative and set of goals.

See you in Instagram , friends.

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