Ah, Instagram. Where to begin? An app originally created for sharing casual snapshots has grown into the most coveted space for businesses to market to and influence the spending habits of their followers. From Tiffany’s to Tiffany’s Auto Parts, every type of brand has the ability to make an impact, but where to start?
Make sure your account is a Business Account
Instagram introduced Business Accounts in 2016 to differentiate company profiles for easy access to business information and swift purchasing power to potential customers. Since its launch, many organizations and influencers have made the switch and for good reason. The benefits of setting up a business account, according to Instagram, include:
Realtime metrics and analytics on how your feed posts, stories, and promoted posts perform based on reach.
Insights on your followers, including how many people have followed and unfollowed your account, where your followers are from, the times of day per day your followers are most active, and how they interact with your posts and stories.
Buttons to include contact information, such as your email, phone number, and address. You can even include store hours and an “action” button so followers can interact and purchase right in the app.
There are many other invaluable features; I suggest switching over and exploring for yourself!
Setting up a business account is easy and pain-free. If your business already has an Instagram profile, access your “Settings”, then scroll down to “Switch to Business Account.” Once you’ve made the switch, you’ll be able to update your company’s information and be able to access all the features mentioned above.
Set Up Instagram Shopping
A business favorite brought over from Facebook, Instagram Shopping gives eCommerce brands and businesses the authority to create collections and tag products on Instagram, so followers can make purchases without ever leaving the app. Once you have converted your profile to a business account, here’s how to set up (your Instagram) shop!
Step 1: Connect your Facebook Page. (A Facebook Page IS required in order to set up Instagram Shopping.)
Step 2: Upload a product catalog via Facebook Business Manager or an eCommerce platform partner including Shopify, BigCommerce, or Magento.
Step 3: Complete account review. This can be accessed under “Shopping” in “Settings”.
Step 4: Turn on Shopping once your account is approved. This can be done by selecting the “Product Catalog” in “Shopping” in “Settings”.
Step 5: Make your content actionable with shopping tags! This can be done when you upload new photos and videos to your feed. You can also add shopping stickers to your stories.
Utilize all of Instagram’s Features
Speaking of feed posts vs. story posts, make sure you are utilizing all that Instagram has to offer! It can be hard to keep up with Instagram’s ever-changing platform, but my recommendation is to consistently post on your feed, on your stories, on IGTV, and even on Reels. Try to always have at least one story running (with a swipe up to shop if you have over 10K followers AND shopping stickers!), post on your feed 2-3 times a day during peak performance hours (thanks to your Instagram Business insights), and do your best to create IGTV’s and Reels on a weekly basis. These do not need to be fancy videos and can be taken on your phone. Your followers will appreciate your authentic content.
Have A Hashtag For Your Customers… And Repost Their Posts!
The best way to bring in new spenders and convert current shoppers to life-long fans is by sharing their content. A great way to do this is to come up with an original brand hashtag. Sephora has #CleanAtSephora, Calvin Klein has #MyCalvins, and Bloomingdale’s has #Bloomies!
My advice is to create one overarching hashtag for your brand, and other hashtags that are new campaign or product-specific. Make sure these hashtags are completely your own, and not currently in use, or it will be difficult to figure out which posts are being created for your brand. An easy way to check this is by putting your desired hashtag in the Instagram search bar and seeing what populates.
Putting the hashtags in your bio is a MUST, and if you have a brick-and-mortar location, it’s useful to put up signage encouraging guests to use the hashtag for a chance to be featured. A simple strategy for consistently checking your hashtags is to follow them on Instagram. That way, they’ll appear in your feed as you scroll.
For additional customer posts, check out the “Tagged” section of your profile. There, you can see followers who have tagged your brand or business in their posts who may not have used your hashtag
I use GRAMSAVE to download images from Instagram, but there are a million and one other tools in the land of Google!
Full disclosure, you may need to get your legal team involved in this one, but giveaways are a great way to build engagement on Instagram. There are a few strategies you can utilize here, but my go-to’s are:
Partner with an influencer. The follower must follow your company’s account and the influencer’s account to be submitted.
Tag three friends in the comment of your post. If your follower tags three other accounts, that’s three new potential customers!
Repost giveaways. Encourage those entering your giveaway to screenshot and repost the image on your feed and tag your brand (or use a campaign hashtag.). That way, your brand now appears to your follower’s followers.
There are many ways to run giveaways. Provide clear directions, a timeframe for submissions, and additional legal terms, and you’ll be building your engagement in no time!
Use All the Tags and Hashtags You Can
I can not stress this enough. 20 mentions and 30 hashtags in feed posts. 10 mentions and 10 hashtags in Stories.
Interact with your community and similar accounts
If your followers are taking the time to comment on your posts or send you a direct message, acknowledge them! It will make them more likely to interact with your account again in the future. Plus, it’s great customer service. Even if you just throw each comment on your post a “like”, by making the user feel seen, you’ve already made their day.
There are SO many other ways to get your small business noticed and increase engagement across Instagram, but I hope these first few steps are just the start to what will soon become a lucrative, follower-favorite platform for your company.
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