Tips to grow your business with Instagram
Instagram is the second most popular network after Facebook and the 7th most visited website in the world. Every day on this social network, millions of people of different ages and interests spend time learning about and following trends, discovering new products and services, and making purchases. Therefore, it’s important for modern businesses — from small local companies to large international corporations — to represent their brand on Instagram.
Instagram is a good channel for generating leads and a great way to engage with your audience. Businesses not only boost brand awareness and sales but also better understand customers’ interests and needs, creating even more attractive and valuable solutions.
What is Instagram Marketing?
Instagram Marketing is a type of Social Media Marketing that involves promoting a business, increasing brand awareness, and launching new products. Such marketing involves various strategies and tactics to achieve different business goals by leveraging Instagram. This social media platform helps businesses connect with huge audiences, boost brand awareness, and increase sales.
Instagram has a lot of built-in marketing tools that help effectively promote business. All the tools and tactics can be roughly divided into two groups: paid and unpaid. Instagram Marketing is all about growing business via the competent use of such tactics and Instagram Marketing tips.
Business benefits of Instagram
Being such a huge social media platform with over a billion active users, Instagram has become a powerful marketing tool for businesses. This platform enables communication between brands and consumers and helps companies better understand their audience to build strong brand awareness. Instagram can be especially beneficial for small businesses and may boost their marketing efforts.
- 71% of US businesses use Instagram
- 7 in 10 hashtags on this social platform are branded
- More than 80% of companies worldwide consider the engagement rate on Instagram one of their most important metrics
The fundamentals of Instagram for business
Instagram Marketing is a set of strategies and tactics to increase sales, build brand awareness, and achieve other business goals by leveraging Instagram.
Before marketing on Instagram, clarify your strategy. This includes setting goals, creating your audience portrait, and carefully reviewing Instagram rules and guidelines to ensure this platform is right for your business.
The most common goals that small businesses aim for on Instagram are:
- increasing brand awareness
- boosting sales
- growing an audience
- increasing engagement with customers
Content is one of the most important keys to successful Instagram Marketing. Your content should be high-quality, unique, diverse, and engaging. Successful brands focus on consistency in visuals and create content according to brand guidelines.
Instagram has tools to boost your Social Media Marketing, like various, high-engagement content formats, hashtags, geotags, and other features that make your business more accessible. Learn and grow with powerful analytics tools to track progress toward your Instagram goals.
Growing a business on Instagram may also include paid promotion. Boosted posts, Instagram advertising, and influencers’ recommendations are the most effective.
🔥 VistaCreate pro tip: Instagram is the best growth platform for you if you have a business with a visual product, or where it is possible to show the results of the service through photos and videos.
If social presence for your business is a priority and you’re considering Instagram, this guide is for you. Learn where to begin and how to start using Instagram for your business.
Steps to grow your business on Instagram
- Understand your strategy
- Create your business account
- Produce and publish Instagram content
- Prepare for business growth
1. How to create a successful Instagram Marketing strategy
Before you dive into managing your Instagram account, determine the main points that will guide your social media strategy and the kinds of content you’ll post.
First, you need to understand your audience on Instagram. Determine the customers who already use your services or buy from you. What are their ages, values, interests, etc?
Analyze your competitors’ Instagram audiences.
After gathering all this data, create a clear portrait of your target audience to affirm that Instagram is, in fact, the correct platform for you to ensure that you create relevant and engaging content.
Set your goals for Instagram Marketing. The most common objectives for small businesses are increasing sales, growing your audience, driving traffic to the website, building brand awareness, etc.
To start with, choose the main 1-2 goals and create a content strategy for accomplishing them.
Once you’ve defined your audience and goals, you’ll need to verify the value of Instagram in reaching them. To do so, answer a few questions to understand the feasibility of using this platform for your business:
- Does your target audience actually use Instagram?
- Is it possible to visually illustrate your product or service so your content fits the platform?
- Will you be able to post content regularly? How regularly?
- Are you ready to allocate a budget for Instagram Marketing?
- Does the concept of Instagram match your brand style and image?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then — congratulations, marketing on Instagram makes sense for your business!
Last but not least, consider all the laws and regulations for running a business on Instagram in your region. Carefully read Instagram’s guidelines, commerce policies, and the merchant agreement before selling your goods on social media.
It’s critical to properly determine all these points because your promotion strategy and its success will depend on them. Business goals will determine which Instagram Marketing methods you’ll use. And the more accurate your portrait of an audience you craft, the more likely these methods will help convert Instagram users into customers.
2. How to set up Instagram for your business
After setting your goals and strategy, it’s time to launch your brand on Instagram! Let’s take a look at how to set up your business Instagram account and some tips on how to get the most from it.
Get an Instagram business account
The Instagram business account is almost the same as the personal one, but it gives more privileges to marketers. You can get metrics on your content performance, analyze your target audience, and run advertising campaigns with a business account.
To get started:
- Log into your Instagram account.
- Go to the main menu in the top right corner and find Settings.
- Then select Account, tap Switch to Professional account, and choose Business.
- Fill in all the necessary details, press Done, and you are ready to go.
Business account tips for Instagram
Once your business account is created, make sure it is set up correctly. Your profile is an opportunity to showcase your business in the best light possible and create a positive impression. Here are some tips on how to make your Instagram account even more beneficial.
Write a fine-tuned bio
Note that your bio and your most recent nine posts are the first interactions people will have with your company. Make the most of your bio to leave a good impression. It should be brief. Use keywords relevant to your business, so people clearly understand what your brand is about. Be inventive and try adding small details to stand out or provide a reason to stay in touch.
Add a link
Use Instagram to drive traffic to your website. Add a link to your website or a landing page in your bio to help the audience get to know your brand better. You can also link to your YouTube channel or other social media pages.
Smart tip: You can lead to a landing page with multiple links your audience may be interested in. Using the link-in-the-bio tool, you’ll easily send your followers to several resources with a single click.
Add a high-quality profile picture
Add your brand logo as a profile picture or use any other image representing your brand. Take into account the small size of Instagram profile pictures and choose a high-resolution, simple image that won’t be blurred after zooming in.
Follow these tips to set up your account properly, and you’ll be on track to successfully launch your brand on Instagram. To get even more account tips, check out our article about Instagram Marketing for small businesses.
3. How to create successful content for Instagram
Once you set up your profile and determine your audience and goals, it’s time to dive into content. There are many types of content on Instagram: regular posts, Stories, Live, and Reels. You can experiment with all of them and create high-impact content for your Instagram business account.
Content tips for Instagram
Content is the heart of any good digital marketing strategy. Of course, we’re talking about unique, high-quality, and useful content that engages your audience and sparks your followers’ interests. Discover these essential tips for effective Instagram content.
Create high-quality and trend-driven content
Choose quality over quantity: it’s always better to make one striking post a week than ordinary and sloppy visuals daily. Explore the latest Instagram trends and bear them in mind when preparing your content.
Post at the right time
Analyze your followers’ behavior to identify the best time for posting to reach the majority of your audience. Review Instagram Insights to uncover when your followers are most active and schedule your posts to increase engagement and improve organic reach.
Think about the visual aesthetic of your brand. To build a holistic brand identity and stay recognizable on social media, it is essential to maintain consistency in your visuals for Instagram. Tools can help. With VistaCreate, for example, you can easily create brand kits with your color themes, brand fonts, and palettes, then use them to make images for your Instagram that align with your brand identity.
Don’t sell all the time
Don’t turn your account into an endless sales pitch. Remember that Instagram is a social media platform, so socialize and engage your audience with interesting content the majority of the time. Showcase your brand values through relevant content and a positive communication experience.
Posting content on a consistent basis gets your audience in the habit of interacting with your brand. Followers know when to expect new content and interact with your account, triggering Instagram’s algorithms to show your posts at the top of the feed.
Add your stories in Highlights to organize your visual content and showcase what your brand is about with stunning Highlight covers. Besides, Highlights give a second life to your published content and bring a consistent look to your profile. Add basic information, customer reviews, and your business values in Highlights to show off your brand.
Content formats that work best for Instagram Marketing
To make your profile truly engaging, change it up a little! People interact with each type of content in specific ways. Therefore, every new kind of content may help achieve a particular micro-goal. Here are the most effective content formats for businesses on Instagram:
- Authentic photos
- Instagram Reels
- Instagram Live
Read more about each content format in our essential guide to Instagram Marketing, and choose the formats that suit your marketing strategy best.
The best content examples for small businesses on Instagram
We have prepared a small selection of interesting Instagram accounts for you. They’re perfect examples of small businesses excelling in profile design and Instagram account management. Dive in and get your daily dose of Instagram marketing inspiration.
33 Acres Brewing Company is a craft beer brewery from Vancouver.
Their account is an excellent example of good visual branding on Instagram. The company maintains consistency in post designs and creates a cohesive look for its Instagram account overall.
All the visuals represent what the brand is about and convey minimalism and simplicity. Such consistency makes the brand recognizable on Instagram feeds and helps build trust and deep connections with its audience.
CLUSE is a small company producing watches in Amsterdam.
Although CLUSE watches are crafted in a small atelier, their excellent quality and strong brand image make the company more and more popular worldwide. Besides high-quality, captivating visuals with product photos, user-generated content is the secret to their winning Instagram strategy.
CLUSE collects photos of its products from customers and publishes them on its Instagram business account. Thus, they “humanize” the brand, build a meaningful connection with their audience, and convey feelings of reliability and trust.
Moe Assist is a project management tool for influencers that helps better manage collaborations and contracts.
Their visual representation on social media is a good example of showcasing a business through effective account design.
When viewing their Instagram account, users immediately understand what the business is about and how they can benefit from the services provided. The audience also receives compelling confirmation on the quality of the Moe Assist tool through Instagram user reviews in their Highlights.
Plus, all their visuals have a consistent aesthetic, which helps their Instagram account look more eye-catching overall.
Need ideas for IG content? Check out our guide to spicing up your Instagram Stories with Instagram Polls.
4. How to grow your business on Instagram
Unfortunately, growing a business on Instagram isn’t simple. You need to be active, creative, and very attentive. We’ve gathered the best practices for promoting and optimizing business accounts.
Interact with your audience
Benefit from user-generated content
User-generated content (USG) is any type of content about your brand or brand mentions by your followers (reviews, videos, posts, etc.). Sharing UGC brings your brand closer to people by showing real stories of communication with your brand in real life. It creates real trust.
Leverage different types of content
Explore various kinds of content on Instagram and learn how your business can benefit from them. For example, you can use Instagram Live to stand out on the network and remind your followers about yourself with a notification. Or you can leverage Reels for tutorials and product demos. Try using Instagram posts to create evergreen content or share Instagram Stories to keep in touch through in-the-moment content.
Smart tip: Instagram Carousels (posts with up to 19 images) show better engagement rates because they enable your post to show up in the feed more than once.
Socialize and be active
Posting content on Instagram is important, but it’s not everything. Be sure to engage with your followers by liking, commenting, and responding to them. Switch on your notifications to make sure you don’t miss any comments on your profile. Start liking content related to your profile topic and leave your comments under the posts that translate the same values as your brand.
Boost your following by leveraging all your tools
Use hashtags properly
Hashtags help people on Instagram find your content, so it’s important to use specific hashtags that represent what your content is about. According to recent statistics, an Instagram post contains 10-11 hashtags on average. Try to use not just popular hashtags but also ones with less than a million posts so your content doesn’t get lost in the Instagram space. Consider specific local hashtags of your target region, but make sure they’re relevant to your industry and audience interests.
- Smart tip 1: You can create your own branded hashtags and encourage people to use them in their content. It creates a possibility to build your own community on Instagram and increase brand awareness.
- Smart tip 2: If you add many hashtags and want to hide them for a better look, use five dots at the bottom, and they won’t be displayed.
Take advantage of geotagging on Instagram
Make your content more discoverable by tagging your location. Add your business location to help potential customers easily find your services. You can also tag locations your audience may be interested in, so they’ll notice your post and start following your brand due to similar tastes and preferences.
Analyze your competitor’s audience
It’s not forbidden to check out your competitors or even to analyze their audience on Instagram. Remember that their followers can be your potential customers. Start interacting with your competitors’ audience by commenting on their accounts and liking their content.
Likewise, you may find related brands and businesses that you aren’t in competition with and who share your audience, it’s worthwhile to engage in these communities as well. For example, if you are a bookseller and share customers with a local tea shop or even the animal rescue, get involved with these causes and businesses to reach more customers.
Partner up with influencers
Influencers can help increase your brand awareness and build friendly relationships with your target audience. Besides, according to the latest survey, 80% of social media users have purchased at least once on an influencer’s recommendation. And 22% of people between 18-35 (the largest group of Instagram users) make large purchase decisions due to an influencer’s opinion.
Working with influencers can increase your sales, too. Make sure the influencer you choose shares your brand values, keeps in line with your brand image, and has an engaged audience interested in your product.
Want your brand to stand out? Adopt an unconventional approach to influencer marketing on Instagram and hire a virtual influencer to promote your brand on social media.
Don’t shy away from advertising
Don’t forget about the potential of paid promotion on Instagram. After all, social networks are becoming more and more monetized. You can leverage Instagram’s advertising opportunities to reach your target audience and attract new customers. Besides, Instagram’s advertising analytics tools will allow you to get an idea of the ROI of your overall strategy or compare the performance of individual campaigns for appropriate optimization.
You can use paid advertising on Instagram through boosted posts and Instagram advertising. Boosted posts are a simple way to grow your follower base, while Instagram ads allow you to reach more specific audiences and target more precisely. Explore useful resources for complete Instagram Marketing to dive deeper into the world of paid advertising.
Track your results
It’s important to measure your Instagram success to know you’re doing right and find possible ways to grow. Analyze what type of content your followers interact with most, what time is better to post for higher engagement, and build your social media strategy based on these data.
Looking for more details to grow successful Instagram Marketing for your business? Check out our essential guide to Instagram Marketing and get more details about content inspiration, influencer marketing, and paid advertising.
Common mistakes people make on Instagram
Sometimes even thinking through each step and doing everything right at first glance, you’re still not immune from mistakes. It’s best to learn from the mistakes of others than from your own. Therefore, we’ve collected the most common mistakes businesses make with Instagram Marketing.
Instagram is a visual social network. That’s why aesthetics are important, especially if you have a commercial account and offer products or services.
- Post unique and high-quality content on your Instagram. Images shouldn’t be blurry, the text on the photo (if any) should be readable, and all design elements (collage, frames, etc.) should be applied with taste.
- Use unique visual content, so try to make your own designs and don’t just copy-paste images from the Internet.
- Pay attention to the image format. Create square images (1,080×1,080) or adjust your pictures to Instagram requirements.
Smart tip: If you want to create your Instagram content on your own but don’t have enough design skills, try the VistaCreate design platform. You’ll find pre-made Instagram design formats, thousands of ready-to-use templates, and various editing tools. So, you’ll always ensure that your content meets social media requirements. Besides, in VistaCreate, you can easily resize any image to adjust it to any platform or format.
Besides being high-quality, your content should also be published consistently. Irregular posting can lead to a drop in feed exposure. Therefore, try to post with the same frequency to avoid losing interest in your Instagram business account. It is better to draw up a content plan with dates and topics of publications to manage publications on your page.
Smart tip: Use media schedulers to save time on posting content and follow your content plan. The VistaCreate Post Planner can be used to create designs for your business and then schedule their publications on Instagram.
Only publishing in “selling-mode”
One of the most common mistakes businesses make on Instagram is posting only sales-y content. Of course, this content is important, but the feed should not consist only of selling posts. Monotonous publications kill user interest and decrease reactions and coverage.
Instead, make your feed diverse. Dilute selling publications with other types of content. These can be informative or educational posts, entertaining or involving stories (games, contests), videos about your employees, etc. Diversity cultivates interest in your content and elicits engagement with it.
Improper hashtags usage
There are 2 typical mistakes when it comes to hashtags.
- A lack of hashtags — Instagram posts can contain up to 30 hashtags, but it’s usually recommended to use just 5-10 hashtags. They make your account more reachable and may help to attract your target audience if you use them properly.
- Too many popular (oversaturated) hashtags — Only using very popular and high-frequency hashtags doesn’t help get your post to the top. Because of the fierce competition, your content may be hard to find and even get lost. Use hashtags that best describe your post, so that prospective followers find exactly what they’re looking for.
Smart tip: Create your own branded hashtags. You can use them to promote the brand itself, run promotional campaigns, events, competitions, and other marketing activities. An effective brand hashtag should be associated only with your company. So make your brand hashtags unique and memorable.
Lack of interaction with the audience
Remember that the main idea of social media is to communicate! Feel free to ask your followers questions and respond to comments, even — or especially — if they are negative. Show your audience that every piece of feedback matters to you, that you are open to criticism and ready to improve the quality of your services.
Uninformed goals or a lack of strategy
It’s сommon for many business profiles to create content only to fill the feed and to “stay top of mind” for followers. But if this content doesn’t meet the audience’s needs and the company’s goals, all these extra publications won’t prompt likes, comments, saves — or sales.
The first step to success is a clear understanding of what exactly you want to get from creating an Instagram business account. Goals can be publicity, attracting potential customers, increasing sales, or building brand awareness. After clarifying your objectives, you should develop a promotion strategy that will clearly and consistently help achieve your goals. Be sure to specify how often you will post, what your content will be about, and so on to ensure your Instagram Marketing strategy is beneficial to your business development.
The pros and cons of Instagram for business
There are many reasons why, nowadays, almost every company should use social media. And Instagram is one of the most effective platforms for building a strong online presence and increasing sales, especially for small businesses. But is this platform right for you? Check out the main advantages and disadvantages of Instagram.
Pros of business on Instagram
- It builds brand awareness
- It makes your brand more trustworthy
- It visually represents what your brand is about
- It helps share your brand’s message
- It gives you a chance to reach more potential customers — increasingly people make purchasing decisions on Instagram
- It enables direct communication with your audience
- It helps you better understand who your customers are and what they’re interested in (statistics rock!)
- It may boost your sales
- It helps build necessary networking
Cons of business on Instagram
- Your target audience may not have Instagram
- Instagram isn’t a 100% e-commerce platform (it’s still social media)
- It can be tough to find and retain organic customers
- Preparing high-quality visual content on a regular basis can be time-consuming and may require hiring a designer
(Don’t give up on Instagram if this is the only obstacle! VistaCreate helps small businesses create truly unique and engaging content on their own with thousands of pre-made formats for all social media platforms.)
Instagram is a powerful marketing tool that connects brands with their target audiences. This guide is a set of the basic steps and tactics to help small businesses start using Instagram for growth. Now you’re ready to start exploring all tools Instagram has to offer, experiment with different types of content, discover the ways to reach your potential customers on Instagram, and grow your brand’s presence online.