Social Media

A Guide to Instagram Marketing for Businesses

Jul 12, 2024

A Guide to Instagram Marketing for Businesses Header Background

Social media platforms have become essential tools for businesses looking to expand their reach and engage with customers. And Instagram, with over 2 billion active users, stands out as one of the most powerful platforms for marketing.

Whether you’re a small business owner or a larger company that’s only just starting out on socials, there’s simply no denying that Instagram offers unique opportunities to showcase your products, connect with your audience, and drive sales.

This blog will guide you through the essentials of Instagram marketing, helping you understand what you need to know to make the most of your platform.

A Closer Look at Instagram Stats for 2024

The bottom line is – if you’re not marketing on Instagram, you’re missing out. And here’s why:

  • Did you know that 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business on the platform?
  • 83% of people have also said that they have discovered a product or service when using Instagram.
  • Instagram ads and their reach have grown on the platform YoY by 12.2%.
  • When people are looking for next-purchase inspo, 70% of them go to Instagram.
  • In fact, just following the above, a whopping 44% of people shop weekly just on Instagram.
  • Every single age bracket is on Instagram. If younger audiences (18 to 34 years old) are your target audience, then this is the platform for you. They make up the majority of users.
  • 66k of user-generated content is shared on Instagram every minute. That’s a lot of opportunity for user-generated content Instagram ads, which actually perform better than any other ad format.
  • Instagram business account DMs have a 70% conversion rate. So, if someone is messaging you about your product or service, they’re more likely to become a customer than not.

Instagram Marketing for Businesses: Our Advice

Because the platform is predominantly used for sharing images and videos, businesses need to be a little smarter with their marketing. The image is the most important part of the ad, with text taking a backseat.

Here are some ways that your business can take advantage of Instagram for successful marketing.

Setting Up Your Instagram Business Profile

Obviously, you’ll need to ensure you actually have an Instagram business account. This type of account offers features that aren’t available with personal accounts – such as insights and the ability to promote posts.

Through the settings menu, you can easily create a new business account or convert your existing personal account to a business account.

Optimise Your Instagram Account

It’s not enough to create an account and be done with it – you’ve got to put in the effort to make sure it represents your business. There are three key bits you’ll need to sort to start with:

  • Your profile picture: You want a clear and recognisable image here. Use your logo.
  • Your Instagram bio: Write a concise (but compelling) bio that explains who you are, what you do and what you offer. Include a little call to action (CTA), such as a link to your website.
  • Your contact information: Make it so easy for users to contact you. Adding your email, phone number, and address (or whatever is relevant) is ideal.

Understand Your Instagram Target Audience

Before you can start producing interesting, engaging content that will appeal to your target audience, you first need to understand who this audience is.

Instagram Insights works much like Facebook’s version (it is part of the Meta universe, after all), providing businesses with a tool to help them understand their current audience and what they are responding to best.

Insights work by offering you data relating to:

  • How many times your content has been viewed
  • How many accounts have viewed your content
  • How many accounts have saved your posts
  • Information about your followers, including their age, location and gender

You can then use this information to determine which of your posts are performing well and with whom, allowing you to better target your audience.

Take Advantage of Hashtags

Obviously, Instagram is not the first platform to use hashtags, but hashtags tend to be more relevant here and on Twitter than elsewhere. Not only do your relevant hashtags help people find your content, but they also help you categorise your images and videos for easier data collection and insight into your followers.

You can use hashtags in your Instagram posts in a variety of ways. Using popular general hashtags is an easy way to get your Instagram videos and posts viewed by a lot of people. However, many businesses find it better to use targeted hashtags that are relevant and help the right people to see your pictures and videos.

Branded hashtags are another important practice, as they offer a way to start conversations and get people to share things specifically about your brand. You can also use branded hashtags to track whether or not a certain campaign is successful. You can invent your own branded hashtags and then encourage others to take part using that hashtag.

Tips for Using Hashtags

  • Don’t be spammy. Use a few targeted hashtags instead of lots of random ones.
  • Keep it relevant. Hashtag spam tends to be annoying to users more than anything.
  • Avoid overused hashtags. Using tags like #love or #picoftheday will have very little impact as they have so much competition.

Include a call-to-action

Whilst Instagram is mostly about looking at and enjoying images and videos, there is no point in using it for marketing if you don’t tell your audience what you want them to do with it! Try to sneak in a call to action with your posts so that they know what to do next.

Keep Tabs On Performance: Targeting Options & Analysing Performance

Instagram’s ad platform, integrated with Facebook Ads Manager, offers robust targeting options. This is very handy, as you’ll be able to target users based on demographics, interests, behaviours, and even custom audiences (such as website visitors).

If you’re doing paid and organic posting, use Instagram Insights and Facebook Ads Manager to track the performance of your ads. Pay attention to metrics like reach, engagement, and conversion rates to understand what works and what doesn’t.

Use Different Instagram Ad Formats

Luckily, you have lots of options on the Instagram app. Play around with a few ad or post options and see what works for you.

  • Photo Ads: Simple and effective, these ads appear as regular posts in users’ feeds.
  • Video Ads: Engage users with compelling video content.
  • Carousel Ads: Allow users to swipe through multiple images or videos in a single ad.
  • Stories Ads: Full-screen ads that appear between users’ Stories.
  • Shopping Ads: Tag products in your posts to enable direct purchases from your Instagram feed.

Work on Really Engaging with Your Audience

Your Instagram presence can make a huge difference to how much traffic your social media platform receives and, ultimately, how successful using it is for you. So, don’t underestimate those small things to gain a bit of engagement!

Respond to Comments and Messages

Engagement is a two-way street. Responding to comments and messages shows that you value your followers and are attentive to their needs. This can build stronger relationships and encourage customer loyalty.

Host Contests and Giveaways

If it makes sense for your business, product or service, little contests and giveaways are effective strategies to boost engagement and attract new followers. Make sure to follow Instagram’s promotion guidelines and clearly state the rules and prizes, though.

Polls and Q&A Sessions

Use Instagram Stories to conduct polls and Q&A sessions. These interactive features allow you to gather feedback, answer questions, and better understand your audience’s preferences. They also add a human touch to your brand, which is what many consumers want to see.

Don’t Over Do It

This might seem like a contradiction from the above, but it isn’t.

According to studies, the optimum post rate for any business on Instagram is 1-2 times per day. Any more than this, and the likelihood (apparently) is that your followers will see it as spam and unfollow you. We wouldn’t take this as gospel, but what we will say is that you don’t need to post actual Instagram posts multiple times a day to be successful.

People like their social media feeds to be unique and exciting every time they look at them, whether they look once or multiple times per day. If you feel that you do have more to say in your post, you can use the album feature to post multiple images in a carousel post so that users can choose to scroll through them or not.

Whether It’s Instagram Posts, Reels Or Even Instagram Stories – Make It Count

This applies to pretty much all social media marketing (bar X). It should go without saying, but because Instagram is such a visual medium, it is extra important that the images you post are worth your Instagram followers’ pausing to look at.

The most important thing is to keep it interesting and know who your followers are so that you can choose images that will appeal to them. Below are some examples of ways to add compelling content to your social media.

High-Quality Visuals, Always

Quality is key on Instagram. Invest in good photography or graphic design to ensure your images and videos are professional and attractive. Consistent visual themes and colour schemes can also help establish your brand identity.

Stories and Reels

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: human touch is important. Instagram stories and reels are great for sharing more spontaneous, behind the scenes videos behind-the-scenes content. They can humanise your brand and keep your audience engaged. Use features like stickers, polls, and questions to interact with your followers.

User-Generated Content

Encourage your customers to share photos of your products and tag your business. This is great for conversions. Reposting user-generated content not only provides you with free content but also builds a community around your brand.

Need Help With Your Instagram Marketing Strategy? Reach Out Today

For all your internet and advertising needs, why not get in touch with the team at Maxweb? Our friendly and knowledgeable team will help you find a solution that looks great, fits within your budget, and also drives inbound enquiries. You can reach us on 0151 652 4777 or email info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk to find out more.

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