Were you aware that 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from businesses they follow and interact with on social media? Instagram is the shop window to your business. It is the perfect way to showcase the products and services you provide. There are now more than 1 billion users on Instagram, waiting to interact with your brand and so optimising your account for business is key.

Optimise your business’s Instagram account

So how do you optimise your Instagram account for business purposes? Firstly, ensure that you have a link to your website in your bio section of your account. After all, there is no point in putting the rest into practise if buying your products or booking your services isn’t easily accessible.

Phone with grid and Instagram Logo
Photo by Luke van Zyl on Unsplash

Consistency is Key

Be consistent with your business’s Instagram account. Whether it be the time that you post, the type of image that you are posting or the voice you are using in the caption to go with the image. Your followers will have an expectation of your business and breaking consistency can damage the relationship you have with your followers.

The same goes with your grid design. Your ‘grid’ is your Instagram feed. Sticking with a consistent layout and design improves the overall look of your ‘showcase’. The way in which your Instagram grid is set out and its aesthetic appeal is said to be a huge deciding factor in whether a user engages with your posts or clicks on that follow button!

Use High Quality Images

Are you using high quality images which meet the Instagram size requirements? All too often, we see businesses posting images which are blurred or have been zoomed in and quality is lost. We also see images posted which end up with the edges cut off them because they do not meet the size requirements for Instagram. For your images to look the way you want them to, it is recommended that you use high quality images, if you are taking a photo of something , make sure that the surroundings are clean and don’t detract focus from the actual photo. Finally, crop the image size to fit 1080 x 1080 pixels.

Instagram Image Sizes

Instagram Grid – Why is the way it looks important?

If your business operates from a bricks and mortar shop, then we can guarantee that you have put thought into its layout, the placement of your products and the way it looks to shoppers who walk into your store. Similarly, if you retail online, you will have thought about the way you place your products on your website. It’s the same with your Instagram feed. Keep the images you post relevant and easily identifiable as your business. Your Instagram feed should represent your brand at its best!

Example Instagram Grids created by Social+

Your Followers

Having thousands of followers is all well and good, but are those followers adding value to your business? Instagram is a community and its algorithm will expect businesses to be following a community spirit, posting conversation provoking images and replying to comments they receive. Its important to get into the community spirit to ensure that your images are being seen on your followers feed. 500 engaged followers are better than 50,000 disengaged followers. Instagram have been clamping down on the fake follower culture and removing followers that have been bought by brands and influencers to falsify their popularity. Creating content to cause meaningful interaction is far more valuable to you and your brand than them being there as just a number

Stories

Your grid is consistent, you have the engaged followers and you are posting your images every day at the optimal time for your followers. But how do you ensure that you always stay at the top of your followers feed? Stories are a great way to stay relevant, they don’t mess with your consistent, well thought out Instagram grid, you can choose to save them in highlights (more on those later!), and they’re always at the top of every followers Instagram feed!

Brands can use stories to give their followers a behind the scenes insight into the business, share another users content (like a client or a customer raving about your product or service), learn more about the business and the people behind it or even just show the fun side of the brand, the possibilities are endless. Building in additional features like stickers and hashtags, stories can provoke conversations and engagement. Remember what we said earlier about engaged followers being more important to a business than the actual number of followers on their account.

Examples of Instagram Stories

Highlights

Sometimes stories have an important message. It might showcase a brand product you want your followers to revisit at a later date, it might show a great day behind the scenes in your business that shows a personal and friendly side to the brand or it may be that you had a poll on your story and followers might want to go back and see the results of that poll.

The great news is that Highlights make it possible to save those stories to your Instagram page, they appear at the top of your feed without changing the look of your grid and remain in date order showing the oldest story first. You could use your highlights to tell a story over a period, like a product or service in development.

#Hashtags

Everyone in business wants more people to know who they are, what they do and what they stand for. Instagram uses hashtags to sort the millions of posts being uploaded every single day, organising them into categories ready to be searched. When using Instagram for business, using the right hashtags on your posts ensures that your content is being presented to the right people, the people searching for what you are promoting.

Don’t just post out hashtags without doing your research on them first to ensure that your content won’t be lost in the millions of other posts using the same hashtag. Don’t be afraid to use hashtags, Instagram lets you use up to 30 hashtags per post so if you have done your research and know which ones are relevant then use them. You don’t have to use them all in the post itself some can be added to the comments too!

Instagram is an incredible marketing tool for businesses, when its used right. Using your grid and stories hand in hand helps a business grow, increase in loyal, engaged followers, which translates into more clients and customers for your business.

Keeping a consistent brand image, regular posting and conversing with your followers is as important as using relevant hashtags. But posting content to your feed just isn’t enough as posts can often get lost in the ‘noise’ of the millions of other posts going onto Instagram every hour of everyday. Stories are an important part of Instagram and staying relevant on a rapidly growing social network, they ensure that you are at the top of your followers feed.

Social+ offers comprehensive and practical training on Instagram and the best way to use it in a business capacity. Send us a message to find out more information on how to book in a training session with us.

We also have a Facebook group in which we share tips and tricks on how best to use your business’s social media accounts. If you manage social media for business, please join in the conversation!