The past year has been a big one for Instagram, becoming one of the fastest growing social media platforms overtaking the growth of Snapchat, Twitter and Youtube. Luckily for businesses ranging from restaurants to personal trainers to laser tag centers, Instagram has embraced local business. So what do you need to know about Instagram to achieve business success?
If you’re a local service-based business you need to be on Instagram as 80% of Instagram users are following a business page, so it’s more important than ever to make use of the business minded changes implemented by Instagram. Besides, with half of Instagram users on the app daily, there has been no better time.
So, these are the 3 aspects that you can use to enhance your profile and more importantly, engage with your audience!
There are over 300 million daily users of Instagram stories and that amount is only set to increase. So, if you are looking to use Instagram for business, stories should be in the mix.
Unlike normal Instagram posts, stories only last for 24 hours and because of that there’s a sense of urgency – they’re not going to be there forever so they get views faster. Instagram stories appear at the top of the app with the name and profile picture of the people you follow.
Stories are easy to post and are posted in the same way as general Instagram photos. There are so many story options to choose from. You can post videos, pictures, live-videos, text only posts and Boomerangs (mini-looped videos that you’ve probably seen). You can get fun with them by adding polls, stickers or GIFs – they’re only there for 24 hours and can be deleted at any time!
If you post a story that you like, Instagram also offers a highlight feature allowing these stories on your profile to be viewed at any time. It allows you to hold onto the stories and share them with followers and when they become irrelevant you can archive them and hide them from your profile.
Hashtags rose to popularity in 2009 on twitter but they are now found commonly on Instagram and are the best way to extend your reach and can also be used as an effective promotional tool. Everything you post with the same hashtag will all be grouped together on Instagram under that hashtag link. For example, if you were to use the tag #beaches on a post it will then be linked under the tag with all posts on the same topic.
When you click on the tag it shows you everything that’s ever been tagged with #nabooki. It’s like a filing system for the pictures.
Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags on any post but don’t go crazy with them, only use them for the key words in the description of your image. You are better off adding them all as a comment so they are hidden from those browsing through your images. The hashtags you use should be relevant to your business and ultimately you want to try and find the hashtags that your target market would be using or are searching for.
One key takeaway for you. Your image starts working in the Instagram algorithm as soon as you post it, so you want your hashtags to be posted as fast as possible. Research your hashtags and have them ready to be copied and pasted right into that first comment!
You can also create targeted hashtags for your company. We use #bookingbynabooki on all of our featured client posts. This links us to all of our clients and provides social proof for new potential clients of our booking software. Instagram has just recently allowed the following of hashtags, meaning followers can choose to follow specific hashtags to stay up-to-date.
Instagram is constantly being updated and some would say the latest one in 2018 is great news for small business. A return of chronological order (finally) means newer posts will be higher up to make it “feel more fresh” instead of the previous relevance order. That resulted in friends or highly popular accounts taking up the top of the feed, making it difficult for your business to get the exposure it needs.
So how can you take advantage of this? Evaluate the time of posts!!
Who are you targeting? When are the majority of your followers on Instagram? What’s your age demographic? When would they be on their phone?
If you’re demographic is school or university aged then sure you could post in the afternoon but if your demographic is professionals who are working until at least 6pm you will have to post later.
If you post too early, by the time they look at their Instagram feed your post will be at the bottom but if you post too late everyone will be in bed.
Try different times on different days to see what gets the best response. Thankfully Instagram provides insights, showing you the age range, locations and genders of your followers.
From here you can make informed decisions about the best time to post for your business.
Now it’s time to go execute and use Instagram to engage with your customers, gain exposure to new customers and position yourself as a leader in your field.