Instagram for Business: Branding and Marketing Tips

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But with more than 800 million daily users, a picture on Instagram could be worth a whole lot more. This popular mobile photo/video-sharing app and social network was created in 2010, and was purchased by Facebook in 2012.

The app is primarily used to edit and post photos and short videos, but more recent features include Instagram Stories (slideshow-like sequences of photos and videos that disappear 24 hours after posting) and live video. Read on to learn how to use Instagram for business to promote your brand, as well as tips for maximizing your Instagram marketing impact.

Getting Started: Create a Business Instagram Account

First things first, you’ll need to download the free app and sign up for an account. To switch to a business profile in Instagram, you will need to connect the account with your business’ Facebook page under Settings. A business Instagram account provides additional analytics, contact methods, and tools that can help business owners optimize their Instagram marketing strategies.

Image is Everything on Instagram: Be Consistent and Recognizable

Since Instagram is mainly a photo and video-sharing social network, a cohesive visual identity is crucial. Ideally, the images and photos that you post on Instagram should mirror existing visual elements for your brand, such as art style, colour palette, and even font choices.

The goal is for followers to instantly recognize your brand’s posts. “Your visual content should be its own watermark,” says Rustin Nethercott, Content Developer at ConstantContact. It can be as simple as applying the same filter to all photos — the effect is a profile that looks cohesive and expresses a visually striking representation of your brand’s identity.

Post In-The-Moment Content

There are some pretty impressive statistics supporting the rise of mobile video marketing , which is why many digital marketing strategists are encouraging businesses to amp up online video content. With three different video formats available on Instagram — video posts, stories, and live streaming — you’ll want to make sure you are creating impactful video content that leverages the reach that Instagram offers.

It is estimated that nearly 60 percent of Instagram’s daily users are viewing or publishing content on Stories, making it one of the most widely-used features in any social media app . The most recent video format, live streaming, was introduced in January of 2017 and allows users to share live content, which exists on the platform either only while streaming, or within Instagram Stories for 24 hours.

The appeal of in-the-moment content seems to be the high level of authenticity it implies. Audiences seem to value branded or sponsored content that is more candid and genuine as opposed to staged and polished. When marketing via Stories and Live Instagram video, your content should aim to meet the expectations that come along with the format and be fresh, spontaneous, and relevant.

Advertising on Instagram

Similar to most other social media platforms, businesses have the option of paid advertisements on Instagram. There are four main ad formats available:

● Photo Ads – These photo posts will appear with a Sponsored label above the image and may have either a Shop Now or Learn More button just below the image or photo

● Video Ads – Just like Photo Ads, these video posts will look the same, but will be clearly identified as sponsored posts

● Carousel Ads – These photo ads feature multiple photos that users can swipe through

● Stories Ads – Businesses share sponsored photo and video content in the Instagram Stories platform

Instagram ads appear in users’ home feeds and help drive brand awareness, click-throughs to your business’ website, as well as conversion rates for things like mobile app installs, sales, and in-store traffic. Instagram offers step-by-step instructions for setting up advertising on their platform.

Final Thoughts and Tips on Using Instagram for Business

The following Instagram tips and statistics were rounded up by the folks at Sprout Social :

80% of Instagram users follow a business. According to Instagram, 80% of users say they follow at least one business on the app, with 60% hearing about a product and service through the platform.

Users engage with posts that include a location. Instagram offers a geo-tagging feature, and posts with location get 79 percent more engagement with users than those that don’t.

65 percent of top-performing posts feature products. Research shows that Instagram users actually enjoy seeing product photos, with product posts beating out lifestyle content (43 percent) and influencer/celebrity posts (29%).

Whether you are just getting into the Instagram game or looking to sharpen your social media marketing skills, these tips should help you put your best #nofilter face forward and get some serious likes for your business.

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