Profile photo of Jenn Herman
Jenn Herman
February 26, 2014

15 Tips for Using Instagram for Business

Instagram for business

This is the second in a 12 month series on the use of Instagram for businesses.

If you’re hesitant about using Instagram for business, I recommend you read my previous post with the 10 reasons to use Instagram for business.

Now that you’re thinking about the benefits of using Instagram, you might be wondering how best to use the site. To help you out, I have put together my top 15 tips for using Instagram for business. I hope that these will help get you efficiently using Instagram to promote your business.

1. Maximize your profile and bio

Instagram takes you through the process fairly easily of setting up your account, profile info, and bio. If you’re using Instagram for your business, however, it’s important to focus on a couple areas. Use a consistent profile image so that customers can find you easily. Use the same Instagram username as your Twitter handle – again this makes you easy to find, but also makes it easy to tag/mention when sharing Instagram posts to Twitter. Make your bio interesting, fun, and representative of your brand.

2. Put your website URL in the bio

There is only one place on Instagram where you can post an active hyperlink and this is in your bio. Carefully choose which URL to put here. If you want to send people to your blog, about page, services or products page, put that link in your bio. If you’re running a contest or want to use a lead page to track leads, put that specific URL in your bio. You can change it as often as you’d like so make good use of this option.

3. Make your account PUBLIC

If you’re using Instagram for personal use, then, yes, keep it private. But when using Instagram to promote your business, your account should be public. People are much less likely to follow you if they can’t see your images and if they have to ask for permission.

4. Use hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to boost your post exposure and reach new audiences. Select 5-7 relevant hashtags that represent the image and/or your business. Do not hashjack popular hashtags just to increase reach – it very rarely pays off.

5. Vary your post content

Just like every other social media site, your posts shouldn’t be all about you or your products. Yes, you can highlight them and show them off. But also show behind-the-scenes posts and other posts that represent your community involvement, highlight your customers, or show the fun side of your brand.

6. Use photos and videos

Videos only account for about 4% of brand posts and yet they are a great way to connect with your audience. Photos generate more engagement than videos in general. Mixing up your posts to include both photos and videos ensure you get the best of both worlds.

7. Take advantage of filters

Instagram has built-in filters to enhance both photos and videos. Utilize these to make your average posts look amazing.

8. Don’t share every post to Facebook and Twitter

You can share the occasional post to Facebook and Twitter (I even recommend using them as teasers) but don’t share every post to other sites. If you share every post to Facebook, why would your fans choose to follow you on Instagram? Give people a reason to join you on Instagram.

9. Space out your posts

Don’t crowd your audience’s feeds by posting photos back to back. Instead, space them out every 30 or 60 minutes (or longer). The more space between posts, the more engagement you will see on each post.

10. Respond to comments

Ask questions or provide comments that invite users to comment on your posts. If your audience has taken the time to comment on your posts, you really should respond to them! Engagement is high on Instagram and people want to connect with you. Keep the conversation going by using the @name of the person so they are sure to see your response. Your audience will grow quickly by doing this.

11. Track your analytics

Instagram doesn’t provide an analytics platform. However, there are third party apps which can provide you with everything you need. I recommend Statigram as a reliable tool to measure your progress and success.

12. Use your own photos

Instagram is not the place to share a meme you found on Google. Instead, create your own images or post original photos.

13. Grow your audience organically

Don’t buy followers. Don’t follow someone to get them to follow you and then unfollow them – it’s rude! Take the time to get to know other users, and encourage customers to follow you. Realize that it may take time to grow an audience.

14. Find out what your competitors are doing

Knowing what others in your industry are doing is a great way to maximize your success. Find out what works for them and what doesn’t and learn from it.

15. Be YOU!

Instagram is about having fun and being entertaining. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Whatever it is that your brand represents, let that shine on Instagram!

 

There you go! My top 15 tips for using Instagram for business. I hope these help you see more success with Instagram.

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Profile photo of Jenn Herman
Jenn Herman is a social media strategist and Instagram advocate who writes a blog focused on understanding trends in social media management. She provides tips, resources, and training for small to medium sized businesses that need to structure their social media strategies for success. Her business background includes Administration, Sales, Human Resources, and Marketing. If you would like to learn more about how to use Instagram, you can download "The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Instagram" here.
  • This is great! I have 2 blogs–the one I just started this year and I run different social media linkies every day. I also try to reference different posts about that media to help people know how to utilize it. Instagram is my weakest SM, because it is not convenient for me; but I will share this info sometime. I found you through our tribe.

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  • Thanks for these helpful tips! I’m starting to use Instagram a lot more now to build my blog reads.

  • I have a personal instagram but will be working on getting one established for my online blog and businesses…great post…thanks!

  • Jerome Sparks

    this is great advice.

  • Hello! Jenn! Can you write an article too on what are the top sites that we can use to create memes, edit photos, put attractive texts that are convenient to use for Instagram from a smartphone?

  • Samantha Grain

    Hello Jenn! I liked you articles, you gave some sound advises, thinks a lot! I would only like to add a few words about different management applications. They can make your account’s growth much faster and easier. For example fast-unfollow.com can help you get rid of people who follow to have you do the same and then unfollow you at an amazing rate of 5k per day. Or latergram, allowing to schedule posts even if you don’t have an opportunity to go online at the moment. Well, there are dozens of them. and I thought it could be in some other articles of yours, but i couldn’t find any.

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  • Susan Kim

    Great tips Jenn! These must be not tips, but rules of Instagram) I’d like to emphasise your point about not buying followers. It’s true that you can get banned for that, and if someday you want to sell ads on your instagram – fake followers can lower the price. If you need to attract more people to your account it’s better to use services like zengram.net, they really find people who can be interested in following you, which means normal, active users who will interact with your content.

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