With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is a great platform to use to showcase your brand. More specifically, it’s a great place to flaunt your business’s creative assets, with well-edited videos, high-quality photos and so much more. These are often the creative assets that can attract audiences to your business page while users browse elsewhere within the app.
Once you attract enough users to your page, your business can become top-of-mind, which often results in generating increased sales and establishing a loyal customer base. As well, a surge in popularity triggers the Instagram algorithm, generating a feedback loop between the app and users that says “this is something people care about”.
This sustained buzz can provide your page with the momentum it needs to branch out within the competitive landscape of Instagram. To give you more tips and tricks on how to use Instagram profiles for business, we’ve provided five easy ways that you can optimize your account.
1. Using Keywords and Hashtags
The search feature is one of the most underrated yet overused features on Instagram. Users frequently use the search feature to browse for content that relates to their favourite interests such as celebrities, travel destinations and food. However, businesses seldom optimize their bios with relevant keywords and hashtags that their prospective audiences may be searching for.
It’s important to add as many relevant keywords that best reflect your brand, product and service into your bio so that your page can have increased visibility while others browse within the Instagram app. Running a coffee shop? Do some research on some of the most popular keywords or hashtags used on Instagram and incorporate them organically into your bio.
2. Integrate Your Digital Assets
Your Instagram bio provides a great opportunity to place an outbound link for a particular product, service, video, song or any other digital asset. If your bio is optimized, this is essentially the opportunity to plug in a free promotion, such as a seasonal product that you are pushing at this time, or even a special discount.
Since Instagram posts themselves can’t link to URLs, the bio is also the only place to put your most important URLs. For posts that refer to a specific product you are promoting, you can place “Link in Bio” in the text copy, provided that the URL you are promoting in your bio matches up with the product in your post. Utilize this space to promote your most important or popular products, discounts and sales or seasonal promotions.
3. Fine Tune Your Bio
Upon stumbling on an Instagram business page, one of the first things an Instagram user will do is check the account bio. Several questions will automatically pop-up in their heads concerning your products, services or values as well as your location and your overall brand personality.
It’s one thing to ensure the information in your bio is quantitatively accurate, but it’s another to ensure that the text, verbiage, emojis, hashtags and every shape or colour used best reflect your brand voice. A more serious brand probably shouldn’t use goofy tongue-out emojis, while a fun clothing retailer might decide to place rainbows or other colourful emojis in their bio.
There is a sweet spot between having your bio best reflect your brand voice, while also ensuring that your bio is captivating enough to generate interest in whatever you are selling. As already mentioned, you should also incorporate specific keywords and hashtags into your bio while fine-tuning it.
4. Fine-Tune Users You Follow
On Instagram, perception is key. As already mentioned, your Instagram bio, photo and more all impact the way users perceive your brand. One thing that users may check is your follower to following ratio (i.e are you following 2,000 people but only 200 people are following you?). Having a negatively skewed follower-to-following ratio may generate a negative perception of your brand for many reasons.
Firstly, it may lead users to believe that you have attempted to follow multiple accounts simply with the hope that they follow you back. This not only comes off as desperate but may also imply that your brand is not strong enough to capture followers organically based on merit, rather than on a “follow-for-follow” mentality.
Secondly, it is generally understood that brands should be following fewer users than the number of users following them. Just because people are a fan of a brand, doesn’t necessarily mean that the brand has to be a fan of them. This isn’t to say that brands shouldn’t show appreciation for their customers, but appreciation should be demonstrated through strong customer service and high-quality products, not simply by giving your fans a follow.
Lastly, you should be careful about what accounts your brand is following. You should not be following any controversial or inappropriate accounts, and you should generally steer clear of political, religious or other faith-based or opinion-based pages on business accounts. Following any one of these accounts can set-off a potential customer that may not align with your particular beliefs before they even have the chance to browse your products or services. Choose the accounts that your business follows wisely; and in this case, less is definitely more.
Another tactic you can employ while fine-tuning the users you follow is by following influencers in your space. Following an influencer that has over 5,000 followers shows them that you are aware of their influence on the space and are interested in capturing their support. You can contact these influencers and see if they are interested in promoting your product, often by providing them with some free merchandise or a discount.
5. Choose a High-Quality Photo That Reflects Your Brand
Instagram is the image-centric platform of our generation. As such, you should put a great deal of thought into what photo you use to represent your brand. Your photo should be high quality and contain colour or lighting that best reflects your brand as a whole. If you are creating a new logo for your brand, ensure that it communicates what you do and what you sell, while also being instantly recognizable. Images are some of the most memorable digital assets and say the most about your brand without really having to say anything at all, so using them to their full potential can do wonders for your brand.
Another useful tip is to ensure that your profile photo resonates with the rest of your account posts in terms of colour, clarity, angle and lightning. Consistency is one of the most important aspects of branding, and having strong brand guidelines that are followed consistently on social media reflect well on your business.