Ten years after its inception, Instagram continues to be a social media goliath and funnels over 200 million users to business profiles every day. The platform has cemented itself into the routine of roughly 800 million people and has simultaneously evolved into a priceless marketing tool.
Two-thirds of the 200 million daily visits to business profiles are from users not already following that business.
Instagram is constantly changing to fit its users’ preferences, so the marketing efforts of businesses utilizing Instagram must also change to be most effective.
There are a variety of helpful tools within the Instagram platform that can help you attract and grow your audience. Branding is an important part of any business account, providing consistency in the look and feel of your posts that will resonate with your followers.
Curating your posts to match with your brand, and also providing the look and feel your followers have come to associate with your business, is a great practice. It will quickly signal to new viewers what your business is about and will help attract your target audience.
Read more here for inspiration and further explanation on what a great curated account looks like here.
4 Instagram Tools for Business
1. Explore Page
There are a variety of pages within the Instagram interface that can be quickly accessed at any point during browsing. Users who have exhausted their regular feed have the option to visit the Explore feed, which is profiles they don’t follow but may be interested in.
For businesses, this is a valuable avenue for reaching new customers.
Getting featured on the Explore page is at the discretion of Instagram’s algorithm. There’s no sure-fire way to get onto someone’s Explore page, although using hashtags in your posts and sharing your location while posting helps.
Finding the right hashtags for your business can be a challenge, however, a good place to start would be browsing your competition’s page to see what hashtags they’re leveraging.
You can also search keywords in the explore page and go to the “tabs” section to see relevant hashtags that will help your business show up on the explore page, drawing more traffic to your business’ profile. Learning from competitors, and other successful business pages is an excellent place to begin.
Shopping on Instagram is a relatively new feature, and makes the path from posting to selling far more clear. ‘Shopping Tags’ have the same function as user tags on Instagram, when a user taps once on the image, a title, short description, and the price will pop up over the item. Instagram has its own crash course on how to effectively use this tool here.
Users can directly message the business’ profile from a shopping post, and avoid their question being lost in the comment section. This means a more direct line of contact straight from a customer's fingertips to the business’ inbox, simplifying communication and making it more convenient for followers to reach out. Additionally, businesses will be able to filter their inbox and flag important messages, as well as create a list of pre-written responses for FAQs.
Actions for business profiles allow customers to more easily interact with your business’ service. An action on Instagram is a prompt for a user to make a purchase all while staying on the app, eliminating the need for clicking a link, leading to the company’s website.
At the moment, they’re reserved for booking services, such as restaurant reservations, ticket purchases, and some shopping. Instagram has promised the ‘actions’ ability will be arriving for more industries shortly and will make Instagram an even more important tool for marketers.
Soon Instagram will be an even more powerful sales tool, and customers will be able to inquire about your service, make appointments and more, all through the app.
For now, however, it’s important for a company’s Instagram account to guide a user back to their website to further the interaction and hopefully lead to a conversion. Linking followers to your website is simple if you keep these easy tips in mind.
4. Business Insights
Instagram’s business insights provide meaningful metrics that allow you to understand how your followers interact with your brand on the platform. Instagram records a number of meaningful statistics on each post, which can help a brand selectively curate their account based on what content is successful.
These metrics are specific to the type of content posted, for example a conventional still image post yields different information than an advertisement post or an Instagram story.
A story records information such as completion rate, exits, taps forward and taps backward. Conventional posts, as well as ads, record information such as reach, impressions, engagement, follower growth and click-through rate. All posts record information such as traffic generated toward the main page, profile visits and website traffic generated.
Another important aspect of Instagram’s Business Insights is adding your company’s information in the page bio. Not only does this help with SEO, but it also allows your followers to get in contact with your business directly from your social account. You can add information such as your address, phone number, store hours, and menu, if applicable.
This addition to your profile is helpful for your local clients and legitimizes your business’ profile.
The first step in accessing Instagram’s business insights is converting your profile into a business page. Insights are delivered on each post, both images and stories, and will become more and more in-depth over time.
Stories are an incredibly powerful tool that some businesses overlook. If your company isn’t leveraging this free tool that 500 million Instagram users view every day, here’s a crash course in Instagram stories.
Embedded in stories, businesses have the opportunity to add a link, which users can follow by swiping up. In 2018, 15-25% of story viewers followed links posted in a story. This makes Instagram Stories a golden opportunity for inserting a call to action and one of the most effective tools for generating engagement. ‘
Instagram is one of the largest and most effective social media marketing platforms available by utilizing all of the tools available, a business can leverage all of its content for almost guaranteed growth and brand engagement.