If you have never used Instagram before for business, or you HAVE but you are not sure that you’re not missing a trick – this blog is for you.
I don’t know if you, like me, wondered what all the fuss was about when Instagram hit the streets in 2010. Seemed to me to be a platform for the selfie generation. Don’t get me wrong – it still is! Even though it got a lot of users pretty quickly (1 million in year 1) – it still didn’t come onto my radar.
I was running a recruitment business at that time, and whilst we were heavily into social media – LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (in that order at the time), we didn’t really consider Insta a viable business option.
In 2012 the android version was launched – which meant the selfie generation with android phones could now participate! And of course, Facebook took over officially late in 2012.
It wasn’t until the Insta algorithm changed in 2016 though, that I saw it as a potential business tool. This is where – like the other platforms, Insta changed things from – you see everything chronologically to – you see things they think you are going to like most. This comes down to the type of stuff you like and engage with.
Since then a myriad of features have been added: business accounts; advertising; Insta shopping; direct messaging; archiving; Insta Stories; Video of up to 60 seconds; IGTV; grids; boomerang; carousels; albums; highlights.
Confused? I’m not surprised. There is so much going on you’d have to be on it all day every day to know and fully use all the functionality. In fact, we are developing an online training course on the very subject.
However, let’s start with just the basics for now. Let’s look at what you should be doing in your profile.
- Make sure you have a business profile. There are a number of things not available to you if you don’t. For example, with a business profile you can see analytics. Who are your followers? When are they online? You can use a scheduling tool – so you don’t have to post live when you’re on holiday or on a day off (unless you want to).
- Use a photo that is really you (and not you 20 years ago). People do business with people they know like and trust. How they gonna do that if they can’t SEE you? The exception to this would be if the business is better known than you (congratulations if that’s the case – seriously!) or you work for a big brand and you manage their account / or you’re operating on their behalf.
- Have an identifiable user name (this is what is in the url). This will probably be your name, or your business name. You can have up to 30 characters and Insta will tell you whether you can have it or not. Your Display name – is the name at the tope of your profile. Again you can have up to 30 characters and should include your name or what you want to be found for.
- Choose a business category – it saves valuable space in your bio. Mine says ‘Social Media Company’ – which means I can put the other stuff I do in the Bio itself. Which brings me to…..
- Bio. You have 150 characters to grab someones attention enough to get them to follow you. Use emoji’s and tell them a bit about you, business wise and personally, and make sure you have a call to action – use your link wisely. For example mine currently says :- 📚Author 🎤Speaker 🏆awardwinningcoach ✈️worldtraveller 🥂winelover 👨👩👧👦 mumoftwo Get your Social Media tips and training here…
- Make sure your 9 post grid looks good. It might sound obvious – but Instagram is a visual platform. Don’t try to put a tonne of wording on your images. Make sure that you balance your profile with light and shade – all posts looking the same will lead to business blindness – i.e. your viewers will be bored and won’t come back if it all looks the same. And REMEMBER your audience please – this is not about you. It is about what they want to look at, read, see and hear. If you are not adding value to their day – go away and stop wasting your time.
So, what adds value? You need to be educational, informational, inspirational or entertaining. That’s it. They need to think, “Really? / That’s interesting / That’s great / I never knew that / Wow / That’s funny / That’s touching / I love that” – or anything similar. If they look at your post and say “Meh” or “So what” – as I did a few times this morning on my feed, then you have lost them right there.
So – if you have a profile already – go and see if it meets the above and if not, change things up a bit. If you don’t have one yet then hopefully that is enough to get you started. And if you need any help with your Instagram then either email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or come along to our Leading Women in Business event this month which is all about how to use Instagram for your business.
You can read more about the event here and book your place (if there are any seats left – there were 2, I think this morning as I write this, and maybe 4 or 5 for the networking afterwards).