With so much time that people dedicate to social networks, it’s important to try to get on the platforms where your customers are. You can’t join them all but you can be smart about choosing a few that works best for your business. Instagram is a great option, especially since it’s the third most used platform of the recognizable social media brands, behind only Facebook and YouTube.
Instagram is here to stay for good reason. Whether content is informational, inspiring, or simply entertaining, it’s a place where people can quickly consume info that is equally nice to look at. It’s a place where communities are built, through sharing posts and commenting. Hosting this type of engagement is especially important as a business, where connecting to your customers has become the norm. Company accounts often act as a real person vs an entity. After all, people like buying from other people, not just a business (a point we’ve made before in our Easy Content Ideas article here.)
So, what do you do first if you need to start or reshape your business Instagram account?
First, it’s important to figure out just what your company stands for, who you are, and what kind of tone you want to strike. Is it playful? A friendly neighbor vibe? Straight-forward? Build a personality that shapes your company’s online persona. Then, have that personality reflect in the captions, videos and pictures with a distinct voice and look.
Next, let your Instagram bio show off what you do in the briefest snapshot you can. Split up lines of content where you can, for minimal descriptions on each line. This makes it easier to read and gets exactly what you do across in seconds.
Don’t be afraid to use emojis to portray what you do too. Emojis can get that point across quickly, while saving you precious space (there are only 150 characters allowed in the bio!). And do point out your location and highlight it often in your posts, especially if you are in a bigger city. This lets people who search for content in or around your location find you more easily.
Now let’s review a few more best practices for Instagram, that helps shape your content, make it exciting, and cohesive.
Get your Instagram grid right. What is a grid? It’s the group of nine pictures/content that you see when you go into any Instagram profile. Think about the types of categories you want to reflect in your content. Then, make sure all of these categories are represented every nine pictures. This is important because Instagram scrollers go to an account to check out if the profile is something that interests them. The top nine pictures, alongside the bio, is the first thing they see. If you can portray everything they can expect from your page in that brief snapshot overview, they will most likely love what they see, and then follow your account!
As an example, Stitch It International’s content categories are showing off our company culture, expertise in the industry (tips, reviews, etc.), products we sell, and projects created from our products. We don’t always get the grid perfect and deviate from our categories and aesthetic from time to time, but we strive to get there when we can.
Write killer captions. We mentioned earlier to use your personality to help shape the tone you will use in your captions. Also use a mix of short and long form captions, which varies your posts in a more compelling way. For short captions to work, your actual picture or video will need to tell most of the story. And vice versa, if the content of what you posted needs more explanation, explain away in the caption! Despite what you may think, long form captions actually receive MORE interaction because people who are reading it are truly invested. But you don’t want people to have to read so often on all of your posts either. So, having a mix of both short and long form captions makes for a more exciting mix.
Use hashtags and comments accordingly. Hashtags are used with the pound sign and are a great way for people to discover you based on what they actually want to see when they search Instagram. Don’t be afraid to have a generous number of hashtags. The more you have, the bigger the opportunity there is for people to discover your company. If you are showing off an embroidered tote bag with a spring theme, here are hashtags you may use for people to find this specific post:
#embroidery #embroiderywork #embroideryproject #embroideryideas #totebag #totebags #springbag #flowerbag #springdesigns #springtotebag #flowertotebag #gardenbag #gardentotebag
Every time anyone searches those terms, your post may be found. If they like what they see, they’ll click further and interact with your post in some way. This is a great way to start building your online community through new followers, likes, and comments. It gives people who are interested in spring themed bags a place to talk about them and they’ll want to keep coming back to your account to see what else you have to offer.
Answer every comment on your posts. It builds a connection with that person (they must truly like what they see if they are commenting). Or if it’s a complaint, you can address the issue so others who may have the same concerns now have the answer. Responding to comments overall shows that your company is receptive and cares about their Instagram community.
Search for current clients, other businesses in the area, and find people on the platform that you can provide services for. Follow them and comment on their posts, showing support and interest. They will most likely check out your own profile, follow you back, and may become a customer! If they are already a customer, they will appreciate you and continue to support your business.
Implementing these Instagram best practices will help your business get the best use out of the platform. And soon your team will get comfortable and have fun coming up with creative posts to show off too!
For ways to gather continuous content ideas for your Instagram, head to our article on Easy Content Ideas here.