People follow businesses on Instagram to get a behind-the-scenes look at what they are up to. They want to be shown your products, but also want a glimpse into everyday life.
If you want to use Instagram for business but are unsure how to get the most from the channel here are some tips.
Set up your Instagram business account
Firstly, you need to set up a new account for your business. Once you have set up your account you can make it a ‘business’ account by linking to your Facebook page. This will then give you insights into how well posts are performing (similar to post ‘reach’ in Facebook).
Use Instagram Stories
Stories last for one day, and followers have to choose to tap on them to view, as opposed to having them force fed in their news feed. Try and have fun with your stories; people want to get an insight into your company culture and the kind of people who work there.
Many B2B businesses think that they are ‘boring’, or people will not be interested in behind the scenes. But this is not the case. Stories are very short, and by using features such as boomerang, bounce, rewind, superzoom and hands free, and a little imagination, you can inject some fun into your follower’s day.
Scheduling on Instagram
At the moment there is no scheduling tool available for Instagram (as there is for all the other platforms) but Buffer can help. With Buffer you can upload your image, write the text and add hashtags on your computer and then ‘push’ to Buffer. This then links to an app on your phone. You will get a notification when you have chosen to schedule your post and then you will just need to open the app and follow the commands - open instagram, paste text and publish. A really useful tool, especially for uploading blog posts.
Hashtags are key on Instagram. The latest changes to the instagram algorithm mean that users can follow #hashtags as well as individuals and businesses. In order to stand out it's important to use unique hashtags that relate to your brand, as well as a balanced mix of popular, unique and general ones.
Best times to post
Instagram shows users posts based on what they determine is relevant to them, instead of in chronological order. One of the factors Instagram looks at when evaluating content is how much engagement it’s getting. This is why timing is everything when using instagram for B2B marketing.
The exact best time to post on Instagram will be unique for your business. However, research suggests posting either before work (between 7-9AM in your time zone) or after it (starting as early as 5PM) can help you catch users while they’re commuting and getting settled in for the day.
As an Instagram Business user you have access to detailed analysis including a visual graph showing the days and times that your Instagram followers are most active, so you will soon be able to gauge when the best time to post is for your business.
Posting at peak times maximises your chances of a surge in engagement and therefore keeps you towards the top of a user’s feed for the rest of the day.
People want to see a variety of posts, this keeps the timeline interesting and enables you as a business to show your personality and different areas of your work.
Text over top
Pablo by Buffer is an excellent resource. You can use their images or upload your own images and put text over the top. Here are some examples:
You can also use simple creative images from Pablo or Shutterstock (make sure to resize in editor) to brighten up your feed and be more colourful. This is quick, simple, fun and engaging.
Sharing quotes is also very popular, and made very easy on Pablo with a built-in quote generator… Then just choose an image, font and you are ready to go!
By far the most popular posts on Instagram focus on people (or animals). A lovely office shot, someone making coffee, eating lunch, group selfies - those usual and everyday moments gain a lot of love.
Get people involved
At Equinet we have used the #InstagramTakeover to give people chance to show their out-of-office selves. While you want people to have fun, which in turn shows your employees’ personalities you need to put guidelines in place before setting your staff free on Instagram.
At your business you could let a department run your Instagram each week or maybe just for a particular day each week. This would give a great insight into your organisational culture and the people working there.
Using Instagram for Business can help differentiate you from your competition and reach a wider audience. Set a policy, introduce guidelines, and then let your employee's imagination and energy flow.