How to Instagram like a Professional post thumbnail

Globally, Instagram is the fastest-growing social site – second only to Facebook.  With over 1 billion active monthly users worldwide and over 1.2 million users in New Zealand, it is considered by many to be the best social platform for engagement.

Should your business be on Instagram?  And if you’ve already got an account, how do you grow followers and maximise engagement?

Here are my top tips to have you Instagramming like a professional in no time.

Is Instagram right for your brand?

Instagram is by nature very visual.  Products or services that naturally provide strong, appealing visuals (e.g. fashion, travel, food) are top candidates.  However, just because your brand is in an industry that is traditionally considered ‘boring’ doesn’t mean this isn’t for you.   Instagram is the perfect platform to show behind the scenes to bring a human face to your business and showcase your culture.

Brand values and style guidelines

As with all marketing efforts, it is essential your brand is represented in a consistent way reflecting your brand values.  This includes filters, editing pictures and captions.  If multiple people are updating your accounts, consider creating a social media style guide to ensure your brand’s voice and style is consistent.

Interact with followers

Have a system in place to ensure any engagement through your profile is dealt with swiftly and professionally.  This goes for comments where simple thanks will do through to customer inquiries and negative comments that may be better dealt with offline.

Use hashtags effectively

Hashtags are extremely important on Instagram – they can help gain new followers and increase engagement.  Users can follow hashtags they are interested in, so if your content is tagged correctly, your posts show up on user feeds that don’t follow your account.  With a business account, you can also measure how effective your hashtags are and find the ones that work best.

Maximise user-generated content

Photos your followers share are an ideal way to access a wealth of “free” content and a good way to boost engagement.  You can encourage users to upload content with a specific hashtag by offering giveaways but often the thrill of being featured by one of their favourite brands is a big enough reward for most people.

Take Advantage of Instagram Stories

You may think the Instagram stories feature is unnecessary for business but it offers exciting opportunities for additional brand exposure, visibility and engagement.  Stories offer a chance to share more fun, ‘of the moment’ content with your followers and unlike regular posts, you can upload here as much as you want without getting penalised by the algorithm.  Two important points for stories:

  • Remember to use relevant hashtags
  • Ensure your posts stay on brand – stories may be temporary but they are an interaction with your followers that affects their perception of your brand.

Cross-promote on other social media

Instagram lets you easily share posts on other social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr etc.  Sharing to your accounts on other platforms provides valuable opportunities to promote your Instagram to fans that don’t know about your account. Your fans on other platforms are already interested in your brand so make sure they’re connected to all your social channels.

Analyse insights

Checking to see what works for you is an essential part of any marketing activity.  Make sure you have a business account because it allows you to see impressions and reach of your posts, website clicks from your profile and a demographic breakdown of your followers.  Use this information to refine your content strategy. Ensure you’re posting at the right frequency and best time with the most engaging content for your followers.

If you would like to get started on Instagram but are not sure where to start, contact us here at Energise to see how we can help you.

NB: This article was published in the EMA “Business Plus” magazine. Enterprises of all types and sizes join the Employers and Manufacturers Association, for opportunities to learn and grow, make valuable business connections and change the world. EMA provides its members with professional advice and training to succeed in many aspects of business.