10 Ways Your Business Can Leverage Instagram in 2018

Instagram seems to constantly be adding new functionality or changing how things work in the app. If you've become overwhelmed by the changes and are wondering where you should focus your energy and resources, we've got 10 ways your business can leverage Instagram in 2018.

1. Post When Your Followers are Active

If you want the most engagement you’ve got to post when your followers are engaging. This is vital to navigating recent changes to the algorithm because you’re posts only get shown to 10% of your audience until it gets enough engagement. Then it is shown to the other 90% of your followers. Use an Instagram analytics tool to find out when your followers are most active and which posts got the most engagement. If you have a business account you have an analytics tool already built in, if not the are several third party Instagram analytics tools available.

2. Know When to Use Ads

Unfortunately, the hardest part about the Instagram feed is that it is not chronological, which makes posting time sensitive content, such as an event or sale, a challenge. When this is the case Instagram ads are the way to go. Instagram ads use the new algorithm to promote your event, and offers you a wide range of targeting options and goals.

3. Keep it Simple with Instagram Stories

Instagram stories may seem like a completely new social channel you need to plan for, and in some ways it is, however it is meant to be simple. This is not where you must have beautifully curated photos and videos but rather, this is for in-the-moment snaps that keep followers engaged. If you get into a routine of "thinking for social" as you go about your day, those behind the scenes or unpolished moments that tell a great story will present themselves naturally. You'll be able to share more content to stay top of mind with followers without overwhelming their feeds or spending too much time perfectly editing each photo and video. The new polling feature is also a great way to gather info from your followers.

4. Run a Contest

Everyone loves free stuff, and if they are following you they must love what you have to offer. Running a contest on your Instagram has proven to increase number of followers and engagement. More engagement leads to more awareness. Check out Sprout Social's guide, How to Create a Worthwhile Instagram Contest.

5. Provide Value

The best way to keep your audience engaged is to provide value to them beyond what you can sell them. Post how to videos, give advice, or techniques on how to capture images just right. These types of posts that are not focused on a sales pitch, but offer free information, can serve as a way to drive your Instagram audience back to your blog and website. Bring people to your site through valuable content but make sure you have well-placed Calls to Action within your blog or landing page that will lead them to your offerings. This is a great way to turn Instagram followers into leads, and ultimately, customers.

6. Be Intentional with Captions

Captions are a significant part of each post, so don't treat them as an after-thought. They can bring context to your photo or video and can be used as a call to action. Use questions to inspire followers to comment and join a conversation. Engagement will increase your visibility. Also, as your followers comment be sure to reply and engage with them, this will also increase your visibility. For obvious reasons, make sure to proofread your caption, but also because if you edit it within the first 24 hours after posting, your chance of it being seen by your followers drops drastically. 

7. Use Your Hashtags

Use hashtags to broaden the reach of your posts. Instagram has added a new feature that allows users to follow hashtags so figuring out which ones are most popular with your target audience will be a great opportunity for more exposure. Keep using the hashtags that you use often but also switch it up every now and then. If you are having trouble coming up with unique hashtags, look up what other people in your industry are posting or check out which hashtags some of your ideal followers are watching. Pro-tip: Only hashtags posted in your captions will help your reach. If you post hashtags in your comments section they are useless.

8. Follow Trends But Stay True to Your Brand

After finding hashtags and engaging with others in your industry, look at what they are posting and follow the trends. The most consistent trends will be what is working best in your industry and could be advantageous for your business to try. However, don't abandon your brand for some new Instagram trend. Your brand must stay consistent as followers have come to know you. Any new tactics or styles you pursue, must reflect your brand's identity so that your audience isn't thrown off by the change and you don't lose your credibility.

9. Post More Video

Instagram video is on autoplay, so right away video gives you a leg up on capturing the attention of your followers. Videos don’t have to be super long, in fact, 10 to 30 second videos perform best. Videos that are posted to your feed should be more polished than what you post in your stories, however, they don't need to be full video productions. They can still be captured daily or weekly to keep posts timely. Make sure you use good lighting, audio, and quality camera. Or hire us!

 

10. Hire a Professional

Instagram is a visual app that focuses on visual media so quality is important. Instagram has also proven to be a significant tool for businesses to win customers. Why wouldn’t you hire a pro to help you out? Following these tips will help you navigate all that Instagram has to offer businesses but if it still seems daunting, don’t be afraid to enlist some help.

 

HYPEMAN is a video marketing company that focuses on creating video content that can drive real business results. We help companies use video in strategic ways to further their overall marketing strategy. If you are curious about how video can further your marketing goals, let's talk!

Kristin Bock