Instagram is one of the largest social media platforms with over 1 billion monthly users. While Instagram is largely seen as a place for social discourse, the platform is also a powerful tool for businesses. Over 25 million companies use Instagram for business and Instagram has been labeled as the “new home for brands.” Brands have found great success on Instagram as the platform boasts a high engagement rate, brand-loyal users, the ability to utilize APIs, and insights that make tracking business goals simple. When used effectively, Instagram marketing can be wonderous for businesses. Below are a few tips and tricks that will allow you to reap the most benefits of marketing your business on Instagram.
The first step in marketing your business on Instagram is to create an Instagram business account. You can convert an existing personal account if that account has a history suitable for your business or you can create a business account from scratch. If you convert an existing personal account to a business account, the transition is seamless as all your followers and posts carry over. However, carrying over past posts to a business account can be a blessing and a curse. If the account has posted content that is unsuitable for your business, then those problematic posts will be fully visible even after converting to a business account. Be careful not to tarnish your business’s image right out of the gate by converting an account that is not brand-appropriate.
API stands for Application Program Interface and they allow one program to work with a different program. APIs are invaluable tools businesses use to utilize data and new features that would be inaccessible otherwise.
In 2018, Instagram shut down its public API. This meant that third-party apps could no longer access the Instagram API without permission. The loss of the public Instagram API was a tough pill to swallow, but thankfully, Graph API was introduced as a replacement. However, the death of the public API also brought about the end of bots on Instagram. Marketers can take solace in knowing that engagement is now largely authentic and organic.
Graph API is more restrictive than the original public API, but Graph API is the only way for Instagram business accounts to collect valuable data. With Graph API, business accounts can track hashtags, among other metrics, but there are some limitations. You are limited to 30 tracked hashtags across seven days. If you want to swap one tracked hashtag for another, you are forced to wait seven days. This restriction means you must choose your tracked tags carefully, so monitor the hashtags that generate the largest impact.
Many developers have adapted to Graph API and have built Instagram approved apps that bring long-loved features to businesses on Instagram. These third-party apps allow you to post pictures from other websites, validate customer addresses, moderate comments, and analyze performance metrics.
Instagram is primarily a visual platform as the majority of posts on Instagram are images rather than text. The first thing people generally see when they open their Instagram feed is a picture, so it is paramount that your business only posts professional quality pictures. Take the time to shoot unique high-quality pictures and edit them to suit your needs. A picture alone is not enough as a professional photo must be accompanied by a caption and appropriate hashtags for the post to be effective. It is important to note that links don’t work in captions; the only place you can share a link is in your profile.
Engagement is key to companies on Instagram. Every company wants their customers to interact and engage with their posts. There are a few ways to generate engagement, but the core principle is talking with your customers rather than talking at your customers. Bring your customers into the fold by hosting contests for user-created content. Offer a prize for the best picture of someone wearing your brand’s jacket or invite customers to caption an image with the best reply receiving a discount. People enjoy friendly creative competition, so use it to your advantage by having the competition double as marketing. Use a unique hashtag for these competitions so you can easily track responses and analyze the data after the contest.
It can be hard to make your business stand out on Instagram, but with the proper marketing techniques, you can elevate your business above the rest. By utilizing a business account and the accompanying Graph API, you gain access to invaluable data and API capabilities. Put your best foot forward by posting high-quality images with captions and strategic hashtags. Encourage your customers to interact with your brand by hosting fun and creative contests.