Instagram for Business: A 4-Step Crash Course


Does the world really need another article about standing out on Instagram?

Actually, yes. It does. Most Instagram instructional content is geared to individual influencers — those fortunate users who seem intuitively to grasp the platform’s potential and mainly need help refining their shots and incorporating the latest features into their self-promotional retinue.

Where does that leave business users who aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel — or, frankly, amass tens of thousands of followers?

If you’re frustrated in your search for actionable Instagram tips for business, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for a four-step guide to making the most of the world’s top visual-first social platform.

 1.Figure Out Who You’re Speaking To

 Before publishing to Instagram in earnest, do proper due diligence on your audience. Who are you speaking to? Which subset of your universe of prospects is most likely to dwell in Insta-land? To what messages do these folks respond? These questions and others must guide your Instagram marketing efforts.

 2.Be Yourself, Not Someone Else

 Everyone loves pet pictures. Some Instagram business users know this better than others. Take the Instagram handle for The Centre for Arts and Technology — this is a digital arts school, mind you, not an animal shelter, and yet it unabashedly publishes compelling pet content, coinciding with its “Furry Friday” posts to showcase its students’ pets. It works.

The Centre for Arts and Technology is true to itself. Is your business?

 3.Go Live When People Are Actually Watching

 Instagram Live is a super-cool feature that will boost your company’s visibility, draw engagement from new followers, and ultimately increase your social media marketing operation’s conversion rates.

If, that is, you use it when your followers want you to.

Top influencers typically go live during peak Instagram viewing hours — 7 to 9 p.m., local time. Realistically, you can stretch on either side of this; if you’re on the East Coast, for instance, and trying to cultivate a cross-country audience, you’ll want to wait until later in the evening to make your stand.

 4.Incorporate Calls to Action Into your Instagram Content

 The Cambridge English Dictionary defines “call to action” as “something such as a speech, piece of writing, or act that encourages people to take action about a problem.”

In the context of social media marketing, “call to action” is far more specific: the action required is whatever the marketer asks, and usually involves drawing the action-taker (prospect) further into the marketer’s sales funnel.

Bottom line: your Instagram content needs persuasive calls to action, whether you know it or not. Don’t be afraid to test multiple versions of the same basic call, using tracking links to measure follow-through. Let those all-important conversion rates determine which calls make the cut.

 Get Ready for Your Close-Up

 You have to walk before you can crawl, as the old saying goes. Fortunately, Instagram’s learning curve is pretty forgiving. If all goes well, you’ll be jogging in no time.

Just remember to stick to the basics and follow your instincts. Instagram isn’t rocket science; overthought is your enemy here. Focus on producing great visual content and heeding the tips outlined here, and you’ll do just fine.