Using Instagram for Business: Making the Most of Visual Content

April 13, 2015 by BizTraffic Team

Tired of Facebook's algorithms and Twitter's character limit? Do you want to be on the social platform that enjoys the highest amount of brand engagement rates at 4.21%? 

Then Instagram is the place for you. 

This social platform caters towards a younger demographic (18-29) with a leaning towards females. Part of Instagrams charm is that it does not have an algorithm like Facebook that filters out your posts. Similar to Twitter, it provides real time updates starting with the newest content appearing at the top of the feed.

But unlike both Facebook or Twitter, Instagram posts are visual content rich and require that the post either have an image or a video displayed along with any text desired. Instagram posts can not be made up solely of written text. 

Instagram Advertising

Last summer I wrote about Instagram's first attempts at advertising. While the weird looking Big Mac bun that was served to me did not resonate well with me personally, other examples of Instagram advertising have proven to be a bit more beautiful and successful. 

Instagram advertising: using instagram for business

Take Tmobile's sponsored post to the left. (Seriously, just about anything is better than that Big Mac bun!)

The surprising thing is that even though it has been many months since Instagram rolled out its first advertisements, it is still taking it slow. Only select partners are able to advertise on Instagram. But Instagram has already made updates to how it can display ads.

These new ad displays, called carousel ads, allow for a brand to share multiple images that tell a story. Users can swipe left to see additional images as well as a link to a website of the brand's choosing. This creates a richer ad experience, but also keep the ads from being overly invasive.

Using Instagram For Business

Since Instagram ads are not really a possibility for most businesses at this point, creating interesting and powerful Instagram posts is vital to doing well on the social platform. Here are some tips and tricks for getting started on Instagram, and posting content that engages the Instagram audience. 

Set Up Your Business Instagram Account

1. Choose an Account Name: Ideally, you would be able to use your businesses name. Keeping this consistent across all your social platforms is also ideal.

Instagram business account

2. Pick a Profile Picture: We suggest using your logo. Keep in mind that this image will appear as a 150 x 150 pixel image and will be a circle as seen in the Wedding Wire account to your left. So choose an image that will not get caught off, and will be simple enough to be seen clearly in such a small space.

3. Provide a Bio: Instagrammers want to know who you are. This should be something simple and descriptive. Feel free to include some descriptive hashtags or even a link to your website.

Start Posting Awesome Content

Okay, this step is easier said than done. So before you get carried away with image after image, here are a few tips for optimizing your Instagram posts. 

1. Choose Quality Subjects

Instagram is about beauty. Find beautiful subjects that are authentic and resonate with your brand. These are the posts's that are going to be effective. Instagram should provide a peek into the world of your brand, so offer behind the scenes moments that are vibrant and visually appealing. 

2. Learn to Use Instagram's Tools

Filters and tools: using instagram for business

Filters are a must in the world of Instagram. Filters provide effects that enhance your image, and they are simple and easy to use. Just choose the one you like and your image is most likely ready to post. You can also use the other tools which allow you to change the brightness, contrast, and so forth. 

3. Hashtags

Use hashtags. The end. 

Okay, I'll say a little more. Hashtags are definitely not an option on Instagram. Similar to Twitter, hashtags are a huge part of getting found online and engaging the overall audience. But unlike Twitter, you can and should use tons of hashtags on Instagram. In fact, interactions are higher on posts with 11+ hashtags. So really, number is not an issue. 

4. Text

Post details: using instagram for businessAdd a caption to your photo, but keep it interesting and relevant. There is no length limit on Instagram posts, but don't add so much text no one will even bother reading it.

5. Use the Tag Feature

Add a location or people to your posts to reach a wider variety of users. This is especially useful for businesses with a physical location in a specific city. 

6. Connect Accounts

When posting to Instagram, you have the option to connect with your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and Flickr accounts as well. Use this as an opportunity to share great content to your other accounts. 

7. Interact with Others

Use hashtags and location to find other users who are located near you or have similar interests. This can be a great way to grow your audience. Like their photos and comment on their images. Having a personality and being involved will get you far on Instagram. 

8. Be Creative

Last, but not least, don't let every post be the same old image. There are tons of different ways to spice up your Instagram content. Consider shooting short videos or creating photo collages. Use different filters, and look into other photo editing tools you can use before uploading your image to Instagram. 

Instagram provides a unique approach to visual social media that can greatly benefit your business, especially if you are selling beautiful products, food, or experiences like travel. The saying that an image is worth a thousand words is often true, especially when it comes to social media. 

The fact that Instagram has the highest rates of engagement should come as no surprise especially considering that Instagram is mostly made up of visual content, which tends to have higher engagement rates on all social platforms. Learning to utilize this platform can help bring your brand greater awareness, and drive traffic to your website. 

Filed Under: social media marketing, Instagram, social media, visual social media