Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels – and not only for personal use. It also offers a wide range of opportunities for businesses in terms of marketing. You don’t need a large marketing to be able to use it, because it is a free app. The app is also very user-friendly and easy to use for various marketing purposes. For example, you can use Instagram to create more brand awareness or engagement with your brand, increase conversion to your webshop, learn more about your audience or start a conversation with your existing customers and potential new customers. The many different options the app offers your business makes Instagram indispensable to your marketing mix!
Already using Instagram and want to know how to improve the reach and engagement of your posts? Want help writing the best captions, creating smart hashtags or Instagram shopping? Our Instagram Series is perfect for you! We’ll tell you everything you need to know about Instagram and how best to Instagram into your marketing strategy effectively!
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a social media platform that you can use to share content in the form of photos and videos with your audience. You can also edit the photos and videos in the app before sharing them. Whereas you make a connection on Facebook by becoming ‘friends’, you stay up to date on Instagram by following an Instagram profile. If you want to stay up to date with a particular organisation, your favourite store’s latest collections or you simply don’t want to miss out on an update in your best friend’s life, you can follow their profile on Instagram. You then stay up to date with everything you are interested in.
Instagram is incredibly popular with businesses. Roughly 25 million businesses now have Instagram business profiles. Instagram is mainly used by businesses to achieve marketing objectives such as findability, brand awareness, engagement and appealing to the younger, harder to reach audiences such as Generation Z and millennials. Almost all Instagram users are younger than 39 and about 80% of all Instagram users follow a business or brand. It is a nice, easy way to raise awareness for your business or brand! With over 1 billion users, of which about 6 million are Dutch, Instagram is a must-have for your business’ marketing mix in 2019! Take a look at the example here:
Instagram – The basics.
Instagram is most frequently used through the app on smartphones. There is also a desktop version, but it does not offer all of the features that the smartphone version has. An Instagram account is basically a personal Instagram profile. The personal Instagram profile can be converted into a business profile. This offers a number of extras. For example, you gain an understanding of the characteristics of your audience, when followers tend to be online and which Instagram posts do well. We’ll come back to this later.
How to create an Instagram account (and business profile):
To create an Instagram account, follow the steps below:
- Download the Instagram app on your smartphone or tablet.
- Open the app, sign in with your Facebook account, telephone number or email address and choose a username. It’s best if you use the name of your business.
- Choose a password.
- Add a profile picture, short bio and link to your website.
To convert a standard Instagram profile into a business profile, take the following steps:
- Go to your profile page and click the menu in the top right-hand corner (the 3 horizontal lines).
- Click the cogwheel at the bottom to change settings.
- Click ‘Account’. Then scroll down until you see the ‘Switch to business profile’ option and click it.
What are Instagram’s features?
When you open Instagram, content from Instagram profiles you are following will always appear. There is a menu bar at the bottom of the home screen. The menu is always visible and helps you get around the app. It looks like this:
The five sections in the menu take you to:
- Home (house icon): this is the home screen when you open the app. This page shows all recently shared photos, videos and ‘stories’ from Instagram profiles that you follow. If you scroll down, you can view the photos and videos of Instagram profiles you are following. Above this summary you see lots of circles next to each other. This takes you through ‘stories’ from Instagram profiles that you follow.
- Activity (heart icon): this is a summary of all the likes, comments, tags and information you receive for your profile and posts, and it also shows you likes, comments, tags and information for profiles that you follow. You will also receive a notification here when someone starts following you. NB: you can’t block a business profile on Instagram. Anyone can follow you.
- Explore (magnifying glass icon): in this summary, Instagram shows photos and videos from profiles that you don’t follow, but which might interest you. Here, you can also search for content from people, tags and places.
- Add content (plus icon): here you can add new photos or videos to your feed. You can use a photo from your camera roll or take a photo or video and share it straight away.
- Your profile (the circle): this takes you to your Instagram profile. It gives a summary in your own content, Instagram users you follow and who follow you, your bio, saved stories and photos you are tagged in.
How to share content through Instagram
Instagram allows you to create and share content and keep your own content and content belonging to other people that you like or find interesting, all in one place. You can share content in different forms in the app. We’ll go through the options with you:
- Bio and profile picture: in your Instagram profile, you have a small space to add information about yourself or your business and a profile picture. Usually, users add their business name and website here. You then have more space to add important information in the ‘Bio’ section. This could be a strong tagline about your business, instantly stating who you are and what you do.
- Your story: you can also use Instagram to share photos and videos for 24 hours only. This is called your ‘story’. The photos and videos you add to your story will not appear in your Instagram feed. Your story will be available for 24 hours in the top left-hand corner, behind your profile picture. Your story can consist of photos and videos that you can make more exciting using special emoticons, filters and text.
- Your Instagram feed: the summary of photos and videos you have shared. You can tag other Instagram users in the photos and videos you post. For example, you could tag the person or business that appears in your post.
- Live on Instagram: part of creating a story on Instagram is ‘Live’. As the name suggests, with this option you can go live. When you are live, your followers can watch and respond to your broadcast.
- Highlights: you have the option to add your story to your ‘highlights’ so that stories that disappear from the summary after 24 hours remain available.
- Liken & responding: as with Facebook, you can ‘like’ or respond to content shared by other Instagram users.
- Chat feature: you can find Instagram’s chat feature in the top right-hand corner of Instagram’s home screen. You can use it to chat with other users. You also receive reactions to stories here.
- Save content: in Instagram, you can save other people’s photos and videos.
Features of an Instagram business profile:
- Add business information: Here you can share important business and contact information such as address details, a website, telephone number and email address. When you enter an address, it will then appear in bio in your profile. Enter your email address and telephone number and two useful contact buttons will appear in your profile. This allows visitors to your profile to contact you directly.
- Promoting messages: with a business profile, you can promote messages for extra reach.
- Instagram Insights The Insights tab gives you information about your followers and how your content is performing. You can also view statistics from ads and promoted posts and stories to see how they have performed and how engaged your followers are. You can view the following statistics in the Insights tab in your profile:
- Activity: this section allows you to view important statistics within your profile including Interactions such as profile visits and website clicks, and Discovery, which tells you how many people see your content and where they find it.
- Content: this section shows you statistics relating to your messages, stories and promotions.
- Audience: this section tells you about your followers and audience.
Statistics for messages and stories are measured from the moment you convert your profile into a business profile. By measuring and analysing your business profile statistics, you can optimise your posts and stories.
Why Instagram is an essential communication channel to your marketing mix.
Op dit moment is Instagram een van de populairste sociale media voor bedrijven. Het is namelijk een zeer effectief kanaal om consumenten te bereiken en met hen in contact te komen. Maar Instagram heeft meer te bieden. Aan de hand van onderstaande voordelen leggen we je uit waarom Instagram anno 2019 onmisbaar is in de marketingmix van jouw onderneming.
1) Instagram serves as your business card and provides more visibility, brand awareness and reach.
By simply being present, your Instagram profile already contributes to the online visibility of your business. Internet users use Instagram and Facebook more than on any other website. That means it is the place they go to for more information about a brand or product. With the help of appealing content, you set up your Instagram profile, try to generate more followers and get people interested in your products or services. Followers are notified about all of the updates you share, and Instagram also makes it easy for you to reach people who aren’t following you – mostly through likes and reactions from other people. The more followers, reactions and likes you get, the greater your reach and therefore your brand awareness.
2) With Instagram, you enhance your audience’s engagement.
Instagram’s ability to increase your audience engagement is largely down to the nature of the app. The app is exclusively for mobile (it is the only version in which all of the features are accessible), user-friendly, accessible and by nature everything revolves around visual content. Visual content performs better and is stored faster than text. In addition, the app offers various options for interaction with the audience. Interaction between brand and audience guarantees more engagement.
3) Instagram allows easy interaction between your brand and your audience.
Interaction happens in various ways on Instagram. Whereas many marketing communication channels are one-sided by nature, Instagram provides various options for two-sided communication. On the one hand, you can share and like content, post a comment and contact a brand or person using the chat feature. On the other hand, it also allows the audience to communicate with you.
4) With Instagram, you gain trust.
With an Instagram business presence, you create exposure and transparency. You show that you have nothing to hide. You share public content, have visible conversations with your followers and anyone can respond to your content – either positively or negatively. By being open to the audience in this way, you win trust.
5) Instagram offers you an easy way of displaying your new and existing products and services.
With Instagram, you can present your new and existing products and services in a way that is visually appealing. You make the audience aware of what you have to offer and you can use the opportunity to encourage them to take action.
6) With Instagram, you can convey your brand personality.
By sharing content about your products and services and other elements that are associated and connected with your brand, you can also use Instagram to express your brand personality. Nowadays, consumers no longer choose a brand just for the product, logo or price. They want to know what your brand or business represents and whether that corresponds with their own perceptions and what they want to promote.
7) Instagram increases conversion.
By offering an attractive Instagram profile, the audience can become interested and engaged in your brand, products and services. Put the URL of your website in the bio. An interested, engaged audience is then more likely to click through to your website, where they can purchase your products and services.
8) Instagram is free.
Last but not least… creating an account and sharing content is free – even for a business profile. Businesses can also pay for advertisements, but this is not a requirement.
Instagram is a hugely popular platform. It is an easy way of telling your brand or business’ visual story to existing and potential customers. It allows you to get in touch with the audience in an accessible way and you can learn more about the wishes and needs of your audience with the statistics provided by Instagram. With Instagram, you can promote your business, products and services in a very targeted, effective way. Thanks to the user-friendly, accessible options Instagram offers (for free) for marketing and the positive outcomes that may arise, Instagram is a must-have for your business’ marketing mix.
Get to work on your business profile.
Using Instagram for your business might sound very easy. However, there are a number of important factors to consider before you can implement Instagram into your marketing mix efficiently and effectively. Before you get started with Instagram, we’ve listed some useful Instagram tips for you:
Tip 1: Add a good, recognisable profile picture that matches the corporate identity of your brand or business. It could be your company logo, for example.
Tip 2: Optimise your bio. This is the first thing that potential and existing customers will read about you. You want to make a good impression and present your business in a way that is clear. You don’t have a lot of space, so make sure that your bio shows at a glance what you represent and what you have to offer. It is also important that the bio indicates how potential and existing customers can contact you and when. It is useful to display the opening hours, address information, an email address, telephone number and the URL of your website.
Tip 3: Publish unique, eye-catching content. And don’t just post anything – Continuously reflect on the purpose of what you are sharing and make sure that the content is both good quality and original. After all, you want to appear professional. In addition, you promote your brand story through all of the content you share. That means consistency in the content you share is crucial. If your content is confusing, irrelevant to the audience or not authentic, you will not create engagement.
Tip 4: Link your Instagram account with other social networks. At the push of a button, you can post your content on Instagram and all your other social media channels. In doing so, you increase the reach of your post.
Tip 5: Make sure your brand’s corporate identity is reflected in everything you share. Be consistent in this as well – not only on Instagram but on all social media channels you use within your marketing mix. It supports you in communicating your brand story and will eventually result in recognition.
Tip 6: Analyse how your messages perform. Which content is successful and has a large reach? Which content does the audience like? Which content doesn’t the audience like? What is the effect of each post? Which content do you create the most engagement with? By keeping a close eye on the statistics, you get a good idea of your audience’s wishes and needs. You will achieve more by communicating with your audience when they are waiting for you to post something. This is a key factor in achieving the goals you set yourself with Instagram.