How to use Instagram

Instagram Best Practices

Instagram best practices continue to change. This is true of all social platforms. Since more businesses are looking to engage more in Instagram, here are some latest best practices.

First, Know the Instagram Platform

Instagram is the place to showcase your brand expertise and personality. Generic posts won’t cut it on this platform. To find success, you need to be authentic and share unique insights.

Establish a Business Profile

Establishing a business profile on Instagram is a crucial first step. You’ll be able to build your brand image, following, and sales funnel in ways a personal profile won’t allow.

Business profiles can:

  • Include call-to-action buttons which visitors and followers can tap to make contact or do business with you
  • Earn a verification badge from Instagram certifying your authenticity
  • Access real-time data to understand how well your organic content is working for you
  • Launch and track ad campaigns

Populate your profile to appeal to your target audience. In 150 characters or less plus a photo or logo, you need to portray who you are, what you offer, and why you’re different in a way that is meaningful to the audience you want to connect with.

Share Interesting Content

To be relevant on Instagram, you will need to share interesting content regularly.

What to post? A great way to start is to ask your followers what they are looking for. Ask them to submit questions or for feedback on posts. Other ideas:

  • behind the scenes
  • demo products
  • step-by-step tutorials
  • tell a story
  • share your take on an important topic in your industry
  • share your followers’ content

Every post will need a visual. Decide on your style and stick to it. The platform offers filters that can help give your images a distinct look and feel. Strive to make each post eye-catching and identifiable as yours.

You can also use video on Instagram. The first 15 seconds will be visible on your feed. For longer videos, you can post a 60-second preview with an invite to watch the entire video. You can also post a series, allowing viewers to tap on the name of the series to watch episodes.

Research and Use Hashtags

Instagram users search for content using hashtags (#). They can also follow hashtags.  Research the hashtags that are relevant to your expertise and your brand.

Use them in your profile content and your posts. Don’t go overboard – select the hashtags that are most relevant to a particular post.

Create an Editorial Calendar

Building a following on Instagram requires consistent activity. To make sure you keep up a steady pace, create an editorial calendar to define your posts. Determine the pacing, the goals to target, as well as the content (words and image) for each post.

With this planning tool in place, you can also schedule posts in advance, streamlining the time needed to have an effective presence.

Track Impact and Adjust

Instagram Insights offers a detailed view of how your content is performing.

  • Content: Most popular posts as measured by total impressions. You can also see metrics for individual posts including total impressions and users reached.
  • Activity: Profile visits, website clicks, and information about where and how users find your content.
  • Audience: Data about your followers including gender, age, and location, when they’re most active on Instagram, and how fast your following is growing.

Look for trends that help you understand what to do more of (and less of). Both high and low performing posts help you fine-tune your messaging and design.

Pay to Promote Your Best Content

Set aside a budget to promote your best posts.

  • Click the “promote” button below the post
  • Choose a business objective and a call to action (“Learn More,” “Watch More,” “Shop Now,” “Book Now,” “Sign Up,” or “Contact Us”)
  • Choose your audience (let Instagram do it, or create your own)
  • Choose a budget and campaign duration
  • Once your promotion is approved, Insights about the ad will appear in your notifications tab