36 Instagram Hacks To Elevate Your Business In 2021
Are you struggling and trying to maximize your Instagram for business? We’ve got 36 hacks that can help you optimize your account from the ground up, from choosing a profile picture all the way to promoting your account with paid ads. Here’s everything you need to know to create your business account and get more Instagram followers and more customers.
Instagram Hacks For Business – How To Optimize Your Account
There are several ways you can optimize your Instagram for business. Here’s where to start.
1. Profile Picture
As a business, your profile picture should be your logo; this is an easy way to increase brand awareness. When people visit your Instagram profile, they’re instantly met with your logo — and when they see your logo elsewhere (maybe on another social platform or a physical billboard), they’ll be more likely to remember your business. Make sure the image of your logo you choose is 110 x 110 pixels before you upload it to your business profile.
2. Business Name
Again, our goal here is to increase brand awareness, and one way you can do that is by setting your Instagram name as your business name. On an Instagram profile, your name is the bold text that appears under your profile photo. Including a keyword in your business name (example: “Cleo’s Cake Shop” instead of just “Cleo’s”) will help more people find your profile through Google and other search engines.
“Create an Engaging Instagram Profile When people discover your content in the Instagram explore feeds, the first thing they do is tap on your account name, which brings them to your profile. Polish up your Instagram profile so you can begin converting viewers into followers right away.“
–Isabel Raymond, Social Media Manager at Sharelov
Want to organically grow your Instagram and gain REAL followers?
3. Switch To A Professional Profile
If your account isn’t already a business account, it’s time to make the switch so you can take advantage of many more features. Here’s how to create a Professional account: Go into settings (from your profile), then tap into “account,” and you can switch to a Professional (instead of a personal) account from there.
Once you have a business account, Instagram will prompt you to choose a category. There are hundreds of choices, so think carefully about what specific category best describes your business.
With a business account, you’ll be able to list an email, phone number, and address. Your email and phone number link straight to your profile, where visitors can tap “Contact” and choose from calling you or sending an email. You can also add your business address, helping even more people find you; just make sure you have Facebook location services turned on.
Optimize your Instagram bio — the brief lines of text under your profile picture, name, and category — to quickly explain to visitors who you are and what you do. Take this opportunity to show off your brand’s personality, and include some social proof, too; if you can do it naturally, it’s also good to include keywords in your bio.
Consider linking your branded hashtag in your bio. A branded hashtag is unique to your business, and by including this hashtag in your bio, people can view the posts in this hashtag. Finally, your Instagram bio needs a call-to-action, asking visitors to do something/take action.
Here’s an example of what all this might look like put together:
We’re a Chicago pizza restaurant ready to serve you. Our customers give us five stars — come in today and see why! #mypizzapie
You only get one link in your Instagram profile — or do you? With url.bio, you can offer more options for your visitors. url.bio will provide you with one link where you can add several other links, such as your website, YouTube channel, landing page for a special promotion, or anything else you want to share. And the best part if all of it’s premium features are free including, analytics, customization options, social media icons, ability to remove url.bio logo, and more.
6. Instagram Stories Highlights
Take advantage of the section on your profile for Instagram stories highlights — visitors will be able to view your stories long after the 24-hour life cycle each individual story gets. Which highlights should you include? Women’s clothing company Inherit Co. has highlights for events, dresses, skirts, gifts, and more. Think about the types of posts you normally share on your story and how they can be sorted into categories.
To create highlight covers, you can use Design Wizard’s Templates and place an on-brand graphic in the middle of the screen (or to make things easier, just use solid colors for your covers).
How to Manage Your Instagram For Business Account
Once your account is ready, it’s time to start posting. Here are some tips on creating quality content for your business account that can help you get more Instagram followers.
7. Create a Cohesive Brand Image
A brand image can be defined as what your customers, both current and potential ones, think of you. It’s important to have a cohesive brand image (one that’s consistent across all platforms) so you can increase your brand awareness.
To achieve that goal, the first thing you’ll want to do is choose an Instagram theme and color scheme. Think about any colors your business commonly uses in advertising — for instance, if your logo is red and white, focus on those colors. Also consider how you want your account to feel (moody and dark? Clean and white?). That will help drive your Instagram theme.
Use filters and editing to achieve the perfect balance on your photos. Presets are a good place to start if you don’t have prior photo editing experience. You can also use Lightroom tools and teach yourself about editing features such as the saturation slider.
8. Create A Variety of Content Types
There are three main types of product shots that can go on your Instagram business profile: images that show off the details of a product; shots of a model holding, wearing, or using the product; and flatlays (images of objects, including products, laid on a flat background).
Second, you also should post non-product shots. If you don’t have a tangible product to show off, non-product shots are all you can post; even if you do, these types of photos can still help add some variety to your feed. Custom graphics with quotes or advice are a great thing to post — Hubspot has some top-notch graphics they share.
“One cool feature that HubSpot Marketing has is our integration with Shutterstock. That means marketers have over 60,000 free images they can choose from, directly when they’re creating their posts. This feature makes it fast and easy to start building an Instagram following.”
— Daria Marmer, Product Group Lead at HubSpot
Behind-the-scenes photos of your workspace and employees (including team shots and office shots, like @ontraport shares) always perform well, too. And don’t forget to do some customer shoutouts once in a while. These always perform well and could help you get more Instagram followers.
Curate User-Generated Content
In addition to sharing original content, curate user-generated content when you’re using Instagram for business. UGC is images taken by your customers that you can repost and share. Have a branded hashtag and regularly promote it, like the popular #aeriereal; customers can post images using that hashtag so you can see the photos. You can also find user-generated content pieces from your tagged photos and @mentions in Instagram stories. Make sure to ask permission before using a photo and then, if you get the green light, tag the user in their photo and/or your caption. User-generated content can result in more Instagram engagement.
Use An Automation Tool
To save yourself some time and effort, once you have content ready, use an automation tool to schedule posts ahead of time like Hopper HQ. Of course, scheduling posts also requires knowing the best times to post. This will vary from business to business, and you can determine the best time to post for you by going into your insights and seeing when your Instagram followers are most active. Then do some testing until you see what works best.
“Using Hopper HQ’s Instagram grid planner, you can see what all your scheduled posts will look like once they’ve been published, allowing you to really perfect your Instagram theme. No more clashing posts or off-set grids, just drag and drop posts around to find the best aesthetic for your feed!”
— at Hopper HQ
How to Craft Captions for Your Business Profile
A good caption can increase your Instagram engagement rate in big ways. A well-written caption will get users to spend more time looking at your post, and it will also encourage them to interact with the post by liking, commenting, or sharing. (If you’re not sure where exactly your engagement rate is now, find it by using this Instagram engagement rate calculator.)
Here are eight copywriting tips that can help you convert your good captions into great ones.
9. Show Your Brand’s Personality
No one likes a dry, boring caption. Instead, spice it up and add some humor; let your brand’s personality shine through, because that’s what will get people to engage with your posts (resulting in more organic Instagram followers).
“Marketers should try using Madlibs to focus:
<<We want our ____________ to love our Instagram posts because we share things about __________________, which makes them feel ______________>>.
Example: <<We want our [future employees] to love our Instagram posts because we share things about [what makes HubSpot a great place to work], which makes them feel [like they could see themselves working here].>>
One Instagram account can support a few of these and, even better, you can simply share your Madlib strategy with your intended audience to get their reaction for instant validation.”
— Nicholas Holland, GM and VP of Product at HubSpot
10. Add Context
Your caption should be relevant to your photo, adding some context to help your followers understand exactly what the picture is about and why they should care.
11. Tell Your Brand’s Backstory
How did your company first get started? What was the first product you made? What path did you follow to get to where you are today? Sharing these things can help you forge a personal connection with your followers and gain more Instagram engagement.
12. Share Inspiration
One of the biggest reasons people use social media is to find a little inspiration to get them through their day — so give them that. If you’re a sports brand, you could share motivational quotes from famous athletes. Maybe you’re a fashion brand and want to encourage women that all body types are beautiful.
“Find a way to inspire your followers and your engagement rate will rise”– Kicksta
13. Be Relatable
Make a point to understand your target audience so you can relate to them. One way to do this while using Instagram for business is by hiring employees who fall into your target demographic; a social media manager who’s the same age and gender as your preferred customers will be able to relate to them and write engaging captions.
14. Educate Your Followers
Help your Instagram followers learn something new about the world; share captions with interesting information that’s relevant to your industry or your specific product (or simply whatever photo you posted).
“Did you know that, on average, it takes 12 minutes to write a single Instagram post from scratch? 12 minutes! Ever watch water boil? Writing a social post takes longer.
But now, with Artificial Intelligence, businesses can instantly turns blogs, news articles, videos, podcasts and more into dozens of amazing Instagram posts with Lately. Here’s how it works:
- Copy and paste a link into Lately’s Social Post Autogenerator.
- Click “Autogenerate”
- Lift your chin off the floor.“
— Kate Bradley Chernis, Co-Founder and CEO at Lately.
Want to maximize your Instagram for business?
Sign up for Kicksta today and start attracting more followers who are interested in your brand.
15. Spotlight An Employee
Providing a look behind-the-scenes with a photo of a staff member is an excellent way to get more engagement on your Instagram business profile. Photos of faces perform well, and you can add a cherry on top with your caption: Explain how the employee started working with your company, what they do there, and add a fun fact. It might read something like this:
Kellie came on as our director of marketing three years ago because she’s a self-professed nerd about insurance. Now she spends her days getting others to think insurance is cool, too. She’s a Hufflepuff and loves biking on the weekends!
16. Quote An Expert
You can position yourself as someone who knows what they’re talking about by quoting an expert in your Instagram caption, whether that expert is the president of your own company or the founder of another. This is also a great way to cross-promote blog posts or case studies from your website, and also to get more Instagram followers.
Ways to Further Optimize Your Instagram Captions
These aren’t the only ways you can write engaging Instagram captions — here are four other methods to help your captions do more work.
17. Include A CTA
In your caption, ask your Instagram followers to do something — maybe ask them to click the product tag in the photo, tag a friend in the comments, or go to the link in your bio. A call-to-action is an easy way to get a little more mileage and engagement from your captions.
18. Use Emojis 😜💥🌻
Emojis are a fun way to up your captions and help more people stop and take notice. Don’t go overboard, but a few well-placed emojis that are relevant to your photo and caption can help increase your Instagram engagement rate.
19. Add Spacing
The shape of the text means a lot in determining how likely your followers are to read the entire thing. A thick block of text is overwhelming; instead, include spacing throughout your caption, separating thoughts into sentences on different lines. That will make your caption easily scannable, and that will make followers more likely to read the whole thing — and when you’re using Instagram for business, of course, that’s your goal.
20. Add Mentions
Mentioning other users in your caption can create a good user experience for readers, allowing them to find other accounts relevant to their interests. For instance, if you’re writing a caption on the topic of how businesses can grow through marketing, you might include a line that says: “Learn more about this by visiting @hubspot.”
What to Post on Instagram Stories
Stories are an important aspect of Instagram to utilize.
“500 million people use Instagram stories every day, and even better, one in four millennials and Gen Z-ers look for stories of the products they want to buy!”– Kicksta
Here are some tips on the different types of stories you can post and how to optimize your stories.
When you post stories, you can save them in the “highlights” section on your profile. This is helpful because profile visitors can continue to view your stories even after the 24-hour limit, learning more about your company and swiping up to view products.
22. Location Tags
When you’re using Instagram for business, tagging your location in a story can help local people find out about your business. And there are fun ways you can do this too, creatively incorporating the tag into a caption or placing it on a strategic spot on the image.
23. Sharing Other Posts
If you see a post in your feed that you want to share, you can share it on an Instagram story for all of your followers to see. This is a great way to share user-generated content or share posts from sister or subsidiary companies.
“What grew my Instagram followers faster than anything was reposting popular videos. I would look through the top hashtags of my niche and pick videos based on how many comments they had.
If people were engaging with the content beyond likes i knew I found a winner. I was running a store in the dog niche but didn’t have a dog so curating content was a great compromise that allowed me to build my business on Instagram.”
–Nicole Martins Ferreria, Content Marketer at Oberlo
The “swipe-up” feature on Instagram stories is a way to immediately link your followers to a product page or something else on your website. It’s a fantastic method of getting more web traffic and more sales.
25. Instagram Live
Video content performs well on Instagram, and live videos are especially popular — 80 percent of users would rather watch live videos from a brand than read a blog post, and 82 percent preferred live videos to social media posts. Do a live video to announce a new product or show the behind-the-scenes of the office. You can save your live video after it’s aired.
“Instagram video is getting very popular with our clients. The shorter they are the better. Stuff like filming time lapse content can be really engaging, and especially tutorials are a great way for brands to jazz up their Instagram pages.”
–Priscilla Kennedy, Founder at Piehole
Polls are not only an excellent way to get more engagement, but they can also help you get a feel for what your audience wants, and even who your audience is. Answering questions like these can help you (or your Instagram growth service) target the right demographic and get more Instagram followers.
Asking your audience questions is a great way to create more engagement and interaction, helping your customers feel like friends. And again, you can also utilize this feature to get a feel for what they’re looking for in your brand.
Instagram recently introduced a chat sticker that lets you start conversations straight from stories. By using this sticker, you can create a group DM chat — an excellent way to get to know your followers, especially for small local businesses.
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Quizzes are a fun way for your audience to learn more about you! Use your Instagram business profile stories to share some fun facts about your business in the form of a quiz.
“If you are trying to market your brand on Instagram – make Instagram Stories part of your daily social media strategy.Stories are a great way to express yourself in a free and unique way. Make them interactive: use pools, Q&As, play with the stickers, and use hashtags. All these elements will increase your stories viewership.
The optimal number of Stories within a day is up to 6 Stories, according to Socialinsider study.”
–Maria Ganta, Marketing Coordinator at Socialinsider
30. Stickers and GIFs
Stickers and GIFs are a fun way to add a little pizazz to your Instagram stories. People tend to swipe through their stories very quickly, so a dancing cupcake or colorful GIF can help grab their attention and make them stop and look.
How to Grow Your Account When Your Using Instagram For Business
One of the best ways to grow your Instagram for business is by using hashtags. Hashtags on Instagram posts can increase your reach. You can appear on the Explore page for a certain hashtag, and for people who follow hashtags, you’ll pop up in their newsfeed. Plus, the algorithm favors relevancy — which means you can get your account in front of even more people by selecting hashtags your target audience cares about. Here are more tips on using hashtags to grow your account and get more Instagram followers.
31. How to Use Hashtags on Instagram Posts
The first step to choosing hashtags is doing a little brainstorming. Sit down and think about your product or service; your target audience and their interests; and your location. Write down a long list of hashtags that might work (you’ll narrow this list later). If you’re having trouble thinking of hashtags, look at what your competitors are doing or use a free hashtag generator.
Once you have a list of hashtags, it’s time to qualify them, carefully sorting through your list to choose a limited number of hashtags that seem like the best fit (you can use up to 30 hashtags on a single post). Save the hashtags you choose and store them somewhere safe, such as in the notes of your phone or in whatever social media scheduling tool you use.
Now it’s time to post with your new hashtags. Place your hashtags in the first comment of your post and then test to see how well they’re doing; you can use tools such as Sprout Social or Simply Measured to see which hashtags are performing well. Rinse and repeat this cycle, tweaking your hashtags as needed. Don’t forget to use hashtags on Instagram stories, too — you can place hashtags on your story using text or a sticker.
32. Location Tags
Another way to grow your account when using Instagram for business is by selecting location tags so local customers can find you. First, come up with a location strategy that’s specific to where you are; if you’re a business serving only your local community, you’ll want to really hone in on your town. If you serve customers in other locations too, it can be helpful for E-commerce to focus on popular locations (maybe you’re an hour outside of NYC — tag your posts as Manhattan). Or you might see best results if you craft your location strategy to include a combination of both.
Carefully qualify your location tags; you’ll want the tags you choose to have enough traffic that they’re worth your time, but they shouldn’t be too small so that no one will search for them. Begin using the tags you decide on in posts and stories, one tag at a time.
Grow your Instagram business profile by running giveaways, and luckily, holding contests are a whole lot of fun.
“Instagram accounts that hold contests see follower growth 70% faster than accounts who don’t”– Kicksta
Choose a giveaway item (most likely a free product or service) and then choose how you want your followers to enter — ask them to comment on your post, tag a friend (this can help you get more Instagram followers), follow you, post on their own account, or do a combination of the above. When the time allotted for the giveaway is up, put all the names into a random name generator and announce the winner.
How to Make Sales on Instagram For Business With Shoppable Posts
Your Instagram business profile is optimized and ready to go — now it’s time to begin making sales. Instagram is an excellent platform for E-commerce thanks to its relatively new product tag feature. When you post a photo with a product tag, you can let people shop your website with just a couple of taps. Product tags are convenient, and they’re also subtle, blending right in with the aesthetic of the platform.
“Take advantage of the gallery posts where you can add multiple images or slides. Use those types of posts to tell a story, explain a concept, or just show off your product across a few images. It will almost instantly boost your engagement without really increasing your workload or altering your posting schedule.”
–Ryan McCready, Social Media Lead at Venngage
Before you start creating shoppable posts, link your Shopify to your Instagram (if you have a Shopify — this isn’t necessary). Then you can tag a product by posting a photo and then choosing up to five products to tag, tagging them just like you’d tag people. Once you post a photo with product tags, you’ll see a “Shop” button appear on your profile, which will let people view all your shoppable posts at once. To make the most out of your shoppable posts, use Instagram Insights to get information about how you can optimize your posts. Don’t forget to add product stickers to your stories, too.
How to Promote Your Account
34. Engagement Marketing
Engagement marketing is simply a term for attracting more people to your business through genuine connections — it’s a lot like networking. You can harness the power of engagement marketing by simply spending time interacting with your ideal followers, the same way you’d interact with friends. Engagement marketing is a cost-effective way to help your account see growth. It’s essentially the strategy that an Instagram growth service would use.
“Instagram is unlike any other social network. From your static grid to the YouTube-like IGTV and realtime dynamic Stories, Instagram is almost three different content mediums and social networks in one. Instead of taking content and best practices from other networks and hoping they work on Instagram, become immersed in Instagram by following your ideal customers and learn from them. The more unique your strategy and content are to Instagram, the more successful you will be.”
—Neal Schaffer, Social Media Speaker and Consultant
You’re probably already familiar with the general principle of influencer marketing, a type of marketing that relies on well-known industry experts promoting a product or service. But have you ever considered working with micro influencers? Micro influencers are simply digital thought leaders who have a smaller fan base, and they could be a good fit for your business. Often, micro influencers have a higher engagement rate than more popular celebrities — and always, they cost less, making them a budget-friendly option.
“Every customer is a potential influencer. Treat them accordingly. Always reply to their story mentions and if possible, reshare them. Never ignore their comments. Aim to delight and you would be surprised by the amount of WOM (word of mouth) marketing you get.”
— Sneha Mehta, Fullstack Marketer at Crowdfire
You can reach out to influencers through cold emails. Find some influencers who seem like a good fit and then send them an email, offering them something of value and treating them as a colleague in your Instagram for business endeavors. Eventually, the goal is to cultivate a long term relationship with this influencer and work with them multiple times.
36. Instagram Ads
The final way you use when you’re promoting your Instagram for business is through Instagram ads. Choose an ad format (such as Instagram stories, a video ad, a carousel ad, etc) and then use consistent branding as you create your ads; always work to include a strong call-to-action that drives people toward a specific goal, whether that’s visiting your website or tapping “Follow.”
Maximizing Your Instagram for Business
Running an Instagram business profile can be a lot of work, but if you follow these Instagram for business best practices, you’ll see a big payoff — more brand awareness, more website traffic and more sales.
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