Instagram has over one billion users and averages 500 million daily users. Millions of businesses use Instagram to connect with their fans and build their brand. If you’re new to Instagram, it might be daunting to think about how you can stand out in such a large crowd. Getting started is very simple.
 

1. Create your business account

 
When you first create your account, Instagram will guide you through steps:
 

Profile photo

As a business, you should use your company logo as your profile photo. Instagram profile photos are shown in a circle, make sure you have your picture centered.
 

Profile information

 
You are not required by Instagram to fill out your bio, but you should. You should come up in a few words what your company does and how your customers can contact you.
 

Convert your profile to a business profile

 
With a business profile, you get to add more information about your business on your profile. You also get to promote your Instagram posts, and you get analytics for your Instagram account.
 
Open the Instagram app and click on your profile and tap on the gear icon. Then click “Switch to Business Profile,” next you will select your Facebook Page. Fill out your email, phone number, and address then you are done.
 
 

2. Use Instagram Insights

 
One of the best reasons to convert your profile from personal to business is Instagram Insights. This is Instagrams free analytics in the app. It provides you with demographic information, so you can see where your followers come from, their age, and their gender.
 
You can use this data to measure and improve your Instagram marketing. To access your Instagram Insights, go to your profile, and in the upper right after your username, you will see a graph, that will bring you to the insights page.
 

Post a few times a week

 
You don’t need to post on Instagram every day. If you post multiple times a day, you might over saturate your followers’ feeds, and they may unfollow you. You also do not want to post so infrequently that they forget about you. Decide what you have ready to publish and create a content posting schedule to help you remember what to post when and to track what is working once you get going.
 

3. Instagram stories

 
You can post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. A new feature allows verified accounts can add a link to their Instagram stories.
 
To post an Instagram story swipe right on your Instagram feed or press the camera symbol in the upper left. When you enter camera mode, you can take a new photo/video or upload one shot in the last 24 hours.
 
Instagram Stories can help brands show some personality, or apply a narrative to their products. AdWeek reported, “brands are uploading to Instagram Stories more than twice as often as they are on Snapchat.” When uploading a story do not post your usual Instagram content. You want to create a story.
 

Take Your Customers Behind The Scenes

 
Stories are less professional than other Instagram content. There is a reason you shoot them on your phone. They are an excellent way you can show your brand’s human side here. A great way to do this is to show what happens behind the scenes at your company. You can show your employees at work or show your product getting made.
 

4. Find people to follow.

 
If you are a new account or have not followed any accounts, Instagram will prompt you to “Find people to follow.” You can do that many ways from searching someone’s name or syncing your contact list from your phone or facebook. Instagram also has a discover people tab that you can access from your profile by clicking on the icon in the upper left that looks like a person. Here Instagram will show you suggestions based on whom you follow and the type of content you interact with.
 
One of the best options is to search keywords in the explore tab which is accessed from the magnifying glass icon. Like in the discover people tab Instagram will curate accounts and content based on your interests.
 

5. Engage With Your Customers

 
A great way to get your customers to engage with your content is to follow and engage with there accounts. Liking a photo or making a thoughtful comment is a great way to keep your name in the back of your customer’s minds.
 
While it will be hard to find all your customers on Instagram unless you know them already here are some ways to help your customers find you.
 
Mention your new Instagram profile on your other social media channels such as your Facebook or Twitter page. You can add an Instagram icon on your website.
 

Comment on posts

 
Social media marketing is not meant to spam your followers with sales pitches. It’s vital to try to engage with followers as much as possible. For one, it makes your company feel more human and less corporate. Also, the more that users share and comment on your content, the easier it is for new users to find it.
 
Consumers nowadays want to follow and use companies that they have a personal connection with. Consumers are more likely to switch to a competitor if they feel like they are being ignored. When your customers comment on your content, you should reply right away to their comment. It is a good idea to respond as soon as you can to comments on your content. Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes content with higher engagement, and you want to appear in as many feeds as possible.
 
Engaging with your customers is a great way to build your brand. According to Adweek, 80% of customers service messages go unanswered on social media. By engaging, you help to set your company apart. Remeber social media without engagement is just media.
 

6. Use Hashtags Relevant to Your Post

 
Hashtags help your users to find content. They are a great way to tag your content to make it easier to find for others. In fact, they are so popular on Instagram that if you do not use relevant anyone will see your content. Instagram limits you to 30 hashtags per post. However, a few targeted hashtags are better than a bunch of generic ones.
 

Create Branded Hashtags

 
When starting an Instagram campaign, you should create a branded hashtag. Branded hashtags are specific only apply to your brand. You can use your brand name, a product or person.
 

7. Reward Followers

 
Not only do you want to be engaging and responsive to your customers on social media, but you also want to reward them for following and engaging with you.
 
One way that you can accomplish this is by rewarding customers that follow your account a discount on their next purchase. Retail brands can reward their followers with discount codes and promos. Resturants can offer a free drink or appetizer.
 
Promo codes are perfect because you can easily track them. Whenever someone buys with your Instagram code, you know the source of the sale. So while you can’t track the link as easily, you’ll still know where the buyer came from.
 

8. Hosting an Instagram Contest

 
Another great way to get customers excited and engaged with your Instagram account is to have a contest. Although the most effective and engaging Instagram contests are those that prompt your audience to post their photos, there are many different ways brands can create contests on Instagram. Because of this, it’s essential to establish and emphasize what it takes for your audience to enter the contest.
 
Make it fun, and generate some interest. However, most of all, help your followers do what you need them to do. If you need them to share your content, show them how. If you want them to buy, make it clear and straightforward.
 
Have your audience post a photo or a video to Instagram with a specific hashtag and a particular theme. Have your audience solely follow you or do so in addition to creating a post. Have your audience tag your brand in their post. Have your audience like or comment on one of your posts.
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