Whether you’ve been thinking about starting an Instagram account for a while, or you started one a while ago, there’s some basic tips that every Instagram account user can review to make sure your profile is set up to share your brand and message the best way possible.
Before we talk about how to boost up your Instagram profile, let’s talk about why you might want to have a profile on there at all. According to a late 2016 report from Hootsuite, approximately 49% of brands (B2B and B2C) utilized Instagram as part of their 2016 social media marketing plans. This number is expected to jump to over 70% in 2017, showing that this platform has real value as part of an overall marketing strategy. With Instagram’s focus on visuals, B2C companies are flocking to IG to help encourage purchase and usage; and while the targets for B2B companies aren’t heading to IG solely to help them decide to purchase software or a service, it’s still a vital medium to invest in as it serves as another outlet for purchase research.
When you’re ready to start your profile (or want to fine-tune your existing one), make sure you take the following steps:
- Brand-focused profile name. This is critical, as your target audiences search for you on Instagram. Use your company name, and stay away from attaching personal names to the account. If you need to make changes to your profile name, Instagram makes this easy in Settings.
- Profile picture. For your business, make sure that your profile pic is your logo for brand consistency and visibility. Because Instagram is primarily used on mobile devices, the visual is small, but having a simple, clean logo as your profile pic will ensure your target audience will recognize you. (And, if your logo is very horizontal or contains a lot of characters, create an abbreviated version for Instagram. A great example of this is our MorningStar Media Group logo for Instagram. Check it out here: instagram.com/morningstarmedia)
- Optimize your profile info. You want to make sure your profile bio clearly tells what you do, what you offer, or what you can solve for your target audiences. Be clear, succinct, and if needed, include your location. Also, make sure to include your website URL, so your followers can easily click through to your website for more info!
- Tell a story with your pictures. At MorningStar, we recommend establishing a strategy with the images you share. For example, share photos that highlight your product or service (with a focus on selling), include visuals that show behind-the-scenes views of your company or service (with a focus on engaging your followers with your process), highlight the people behind your products and services (to create a human engagement with your company) – all with the purpose to tell your followers your complete story.
- Use your hashtags. Every Instagram post is allowed 30 hashtags. Make sure to use all of them so you can broaden your net of followers and those who see your content. Figuring out which hashtags you should use is also simple, but it takes a little research. With your 30 hashtags, we recommend focusing them on content in the following categories:
- Geography-focused (i.e. #sycamoreillinois) – 3 recommended
- Popular hashtags related to your product or service (with over 300,000 posts – i.e. #photography) – 5 recommended
- Hashtags from your competitors (i.e. scroll through the IG feeds of your competitors and see which hashtags they’re using) – 10 recommended
- Sweet spot hashtags related to your company, product or service (between 1,000 – 300,000 posts – i.e. #morningstarmediagroup) – 12 recommended
Including too many hashtags attached to too many posts will cause your post to get lost in Instagram search results; by doing some research to find those hashtags used on 1,000 – 300,000 posts shows that people are searching those hashtags, but the market for those hashtags isn’t so overcrowded that you’ll be lost. Sit down with your phone, the Instagram app, and start searching hashtags in Instagram to create your list! (User tip: Once you have your list, type it in your Notes app on your phone. Then to post, simply copy and paste your hashtag list to the post, rather than having to remember your hashtags. And, to be even more user-friendly, copy and paste your hashtags in the first comment to your post – this way, the long list of hashtags still gives you the exposure you want, but it keeps your post caption neat and clean.)
Instagram is a fantastic tool to engage, to tell your visual story, and to develop relationships. At MorningStar, we are big believers in utilizing social media to strategically expand your reach.