How to Grow Your Business on Instagram

Instagram may have started out as just another social media platform, but today, it is one of the best social media marketing platforms, with over 400 million active users daily, and over 200 million story users daily. With Facebook becoming known more as a platform that can be used to establish personal connections, Instagram has quickly shot up to the position of being a platform for businesses to engage with customers, build brand loyalty, and achieve business objectives. It is estimated that over 25 million companies make use of Instagram to further business goals, with over 200 million business profile visitors daily.

While Instagram has made it possible for businesses to experience growth like never before, its growing popularity has also translated into a highly competitive business environment, where gaining a competitive edge is crucial to thriving in the market. Before getting into what to do to grow your business on Instagram, here’s a tip on what not to do. Don’t buy followers. As excited as you may feel to see a huge ‘following’ number, it’s not worth it if it isn’t real. Real Instagram followers are likely to be retained for longer, make genuine connections with your brand, and, most importantly, result in sales/monetary conversions – something fake followers cannot help you with.

Here are some ways to grow your business the right way on Instagram:

Get a business account

If you’re not operating any accounts on Instagram, set up a business account from scratch, but even if you already have a personal account, you can gain access to a business account by converting your personal account into a business account. Such a switch helps to retain existing Instagram followers and makes the transition smooth even for your followers while allowing you to access additional features and benefits of a business account.

Develop an Instagram marketing strategy

Having a detailed Instagram marketing strategy with specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals are imperative to grow your Instagram followers, as well as increase engagement and Instagram likes, spearheading your business’ success.

You must know who your target audience is, beyond just overall demographics like the United States, India, Brazil, and Indonesia have the largest number of Instagram users. Utilize analytics to know who your followers are on other social media platforms, assess your already existing customer base, research your competitors, and develop a brand value statement. Look into what type of content your target audience is engaging with the most and how they engage with your competitors. 

Decide on the performance metrics you’d like to measure and which stage of the customer journey you’re looking to change, whether awareness (brand awareness, post reach, follower growth rate), engagement (Instagram likes and shares), conversion (conversion rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, cost per click, CPM), or customer (through testimonials).

Commit to posting consistently and make use of insights to find out when your Instagram followers are online, being mindful of the time zones of Instagram followers worldwide.

Work on optimizing your profile

Your bio is what users will see first, so make it interesting and effective. Convey your brand’s personality through the bio and use hashtags to flaunt content generated by users. Don’t forget emojis and line breaks to make it easier to read your bio.

Use a high-quality picture for your profile or your business logo, but ensure it’s consistent across social media platforms so that it can be easily identified. Although photos display as 110 x 110 pixels, they’re stored as 320 x 320 pixels; so, upload a 320 pixels square photo just to be on the safe side, in case it’s changed on Instagram.

Complete your profile by inserting a clickable link to either your website, landing page, or latest blog post. Also, ensure you’ve included your brand’s real name or common abbreviation, and known username on various social media platforms.

Take advantage of the benefits of operating a business profile by including your brand’s category in your bio, email/physical address, as well as a phone number for your Instagram followers to get in touch with you. A business profile even allows you to add ‘call to action’ buttons directly to your profile, where your Instagram followers can either buy a ticket, make a reservation or an appointment.

Put up great content

Following the other tips is no excuse to compromise on your content. Your Instagram followers are likely to be retained only with consistently great content. Develop a visual aesthetic for your feed, which gives it a consistent look. You can either make it a direct visual of the product offered, or, in the case of services, you can engage your audience and receive more Instagram likes through stories, testimonials, and behind-the-scenes details.

Great pictures will fetch you more Instagram likes and increase the likelihood of growth even through just your mobile phone. Make use of natural light and try as many angles as you need to get the right shot. Harsh light won’t help your pictures; apply the rule of thirds to get balanced, though off-center picture, by placing the subject of your picture at the meeting point of the screen’s grid lines.

Edit your pictures to give them a final touch and keep them consistent with other content on your profile. A picture may be worth a thousand words, and Instagram may be a visual platform, but that doesn’t mean you let the pictures take all the credit. You can’t afford to overlook the importance of writing a great caption to add more meaning to your picture. Captions help to voice the brand’s identity in a way that a picture cannot do by itself, and are crucial to increasing Instagram likes and growing the number of Instagram followers.

Don’t neglect the stories. A fun fact: one-third of Instagram stories to receive the most views are posted by business accounts. Use your stories to tell a story about your brand and convey its personality. Use great pictures and videos to tell stories that your audience will look forward to clicking on and add in a call to action to promote business growth. You can even keep your stories beyond 24 hours by adding them to the highlights on your profile.

Focus on engaging with your audience

Social media, after all, is a community, so stay connected with the community that’s already associated with your brand or similar brands. Keep an eye on industry hashtags and comment/participate in discussions to make it known that you exist and direct people to your profile.

Add the correct hashtags to make your content easier to find by allowing people who don’t already follow you to see your post when they check an associated hashtag. Use popular yet specific hashtags for your brand. Select the right hashtag for your business post – brand, category, event, or campaign hashtags. Brand hashtags can help to create user-generated content and raise the community sense of your Instagram followers. Make sure they’re short, relevant, and creative to achieve high engagement with your Instagram followers and increase Instagram likes. 

Make sure to have genuine responses to comments and brand mentions. Automating responses is a bad way to go if you’re looking to achieve authenticity in your interactions and keep your Instagram followers engaged. Genuine responses will also motivate your Instagram followers to continue engaging with your brand. Collaborating with influencers is also a great way to gain access to their real Instagram followers and add credibility to your brand.

Indulge in cross-promotions by promoting your Instagram business account on other already existing social media platforms. Let your audience know why it’s worth to follow you on Instagram as well, and embed Instagram posts into cross-promotions. Also, remember to add your Instagram handle to your email, fliers, business cards, and event sign. 

Make use of Instagram ads to enable your content to reach a larger, more targeted audience, and include calls to action that make it easier for your Instagram followers to access your website or other pertinent information.

Another great way to increase audience engagement includes having a campaign specific to your Instagram platform. Campaigns help to maximize results from both paid and organic posts and are geared towards achieving specific goals within a specified time period. Campaigns can help in increasing brand visibility and creating more awareness of your brand; they can be used to boost sales using shop-able posts; branded hashtags can result in the collection of user-generated content, and engagement can be encouraged through Instagram contests and giveaways.

Analyze results and adapt

Make use of analytics to monitor your account overall, as well as track results from ads, posts, and stories separately. Keeping track of the numbers will give you an idea of where you’re at and how much progress you’ve made in achieving business objectives. A/B testing is also an effective way to keep track of what’s working and what’s not working for your business’ Instagram marketing strategy. In such testing, you choose an element to be tested and make two versions of it that are the same, except in the element you’re testing (caption, image, hashtags).  Compare the results of each and choose what works better to gain insights into how you can increase your business’ growth.