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6 Tips For Using Instagram For Your Business

Social media has become an integral part of a brand’s marketing strategy, with organic reach on Facebook now tougher than ever, Instagram has become a key channel. Here are a few of our tips:

Instagram isn’t just for visual businesses, although that can make life easier, it’s a useful tool for most, if not all brands. Here are a few of our tips: 

1. Engagement Over Quantity 

A smaller but engaged audience is better than a large but disinterested one.  It can be quite straight forward to increase your following with paid advertising or bought followers (please don’t even consider buying followers), but are they actually interested in your content/product?  What use is having 40,000 followers if only a small percentage engage with your content or just as importantly, if you’re a Manchester based business that only sells your offering locally, there is little to no benefit in having a large following that don’t live anywhere near the city. 

Of course, there will always be exceptions for some businesses. 

2. Stories 

Stories could be a whole blog post on its own as there is so much potential with them.  We know they can sometimes feel a bit daunting but I always think it shouldn’t be, If you aren’t sure whether you like your content then you don’t have to worry as it will disappear in 24 hours. Those little imperfections could also make your brand feel a bit more human.  If you haven’t already, try using stories for your business.  Pick a simple topic to give people an insight into your brand, for example as a restaurant you could show behind the scenes meal prep that goes on in the kitchen before service or maybe a quickfire interview with a staff member. 

One thing to think about if you are creating a paid ad to feature in stories, imagine you’re the consumer and tapping through Instagram stories.  If you see this polished edit in-between your friend’s stories you know immediately it’s an advert so may be tempted to just tap past it. 

3. Hashtags 

Although they’re not as effective as they used to be, hashtags are still an important part of your Instagram strategy.  They allow you to reach an audience outside of your followers who are interested in something specific.  I’d always advise to pick niche, relevant hashtags as that means you are more likely to reach an audience that is interested in your offering.  If you look at our Total Guide to Manchester Instagram, you can see we use hashtags that focus on certain elements of Manchester with only a couple out of the 20 you’re allowed being focused on a broader audience.  This is because we want to reach people in Greater Manchester and build our following organically so that they are engaged with our brand. 

 

4. User Generated Content 

User Generated Content (UGC) is exactly what it sounds like, it is content created/posted by Instagram users.  It’s a gold mine of content for your business as it already exists.  The best way to do this is to create a specific hashtag that relates to your brand and encourage people who buy or use your product/service to share images with this hashtag or to tag you in the post.  Then you can message them asking for permission to repost their photo to your account (there are various apps that let you do this, we can suggest a few if you need). 

Here at Total Guide to Manchester we share amazing photos of the city and encourage our followers to share theirs with the hashtag #totalmanchester for a chance to feature on our page.  This hashtag is now populated with thousands of images of Manchester.  Create an incentive so that your customers share their posts of your product. 

5. Interact With Your Audience 

There’s a great analogy about social media which I learnt when I first delved into the world of marketing.  If you were to walk into a pub and saw a person stood on their own in the corner just spouting out anything and talking about themselves, would you go over and engage in conversation?  Probably not.  You’re much more likely to engage if they were to ask you questions and show an interest.  Social media should be treated in the same way, it’s not all about you.  Join in with conversations amongst your target audience, instigate discussions, show that you’re interested in them. 

This is also the case when people comment on your posts, not only does it seem like you care about your audience if you reply but it will also show Instagram your post is gathering engagement and therefore increase your posts reach. 

6. Your Competitors 

This one is a short and sweet tip.  Research your competition and what they are doing, they have the closest target audience to your brand so you might be able to pick up some tips from their content. 

The above tips have worked well for us and our clients, they’re a good place to start for most businesses. However, the best way to get the most out of your social media is to try things and measure the response.  Each business has a different audience so what works for one might not work for the other. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, what works and what doesn’t work for your brand on Instagram? You can also check out our Instagram here to see how we use these exact tips.

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