There are more than 52 million posts published on Instagram every day, and I think your brand can benefit from joining them! Although Instagram is now eight years old, I feel the app is finally coming into its own for business and brand building.
This post is not going to tell you how to use the app — there are lots of great tutorials available — but rather how to think strategically about using Instagram for your business, whether you have 100 followers or 1 million.
To get started, download my 2-Week Instagram Challenge here — it will help you grow your Instagram audience, get in the habit of creating consistent and intentional content, and get you tracking your results!
The algorithm is your ally
Many business owners fear the algorithms that run Google, Facebook and Instagram, worrying that they will limit the visibility of their posts. But really, we should be embracing them as beneficial to us!
Just take the stat I shared above — 52 million posts per day to Instagram means that if there were no algorithm, and Instagram showed content chronologically, the only chance anything you ever posted would have of being seen is if someone logged on at the exact same time!
Instead, the algorithm weights content based on the percentage engagement and relevance relative to your follower count. It actually helps level the playing field and gives any Instagram user the same opportunity as everyone else (regardless of follower count) to have their content seen.
An account with 100 followers that has strong engagement will outperform accounts with 10,000 followers and low levels of engagement.
Strategy: It’s not about how many followers you have, but rather about posting quality content that results in high levels of engagement (likes and comments). Focus on the quality of your relationships rather than your follower count to help the algorithm work for you.
Use grams to build loyalty
Instagram doesn’t allow you to post clickable (ie: live) links to your posts — you only get one clickable link in your bio until you reach a certain number of followers. Some business owners see this as a drawback, because they want to link to their products and services.
But if you’re using social media primarily as a sales tool, you have the wrong mindset. You should approach all your social media efforts as a relationship building exercise — and enjoy the sales that come your way as a bonus!
Therefore, I want you to view the fact that you can’t link out as a good thing. Make genuine and real connections and use Instagram to nurture brand loyalty.
Strategy: Create a list of things to share like tips, tricks, behind-the-scenes photos, and scenes from your daily life to engage with your audience and make real connections.
Quality over Quantity
The next question I often hear is, “How often should I post to Instagram?”
And I want to turn this back to you and ask: How often can you consistently generate quality content for Instagram?
Your focus should always be quality over quantity, and consistency is also important. That’s so you can keep your engagement rate as high as possible on the posts you do make.
Likewise, I often hear people ask when they should post for optimal reach. If you know when your audience is most active on Instagram, you can certainly coordinate publishing your posts at those times. But the algorithm weights content based on engagement, so this isn’t as important as it once was. Default your scheduling times for mid-morning if you’re unsure to give your posts as much exposure throughout the day as possible.
I certainly don’t post every day, but when I do, I post things that look great and that I know my audience will resonate with.
That said, if you can post great stuff regularly, strive for between 1–2 posts per day.
Strategy: Come up with a posting schedule for yourself — and be reasonable about what you can really accomplish.
Personal or business account
Instagram offers both business and personal accounts, which each have pros and cons.
If your business is not a personal brand, you should definitely be using a business account.
But if you have a personal brand, like me, you have a choice. I use a business account because I like the insights, analytics, and expanded list of features available.
A business account hasn’t hurt my engagement, but some popular users reported a significant drop in engagement when they switched.
I believe the day is coming soon when a business account will be required for any brand on Instagram, but it’s still your choice. If you are interested, you can cautiously test it out and revert to a personal account if you notice your engagement rate dropping.
Strategy: Decide if the benefits of a business account are worth it to you and make the switch!
If you focus on just these three simple strategies, I can practically guarantee you’ll see an improvement in your engagement rate and an increase in followers — but don’t stop there! Click here to download the 2-Week Instagram Challenge and start it today. I created it specifically as a companion to my new Instagram Destination Guide inside Business Class, and it’s the first step you should take toward turning Instagram from a distraction into a strong business marketing tool!