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How to use Instagram for business

Instagram is one of the fastest growing, most effective social media networks out there. Its visual focus makes it a must- have for any business selling products or experiences – including travel agents, beauty retailers and restaurants. Yet Instagram still mystifies many – who don’t understand how it can be used to produce lucrative results for their business. In this blog we explain why Instagram should form an important part of your online marketing strategy, and offer some key tips for helping your business to experience the benefits of this commonly underused platform.

Plan ahead

Instagram is no different from other social media in this regard – you’ll need to plan ahead to guarantee any successful outcome. First you’ll need a strategy, then you’ll need a calendar. When considering your strategy, think about your objectives. Do you want increased footfall in your high street shops – or a higher level of website traffic? Are you promoting one product in particular with associated sales targets? Do you want to raise your brand’s profile in general? Consider these objectives carefully before thinking about how you can fulfil them.

Know what and when to post

Once you know what you want to do, you need to think about how you’ll do it. Research relevant hash-tags, take a look at competitors and non-competitors alike who are performing well on the network. See what they are doing and take inspiration from their various campaigns and posts.

Compile your thoughts into posts, then set up a calendar, carefully considering what you will post, when you will post and what time you will post. Bear in mind that you should be posting between two and three times a day – not too little, not too much. This calendar can then be manually implemented or taken care of by automation software like HootSuite or Buffer (Buffer only recently introduced their Instagram feature).

Invest in quality visuals

Instagram is a visual network. Therefore you must have quality images in order for your post to catch the eye of anyone scrolling through their newsfeed. This involves professional photography and getting a graphic designer on board unless you’re a whizz with your smartphone camera and image editing software. It’s worth creating a brand identity – always using the same fonts, filters and themes – this way your posts are unmistakable and are instantly identifiable as yours.

Get to grips with hash-tags

Hash-tags can instantly amplify your posts when used appropriately. Again survey trending hash-tags and popular posts in your industry to see which hash-tags are being used and connected with by your target audience. You can find out more about hash-tags and how to find relevant, effective hash-tags in our dedicated article here.

For more expert digital marketing tips take a look through our related articles here.

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