Given the number of new businesses popping up every single day(approximately 1,717), it might seem difficult to stay relevant and continue to reach customers. But I have a surprise for you - It's not. Even with the increasing number of new businesses and the decreasing attention span of customers, you can still reach customers and get them to spend money at your business. The key to doing this is having the right tools and knowing how to use them.
One of the many tools you can use as a small business owner is Instagram. Three years ago, Instagram announced that it was launching new business tools. The launch included features for business accounts to use such as business profiles, analytics insights, and advertising options.
This completely changed the way businesses can market to customers and run advertising campaigns. Facebook has very similar features, but this is obvious because Facebook owns Instagram. Before we go into how exactly you can use these tools to your advantage, I'm going to give you the run down of what each feature is. After all, none of this will make sense if you don't even know what i'm talking about.
Business profiles are a free feature for accounts wanting to be recognized as a business on Instagram. But keep in mind, business profiles will only be open to those who already have a Facebook Page for their business. You have the option of selecting the category of business you're in, so make sure it's relevant to what you do. Some options include:
- Books and magazines
- Brands and products
- Event sources
- Local businesses
- Websites and blogs
Pick a subcategory to help people find your page in searches. For example, if you used “local businesses” as a subcategory, you have options, such as bar, home improvement, or arts and entertainment.
By having a business profile, you're able to provide contact information and your business location. Another great feature that might be applicable to your services is to add a "call to action" button. If you aren't familiar with what a call to action is, to make it quick, essentially words that urge the reader, listener, or viewer of a sales promotion message to take an immediate action, such as "Write Now," "Call Now," or (on Internet) "Click Here."Instagram gives you three call to action button options — Start order, book, and reserve.
Insights on Instagram give businesses actionable information about who their followers are and which posts resonate better than others. By learning more about the behavior and demographics of your audience, Instagram believes you can create more relevant and timely content. Insights will feature data like top posts, reach, impressions and engagement around posts, as well as more data on your followers like their gender, age, and location.
This information is vital for understanding who your audience is. When you first open your business you might think you understand who your audience is. But by seeing who interacts with your social media, clicks your links, shares your products, you get a way better understanding. And after learning this information, you'll be able to better target your customers and understand what they do and don't like.
The data given to you on insights can also help decide how you advertise. You might learn you have a high number of affluent customers who would be willing to pay more money for your products and services.
Instagram's advertising button is called "promote". What's great about this feature is that it's not just your typical advertising. The ability to promote lets you turn well-performing posts into ads right within the Instagram app. To run an ad, you’ll be able to pick a post you’ve already shared on Instagram and add a button encouraging people to take action (remember we covered CTA's). You can select a target audience or allow Instagram to suggest targeting for you. After that, your post will be promoted as an ad for any length of time you choose. This is when paying attention to your insights and being able to understand them is most important.
Use Instagram Tools to their Fullest Potential
So, now that we have an understanding of each feature, we're going to go over how to use them to your advantage. First, if you don't have an Instagram for your business, you're going to want to make one ASAP. There are many reasons why you should be using all social media platforms but we'll save that for another time. If you already have an Instagram, you'll want to look over it and see if it needs improvements.
Put Effort Into Your Business Profile
I'm going to be honest with you, if you're not putting effort into your Instagram account, you're not going to get anything out of the business tools. In regards to taking advantage of a business profile, you should have only necessary information in your profile. While there are some big companies who can get away with having a one sentence long bio (i'm looking at you Chipotle), you won't want that to be the standard for your business.
You'll want to have contact information that customers know is reliable, your business location (or website if you don't have a physical location), a brief description of what your company is, and an applicable call to action button. All of these are going to make your company look legit and professional.
Here is an example of a bakery in Austin, Texas that is using their business profile to its fullest potential.
Understand Your Insights
Once you set up the profile and start posting consistently, you'll then be able to look at your insights. Here is what your insights are going to look like. This is the interactions sections and shows you insights from the previous week. It also shows what days your audience interacts with your profile the most.
This section is going to show you your reach. Your reach is how many people (accounts) have been seeing your posts and profiles. Again, it's divided by day so you can determine the best days for posting pictures and running advertisements.
Lastly, this section is more detailed information about your reach. This can help you determine what areas to be focusing on to try to raise all numbers.
Use Insights to Create Promotions
Now that you have an understanding of what your insights are and how to interpret them, you can create promotions. Instagram has six ad formats to choose from. Two of those are for Instagram stories, which appear at the top of the feed in a manner similar to Snapchats. The other four are formats designed for the Instagram feed, which are more commonly used by advertisers. The list goes like this:
- Image feed ads
- Image story ads
- Video feed ads
- Video story ads
- Carrousel feed ads
- Canvas story ads
You'll want to look at the insights and try to figure out the optimal times to post advertisements. However, if you're still learning, you can use this for reference.
Instagram business tools have been around for a few years now and have had the chance to get all the kinks worked out. As a business owner, it's in your best interest to be utilizing these tools and understanding what they do and how they work. Once you do this, you'll be able to use your Instagram business profile to increase traffic to your business and gain a strong following.
If you’ve seen success doing this, let us know and we’d love to feature your company. And remember, if you ever want to get in touch with us directly, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.