Posted on: 17 March 2021
Instagram for business
Social media is a fantastic platform for businesses to use to be able to connect with customers, give insights from behind the scenes of your business, and ultimately, to sell products and/or services.
Facebook and LinkedIn have been the traditional social media platforms for businesses who want to connect and sell online, but Instagram is another widely used platform that can help businesses connect on a visual level. In an Instagram survey, 60% of people said they discover new products on Instagram.
So if you are considering expanding your social media presence to Instagram, carry on reading for tips and best practice for business.
If you aren’t familiar with Instagram, there are a few key terms that you should know that will help you use Instagram and share information about your business page with others. Instagram’s functionality is similar to other social media platforms, so you may have heard some of these terms before.
A post is the content you share. This could be an image or video with a short caption underneath for context.
To be able to see regular updates from a person’s or businesses’ Instagram account, you need to follow them. Once you have followed someone, their content will appear in your feed.
Remember that just because you have followed someone, it doesn’t mean they automatically follow you back.
A comment is where you can contribute to someone else’s post. Commenting is a great way of networking and showing off your expertise.
Your username serves many purposes on Instagram. Firstly, it can be one of the ways that you can log into the platform, but it also serves as the method that people will find your page.
Because of this, you will want to have a username that is the same name as your business, or similar if the name has already been taken.
When adding a comment or adding a page to a post, use the @ symbol followed by a username to include someone else in your post.
Direct Messaging (DM)
Rather than post publicly, Instagram lets you make contact with a follower with an instant messaging service.
You can also send direct messages to people who don’t follow you, but it will have to be through a message request, where they could potentially reject your message.
Using the hash symbol (#) before certain words in your posts means they can be found by people who are searching for that particular topic.
For example, if you run a hairdressing business and want to show off some of the new work that you have been experimenting with hair colour, you could tag a post with #haircolour and people will be able to find your post by searching for that topic.
Alternatively, if you are looking for informative content, you can type #haircolour into a search field and find inspiration.
Suggestions and best practice for Instagram
Now you know the basics of using Instagram, it’s time to put it into practice to build your online community and grow your business using Instagram.
Use the search function in Instagram to find industry peers, clients and competitors using keywords, topics or well-known terms in your industry.
This will help you find some of the things that other businesses in your industry are talking about and the way that they communicate with their customers. Hopefully, this will inspire you to adopt some of this practice into your own posts.
You can also find leads by searching for keywords about your local area and the kinds of products or services that people are looking for. For example, at Premierline, we could search for #businessinsurance and #northwest to potentially engage with customers in our local area that have business insurance needs.
There is no limit to the number of hashtags you can use in a post, which means that you could have your post seen by a large number of people, but there would be no worth in doing so if you weren’t engaging with the right customers.
Instead of just using lots of hashtags, think about the topic that you want customers to engage with carefully to ensure that your posts are found by the people who are more likely to have an interest in what your post is about.
Engage with your followers
When you post content, think of it as posting for your followers rather than posting at your followers.
Posts should start conversations with your followers to help build relationships and your reputation. Going for the hard sell on social media is more likely to turn people away from your business who may take the view that you are only engaging to try and sell.
Develop a social media content strategy that treats relationships with followers as a priority. This will allow you to develop an approachable reputation, where a follower could see you as an expert in your sector.
Respond to mentions
If you receive a notification that your business has been tagged or mentioned in a post, take the time to respond to it, regardless of whether or not someone is trying to engage with you directly.
This can be an opportunity to address concerns, thank followers or offer assistance to someone who is engaging with your business.
You should also be ready to respond to this as soon as possible to let customers feel as though they are your priority.
Don’t shy away from negative comments
It can be too tempting to ignore, delete or respond privately to negative comments on social media, but doing so can make your business look like the guilty party, or uncaring to a customer’s issues.
Responding promptly and publicly will allow you to either show your side of the story and appear willing to listen to the client’s concerns and resolve issues that they have.
Clear pathways to wider business support
In your social media strategy, you should ensure that any positive or negative comments, support requests or feedback gets fed back to the people in your company who have the power to act on comments through Instagram.
For example, feedback can be fed through to a management team to make business-wide changes, inappropriate staff conduct can be sent to HR and leads can be forwarded through to your sales team.
Time your posts
You need to find a good balance between posting regularly and not bombarding your followers with information that could turn them away.
One or two posts a day spaced out throughout the day is an acceptable amount, which also gives you some room to make emergency posting information if necessary.
Promote special offers
Dropping offers on products or services is a really strong method of keeping customers engaged, but you could even go a step further and create Instagram exclusive offers that can’t be found on your other social media platforms.
This will ensure that customers feel as though there is a value to staying subscribed to your Instagram page, but you should be wary to not promote the same, or similar, offers on your other social media platforms, as this will destroy the idea of exclusivity.
We have taken a look at how to run your Instagram page, but there are common mistakes that people make when using Instagram that should be avoided at all costs.
Avoid personal posts
Your business Instagram page should be kept exclusively for your business. Don’t use the platform to air personal grievances like competitors, politics and issues in your personal life, as this can come across as unprofessional.
You should also avoid talking about your personal life, unless there is something that is work-related, such as celebrations when completing training courses or giving some background information on your professional past.
Avoid topics that can be divisive to your follower base, such as politics, religion, sports or controversial individuals.
Remember basic customer service
Whether you are talking face to face, over the phone or online, remember that you are always engaging with a potential customer, so be careful how you engage with them.
Whether intentional or accidental, avoid offending customers by making them feel unintelligent for questions or opinions that they share.
As we have mentioned before, bombarding customers with offers of the products and services you offer is more likely to turn them away than engage them.
Social media is about building relationships with customers and giving them a visual representation of your business. Once you have built a reputation for your company, hopefully, the sales will start to come in.
Getting started on Instagram
For further guidance on using Instagram for business, take a look at the Instagram getting started guide which has tips on setting up your account, making content, creating marketing plans and paid Instagram advertising.
Business insurance with Premierline
Finding the right business insurance to protect your business can be difficult, with a huge range of insurance covers available that you might not fully understand. That’s where Premierline comes in, as our insurance experts will assess your business and find an insurance policy designed to protect you should the worst happen.
Get in touch with one of our insurance advisors to discuss your business’ insurance needs and compare quotes from some of the UK’s most well-known insurance providers.
Source: Zywave Inc. – Succeed with Social Media: Instagram
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