Do you need a plan how to use Instagram for business?
Would you like to get more Instagram followers?
Instagram is going to be a trend in 2016. If you are not there – you are out of creative business. According to the recent research by MDG Advertising:
Instagram has 400 million active users who share more than 80 million photos each day. It also has a lot of highly engaged users. Nearly half (49%) of active users check the platform daily, and the average brand post gets 120X more interactions compared with Twitter.
With its 100% mobile user base, highly visual feed, new curation tools, and expanded messaging capabilities, Instagram is perfectly positioned to capitalize on the biggest emerging social and commerce trends.
For solopreneurs and small businesses, owners often have only one account where they post personal and business stuff. Before you start using Instagram for business purposes more, check your feed and see what you post there now: personal photos or pictures about you work.
Sometimes it’s better to split your account and create another one just for the business or have only one mostly for your business presence. Define the goals for your Instagram and focus on your audience.
As Ann Tran said:
Plan ahead, and make it special. Before you start, determine your goals and metrics, whether it is engagement or re-tweets. Make sure your social channels and website is dressed for window shoppers. Ensure that your page is fun, informative, and engaging so that it will pull your audience in and keep them there!
The basics of getting more followers on Instagram:
- Post consistently high-quality pictures (at least once per day)
- Use the proper hashtags, tag people, and locations
- Follow, like and comment on similar accounts
For learning how to take the great pictures check out top 10 recourses for becoming a better photographer.
With a busy life, it’s hard to be consistent. By planning and scheduling posts for the Instagram, it’s easier to post more often.
How to schedule Instagram posts with Hootsuite
When you use Instagram for business, most of the time you already have the pictures. If you are a photographer, you have the series of the photo shoots, designers have the collection of the products, artists have the sets of the pictures, etc.
At the end of 2015 Hootsuite got a new cool feature for scheduling Instagram posts.
First, you need to register a new account. You can sign in with the Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or use your email for registration.
Type your name, email, and password and click “Create account.”
When you log in to the dashboard, click “Add Social Network.”
You can add up to three social media accounts for free. Select Instagram tab and click “Connect with Instagram.” You need to be logged in to your Instagram for Hootsuite authorization.
Then you will get a message that it successfully connected. You can set up publishing right away or skip the step and do it later. Let’s click “Setup Publishing Now”.
Download the latest version of Hootsuite to your cell phone. Look for it on Google play or Apple store or type your phone number and get a link to your cell phone, which will redirect you to the downloading page.
Then follow steps 2 and 3. After you install the Hootsuite on your phone, launch the application and go to the setting options. Tap on “Notification Settings” and turn on the notification for the Instagram account.
If you did everything right, you get a message on the Hootsuite web page that Instagram setup is completed. Click “Done”.
You can add a few Instagram accounts if you want. For that, you need to repeat all the previous steps, but make sure that you logged into other Instagram account before you do it. Then on the authorization step, it will get data from your second account.
The cool thing in Hootsuite is that you can add different streams to the dashboard. Let’s add the new tab. Type the name for it.
Now you can add the streams. If you have two Instagram accounts connected, choose the one you want.
Below is the list of streams you can add: Home, Followers, Following, etc. The home stream will show the home Instagram feed with your and your friend’s pictures. You can easily like or comment on the posts right on Hootsuite.
Let’s also choose “My posts” stream (which will show only your posts) and “Scheduled” stream – here you will see all the scheduled posts.
For scheduling the post, at the top left corner choose an account where you want to send a new post to.
The same way you can add streams for following the hashtags or specific location.
Let’s schedule the post now. If you have many social media accounts, then you can star those, which you use more often so they will be shown at the top of the account list.
After choosing the account, click on compose image area. Select “Attach image or file”.
Then drop files from your desktop to the area or upload it from your computer. Your file should be less than 5Mb. When you select the file, it will be uploaded to the system, and you will see it below.
Type your description, add your team – credit to them by mentioning to them accounts, add hashtags.
Now you can send the post to your cell phone or schedule it. Select “Scheduling”.
Choose the date and the time for your post, then click “Schedule” button.
You can also choose “Autoschedule” option, but don’t forget to setup the days and time for auto-scheduling.
Choose how many images can be scheduled, time for posting and the days of the week.
After scheduling, you will see your post and the “Scheduled” stream. If you want to change something, click Edit link and you rewrite the text or choose another date of the publication.
At the scheduled time you will have the notification on your phone (do you remember, we turned on the notification after installing an app on the phone).
Open Hootsuite notification tab and you will see you post there. Tap on it.
Tap “Open in Instagram”.
Make sure that you logged into the right account.
Then the image will be opened in the Instagram app and will go through all the process: you can crop it, do a color correction, choose a filter, etc.
On the last step, you may write a new caption or select paste a text. When you open the photo from Hootsuite to publish on Instagram, the description that you wrote online will be copied to the clipboard, so you can simply paste it here.
Then publish your post on Instagram. The Instagram doesn’t let auto posting online, but scheduling makes your work easier.
How to use Instagram for business
Publishing the high-quality pictures is only a half of the way to growing your Instagram followers. Working on Instagram for business, your goal is to create a community who like what you do and want to follow your brand. In every social media network communication and the connection is a key.
This is how to simplify this process too.
iconosquare.com is a great tool for manage Instagram account and get a statistic. For signing up, you need to authorize your Instagram account. Click “Sign in with Instagram.”
Type your Username, Password and click Log In.
On the dashboard, you see your Instagram feed, your media, likes, etc. Seems similar to Hootsuite, but manage Instagram through IconSquare is easier. Here are some interesting features.
First, you may see the images as the grid, not as the stream. You can like them right here.
For see the image or write a comment, just click on the picture. It shows you a full preview and all info about the image including the date, place, used filter, etc. You may comment through the interface and if your cell phone doesn’t support emoji… TADAM! You can add emoji to the text too.
Here you start to communicate to people, leave comments on the pictures, add emotions and mention people (sadly you can’t do it in Hootsuite)
You may also see all the comments, reply to them or delete from your account via “Manage” tab at the top menu.
Another good thing is that you can add following by you Instagram accounts into the groups. Click on the circle near the account name and select “New Group” to create a new group or add to already existing.
If you go to the main feed, at the top left you may filter your followings, then see and work on the pictures only of the selected group.
Cool, but how it will help you to get more followers?
First, let’s see a statistic of our posting. Go to the “Analytics” tab on the top menu and at the left sidebar choose “Optimization”.
On the opened page you see the best time to post your images.
Look for biggest light gray circles to find the best days and time. As we talked, it’s better to post every day. Also, as your Instagram community will grow it’s good to update your statistic from time to time to see the changes. Feel free to experiment with the posting time to find the best hours for schedule your posts.
At the Analytics you also can track most liked/commented on posts – know what your should you post more.
Note, this statistic now available only for the paid account, but you will have seven days free trial when you sign up to IconSquare. So you will be able to see your data by the end of that period, then you can update your account for $4.90 per month.
In the beginning, we talked about following, like and comment on the similar accounts to grow up your followings. Let’s work on it too.
At the top right type a hashtag about the topic of your account, for example, #photoshoot and click on the magnifier.
You will see the list of the similar hashtags and how many pictures with this hashtag already on the Instagram. Let’s choose the same hashtag as we searched (click on it).
Now you see all the last pictures published with the tag #photoshoot.
“Like” those, which you like, and has less “likes.” In this case, you will have more chances to be noticed, get likes back and maybe even a new follower.
Also, choose some pictures and leave the comments on them. Engaging more with people you get more followers.
Then select a few accounts and go to them profile. See how many followings/followers they have. If the difference followings/followers aren’t too big – follow this person, more chances that they will follow you back. If the account has a lot of followers and only a few followings, mostly they will not follow you – just skip them.
NOTICE: try to avoid mass following and commenting. Instagram has a strict policy to spammers. They may temporary block your account. It’s hard to say how it works, just keep working on your account little by little.
For check who follows you and who doesn’t, you can look at the each account profile on IconSquare or use crowdfireapp.com.
Login with your Instagram account.
There is a menu on the left. The top tab is “Non Followers”. When you select it, you can see all people who do not follow you. To unfollow them click on the red circle. If you don’t want accidentally unfollow the account, put it on the Whitelist, and it will be moved from this section to the Whitelist group.
If you only have 20 minutes a day to manage your Instagram account, this is how Hootsuite recommend spending that time.
The quick schedule
3 minutes: Plan content
- Fill your content calendar
- Schedule Instagram posts with Hootsuite
- Plan captions and hashtags
4 minutes: Edit and post images
- Bulk edit using photo apps
- Create streams within Hootsuite for monitoring
- Keep posting to one or two images per day
10 minutes: Engagement
- Respond to comments on your photos
- Like and comment on follower photos
- Use the Explore tab to find new users to engage with
3 minutes: Monitor hashtags
- Find relevant industry hashtags or build your own
- Use hashtags to surface user-generated content
Once you set it up as a system and get a habit to use Instagram for business on the everyday basis, you will see how it will gain more followers and become popular.
If you have any questions while you do this, I’ll be glad to help. Just leave me a comment below with your questions or comments.
Do you know other ways to use Instagram for Business easily?
Marina Barayeva is an international speaker and coach who helps women entrepreneurs become recognized experts and confidently sell their services. She is also a TEDx speaker, has presented to audiences in Asia and North America, and has been featured in such media as ArtPeople, CCTV, China Radio International, and others.