Instagram is currently the sixth biggest social media app with over a billion monthly active users.
With billions of likes and comments exchanged on the platform every day, we doubt you want to miss getting a slice of that massive engagement pie.
But to do so, you will certainly need to get your social media marketing A-game on and start using all the Instagram growth tools given to you for free.
Without further ado, let’s dive into how you can use Instagram to boost your business.
1. Make the swap to a business profile
The first and obvious step when creating a business plan is to have an actual Instagram Business Account.
Getting one is as simple as it gets. All it takes is to switch from your account from a personal one to a business one.
To do so, go to Settings, find Account and select “Switch to Professional Account.” Voila!
A Business account comes with many advantages:
- Customers can reach you through the Contact Button, just like they would through your website. This solely facilitates communication outside the app, which helps conversion and client retention.
- With the assistance of a third-party scheduling app like Sendible, Tailwind, or ClickUp, business accounts can actually plan and pre-schedule their whole content calendar.
- Knowledge is power, they say. Business profiles have access to data they need through the Insights option that provides all the details about your IG performance.
- One of Instagram’s newest features is “Instagram Shops,” which is currently available to business and creator accounts. Shops allows you to upload a product catalog, tag your products, and (if eligible) even process sales directly in the app.
- Business Accounts have full access to Instagram advertising options. You can plan a paid campaign of posts and stories that will drive traffic to your business and improve your conversion.
- “Quick replies” is another great option Business users have access to. You can create a template response and link them to shortcut words. It is a useful free Instagram marketing tool that will help you improve your customer service.
- With a business account, you will also be able to manage your “Inbox” better. The IG platform sorts messages into three categories: “Primary,” “General,” and “Requests.”
2. Figure out the best times to post on Instagram
Over posting on Instagram can and will backfire. If your posts are all your followers see on their feed, chances are, they will unfollow you before you even know it. However, you still want to keep it consistent in order to appear regularly on their feed. The key to growing your business is staying relevant.
There are other ways to do this correctly, and one of them is figuring out when’s the best time to post on Instagram.
According to statistics, the best days to post on are Mondays and Thursdays, while the worst times are Wednesdays and Sundays.
Regarding specific hours, people are most likely to engage with fresh content between 8 AM and 9 AM, and also 2 AM. However, this will widely depend on your audience and their particular behavior on the platform.
We already mentioned the free Insights option that you can use for a more in-depth analysis of your follower’s online behavior to figure out the best time to post on Instagram.
As for how often you should do it, studies show that you should stick to 1 to 2 posts per day. If you feel like you should be posting more, use carousels for ads and posts, so you don’t come across as pushy.
3. Use free Instagram tools
If you parallelly run Facebook and Instagram business accounts, you will notice that they are not very different from one another.
The free Insights tool allows for decent impressions, engagement data, and other statistics analysis.
It also shows a detailed breakdown of your audience’s demographics, including age, gender, location, and the days and hours with the highest activity.
But why stop there? You can easily find your best-performing posts up to two years in retrospect and analyze the number of impressions and where on the platform they came from.
The more you understand how your followers interact with your posts, the easier it will be to find suitable content and figure out the best time to post on Instagram.
4. Leverage sponsored ads to reach specific groups
As we already mentioned, you can use your Business Account to create paid campaigns and sponsored ads. This will increase your visibility on the platform and help you reach your target audience.
Finding a product that will make your audience hit the buy button is old marketing news. We say figure out what you want to sell and find the right customers.
Paid ads are one of the best Instagram growth tools. This tool will filter out the right audience that needs your product and is willing to spend top dollar for it.
Plus, you have complete control over how much you want to spend on your ads by setting and adjusting your ad budget.
You can choose between showing a single ad or a carousel. You can even choose the format of the ad: photo, video, reels, stories, stories canvas, etc.
Whichever ad form you go for, always use engaging and appealing content. There is also the option to repurpose your best-performing posts and turn them into sponsored ads.
5. Take advantage of Instagram stories and the swipe up option
Stories are “perishable” posts that last for 24 hours before they are archived (and only visible to you) unless you turn them into Highlights. A great thing about Stories is that there is no limit to how many you can post within 24 hours, and each different Story gets its own link too, which is kinda sweet if you want to push the Swipe Up feature (which we will discuss next).
Business accounts have a “Swipe Up” option. This feature allows businesses to place one URL to direct their clients to a location of their choosing anywhere on the web.
Having a Swipe Up is a big deal when it comes to the link-shy Instagram. Make sure you take all the advantage you can to make this feature work in your favor. Organic traffic is always welcome, right?
You can use Swipe Up to sell your products, improve your brand awareness or promote a new article or video.
Or you can share something completely unrelated to your brand and use the option to simply connect with your audience and increase engagement by doing polls or Q&As.
You can also play with the format and post content such as pictures, dynamic pictures, videos, Boomerangs, GIFs, etc.
The options are almost endless and highly encouraged by Instagram itself.
There is one catch, though. You have to reach 10,000 followers or have a verified Instagram account before you can access Instagram’s most coveted options.
6. Use influencer marketing to tap into new audiences
If you are wondering what influencers are, think of them as Millenial/Gen-Z online celebrities.
These are popular Instagram users who have generated mass following and have access to wider audiences.
Many large-scale businesses have already turned to influencers to bring their products closer to the ever-evolving customer basin.
Trust and reliability play a key part in the Influencer-Follower dynamic. People tend to buy more of what they see in their feed, especially if posted by an influential figure they follow.
The trick lies in finding the right Influencers with access to people in your target audience. There is no logic in promoting car parts to high-school fashion-obsessed teenage girls.
7. Create an interactive branded hashtag
Now, we get to the buzzword of the decade – #Hashtag!
According to Oxford Languages, a hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications to identify digital content on a specific topic.
Now that we have the basics covered, let’s see how and why having an interactive branded hashtag can help you grow your business.
It is great for creating engagement and collecting user-generated content.
Every time someone tags you in a photo, they expose you to their own followers, which is basically free Instagram marketing.
Also, you and anyone else on Instagram can use your hashtag to search through your business-related content.
It also allows you to sort through your best-performing photos and videos, in case you want to #repost!
Calvin Klein is the perfect example of how to use a branded hashtag to reach wider audiences. Their #MyCalvins campaign has amassed almost 900,000 posts featuring their hashtag.
You can use the Instagram Search Tool to find inspiration and see how some top tier companies are using this tactic to grow their following and cash in.
8. Use product teasers to announce new products
What if I tell you there is a way to promote your products and increase your sales without overwhelming your audience with pushy advertisements?
By posting product teasers, you create the opportunity to talk about your product without sounding like you are trying too hard.
Use high-def, eye-catching imagery to promote a new product. It will catch your audience’s attention without forcing them to buy.
It applies to almost any industry regardless of how massive or niche it is.
So, go easy on the BUY NOW sign or watch your followers (and potential customers) disappear into thin air.
9. Collect user-generated content
Brands like Go-Pro and Mac have turned this into a regular practice. They use the #repost hashtag and tag the picture’s owner when reposting it for marketing purposes.
You are probably wondering what would motivate your followers to share your branded content.
Well, the answer is simple: the better the picture a follower provides, the more engagement it generates, thus growing follower numbers. Be careful when choosing user-generated content. Ensure you choose high-quality, eye-catching pictures that represent your brand and align with your brand’s aesthetic.
Business or personal profiles, aren’t we all after more exposure?
10. Find out whether you are tracking the right metrics
You can’t be shooting blindly and post whatever you deem suitable at any time of the day.
If you are not tracking the right metrics, you won’t know how your Business profile and content are performing (or underperforming).
If you have measurable results, you will be able to tell what works for your followers and what doesn’t and act accordingly.
We are not saying you should be obsessed with the number of followers, as that is more of a vanity metric, but your follower growth rate isn’t.
Closely monitoring your growth rate will tell you exactly how the type of content and your posting hours are affecting your business.
The next metric to keep an eye on would be your engagement rates. The average engagement rate of your total audience in combination with the average engagement rate of each post separately will tell you everything you need to know about the performance of your page.
Smaller pages usually have higher engagement rates than big ones.
The final metric you want to pay attention to is your URL click-through rate. If you still haven’t added a link to your Instagram bio, do it right away and measure how many people have reached your website through this option.
According to Conversion XL, the average click through rate (CTR) on Instagram is approximately 0.94%. If you are experiencing below the average or a rather low CTR, you will need to work on your marketing strategy and its effect on your followers.
To Sum Up
Instagram has grown to become one of the most influential media outlets worldwide.
From gathering insights to promoting and selling products, this media giant keeps rolling out new Instagram marketing tools to support business owners on the platform.
With a well-thought-out marketing strategy and the right use of the free Instagram growth tools, you can grow your business exponentially and multiply your sales.
Hit the 10K Instagram’s sweet spot, scoop up some of those likes and comments and start growing and selling!