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In just a few years, Instagram has transformed itself from an application where we shared our life in photos to a real platform of choice for companies. A few years ago, there were already a lot of celebrities on Instagram and big companies.

Today, entrepreneurs and smaller businesses also want to take their share of the pie. And that’s understandable, 70% of US companies use Instagram for a business purpose (and you know like me that Americans are ahead).

Instagram for Business

There is an upward trend in the use of Instagram for businesses, which I confirm with Google Trends… It’s normal, in recent years, Instagram has evolved to benefit companies with:

Precisely, a few weeks ago, Instagram took a big step forward by launching in France the Shopping feature only available to professional accounts and that allows companies to tag products on their publications.

It should also be noted that the platform is filled with Generation Y youth (also known as Digital Natives or Millennial). Omnicore claims that 59% of Instagram users are between 18 and 29 years old (Generation Y). And 33% of Instagram users are between the ages of 30 and 49 years old.

The Digital Natives alone represent a huge market with a purchasing power that account trillion dollars. They are also early adopters of new technologies and are not afraid to spend their money. They want to know more about the companies that market the products they buy. What is the history of the company? Who is behind this product? How was the product designed?

This is why it is so important for companies to give a more “human” side to their entity. Instagram and other social networks are among the levers to start this transition.

In fact, Instagram claims that 80% of Instagram users follow at least one company on the network, 60% of whom said they discovered a product or service on the platform.

Will you be one of these companies?

In this article, I will first show you the key steps to get started. Then we’ll see how you can grow on the network.

Before you publish your content, make sure to use a professional account. Fortunately, it is very easy to convert a personal account into a Business account from the Instagram app.

Business Growth

To do this, press the wheel button next to the “edit profile” button:

Also, to convert your personal account into a business account, you will need to connect it to a Facebook page. After clicking on “Switch to Professional Profile”, follow the few steps and link your pro account to your Facebook Page.

The advantage of the business account is that you can add your details:

The pro account allows you obviously to advertise Instagram, which is not possible with a personal account.

Finally, the pro account has very powerful analysis tools (a bit like Facebook) that allow you to know the scope and commitment to your posts (interesting to determine the best time to publish).

You can also learn more about your followers like their age, gender, location, and the hours they are most active. If you still feel like switching to a pro account, make your decision by analyzing this infographic produced by Later.

For example, if you’re not a business, and you’re not aiming to increase your followers, and you do not plan to use Instagram’s analytics, it would be wiser to stay with a personal profile.

On Instagram, your bio is one of the only opportunities to make a good first impression to users who discover you.

Writing an organic is an art.

In this article, we will stick to the basics of a good Instagram bio that, in a few lines, must:

The link you put in your bio is the only one you can put on Instagram. Choose it well and if you have had trouble deciding, you can use a tool like Linktree that allows you to link to multiple platforms.

For organic, another thing you need to understand is that you have to differentiate two terms:

The username is used to identify your account and to differentiate it from another… Generally, it can be a pseudonym, your full name or the name of your company. With the name, these are the 2 elements that you can look for when you search on Instagram.

This is the number one rule before you start on a social network. What goal does your company want to accomplish with Instagram?

After all, you will invest your time and money. Invest these resources smartly. Depending on the goals you set, the way you measure the results (KPIs) will be different, as will your communication.

Here are some goals that brands seek to accomplish on Instagram:

Focus on one or two goals and align all your resources to reach them. For example, gaining visibility and developing a community are two goals that go well together. I also regularly find ecommerants who use Instagram for the sole purpose of staging their products.

To stay in people’s minds, you have to publish regularly. But what to publish and how often?This is what we will see.

What to post on Instagram? 

If you have defined the objective (s) of your presence on Instagram, you should already have a good idea of ​​what you are going to publish.

On Instagram, you have the choice, you can publish:

The photo is the most classic format on Instagram and in all cases gets a good engagement rate. Product photos work pretty well when you know that 65% of top-performing posts feature products.

Starbucks uses Instagram to present new products in everyday situations. They also present photos of members of their community (we will talk about this strategy later)

But it’s not just the product photos that get engagement, the photos that show people work pretty well too, with 36% of mentions I like more than those without (this is the opportunity to make more selfies!).

Also remember to geotag your photos, include relevant hashtags (between 10 and 30) and write an engaging description (photo caption).

Instagram is a social network centered on storytelling, both through images (which tell a story themselves) and the legend of the publication that will give it a context and be useful to include a call to action.

You should ask a question at the end of each publication. This is the best way to get feedback(which will increase the reach of your posts).

How often publish on Instagram and when to publish? 

It’s a big debate on Instagram and I will not get into it. Really, I hate these debates where one argues about the best time of publication or the frequency of publication that must be adopted.

Some say that you have to publish 1 to 2 times a day on Instagram. Others advise to publish even more.

In my opinion, and this is purely subjective, the frequency of publications is not important.

What matters is the quality of your content.

If you are able to publish very high quality content 3 times a day, do it, but also monitor your engagement rate.If your engagement rate goes down, it probably means you’re boring your followers.

It should also be noted that recently, the Instagram algorithm has been updated to ensure that the most recent posts appear first in the feed. In fact, many users complained that they were constantly seeing the same content and sometimes even publications that are 3 or 4 days old, to the point that Instagram users would miss 70% of the content in their site news feed.

As users will again see the most recent posts first, you could try to post when your followers are online (you can find out with the pro account analytics tools).

For example, publish a first time at a time when the application is the most consulted:

Post a second time based on your analytics. In any case, know that knowing the best hours of publications requires time and experimentation.

In addition, it is not the only factor that will influence the scope of your publications.

Note:Tell me in the comments at what time of day your posts get the most commitment. I am curious to know your opinion.

It will soon be 2 years since the Stories are present on Instagram. Popularized by Snapchat, they are now part of Instagram. Indeed, more than 300 million users (out of 800 million) who use Stories. It’s no coincidence that this type of content works so well.

First, because stories are ephemeral contents. They last only for 24 hours. Stories are also more authentic and less “fakes” than classic posts on Instagram.

So it’s a totally different content than the publications we’ve seen for years. But it’s not just people like you and me who have benefited from this new way of communicating on a social network.

42% of the companies polled by Buffer in their 2018 State of Social study say they have already created Stories on Instagram. That’s already a lot, but what’s even more interesting is that 68% of the companies surveyed plan to create more Stories in 2018, whether on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook.

It’s quite logical. I told you at the beginning of the article that a large part of Instagram users are from generation Y.

A generation that loves this type of content, more authentic.

For businesses, the benefits of Instagram Stories are endless. They can:

This list is endless. Really … The only limit is your creativity and the stories you have to tell. In addition, you do not need to pay attention to the visual identity of your feed since your Stories disappear after 24 hours.

From the point of view of the algorithm, it is interesting to do stories because people who watch them to the end are likely to see your posts more often in their news feed.

Instagram also makes it easy for you to easily improve your stories by adding text, hashtags, polls, geolocation and other icons.

You can also add different fonts to your texts.

The Polling feature is particularly interesting because it allows you to engage people watching your Stories again.

On Instagram, it’s called a Takeover when an influencer or a member of the team takes control of the account.

To finish on the Stories, do not be afraid to “let go” a little as long as you do not endanger your image. Do not try to be perfect, but be interesting … and avoid selling. Put yourself in the user’s place. They do not look at Stories to discover products.

Depending on the goals you have set (I hope you have done your homework), the analysis of the results will be different.

For example, if you are aiming for visibility, the key (KPI) indicator that you will need to monitor each week is the growth in the number of followers. Click this icon to see the results of your account.

Do not forget to individually analyze the commitment and scope on each publication to see what type of publication works best:

Post regularly and do Stories, that’s good. This will allow you to collect a few hundred fans a month if you use relevant hashtags.

But that’s not enough of course… This is where influencers come in. These are users who have already acquired thousands of followers. They are called influencers because they are recognized in their field and enjoy (often) blind trust from their followers.

For this reason, brands do not hesitate to form partnerships with them to take advantage of the capital-trust that these influencers have acquired over the years.

Often, when we think of an influencer, we think of Kylie Jenner. But not everyone is so popular (and expensive). The smaller ones have thousands of followers and the biggest ones have millions.

Influencers with more than a million followers are usually out of reach (unless you put millions on the table). Those with 100k to 1 million followers appear to be already affiliated with only a few brands.

I am not saying that they are out of reach, BUT it is not by offering them 100 or 200 € per post that they will agree to promote you. After all, they already receive requests like yours every day… It’s the law of the market. 

In this game, it is the big brands that take the prize.While those with between 1000 and 100k Followers have fewer opportunities than the latter and are therefore listening to partnerships.

In addition, they cost less and benefit from a better capital-trust (thus more commitment on their publications).

These are the influencers you must aim for. At most they have followers and commitment, at most they are expensive. 

Today I am only going to present some examples of influence marketing campaigns:

Create brand awareness

A brand awareness campaignis not about selling, but about showing your brand to more people.

Brands also enjoy competing with influencers or offering gifts to generate demand.

To sell products

Daniel Wellington is a great example.

The brand has literally refused traditional marketing to build on a real army of influencers to generate brand awareness and make sales…

They rely on known influencers of any industry (fashion, beauty, fitness, etc.) and offer them to take a picture with a Daniel Wellington watch (and a promo code of course …).

I know that sounds unrealistic when I think of brands like Daniel Wellington. These brands have more resources than you. That’s why you should turn to micro-influencers who are more affordable. You may even be able to get away with offering your products in lieu of pay.

Partnering with influencers is the first strategy (paid) that allows you to quickly gain visibility on Instagram or sell…

Maybe less quickly, but the advantage is that you can start with a few euros a day. They are not yet very popular, but companies are increasingly thinking of adopting them, as shown by the results of this study conducted by Later.

As on Facebook a few years ago, organic reach is decreasing on Instagram, forcing big Instagram accounts to sponsor their poststo keep their usual engagement rate.

On Instagram, ads can be used for many purposes:

In addition, Instagram ads integrate well with the platform as they look like normal posts.

The targeting is obviously very interesting since it’s the same as Facebook advertising and keep in mind that you have access to several formats (as in Facebook):

Instagram posts that contain at least one hashtag get on average 12.6% more engagement than those without.

On Instagram, a common practice among companies is to create their own hashtag, which is called a branded hashtag. According to Simply Measured, 7 out of 10 hashtags are branded hashtags.

But what exactly is a branded hashtag?

A branded hashtag is a clean hashtag for your business or a marketing campaign.

Your branded hashtag could represent the name of your company, your slogan or the name of one of your products. It can also be the name of an Instagram contest you organize.

For example, Starbucks regularly uses branded hashtags to announce a new product and create buzz through its community and influencers. Starbucks creates the hashtag in connection with the product and sharing on all its social networks.

In this way, their clients as influencers can post a photo of their Latte with the branded hashtag. In other words, it’s free advertising for Starbucks that their customers do with joy, as evidenced by the number of publications containing the hashtag in question.

Red Bull also has its own hashtag that its extreme sports community keeps using in their publications.

Most often, there are branded hashtags for:

10. Encourage (and republish) user-generated content

User-generated content is one of the most credible forms of content for your brand. Indeed, 9 out of 10 online consumers have more confidence in UGC than traditional advertising.

This is a content originally published by your users (fans, customers) that you republish on your social accounts (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), and mentioning the person who produced this content.

The UGC is not only useful for gaining the trust of your community. It can also serve you to develop your community on Instagram. For example, Buffer has enjoyed exceptional growth in its Instagram account in just one year (+ 400% – from 4,250 to 21,000 followers).

According to them, a big part of the growth of their Instagram account can be attributed to the CGU they republished on their account.

In my opinion, this type of content should be part of your strategy, regardless of your industry. It’s up to you to create a branded hashtag that is “fun” enough to be used on Instagram.

Also remember to encourage your customers to use your branded hashtag to collect UGC. This can be done by organizing a contest, using influencers to promote it in their posts or by encouraging their use via emailing.

I have already seen e-merchants propose to each new customer to publish a photo of their new product with the brand hashtag against a promo code. Sometimes the best content you can publish is not yours, but the other ones…

Note that you must ask the person who produced the content to agree before republishing it to your Instagram account (or other social network).

Remember: consumers have more trust in their peers than brands.

Start your instagram growth campaign now!

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