Instagram for Businesses: 10 hacks for small to medium businesses

1. Join the club

It's free and easy, there is literally no excuse!

  • Download the app on App Store or Play Store

  • Sign up with your email address or log in with your Facebook account.

  • Scroll down and switch to business account option

  • Add your business info

2. Username, profile picture and bio

  • The username should as much as possible equalize other usernames on your different platforms. It should also feature your business, either your business name or some product you offer as long as it is within context.

  • The profile picture should captivate and create interest. When possible, let it be as original and real as your business is.

  • The bio section is of high importance, it should be concise and to the point, simple words are key. Try to use hashtags that lead to your business or associated concepts and take full advantage of the word count.

3. Hashtag, hashtag... oh and did i say hashtags?

The importance of using hashtags on Instagram cannot be emphasized enough, not only do they increase your discoverability on social media sites and search engines but they also help to develop your brand image. The key to a successful hashtag is to be original, if you mimic other brands you will fail to stand out. For inspiration for your hashtags, try a social media monitoring tool with a context feature. Check the rankings of the most popular words in your project to give you an indication of what to use. 4. Drive traffic to your site

It is important to not become lazy, you need to constantly be making an effort to lead people to your site. Spread your Instagram handle and elevate your pitch through the use of influences and iconic figures.

5. Photos and captions

Do not understate the power of a captivating caption under an enticing image. Make captions short and engaging, perhaps use a question or even start with a joke. Remember one’s understanding of a certain image may differ highly from another.Hence, a short explanation of why the image was used makes sense.

6. Ads

There are four key forms of ads , photos, videos, carousels and stories. Use each outlet to your advantage, it is essentially a free platform to display your products/ services so make use of it!

7. Don't go over the top

The biggest market on instagram is the younger generation who like things to be fun and exciting. Therefore, it is so important to eliminate direct promotion strategies and pick up tactics that subtly play with the customers' mind. No one likes to feel as though they are being force fed advertisements, so keep it subtle yet effective. Try to use giveaways and share tips to make the reader feel as though you want whats best for them!

8. Peak time

Studies show that you can generate traffic depending on the day and time of the day. Reports show that a majority of US citizens are logging into their Instagram accounts around 1-2am in the morning and 5-7pm in the evening; essentially, when going to bed and when returning from work respectively.Work with these hours for a better experience. However, it doesn’t mean that you should only post at these hours.

9. Track the progress

You need a daily reference on your daily progress and luckily for you there are a number of apps designed to do this. A pretty exclusive analytical tool to keep check on the likes and comments you’ve received so far is Iconosquare (formerly Statigram). Essentially, you get to easily track your performance with time and know what to change and what to retain. Join platforms such as Ink361, an Instagram tool to stay engaged with the audience, find new followers and impact further on your photo-sharing.

10. Brandish your content strategy

The following are the holy grail for content strategy... take note. - Don't bombard followers, a post once or twice a day is more than enough. - Mix it up, don't keep posting the same content, it gets boring and people are likely to unfollow you. - Have a general theme for your photos, try to keep the same photography style and angles. Good luck!

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