Instagram has over 800 million monthly active users, less competition and a more engaged audience than other social media giants like Facebook or Twitter (source: Statista). This presents businesses with an opportunity to market their products to a more targeted and interested audience without spending an enormous amount of money on paid advertising. Whether your strategy needs an update or you’re a newcomer to this social media network, you’ll find these seven tips on how to use Instagram for business superbly useful.

1. Show what you do in a creative way

Focus on the solution you provide, not the products you sell. On Instagram, it’s essential to add value to your customers and look pretty while you do it. Never underestimate the fact that your most important asset (and downfall) on this social media network is visual content. If your business is service-oriented, focus on showcasing the process behind providing the service. Show your company culture, share your mission with the world, or simply share some tips and how-tos. It’s possible to upload photos, short videos (similar to GIFs, called Boomerangs) and videos up to one minute in length.

2. Create a winning profile

As a company, you probably do a whole lot of things and offer even more solutions. Don’t get too caught up in fitting all of that in 150 characters. Focus on your most important USP or your next big thing – be it an event, promotion or product launch.

Since the only clickable link is in your Bio section (right under your name), make a habit of updating it frequently. It’s a shame that most brands use it only to link to their website, but it could do so much more. Think, driving event registrations, app downloads or even purchases.

3. Take them behind-the-scenes

Customers have a natural curiosity about where their products come from, and you can use Instagram to show them their whole lifecycle. This is especially relevant for companies that sell environmentally friendly or FairTrade products. Source images to demonstrate how products are made – from the base material, production and distribution.

4. Expand your reach with #hashtags

Use hashtags to expand your reach. These can be campaign specific or general – all that’s important is that they are relevant. Make sure to also set up your main company hashtag (#yourbrandname), and use it sparingly across Instagram (Twitter is good too). This makes it easier for people to find content related to you as well as your main account. It’s best practice to use between three to five hashtags, despite the fact that the maximum you can add is 30 per Instagram post. Use your own, campaign specific hashtags as well as the more popular hashtags to increase the discoverability of your content.

5. Collaborate and @mention others

Instagram is one of the strongest social media channels for highlighting collaborators and sharing customer success stories. Even if you don’t officially partner with a non-profit organization, you can give to charity or do a fundraiser a couple of times a year. It’s all good as long as the cause aligns with your brand values and mission. Take into account that not everyone is monitoring hashtags on social media, so tagging an account is usually a better choice if you want to get noticed.

6. Build anticipation and offer exclusivity

Keeping your customers interested is an essential part of any effective marketing campaign. Reward your loyal followers with exclusive content. Let them be the first to know about new products, services or events. Create teaser photos that build anticipation or satisfy curiosity for your new releases, office openings or stores. This kind of preview makes your Instagram followers feel special and keeps them coming back for more insider information.

Bonus: Put your IG handle on your business card!

And last but not least… If you are putting effort into creating great content for your Instagram account, you should be leveraging that content with every prospective customer. Don’t forget to include your Instagram handle (in addition to your email and phone number) the next time you make business cards.

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