From the boom in popularity of Instagram Stories, to the recent expansion of advertising opportunities—it’s a good time to be using Instagram for business, if only you're using it effectively.
1) Know what your customers want to see
Many brands or individuals use instagram to create a 'personality' or help create a community around their brand/vision. It is important when thinking about what content to create and post that you're thinking about your customers and what they want to see.
Do: Be authentic in your content and wording. Be relatable to your audience and create beautiful content that people want to look at.
Don't: Flood your feed with personal posts that are unrelated or post out of context content.
2) Use hashtags
On the Instagram platform, hashtags are everything! The more you use, and the more targeted your hashtags are, the better audience you will reach and therefore the more you will grow. Through research and testing i have founded that '11' is the magic number for hashtags. Post as a comment after the caption (no one wants a busy caption).
Do: Research your competitors and the captions they are using and create a list of your own. Use relevant, strong hashtags.
Don't: Overload posts with unrelated hashtags.
Collaborating with like minded brands for competitions and giveaways is a great way to grow your following. Building a community of trusted partners and brands means that you can all mutually benefit from sharing followers. Always ensure that the competition or giveaway you promoting is focused around 'increasing traffic' or 'increasing following'.
Do: Collaborate with similar brands and build off each others growth.
Don't: Overload customers with competitions and giveaways or align with un-related brands.
4) Be authentic on Instagram Stories
The introduction of Instagram Stories has been fantastic for brands and individuals to give their customers insight into their life and the behind the scenes. Instagram stories are also a safer way to take 'risks' that could lead to growth in engagement and therefore sales etc. See what your customers are responding too and show the behind the scenes of what you're working on and creating to develop a more personal relationship with your customers.
Do: Show behind the scenes footage, get more personal with your customers - be authentic.
Don't: Overload followers with excessive or stale content. Only use stories if you have something to say.
5) Focus and post regularly
The biggest part of instagram is the algorithm and how the behind the scenes works to choose which content it is going to show first. To be at the top of the algorithm you need to be posting regularly, focus on the right times and create consistent content. Research and find the best times for your target audience, or keep track for a month and see when you got the most engagement.
Do: Post regularly, with consistent content and focus on times and strategy.
Don't: Forget about instagram for 4 days, or post inconsistently.