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Getting the most out of your online shop window

An often neglected business tool, Instagram can be a great shop window, but perfecting your profile requires patience and tweaking By Paul Rigby Getting the most out of your online shop window

Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform currently on the market and, hence, cannot be ignored by any business. Companies rely on Instagram because, according to recent research, users are 10 times more likely to engage with brands on the platform than on Facebook or Twitter.

In order to unlock Instagram’s potential, it’s important to create an Instagram profile that successfully captures the attention of your target audience.

Opt for an Instagram business account

Unlike personal accounts, Business accounts provide users with analytics related to post performance and follower growth. You also have the opportunity to feature your business premises location and opening hours in a section separate from the traditional Instagram biography.

Since 80 percent of Instagram users follow at least one brand, Instagram allows Business accounts to include a contact button that sends a message via Instagram’s direct message service, email or SMS to a brand representative. Last but not least, Business accounts can ‘boost’ content with just a few taps. This relatively inexpensive paid promotion ensures that you reach a wider audience, no matter what post you choose to boost.

Use a profile tracking link

Considering that Instagram allows social media marketers to share only one live URL across the entire platform, the link in an account profile is incredibly important.

Many marketers still make the mistake of using a non-tracking link in their Instagram account profile. If the link cannot be tracked, it’s impossible to know how many website visitors or customers were referred from Instagram.

Using an Instagram analytics platform or a custom URL builder like Bit.ly, marketers can see how Instagram users are engaging with the link.

Upload multi-grid images to make a statement

Instagram marketers should design a profile that makes a statement. There is no better way to do this than by creating a multi-grid collage that forms a comprehensible image. Brands like Rolls-Royce rely on this technique to share large images that might not look right when cropped to fit within a single post.

Best of all, when brands upload a series of images that are indecipherable, it can cause followers to become curious. Many will choose to visit your Instagram profile to see the full image for themselves.

A/B test your Instagram bio

Sometimes it can be hard to know if your Instagram biography is serving your social media marketing goals. The best way to understand if your biography is effective is via an A/B test. Select a dependent variable that can be measured. One popular dependent variable is a tracking link counting URL clicks.

Next, create a variety of noticeably different Instagram profiles and rotate them evenly to ensure that each is displayed to roughly the same number of followers for roughly the same amount of time.

Finally, look at the URL performance data to determine which profi le was most eff ective at generating URL clicks.

Focus on the quality of followers rather than quantity

Many Instagram marketers think that having a large number of followers is important to create a fully optimised Instagram profile. After all, the more followers a brand has the more credible it often appears. But a quick look at Instagram profiles owned by some of the largest companies in the world shows that follower quality is more important than quantity. There are countless ‘clickbait’. Instagram profiles with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of followers.

Social media marketers should focus on developing a strategy that engages the target audience rather than boosting the numbers of followers just to project an air of credibility.

Build a thoughtful content calendar

Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram content isn’t really buried in one’s profile. Instead, it is relatively easy to see every post dating back months, if not years. Marketers should be mindful of this and should develop a thoughtful sequence of cohesive Instagram content to create a profile that puts forth a comprehensible brand narrative.

Activate Instagram notifications

Make sure that you and your team are in a position to respond to your target audience at a moment’s notice by turning on Instagram notifications. Showing Instagram users that your brand is always available is a great way to build brand sentiment and increase engagement.

Choose an appropriate name

Assuming you haven’t created your Instagram profile yet, take the time to find the ideal Instagram name. Using a name that reflects your brand is the best way to quickly build a loyal following.

Assign someone to monitor messaging channels

Many consumers expect to receive nearly instant customer support on a variety of social media platforms. Furthermore, research says that the average person will share the story of a negative customer service experience with 16 of their friends.

As Instagram grows in popularity, it will be increasingly important for brands of all sizes to provide users with satisfactory customer support.

And since Instagram Business accounts provide profile viewers with the ability to contact brands with the touch of a button, customer service requests could easily come at any hour of the day.

Given this reality, social media marketers should consider assigning someone to monitor incoming Instagram messages during working hours.

Update your instagram profile image to suit current campaigns

Most Instagram marketers don’t think about updating their Instagram profile, but doing so can be a great way to keep the profile fresh and relevant. Adding logo variations or designs specific to a marketing campaign can encourage followers to check out your profile more frequently than they might otherwise.

Earn a blue checkmark to increase credibility

Similar to Twitter, Instagram offers established brands the ability to receive verified account status signified by a blue checkmark. This checkmark will give Instagram followers peace of mind, as they are assured that your account represents the official voice of your organisation.

Review your Instagram profile across devices

Instagram, like Facebook, is a mobilefirst company. Before there was ever a desktop or tablet version of the Instagram app, there was an iPhone and later an Android version of the platform.

Instagram marketers should review their company profile on a variety of devices to make sure that the experience is positive and consistent across all devices.

Ensure you are linking to a mobile-optimised website

For those interested in driving website traffic from an Instagram profile to a company webpage, be sure that the entire company website is mobile optimised. Most Instagram users will be accessing your page from a mobile device and providing a poor first impression can seriously hurt your chances of nurturing the visitor to become a loyal customer.

In addition to providing a mobileoptimised experience, page speed should be lightning fast on all devices. One study found that mobile sites that take three seconds or longer to load lose over 50 percent of visitors. Read more like this

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