Instagram is a fast-growing social platform and businesses are eager to establish their presence and encourage marketing engagement on the network. If you are thinking about Instagram and want to know how to do it right, here are the latest tips and tools.

#1: Be Strategic and Creative with Your Bio Description

When using Instagram as a marketing tool, you must be strategic with your bio (biography) description. This is the description under your name. The big brands such as Nike are using this as an opportunity with their bio stating, “If we can be equals in sport, we can be equals everywhere.” #EQUALITY and then adding in the link nike.com/equality. https://www.instagram.com/nike/?hl=en.

You don’t just have to be a big brand. If you are a small business then you too can use Instagram to create a great a real presence by using the link in your bio. Use the link in your bio to connect to a landing page that holds the same posts you put on Instagram, and allows you to collect leads, promote your e-commerce site, gain subscribers to your blog, collect entries for a giveaway, etc.

#2: Eye Catching photography

To make your Instagram more effective use high-quality photographs. Your Instagram feed is only as good as your photographs, after all the platform is photo based and 1 image can create several connotations within seconds. One of the best ways to save time and compose better photos for Instagram is to shoot square photos. Many digital cameras and smartphones have this in their settings so it’s easy to do. This lets you save time on cropping and ensures that the essential elements in the photo won’t be cropped out later. Shooting photos inside the Instagram app can be limiting, you could use apps such as snapseed available on Android and iPhone to get the most out of your photos. Here is a guide to snapseed to help you get the most from your photos.

#3: Use a Customised Link Shortener to Track Traffic

Marketers always need to know how their social media channels are driving traffic to their website. Instagram is no different. Unfortunately, Google Analytics can’t accurately track this traffic when users visit your website from your mobile Instagram account. However, you can use a customized bit.ly link (or a link from another shortener) exclusively for the URL to put in your Instagram bio. Then you can check your bit.ly data to document how many clicks your Instagram account is sending to your website. Every time you change the link for a new landing page or campaign, create a different bit.ly link each time to continuously track successful traffic leads.

#4: Cross-Promote Your Partners

Cross-promote whenever you can! The trend on Instagram right now is to share the love by tagging others, or even by promoting other companies, products and services. This creates a threefold effect: higher recognition for everyone involved, increased followers (who in turn tag the businesses during visits) and increased traffic and sales for the local businesses.

#5: Take Advantage of Trending Hashtags

Instagram’s Explore feature allows users to find posts related to trending hashtags such as #flashbackfriday #motivationmonday #valentinesday. If these trending tags are relevant to your brand, include them in timely posts to aid discovery.

#6: Drive Instagram Users into Your Marketing Funnel

For most brands getting a follow-on Instagram, although important, is just the first step in the overall marketing funnel. To move your users further down the funnel, you should consider identifying ways to capture your followers’ email. To do this quite simply just ask for it.

Share an image with a call to action and in both the caption and visual tell the users to click the link in your bio to download an ebook, or sign up for a newsletter etc. Once the user takes this action, you will be able to further engage with them having captured their details.

#7: Mix Videos and Photos

A good strategy is to include videos in addition to photos on your Instagram account. Video is a valuable tool that can be used to engage fans, grow your followers and drive traffic. They can be fun, shareable and draw further interest for your target audience. Instagram is all about visual storytelling and with video you can further bring your story to life. Why not look at these examples of stop motion videos that feature a product at the centre of the video, but do so without coming across as ‘salesy.’

#8: Leverage Sponsored Ads

Sponsored ads on Instagram are becoming a regular occurrence on people’s timelines. These are giving brands a whole new dimension to target audiences. Before, only people following the account would see photo updates, whereas now brands can promote these to anyone within their target audience.

Here as some Instagram ads to inspire you.

#9: Direct Users to Your Most Valuable Content

Instagram allows users to add clickable links in their posts, but URLs are not clickable in photo descriptions. Fortunately, there’s a way to get around this to direct followers to their most valuable content. Just utilise the link section of your Instagram account’s bio. You can choose to direct users to a permanent page, such as your website’s homepage, or news / blog. But an even better option is to link to your most current content, whether that’s an article, blog post, or promotion.

#10: Make Graphics Shareworthy

Pairing images with captions is an effective way to engage your audience. Complete an image with a detailed caption and add in all the relevant hashtags, and the entire combination results in a compelling post packed with nuggets of knowledge.

Conclusion

There is no better way to step up your business game than to be active on Instagram. The platform is constantly making improvements, so individuals and businesses can get more out of it. Plus, there are tactics, aside from Instagram itself, to increase organisation, engagement and visibility. Explore these tools and tips and see which one’s work best for you and your business.