What is Instagram?
Essentially, Instagram is a free photo and video sharing social media platform. Much like Facebook, everyone who has an Instagram account has a personal profile, news feed and direct messages. Users can share content with their ‘followers’ by posting images or videos to their profile. You can also see posts from the users that you have chosen to follow.
With Instagram, you have the ability to have a private account (content is only visible to your approved followers) or a public account. You can also use Instagram as a marketing tool for your business. With over 1 billion users worldwide, Instagram gives businesses a huge opportunity to access and engage with their target consumers.
The Different Types of Instagram Content
The original Instagram content, images are photos that you can post to your account and share with your followers. It’s important to capture your brand and culture, not just the products you sell when Instagram Marketing your business. Instagram users like to follow accounts who are genuine and post interesting content, not just stock images and boring advertisements. Try to show your brands personality to keep followers interested in your content.
Following on from the typical photos, Instagram lets you share videos that are 3-60 seconds long. Videos are a great way to for businesses to post creative advertisements, product features or share important information.
Instagram Stories are quite similar to SnapChat. Stories allow you to share posts more regularly, without bombarding your followers with too much content. It’s great for sharing all those little moments, that may not look picture-perfect. Instagram Stories are photos or short videos that sit in a separate space and self-destruct after 24hours.
Unlike your profile feed which should display stylish photos, Stories can be rawer. Many brands utilise Stories to give their loyal fans a ‘behind-the-scenes’ view, or showcase your company’s culture and personality. Instagram Stories are also a great way to showcase any live events that your business is involved with.
Using Instagram Stories, you can:
- Add effects such as text, drawings, stickers, face filters and geo-stickers to your Story.
- Add background music directly.
- See who has seen your Story. Simply swipe up on the story you posted to see who’s watched each photo or video.
- Hide your Story from certain people. If you don’t want someone to see your story, you can hide it from them in your settings, even if they’re following you.
- Save your Story to ‘Highlights’. Read more about this below.
Boomerang: Mini videos that bounce back and forth
Hyperlapse: Polished time-lapse videos using Instagram’s in-house stabilisation
To allow users to share video content with their friends and followers in real-time, Instagram created ‘Live Videos’. An additional feature to Stories, Live Videos also disappear after 24 hours. When you ‘go live’ on your Instagram account, your followers will be notified and they can choose to join and interact with you in real-time.
Don’t want your Stories to disappear in 24 hours? No problem, Instagram Highlights have got you covered. Highlights allow you to save your Stories to your profile and categorise them as you wish. You can even add a cover photo to each Highlights folder. For example, you might have a Highlights folder dedicated to food where you can save any photos or videos of food and drinks to your profile, from your Stories.
IGTV (Instagram TV)
In celebration of reaching 1 billion users (and clearly trying to compete with YouTube!), Instagram has recently launched a new feature called IGTV. Within the social media platform, Instagram users can upload vertical videos that are up to an hour long. Unlike Stories, IGTV long-form videos won’t disappear after 24 hours. Each channel is linked to a corresponding Instagram Account, meaning that all of your followers can view your IGTV channel should they wish to.
Instagram Business Account
Instagram knows that the businesses are in great need of their help. This is why business account profiles have been introduced.
What is an Instagram Business Account?
An Instagram Business Account is a type of account that makes it easier for followers to realise that you are a business or brand, rather than an individual. With the Instagram business accounts, it is easier for consumers to contact a business and vice-versa. You can also add pertinent business information such as opening hours, a business address or a phone number. Changes such as adding a contact button, receiving insights, stories, and even promotions are now available on Instagram.
Features of an Instagram Business Profile
So, what are the features of an Instagram Business Account? Aston Social has made a little bit of what these updates are all about and here they are:
1. Contact Buttons
One of the most helpful features of the Business Account is that you can add a Contact Button to your profile. Not only can you list your contact number and email address, you can list your businesses location. When an Instagram user clicks on the buttons, they can email you, dial a phone call with you or see the map showing your location. Through the Instagram provided map, the consumers can get instructions on how to get to the store or office locations, so there is no more need to leave the app to search for directions.
The contact buttons are obvious on each business profile, making it easier for your followers to get in touch.
2. Your Industry is Shown
You will be prompted to choose what industry your profile is part of. It’ll start with a broader category (like Brands + Products, Websites + Blogs etc.) and refined in more specific subcategories (such as Health/Beauty, Personal Blog) which will appear on your profile.
For example, Aston Social’s listed industry on our Instagram Business Account is ‘Advertising Agency.’
3. Instagram Story Links
Usually, you can not link to a website or page in your Instagram Story. However, with the Instagram business account, you can do exactly that. This feature allows users to ‘swipe up’ on any Story with a linked URL to view the content.
4. Instagram Insights
Access Instagram Insights, a built-in analytics tool that provides important details. You can see how your account is performing in various useful metrics. This includes your post reach, overall impressions and number of profile visits. You can track how your stories, posts and promotion are performing in real-time
5. Schedule Your Posts
The business account allows you to schedule each post, using the information from Instagram Insights, at the best possible time to maximise your reach and engagement.
6. Promote Posts and Instagram Ads
With a Business account, you can promote any of your posts from within the Instagram application. Furthermore, you can advertise on the social media platform with ‘Sponsored Posts’.
How to create an Instagram Business Account
Before you embark on your journey of Instagram Marketing you should create an Instagram Business Account. Below we take you through the steps of creating an Instagram profile and transforming it into a Business Account.
- Download the mobile app
Quite surprisingly, you can only post to Instagram via the phone app. So first of all, you should go to the app store on your mobile phone and search for ‘Instagram’. Hit the download button and the Instagram app will be available on your phone in no time!
2. Create an Account
Open up the app on your mobile and select ‘Sign Up’ at the bottom of the screen. It’s important that you don’t use your personal Facebook account or email address when joining Instagram. We suggest using an un-personal work email address (eg. firstname.lastname@example.org).
3. Select your Profile Username and enter basic details
Now you can enter your details, such as your name and username and create a password. If you’re creating this Instagram account for your business, we recommend using your business name as your Instagram accounts name and username. For example, our business name is Aston Social, therefore our Instagram name is Aston Social and our username is @astonsocial.
4. Find Facebook Friends + Find Contacts
After you’ve entered your basic details, you will be asked if you want to find people to follow via Facebook and your email contacts. You have the option to ‘skip this step’. You are able to come back to this step at any time in the future. We suggest that you complete setting up your Instagram Business Account before you Find Friends.
5. Add your Profile Picture
Now it’s time to start the branding of your profile, beginning with adding a profile photo. Using your business logo is a great idea if you want to be instantly recognised by your followers. Alternatively, you could use a photo of something that’s associated with your brand or a professional headshot if you’re the face of your business.
Select ‘Add Photo’ to see your import options. If you ‘Import from Facebook’ it will add all your personal account info to your Instagram profile, which is not ideal! It’s best to select ‘Choose from Library’ and use a clear image.
6. Save Login Info and Discover People to Follow
After you have added a profile photo, you will be asked if you want to save your login info. This means that each time you log in to your Instagram account it will be much faster. You can save your info or ‘Skip’ this step.
Now you’ll be taken to a list of suggested Instagram accounts to follow. Again, this is not mandatory and you can come back to it later should you wish.
7. Explore Instagram
If you’re a first-time Instagram user, you may not know what all the different buttons do. Have a play around and see for yourself!
Helpful button hints:
On the top left of your screen, you will see a camera button. Clicking this button will allow you to share new content. The button on the top right of your screen takes you to your direct messages. Here you can send and receive messages to or from other Instagram users. Along the bottom of your screen, you will find 5 more buttons:
- The house button takes you to your ‘home’ screen. Here you will see your Instagram feed which is made up of posts and videos that the people you follow have posted.
- The magnifying button takes you to a ‘search’ and discover screen. This allows you to look for people and hashtags to follow, tagged places and other content. This screen also displays featured content that you may be interested in, from people you aren’t already following.
- In the middle, there is a square ‘add’ button. This is where you can upload and share videos, photos and stories to your Instagram account.
- The heart-shaped button is your ‘notifications’ stream. In this section, you can see who has liked or commented on your posts and who has started following you.
- Your profile button simply takes you to your ‘profile’. This is where you can view your posts, change your account settings and profile photo and edit your bio. You can also view who you are following, and who is following you.
8. Complete the rest of your Instagram Profile
Now it’s time to enter more information about your business to your profile. Click on the profile button on the bottom right of your screen and select ‘Edit your Profile’. Add information such as your bio and website URL. For your bio, we suggest briefly writing who you are or what you do, and where people can find or contact you.
9. Turn your Instagram Profile into a Business Account
Within the App, find Settings and scroll down to ‘Switch to Business Account’. This will take you through self-guided steps to complete your business account profile. It’s important to have your Facebook Business page set-up prior to doing this step, as Instagram requires you to link the two. Instagram copies the information on your Businesses Facebook apge to your Instagram account, then you can edit it however you like.
10. Start posting on your Instagram Business Account to Increase Consumer Engagement
Now it’s time to start Instagram Marketing your business. Post content about your products, brand or services that you’d like people to see. Use relevant hashtags and start following similar Instagram accounts to grow your engagement.
Benefits of having a Business Account for Instagram Marketing
- Increased Sales. Over 1/3 of Instagram users have used the social media platform to purchase products online. Therefore, this makes Instagram users 70% more likely buy your products than non-Instagram users. Your Instagram audience isn’t just a bunch of followers, they’re people who have a history of using Instagram to make purchases. If you grow the online presence of your brand and focus on Instagram Marketing, in particular, you will gain more customers and increase your sales.
2. Easier contact between you and your consumers. Not only is Instagram a way to post content, it’s now also a great communication channel between you and your consumers. Directions feature is particularly beneficial to businesses with a shop-front, such as a cafe, bar or clothing store. Users can get map directions to your business all within the Instagram application.
3. The promotions feature also allows the business to see which promotions are working and which are not so that they can properly address the issue and make everything better. To increase your engagement and exposure, use the Instagram Insights together with Instagram promotions to create a lethal Instagram marketing combination.
4. Access Insights and Optimise Your Instagram Marketing Strategy. Exclusive to the business account, Instagram’s analytics help you to accurately gauge your Instagram success and weak-points. Insights allow you to understand your audience better. This includes seeing when followers interact the most with your posts and which type of posts they engage with most.
6. Instagrams Business Account gives you targeted advertising capabilities. You can create, run and track advertising campaigns on Instagram in the same way you do with Facebook ads. The targeting of Instagram ads can be super specific, or broad and general. Choose from filtering options such as location, age, gender, language, relationship status, education, financial status and behaviours and interests.
The main disadvantage of having an Instagram Business Account
Changing to a business account might damage your engagement. Sounds silly, right? Wrong. Let us explain how this can happen.
Instagram Marketing can be hard, thanks to the platforms ranking algorithms. Instagram’s main aim is to make their money by making businesses feel like they need to advertise in order to reach more eyes.
When you change your Instagram account to a business profile, the platform is notified. Essentially, you’re letting them know that you are a business who is trying to get your brand and products seen. This automatically labels you as a potential customer to Instagram – they know that you’d be eager to get seen by more consumers and are likely to have the budget for advertising if needed.
Consequently, Instagram may adjust your engagement so that your followers don’t see your posts in their feed. Once a business sees that their engagement levels are dropping, they’ll be more likely to spend money on Instagram Advertising.
The Aston Guide to Instagram Captions
With each individual image and video you post, you have the opportunity to write and include a caption underneath. Captions are just as important as the post itself, as it’s how you build your community and share the back story of each post and your overall brand with your followers. Coming up with good Instagram captions can be really, really challenging. What should you say? Should it be funny or serious? What emojis should I include, or should I leave them out altogether? What call-to-action would best attract my followers?
Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters in length, include emojis and have up to 30 different hashtags.
Why Captions are Important:
- It helps to have your post seen by more people. Instagram’s algorithm tends to favour posts that get more engagement. When you include a thoughtful caption, users are more likely to comment, share and interact with your post. As a result, Instagram will ‘bump’ up your post on peoples feeds and give your post more exposure.
- You can (and should!) include a call-to-action.
How to Write the Perfect Instagram Caption:
A good Instagram caption provides context, adds personality, entertains your audience and inspires your followers to take action. The main aim of your caption should be to add value to the post.
Here are our top tips for creating the perfection caption and increasing your engagement:
- Identify your Brand Voice. Before embarking on the Instagram Marketing journey, you should already have your brands’ style guide and broader social media marketing strategy. Part of this should have included your Brand’s tone of voice. If you haven’t already identified these things, ask yourself: What are the characteristics, qualities and values that I want my brand to display? Writing a short list of adjectives that describe your brand can be a great spot to start. When writing your Instagram captions, try to word it in a way that represents the nature of your brand.
- Know your audience and write it for them. Who is your target customer? Which type of people follow you on Instagram? Your captions will ideally be of high interest to the majority of your followers, to do this, you need to write content that is applicable to them. If you don’t know who your audience really is, try brainstorming on a bit of paper and building audience personas. How old are my target consumers? What sort of jobs might they have? Would my audience understand this reference? Does my audience like to read captions with emojis or not?
- Consider and decide the target length of your caption. As people scroll through their Instagram feed, they’ll only stop to read long captions if they are interesting and applicable to them. So unless your caption is killer hot, we suggest keeping it on the short side. Having said that, a longer caption can be brilliant if it is informative and ties in nicely with the post.
- Put the most important words at the beginning. As you may already know, Instagram only shows a few lines of each caption in the users feed. So you need to put key points at the very beginning of your caption to try and capture the users’ attention. We suggest putting your hashtags and @mentions at the end of your caption. Hook the reader by putting the interesting words of your caption first, and give them a good reason to hit more.
- Edit and rewrite. No one likes spelling mistakes, long sentences or phrases that don’t make any sense – including Instagram users! Take your time to edit and re-write your captions to make them as engaging, and as readable, as possible. Go over your caption and cut out unnecessary words to keep it concise.
- Spice it up with emojis and hashtags. Instagram Marketing is all about getting creative and using emojis and hashtags is a great way to do so. Use both when relevant to your post or caption, but don’t use so many that your caption becomes difficult to read or understand. Emojis are a great way to draw the readers eye in and add personality to your captions. Replacing words with emojis and turning phrases into hashtags is a great way to engage your users.
- Feature another Instagram User with an @mention. Include other Instagram users in your caption so your followers can check their profile out too. People love people, and they are more likely to engage with your business on Instagram if they see that you also know other Instagram users. Featuring other accounts means more engagement for you and more engagement for them.
- Use a Call-to-Action. Drive your engagement by encouraging your Instagram followers to do something. Ask them to leave a comment, tag a friend or give you some feedback. Better yet, ask them to enter a competition and tag their friends to receive more entries! Followers love to get involved and being part of something. A call-to-action can increase your brands Instagram exposure and overall engagement.
A Guide to Instagram Hashtags
#instamarketing, #goalz, #nofilter
Hashtags have taken the online world by storm ever since Twitter made them famous. Essentially, Hashtags are keywords or phrases that are written without any spaces and are prefaced with a hash (#) sign. They have become an integral part of social media, allowing people to label content. Anyone sharing content on any topic can add a relevant hashtag to their message.
You can add hashtags to Instagram captions or comments. If you add hashtags to posts that are public, that post will be visible to anyone who searches for that corresponding hashtag.
#1: Why Your Business Should Use Hashtags for Instagram Marketing
Hashtags make your businesses content discoverable. Building an effective hashtag strategy is one of the best ways to get more exposure on Instagram. Targeted hashtags help you to increase each post’s engagement, which ultimately increases the number of followers (and potential customers) you receive. With the Instagram platform ever-evolving, it’s no wonder that Instagram’s hashtag feature is forever growing in capabilities.
- They help you to get new followers. More Instagram followers mean a bigger brand, more customers and, ultimately, more sales.
- Hashtags increase your discoverability. Instagram Marketing is all about making your business visible to your target consumers. Hashtags allow you to be seen by a wide audience range, increasing the number of people who discover your brand.
- They help you to build an engaged community. Instagram is all about communities and connecting like-minded people. Post valuable content that your target audience can relate to and use a hashtag that creates an engaged community who supports your brand.
- Hashtags help you to boost your authority and credibility. Most well-known businesses use industry-specific hashtags. If you group your Instagram posts under those same tags, you’ll appear more credible.
- Using custom hashtags on Instagram drives awareness of your brand. Uncommon hashtags will stand out among non-branded ones, and catch peoples attention. They’ll be more likely to explore your Instagram profile further.
#2: The Different Types of Hashtags to Use in Instagram Marketing
- Branded Hashtags – unique to your business. It might be your brand name, tagline or product name. It may even be a word or phrase that describes your brand identity. Branded Hashtags are designed to connect themes for you and your followers. Getting Instagram followers to use your branded hashtag is key to Instagram Marketing. 70% of hashtags on Instagram are branded.
- Community Hashtags – more general, not necessarily related to your business. Community Hashtags use a specific subject to connect like-minded people. They’re widely used and aren’t specific to one person or brand. For example, #instafood or #throwbackthursday
- Campaign Hashtags – tied to a specific campaign and only used short-term. Campaign hashtags often relate to something specific, like a new product launch or partnership. Businesses use campaign hashtags heavily within a set period of time, and then stop using the hashtag once the campaign is finished.
#3: Which Hashtags are Best for Your Instagram Marketing Strategy?
To make the most of Instagram’s hashtag features, you need to be strategic about which ones your business use. Popular hashtags may be enticing as they are used by many users, however, your post is likely to get lost amongst the masses of other posts. Instead, we suggest you use the top hashtags related to your brand that has an engaged community behind them.
So then, how do you find the top hashtags that your business should use? Research. Research what Instagram hashtags your audience, competitors and industry leaders use on the social media platform. Typically, the more narrow the hashtag, the more engaged that community of users will be.
- Research your audience
- Research your competitors
- Research industry leaders
- Find related hashtags
A Guide to Instagram Marketing Using Influencers
Collaborating with social media influencers can be one of the fastest and most profitable ways to build your brand on Instagram. Influencers can help you build your Instagram following and drive your sales through the roof!
What is an Influencer?
Influencers use their strong social media presence to influence their followers’ behaviours and purchasing habits.
Why Influencers Should be Part of Your Businesses Instagram Marketing Strategy
Instagram Influencer Marketing is hugely successful due to the fact that it removes the stigma that comes with traditional advertising. It also exposes your brand to a new audience, via a trustworthy source – your chosen Influencer.
Influencer marketing is a highly accessible method of promotion that can be used by both large and small businesses.
- High Return on Investment. Influencer marketing is a $1 billion industry on Instagram alone and has a proven ability to produce excellent ROI for businesses.
- Access to Millennial and Gen Z Audiences. The majority of Instagrams audience is under 30 years of age. If your target consumer is younger people, Instagram influencer marketing is a great way to reach the hearts and minds of millions of potential customers.
- Audience and Demographic Targeting. Influencer campaigns can be broad or narrow, depending on your brands’ desires. Choose the influencer you work with wisely to ensure their followers are your target audience.
- Flexible Costs. Due to the diverse nature of Influencer marketing, pricing can be scaled to meet your budget and goals. Micro-influencers are great when aren’t looking to spend much money. In contrast, big influencers can be expensive but they have a larger following.
- Huge Reach and Brand Exposure. There are many Instagram influencers who have millions of followers. Collaborating with one of them can provide your brand with enormous exposure, increasing your visibility and reaching millions of potential consumers.
- Authenticity and Credibility. Most influencers are selective when choosing brand partnerships, ensuring they genuinely love their products. This helps them to create authentic and credible sponsorship messages that are relevant to their audience.
How Much Does an Influencers Cost and Where Do I Find One?
Using social media influencers can be great value for money. They don’t necessarily require a large pay-check, in some cases, they may not be paid at all. Emerging Influencers are often happy to promote your brand in return for free or discounted products. Whether money is involved or not, there needs to be some form of benefit to both the brand and influencer.
Unfortunately, there’s no right way to calculate the cost of using an Instagram Influencer. However, as a rule of thumb, the more followers an Influencer has the more they are likely to cost.
If you partner with Big Influencers (more than 100,000 followers), a one-off post may cost you a minimum of $1,000 AUD.
Alternatively, partnering with micro-influencers can be a great place to start if you have a smaller budget. A Micro-influencer is someone who has a signification, but no more than 100k, Instagram following. They tend to retain higher levels of engagement compared to the bigger influencers. Instagram posts from a micro-influencer are more likely to be seen by a larger percentage of their following.
So where do you find an Influencer?
- Ask your followers who they follow on Instagram. Alternatively, investigate who they are following. This will help you to build a list of like-minded people who may be interested in collaborating.
- Local marketing and brand agencies, or agencies that work specifically with social media influencers.
- Search hashtags to find like-minded influencers on Instagram. Reach out to them in a professional, yet friendly, way to ask if hey would like to collaborate with your brand.
- Search through ‘related profiles’ on Instagram to find like-minded influencers. Don’t hesitate to contact them if you think they’d be a great fit for promoting your brand and products!
How to Choose the Right Instagram Influencer for My Business
Choosing the right influencer is key to get the ROI your business is looking for.
Need help creating ‘double tap’ worthy imagery for your social media channels? Eye-catching images are key to engagement and success on Instagram, but do you have time to source and create beautiful images on a regular basis? Our creative team can take care of this for you!