Instagram has become much more than just a platform for sharing personal moments with friends and family.
With over one billion active users, it has evolved into a powerful marketing tool for businesses looking to expand their fan base and increase engagement with their audience.
In this blog, we’ll explore how to use Instagram for business, including strategies for creating compelling content, increasing your reach, and leveraging the platform’s features to drive engagement and grow your Instagram fan base.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your Instagram marketing to the next level, these tips and tricks will help you unlock the full potential of this popular social media platform.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
1. Share Your Knowledge
Instagram can double as more than just a visual platform to share eye-catching photos and highlight reels. In fact, it’s more like LinkedIn than you might think.
How, you ask?
Sharing resources and facts related to your industry will get people interested in what you say and follow along with your content. It’s a quick way to build a fan base on Instagram and a fun way to share information that your followers can learn from and enjoy.
For instance, if you run a web design company, you can provide valuable tips on creating visually stunning websites, optimizing user experience, and staying updated with the latest design trends.
Plus, using Instagram to share educational content lets you authentically showcase your expertise. The result? Your brand personality shines through with high-quality images and videos while you simultaneously build trust with your audience.
With the Instagram carousel feature, you can create custom graphics that share more than just a pretty picture.
Carousel posts outperform photos and videos on engagement, making them a great way to captivate your audience and promote interaction. As per a Statista report, carousel posts with videos receive the highest number of comments (a median of 26.07 comments per post).
If you’re unsure where to start with sharing resources, follow the lead of Tailor Brands. They share weekly tips and tricks on branding, productivity, and entrepreneurship, aligning with the products and services they offer.
The first slide is enticing, encouraging viewers to engage with the post and find more information. And as the messaging indicates they share a new tip every Tuesday, one-time visitors will feel more inclined to hit the follow button to receive these weekly business tips.
2. Show Your Products in Action
Taking photos of products in static mode against a white backdrop is the industry standard. But that won’t help a brand stand out and doesn’t always give complete context about products.
Consumers always want more information to help them make a purchasing decision. A t-shirt can look good in product photos. But how can customers assess the fit for themselves? Is it boxy? Is it long or short? How does it look from the side? A simple fix is taking pictures of the t-shirt on a model.
Showing your products in action helps answer questions and gives potential customers a sense of what the product can do, making it easier to decide on a purchase.
Artistic brushes help you illustrate and accurately showcase things you want to share with your audience, and this helps you get more sales.
You can keep the standardized product photos on your website and link your Instagram profile to encourage visitors to continue the journey for behind-the-scenes looks at your products.
Rolex does an excellent job mixing up standard product photos that showcase the fine details of the product with contextual images. The results help consumers of luxury watches, who want to know how the watch looks in the box, from all angles, and on the wrist.
Such posts serve to grab the attention of potential users while also displaying the luxury brand’s fresh, stylish look.
3. Build Relationships and Community
One of the best things about social media is the social aspect of things.
But sometimes, people underestimate the power of building communities on social media. It’s a place where everyone can come together from worldwide and connect over similar topics or interests.
Building relationships and community on Instagram is about creating a sense of connection and trust with your audience. By consistently providing value and engaging with your followers, you can create a loyal and engaged fan base that’ll help propel your brand to success.
When you have a community behind your brand, you can build meaningful relationships with potential customers, with these bonds serving to build trust over time. Once you have an established community, you can also ask them for advice and improve your product.
Trust turns into loyalty, and loyal followers are more likely to share your content and encourage others to follow your Instagram profile. And voila, an easy way to grow your follower count.
Look at how MegaFit Meals taps into their loyal fitness community to gauge the interest in a new variation of their best-selling fitness meal.
4. Offer Value, Not Sales Pitches
When it comes to promoting your brand on Instagram, it can be tempting to use the platform to push sales pitches and promotions.
But Instagram is already filled with many retargeted ads, which 64% of people agree are intrusive and annoying.
So if you want to truly connect with your audience and grow a loyal following, it’s important to focus on offering value rather than just pushing your products through ad and ad-like content.
One great example is Athletic Greens sharing content about healthy eating and nutrition on its Instagram page.
The brand doesn’t just promote its greens powder as the solution to all your health problems. Instead, it also shares recipes, nutritional tips, and other genuinely helpful and interesting information.
By focusing on providing value rather than just making sales, Athletic Greens can create a sense of trust and credibility with its audience. This, in turn, helps to establish it as a trustworthy brand in the industry and build a loyal following of health-focused users.
5. Post Frequently To Build Familiarity With Your Brand
Consistency is key to building familiarity with your brand on Instagram. Like with many other things in life, the key to success is sticking with it and putting in the effort regularly.
Ask yourself this: who would you trust more, a profile that posts daily or one that hasn’t posted in over a year?
If you’re looking to build your brand presence on Instagram, frequent posting is one of the most important things you can do.
By sharing a steady stream of content with your followers, you’ll stay top of mind, which can help establish your brand as a trusted, authoritative, and recognizable presence on the platform.
La Croix is a great example of a brand that often posts on Instagram, with at least one post (if not two) every day.
La Croix also mixes up custom graphics, product photos, and memes regularly to keep its followers engaged and interested.
Posting frequently is one important aspect of consistency, but it’s not the only one.
Maintaining a consistent brand voice, aesthetic, and messaging across your posts is also important. These elements create a sense of continuity and cohesiveness, making your brand appear more polished and professional.
6. Respond to Comments and DMs Timely
According to a ‘State of Social Media Customer Support’ report, 68% of people using social media to ask questions or file complaints about a product or service expect the brand to respond within two hours. If you don’t, you’re leaving many angry customers hanging.
And angry customers are often the most vocal. The last thing you want is to have them share negative experiences of the brand with their circle, leaving a lasting impact on your brand image and reputation.
But there’s a simple solution to avoid this dreaded scenario. Respond to comments and direct messages as quickly as possible. If you’re worried about how to do so without letting messages slip through the cracks, consider investing in social listening tools.
A tool like the SocialPilot Social Inbox can help you stay on top of your user interactions and manage conversations more seamlessly.
Consider the example of the Chewy brand that responded within the hour to follower comments on this recent Instagram post.
Chewy is well-known for its incredible customer service, from replying immediately to comments and queries across social channels and going above and beyond for its users (both humans and pets). The result: a positive brand reputation and nearly a million followers on Instagram.
7. Create a Branded Hashtag for User-generated Content
Don’t underestimate the power of a hashtag on Instagram. Among other things, it can quickly become your best friend when searching for user-generated content.
Remember, user-generated content can appear more authentic and trustworthy than content created by your brand.
Creating a hashtag for your brand that your followers can use when sharing photos or videos helps create a sense of community, amplify the brand’s visibility, and encourages engagement on the platform.
What’s more, when you use a branded hashtag, you can easily track and measure the success of your social media campaigns. You can gain insights into your audience’s behavior and preferences and use this information to improve your marketing strategies.
When creating a branded hashtag for your brand, make sure it’s easy to remember and relevant to your products or services. Include it in your bio, on your website, and in your marketing materials to encourage your followers to use it while sharing content related to your brand.
Take the example of Ulta Beauty, the popular beauty store which encourages followers to share photos featuring their makeup using #ultabeauty. This strategy allows Ulta to showcase user-generated content, promote its brand organically and authentically, and help followers find and share its content easily.
8. Showcase Your Corporate Culture
Consumers are no longer interested in faceless brands. They want to know everything about a company, and this is particularly true for Gen Z.
Customers today seek more than just a transactional relationship with the brands they support. So, modern marketing must be authentic to meet Generation Z’s desire for an emotional connection.
Sharing an inside look at your company culture can give your followers a better sense of who you are as a company, your values, and what it’s like to work with you. For example, if you value sustainability, share photos of your green initiatives.
Remember to use hashtags that reflect your company’s culture and values. For example, if you’re a tech company, use hashtags like #techtuesday or #innovation. If you’re a creative company, use hashtags like #creativeminds or #designlife.
You can also share photos and videos of company events or even daily moments at the office to give your followers a sense of your work environment and culture, as Samsara does in the example below.
9. Share Behind-the-Scenes Footage and Photos
On a similar note, giving your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your company and the people who make it all happen can also help to humanize your brand and create a sense of connection and authenticity.
Pulling back the curtain on your operations helps your community understand how hard you work to serve your customers. Whether through photos, videos, or even Instagram Stories, giving your followers a proper peek at your company can be a powerful way to build your brand and connect with your audience on a more personal level.
FedEx does an excellent job with a 2022 recap post that shares photos of what goes into same-day freight delivery services to get emergency medical supplies to those in need.
10. Reward Your Fans With Exclusive Offers
According to the infamous Krazy Coupon Lady, Instagram is an untapped resource for coupons and deals.
Everyone loves a bargain because that means more money in the pocket at the end of the day. So, why not use Instagram to share exclusive offers, coupon codes, and promotions? It’s a surefire way to generate positive word-of-mouth about your brand and grow your fan base on Instagram.
Also, offering exclusive deals to your fans and followers is a great way to show them you appreciate their support.
Whether it’s a special discount code, or something as simple as sending them a flower delivery along with the product you’ve shipped them, these kinds of perks go a long way in making your brand stand out.
To announce audience-wide sales, you can add these hashtags to grow your reach:
Alphalete relies on Instagram to announce major sales, like its 8th Birthday Sale, which lasts 48 hours. Not only does this alert their followers of the upcoming sale, it also gives a sneak peek at some of the sale items.
Conclusion – How to Use Instagram for Business
The key to expanding your brand through Instagram is establishing a solid foundation by consistently providing valuable content and engaging with your followers.
By focusing on the small, daily interactions and making sure your content is resonating with your audience, you’ll be laying the groundwork for a strong presence on the platform.
But to truly grow your fan base on Instagram, it’s important to take your engagement to the next level by creating opportunities for sharing, learning, and growth.
With a community of loyal and engaged followers, you’ll be well on your way to achieving success on Instagram and beyond.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I post on Instagram to grow my fan base?
The frequency of your posts on Instagram will depend on your brand, your audience, and your marketing goals.
However, in general, it's recommended to post at least once a day to keep your followers engaged and to increase your visibility.
Experiment with your posting schedule to uncover when your audience is most active.
What types of content should I be sharing on my business Instagram account?
To grow your fan base on Instagram, you should share a variety of content relevant to your brand and your audience.
Some examples include behind-the-scenes photos and videos, product photos, customer testimonials, and user-generated content. Don’t forget to try Instagram Stories and Reels as well.
Is it necessary to use Instagram ads to grow my fan base, or can I do it organically?
While Instagram ads can help you reach a wider audience, you can also grow your fan base organically by creating high-quality content, using relevant hashtags, and engaging with your followers.
It may take longer to grow your fan base this way, but it can be more effective in building long-term relationships with your audience.
How can I measure the success of my Instagram marketing efforts?
To measure the success of your Instagram marketing efforts, you can use the built-in analytics tools on the platform, such as Instagram Insights.
The dashboard will show you metrics like engagement rate, reach, and impressions.
Are there any tools or apps that can help me manage my business Instagram account more effectively?
Yes, there are many third-party tools and apps, like SocialPilot, that can help you manage your business Instagram account more effectively with automation. These tools can help you schedule posts, analyze your performance, manage comments and messages, and more.