Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. The app, which was established in 2010 to allow users to share photos and videos, has expanded to give businesses a way to market their products and services to the world. By June 2018, the network reached 1 billion monthly active users, up from 800 million in September 2017.
Every year Instagram makes business marketing easier and more targeted through an extensive list of features and analytics tools that help business owners create profiles, attract followers, build engagement, and develop insights into their customer base and, of course, sell their products and services with speed and efficiency.
To help get your business up to speed, we’ve compiled a comprehensive blueprint into everything you need to know — from setting up your business profile to establishing your target audience to live video streaming. Within a day you can do what you do best: Start selling!
Is There an Instagram Shadowban?
But before you dive in, it’s a good idea to understand the Instagram Shadowban.
Sounds ominous, right? The term came to light in early 2017 when a photographer saw that his images weren’t appearing in some hashtag searches. Eventually it became evident that some images weren’t showing up in all searches, or that different people would see different content in the same hashtag search.
Instagram has an algorithm applied to hashtag search results, which means that for certain searches, different users may see different content results. And the same user may even see different content when looking at the same search at different times. So contrary to what the term implies, there is no ban on images.
The only account restrictions on Instagram involve suggestions of spam when a user’s posts exceed the limit the platform has determined to be within normal user range. To make sure you or your business are not restricted, be certain you do the following:
- Respect the boundaries ‘follow’ and ‘unfollow.’
Instagram users are limited to following 7,500 accounts. Once you hit that limit, you will have to unfollow someone to be able to follow someone new. Instagram also limits the number of people you can follow within a certain time period. Newer accounts have lower limits on the number of accounts they can follow hourly or daily.
- Limit ‘likes’ to 350/hour.
- Limit group direct messages to 15 recipients.
- Cap hashtags at 30 per post.
- Tag no more than 20 users per post.
Setting Up Your Instagram Business Profile
Now it’s time to set up a profile for your business. Easy right? Yes, but it requires an understanding of analytics that are designed to get people to your site from searches. You can get there through a series of short steps:
Create Your Instagram Business Profile
First, make sure your Instagram app is the latest version. If it is, tap your profile photo at the bottom right and then tap on the settings wheel icon at the top right. Click “switch to business profile” and you’re in business.
Set Up Your Instagram Business Profile
Now it’s time to connect the profile to your company’s Facebook page, which you will need to create, add contact information such as your email and phone, create promotions, and more.
Explore Instagram Insights
This is the platform’s analytics tool that lets you see details on the impressions and reach from your posts, plus the number of clicks you’re getting from your profile to your website. Results from Insights can guide you in determining how to best optimize your Instagram business profile.
Promote Your Instagram Posts
To get more followers and ‘likes’, tap on any post and hit the “promote” link. Here you can set the audience, budget, and duration of the promotion as well as customize your own audience rather than let Instagram decide who to direct your posts toward.
Selling Products and Services On Instagram
Now that your business is set up it’s time to start selling. Instagram is geared to promote and sell products and services to the targeted audience of your choice. Instagram posts designed for shopping are designated with a little shopping bag icon. That enables users to click when scrolling through their feed. Once they click, pop-ups appear with the product names and details.
To enable purchasing is the next step. You’ll want to add an action button to your business profile that will take users from Instagram to your website or account. There they can make a reservation, purchase a product, or make a booking.
If your company sells a service like house cleaning and not a tangible product like a mop, no problem. Instagram is designed to create connections between your business and potential customers in order to drive business on your end and deliver value on their end. To make this happen requires telling a story with every set of nine squares on your Instagram feed. This algorithm works best when structured this way:
- Four posts should add value and help your ideal client.
- Three posts should create connections with your ideal client.
- Two posts should promote or sell your service.
This content mix helps you develop a good relationship with your followers and allows them to get to know you, rather than simply pushing your services at them.