For anyone opening a new business today, setting up your Facebook page is practically a given. We know that customers look for information in the same places they interact socially, so it’s obvious we need to be present where people already are. However, if a business truly wants to reach its whole audience, a Facebook page is no longer enough. Even as Facebook use continues to grow, many younger users are migrating elsewhere.

This is where Instagram becomes crucial for your social media marketing strategy. It is the fastest growing social media network, with 90% of its users under the age of 35. This means that if you’re looking to meet your customers where they already are, then Facebook is no longer enough. With over 800 million active users daily, Instagram is the place to be. Over the last year, updates to the platform have made it both an efficient and effective source for sales and marketing opportunities. The recent addition of business profiles allows businesses to better manage their Instagram efforts.

So what is a business profile, and what advantages does it offer? The first, and simplest, part is that a business profile allows you to display hours of operation, location, and contact information directly on your profile page, making it easier than ever for customers to access the information they need. In addition, business profiles allow you to access the scenes analytics about who your follower demographic is. Finally, a business profile allows you to schedule and moderate posts more effectively. Given the value of these added abilities, we recommend that our clients take advantage of these options and update their Instagram accounts with a business profile.

Once you’re convinced that Instagram is an important marketing tool, and you’ve set up your business profile, you still have to answer to the most important question, “What exactly should I do on Instagram?” That’s the most challenging part of any social media marketing strategy, knowing what to actually post or share in order to engage your audience. It’s one of the many reasons that businesses choose to work with social marketing strategists like EasySocial. The key thing that makes Instagram unique is that it is a visually driven platform. This means that it’s crucial for businesses to develop a clear aesthetic for their company. It also means that you get to communicate who and what your business is about without having to say a word.

Once you’ve established a visual style for your posts, there are a few guidelines that can make your posts more effective. First, avoid overusing hard sells. If every post is some variation on “look how great we are, buy our product!” then your audience will quickly lose interest. Second, your content needs variety. Share useful information, pass on an appealing picture (beauty sells!), leverage your social proof by letting your current customers (or a local influencer) speak for you. In essence, make your audience feel helped, rather than targeted, and they’ll be far more responsive to what you have to offer!

As company’s organic reach drops on Facebook, and social marketers adjust strategies to new algorithms, effective social use will require diversification. Instagram is an exciting tool to reach potential customers in new and engaging ways, as well as to stay in contact with those who are already invested in your brand. 50 years ago, having a storefront in the “right” location meant the difference between being noticed and being ignored. Now, regardless of location, you can be where your customers already are, on Instagram.

 

Bio: Julie spent over eleven years in sales and marketing for a family business. In fall of 2016, she transitioned to working with EasySocial, managing clients’ social media accounts. As the customer relationship manager, she helps clients create a strong voice and effective strategy for their social media efforts. She can be reached at julieb@easysocial.solutions