How To Use Instagram For Business And Brand

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Anyone using Instagram’s assets should only use the logos and screenshots found on our Brand Resources site and follow these guidelines. Only those planning to use Instagram’s assets in any broadcast, radio, out-of-home advertising or print larger than 8.5 x 11 inches (A4 size) need to request permission. Using fun additions such as stickers, gifs, music and countdowns can develop a deeper level of connection between the brand and consumer. Brands also use Instagram Stories to give names, faces.

  • Read this guide for tips on how you can create content consistently and build a brand for your business on Instagram. Step 1: 4 tips to keep your look and voice consistent Maintaining a consistent look and voice across your photos and videos is important to build your brand on Instagram.
  • This article will talk about how to build your brand on Instagram—provided with the most efficient tactics. Tips for Building a Business on Instagram. Let’s talk about some tips that may carry you through the vast competition field on Instagram. You need to get the basics in order first to even consider making some advanced changes.
  • Here are five ways to employ Instagram for brand awareness. Always be consistent with your brand personality. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can be easy to get carried away on social media.

When you think of social media marketing, is Instagram on your radar? There are a lot of benefits to investing time and resources into this social media platform! Keep reading to learn about them, and to discover helpful Instagram tips we recommend for each of our clients’ accounts.

Benefits of Instagram for Social Media Marketing

Instagram continues to be one of the most popular social media marketing platforms. According to Hubspot, the social channel has more than 500 million active users, making it notably bigger than Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest. In addition to its large number of users, 60 percent of those with an account use the platform daily, including 55 percent of young adults that visit multiple times a day.

If you’re targeting a younger crowd, Instagram continues to be the way to go. Hubspot reports 71 percent of adults ages 18-24 use the platform and it’s the second-highest messaging app for millennials, just behind Facebook Messenger.

You may ask, “Is it really that necessary for brands though?” The answer is a resounding yes! Hubspot shares that approximately 80 percent of all Instagram users follow at least one brand on the platform.

Setting Up Your Instagram Page For Social Media Marketing Success

Make sure you set up your Instagram account correctly to make it a successful part of your social media marketing strategy.

As you set up your account, make sure you convert it to a business account. This will allow you to access valuable tools, such as Insights, that will come in handy as you manage your page.

Here are some additional Instagram tips to make sure your account’s set-up is as strategic as possible:

  1. When you create your account, pick a username that matches your brand’s other social media accounts.
  2. Make sure your profile picture and bio are similar to your other profiles as well; this will help with your brand consistency.
  3. You have limited space in your bio, so use it strategically! Explain what you do and why your target audience would care. For example, Three Girls’ bio says, “World Class Marketing & Custom Quality Content Exclusively For Your Brand. Contact us for blogging, social media & more, tailored to your goals!”
  4. Unlike other social media marketing platforms, Instagram doesn’t hyperlink URLs in the captions accompanying your images. Because of this, it’s very important you use the website listed in your profile strategically. Consider where you want to link to – your home page may not be the best option. If visitors only visit one page of your website, which would you want it to be?
  5. If you can, set up Instagram Shopping (it’s currently limited to specific industries). Instagram users are very engaged on their mobile devices. More than third of them buy online, so make it as easy as possible for them to purchase from you.

Instagram Tips: Time Your Posts Strategically

As with all social media marketing platforms, the more you post, the higher the chances your followers will actually see your content. One of the most important Instagram tips is: plan ahead so you have the option to time your posts strategically – this will keep you from scrambling last-minute.

In terms of when to post, Instagram shares helpful insights into when your followers are online. You can read how to access them in this social media marketing timing article.

In general, research shows the best times to take your Instagram updates live are:

  • Thursday between 5am and 11am in your respective time zone (Hubspot)
  • Monday to Friday between 12pm and 1pm (Hootsuite)

Instagram Tips: How To Craft The Perfect Social Media Marketing Updates

Follow these Instagram tips for social media marketing success.

  1. Define your brand. How will your Instagram updates reflect your business? Will you use similar fonts, imagery or colors on each post? Decide what your design elements will be, and then be consistent with them. Hubspot explains:
    • In a study of 8 million Instagram images, visuals with a single dominant color generated 17 percent more Likes than images with multiple dominant colors.
    • Images with a high amount of negative space generate 29 percent more Likes than those with minimal negative space.
    • Images featuring blue as the dominant color generate 24 percent more Likes than images that are predominantly red.
  2. Create a calendar. When it comes to your social media marketing strategy, you don’t want to fly by the seat of your pants. Create a calendar for your updates. In addition to helping you stay on track, this will help you make sure you don’t miss any important holidays or notable days you want to recognize. A set calendar will also help you create content consistently. By sitting down to plan out your post topics in advance, you’ll have a starting point when you begin developing the actual updates.
  3. Design your content. Whether you take photos or use a resource like Canva to create visual content (we recommend a combination of both), make sure the finished images are crisp, clear and compelling. When it comes to developing content, one of the best Instagram tips I can share is to think about your audience. Is the update you’re sharing providing them with value? Does it connect with them and show them your brand’s human side? Make sure you’re legally allowed to share any images you publish, too!
  4. Use captions wisely. Although the image may capture your followers’ attention, the caption is an opportunity to tell a story and/or include a call to action. Use it to provide helpful context. Don’t be afraid to ask followers to click the link in your bio for more details or “double-tap” to like your image, too.
  5. Include Stories in your strategy. Instagram Stories are the quick images and videos that show up at the top of users’ feed. When users click on them, they appear for a short time and then move to the next one. Hubspot reports, “Businesses that are on Instagram get up to 37 percent of their total impressions from Instagram Stories.” Hootsuite also shares, “A third of the most viewed Stories are posted by businesses.” Because of their added visibility, Stories are a fantastic tactic to wrap into your social media marketing strategy. Plus, if you have more than 10,000 you can even add links to your Stories making it even easier for users to visit your website and purchase from you!
  6. Remember to tag. Tag other users and your location – this will help boost your visibility. In fact, posts tagged with a location see 79 percent more engagement than those that aren’t tagged with a location. Take the time to add your company’s headquarters or an off-site location that fits with the update.
  7. Engage with users. Remember, the whole point of social media marketing is to connect socially! Follow other users, like posts that complement your brand, comment on photos you find compelling and repost noteworthy images you’d like to share with your followers (make sure you get permission first). Another tip: search for hashtags relevant to your brand and like/comment on posts that come up that are a good fit.
  8. Show more than just your products. Instagram users don’t want to be sold to all the time – show them your brand’s human side! In addition to products and/or services:
    • Feature your staff and/or clients
    • Share inspiring quotes or helpful tips
    • Give a sneak peek behind-the-scenes at your business
    • Promote business partners you enjoy working with

Instagram Tips: Use Hashtags Strategically

Make sure you use hashtags as part of your social media marketing strategy.

Hashtags are key to your brand’s visibility on Instagram. Although we generally subscribe to a philosophy of no more than three hashtags in a single social media update, Instagram is the exception. This platform will allow you to include up to 30 hashtags per post, so use them! Make sure they’re relevant to the post itself and change them up from one image to the next; this will help you avoid the Instagram shadowban.

Here’s how to select hashtags for your Instagram posts:

  • Click on the “Explore” tab at the bottom (it looks like a magnifying glass) to see what’s trending. If you see any trending hashtags that are a good fit for your brand, include them right away so you don’t miss out on the timeliness of them.
  • Find hashtags relevant to your industry. If you go to the Explore tab and click in the search bar at the top, you can start to type in a hashtag you think would be relevant (such as #SocialMedia) and Instagram will pull up hashtags that have those characters in them and tell you how many posts include them. This is a great way to find new tags to incorporate!
  • Make sure you only use hashtags that are actually relevant to your post.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for new hashtags ideas when you look at other users’ posts. They might just give you some inspiration!
  • All-Hashtag is another helpful resource for finding potential hashtags to use.

Creating a Consistent and On-Brand Instagram Feed for Your Small Business

When branding our Instagram accounts, before worrying about what images to use or filters to try – another important element to think about is the content you are sharing and what its purpose has for your brand. What can we post in our feed that will bring value to our followers, support our brand’s message, and all the while provide an exclusive behind the scenes look into creative professional lives?

Ask yourself:If a potential client were to come to your IG feed, what would they learn?

Behind the Brand

Before we jump into what to post, let’s define what we’re doing on Instagram in the first place as this will greatly affect what we end up posting.

Why Are You on Instagram?

Not all platforms are created equal and with only a finite amount of time to devote to social media each day, picking the right platforms for your small business is critical. So, why Instagram specifically (vs. Facebook or Twitter)? Why are you promoting your business on Instagram? What value does Instagram provide for your business?

Who Are You Talking to on Instagram?

Knowing specifically who it is on the other side of the phone screen can really make a difference in understanding what types of content to post, how to communicate through your content, and what times to post. So, who specifically are you talking to on Instagram and why? Who are your ideal clients and why (and even when) are they on Instagram?

If a potential client were to come to your IG feed, what would they learn?

What Actions Do You Want Your Posts to Inspire People to Do?

Just like a blog post, email newsletter, or product sales page, including a clear call to action at the end of each post can be incredibly helpful in guiding your followers through the desired outcome for each post. Social media is all about being social, and sometimes people need a little help or guidance there in order to know how you want them to reach out.

Branding the Basics

Now that we know why we’re on Instagram and who we’re talking to we can focus on the general setup of our Instagram account.

The Profile Photo

Should you use a photo of you or your logo? Depending on your business, this answer varies. People will always connect with a face before they connect with a logo so if using a photo of yourself is appropriate, we always recommend doing so. But if you work for a larger brand or company where a single photo doesn’t clearly represent your brand, using your logo is a great choice. An Instagram Profile photo is incredibly small (exactly 110×110 px), especially on mobile devices so using a variation or your logo that looks great in a tight circular shape is best. If using a photo, using a clean tighter facial crop where you are clearly visible is an ideal choice.

The Bio

With a limited amount of characters to work with (150 characters to be specific), you want to write your bio strategically, providing only the most critical information in the most easily digestible format. Check out some of your favorite Instagram feeds and see how others have utilized this limited space.

Your ONLY Link

Think about the most actionable page you can send your followers to.

With only one URL link available to you, making sure you use the best one for Instagram is so important (hint, it isn’t always your home page URL). Think about the most actionable page you can send your followers to; your portfolio, your opt-in, your contact page, a blog post, etc… and know that you are not stuck with that one link forever. Updating your link often (especially if you are a product based shop) is a great way to provide a reason for followers to continue back to your bio again and again.

Highlights

Highlights and Instagram Stories can be incredible opportunities to showcase and promote your brand. Think about your business and the products or services you offer. How can you break those down into short “highlighted” segments? Or what short visual snippets of your business would be beneficial for your clients or followers to see?

  • Use your Highlights like a portfolio feed to highlight past projects and showcase your work.
  • Use your highlights to educate your clients and outline your process, company information, FAQ’s, or even Testimonials.
  • Use your highlights to showcase “how-tos” and educate your clients through video tutorials or explainer clips.
  • Use your highlights to share location-based images or photography.
  • Use your highlights to showcase your menu or signature dishes.

I could honestly go on and on here, but the best way to use your Highlights section will be based on how best to communicate your brand to your clients.

What to Post on Instagram

The answer to “what to post on Instagram” is just as unique as the brand doing the posting. There isn’t any “one system fits all” when it comes to what to post or even when, but we have found a set of posting guidelines that should help you to start curating valuable content in a consistent and maintainable schedule. Then, once you’ve got your IG feet under you, you can confidently take off and really build a unique brand on Instagram.

So, where to begin…

When working with our brand clients, we spend a great deal of time focusing on the major “W’s” of their brands; WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, HOW (I know HOW isn’t a “W” but they always group that one together too.)

Who Are You?

Do you ever share any personal posts about yourself? Any selfies of you or professional images of you working and providing a face to go with the name on your IG handle?

INSTA-INSPIRATION: Take a look at one of our favorite feeds to follow, fellow design team, Char Co. @charcompany. In their posts, stories, and highlights – they do an excellent job of welcoming you into their studio and showcasing their talented team of designers, photographers, and creatives. This helps you see WHO you could be working with if you hired Char Co. for your design needs, putting a face to a larger brand and helping create that human relationship from the get-go.

Who Do You Work With/Who Do You Serve?

What kinds of clients do you work with? Who seeks out your services? What does your ideal client look like? Help your followers envision themselves working with you through the inspiring branded images you share on Instagram.

INSTA-INSPIRATION: We are living in a world where “influencer” is an actual job title, and eCommerce brands like Andie Swim @andieswim have done an amazing job of showing their brand influences and ambassadors in their feed, stories, and highlights. They even have a hashtag for their clients to use when showcasing themselves using Andie’s products – #andieinthewild

What Do You/Does Your Company Do?

What do you do? Are you a designer, writer, teacher, coach, athlete, blogger… etc. Is this clear in the images you are sharing. If I came to your Instagram account, would I be able to know what it was you/your company did?

INSTA-INSPIRATION: One of our favorite mouth-watering accounts we follow is White Pie Denver @white_pie_denver. They are a local pizzeria and sandwich restaurant based out of Denver. Their feed is filled with the most delicious photos that make me hungry just typing about them now. It is incredibly clear not only what they do (make pizza), but what makes their pizzas and sandwiches different through the up-close and personal shots they have of their handcrafted masterpieces.

How

How Do You Do It?

Now that we’ve cleared up WHO you work with, and WHAT you do, HOW do you do it? What is your creative process? Do you have specific steps that you follow in your professional services? Do you have a unique way in which you conduct your business? What is it about your brand that makes you unique?

INSTA-INSPIRATION: As a designer or maker of any kind, social media is made for you right now with all the video and animated options available through everyday tech like our phones or mobile devices. Saffron Avenue owner and designer Angela Mondloch @saffronavenue is constantly utilizing Instagram’s video feature to show her working on her calligraphy and writing messages to her IG followers as it relates to her professional and personal life.

Where Do You Work?

Now all of us have the luxury of working in big beautiful office spaces, but that’s ok. Showing where you work opens up more information about the world in which you exist in. That may sound so scientific, of course people know what world we exist in, but really, this element can often be underemphasized in social media where we get used to watching life happen on a screen. Do you work in a local coffee shop? Do you drive to your client’s homes? Do you work virtually or in person? Help us picture what your creative world looks like.

INSTA-INSPIRATION: Regina A at @byreginatv does a beautiful job of showing her doing her thing all over the United States. From coffee shops, to kitchens, to offices, to couches and beyond! Plus, she is always showing really creative behind the scenes shots of her actually working, allowing her audience a sneak peek at upcoming projects.

Why Is This Important? (To you and to your followers.)

This might seem harder to portray in images, but this is where your text comes into play. Thinking about the message you are sending with each image. Why is this post important? Why is it important to you and your brand? AND why is it important to your followers? It’s this commonality that will help make your brand more relatable and identifiable for your target clients and encourage them to click your links and explore further.

#WhatAboutHashtags?

What about those strange one-word phrases that start with pound symbols and break English majors’ hearts around the world? There are COUNTLESS posts out there on this specific topic and there is definitely a scientific system to creating the best hashtag strategy for your brand, but when first getting started, having the basics in place can really help.

It’s generally recommended to start with 13 hashtags per post. Now, this is only a recommendation and by no means the rule. You’ll see some people posting with as many as 30 hashtags while others might only use one or two (or none at all!) Depending on their brand, follower count, and social strategy, the total will vary. So pick a number that works best for you and start there.

Here is a general list of tags to include with each post:

  • Your personal hashtag ex: #whiskeyandred
  • Your location hashtag ex: #woodlandpark
  • Your State Hashtag ex: #colorado
  • Your Industry or Service (this might be more than one hashtag, or even a combo of service and location) ex: #websitedesign #branddesign #logodesign #brandidentity #coloradowebsitedesign
  • Social Media Relevant hashtags ex: #followfriday #fridayintroductions #tiptuesday #throwbackthrusday #waybackwednesday

So, how do we actually capture all these important brand elements into our Instagram images?

Instagram Brand Photo Challenge

25 Days of Intentional Instagram Business Action to Build Our Brands on Instagram
For the next 25 days, we challenge you to post to Instagram, sharing relevant, interesting, and artistic behind the scenes images that don’t only include food or flat lays. Think “outside the box” with us as we tackle our Instagram feeds with inspiring and creative business-focused daily photo challenges.

  • STEP 1: Download the Brand Your Instagram Challenge Photo Checklist HERE!
  • STEP 2: Head over to Instagram and follow us @whiskeyandred.
  • STEP 3: Be sure to include the hashtag: #InstaBrandChallenge so that way we can all follow along and support each other as we work to brand our Instagram.​

The Daily Shot

*Note: Day 1 starts on a Monday in order to keep with the weekly/daily focuses.

Mondays

The lady or gentleman behind the brand! Mondays are a great day to share a little more you. And not just the typical selfie, but an action shot of you living and breathing your personal brand.

Tuesdays

Technology and Business Organization. Each Tuesday, you’ll be prompted to capture and share a business resource, be it your favorite tech, your calendar system, or your tangible tools. Tuesdays are for supporting HOW you do what you do by focusing on the tools and resources you use to manage and maintain your brand.

Wednesdays

Client Project and Professional Workflow. Take the midweek to share a behind the scenes glance at your creative process. Be it featuring a recent client project, a particular phase in your workflow, or your creative materials in action (workbooks, notebooks, post-its, etc… This helps your followers envision not only HOW you work, but WHO you work with so they can then begin to picture themselves working with you too.

Thursdays

#ThrowbackThrusdays. Have you read “Leave Your Mark” by Aliza Licht? She talks about taking #selfies, but not your traditional “turn-the-camera-around-and-take-a-rough-photo-of-yourself” kind of selfie, but a selfie of where you are at today v.s. yesterday, last week, last month, and beyond. Thinking in terms of your brand’s growth, share a throwback memory of how far your brand has come. This provides social proof and supports your creditability as a professional in your niche by showing how much time has gone by and how much you’ve grown.

Fridays

#CreativeGeniusFriday. Each Friday, share either an accomplished week by showcasing a finished to-do-list, empty inbox, celebratory cup of coffee, or recognize another creative who’s inspired you in some way that week. Part of being a leader is also knowing how to be a follower. Crack adobe acrobat x pro amtlib.dll. By supporting other brands and artists, you only make yourself look more credible. Fridays are a great time to recognize those that have inspired your brand and help spread some Friday love.

Saturdays

Celebrating Saturday. Just as important as how we manage our work time, is how we allow ourselves to relax during our downtime. How do you unwind from a busy week? What are some of your favorite creative outlets? Do you like to binge-watch Netflix on Saturdays with your dog or are your the avid outdoors adventurer taking on some crazy nature adventure? Or are you the nighttime socialite? What do you do when you’re not hard at work?

Sundays

A Sunday well spent set you up for a week of content. How do you prep for your new week to begin? Do you have any specific routine for your work week? Or are you family-focused on the weekends?

So, what do you say? (in the voice of Barney Stinson of ‘How I Met Your Mother’)…

How To Use Instagram For Business Pdf

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

Be sure to start with prompt 1:“Your Introduction” so all the fellow creatives partaking in our little challenge can get to know you and what you’re all about, and then jump right into today’s challenge: Calendar, Schedule, To-Do List! A new month means a new schedule. How do you organize your time and track your monthly brand growth?

Ready… set… GO!

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