Since Instagram launched in 2010, it has fast become an integral medium for digital marketing—particularly if you want to reach the millennial audience. In fact, sources suggest that there are now over 1 billion users worldwide, making it the perfect platform for any brand or business looking for growth and conversion.
In the article below, we look at:
- How to set up your own Instagram account.
- How to get followers (so you have an audience to spread your message to).
How to set up an Instagram account
Instagram is primarily used on a phone. While it does have a web version, it's is easier to use on the app. To get started you need:
- iOS (Apple Phone)
- Smart tablet
How to sign up to Instagram
Once you’ve installed and opened the app, you’ll be prompted to either sign up a new account or register with Facebook. When signing up, it's best to choose a relevant business email that matches all your other social media feeds and links to the email you use most frequently. This way, if any potential customers would like to get in touch with you, you'll be able to see the message and get back to them swiftly.
When deciding on the username you will use, it's important to keep your usernames (and brand names) as uniform as you can across all platforms.
This helps create consistent branding for all your marketing efforts and allows the user to instantly recognize your brand.
How to choose a profile picture for Instagram
You want this to be instantly recognizable when it’s small. That means your image should be crisp, clear and free from clutter.
If you’re part of an organization you could use any of the following on a clean background:
- Shortened logo
How to write an Instagram biography
When writing your Instagram bio, it's important to think about it as a form of marketing. As one of the first thing users see before they scroll down to your images, you want to make sure that you're adding to your brand narrative and telling them a little bit more about who you are, what you do and how you can help solve a problem.
Instagram also allows you to link to one URL on your profile, so it's important to consider how to take advantage of this opportunity—if you're a business, you want to choose a link goes to somewhere important in your sales funnel, like your landing page or a product page.
How to connect Instagram to other social media accounts
Once you’ve set up your Instagram account, it’s time to link your Instagram account to your other social media accounts. You’ll want to at least connect yourself to Facebook and Twitter, if for nothing more than to take advantage of the image sharing benefits on those platforms.
When you’ve managed to set all that up, it’s time to look at how you can start driving traffic from your feed, through to your site.
If you’re ready, let’s go.
How to get more followers on Instagram
Tip #1: How to use hashtags on Instagram
Hashtags have become increasingly popular on Instagram. In fact, you can now even follow the hashtags that interest you most. Hashtags are also an easy way to get your content noticed by Instagram users who don't follow you. For example, if you're a florist, adding hashtags of the types of flowers used in your image, or adding a tag that lets users know they are for a wedding, you are now expanding your pool of influence for users who could benefit from your services or product.
The Instagram Marketing experts over at Wishpond have broken down effective hashtags into three main categories:
All of these allow you to slot yourself in front of the right people and become part of a much bigger conversation; making your traffic much more targeted.
Let’s break each one of them down and take a look at some super-easy way to implement them:
Brand and campaign hashtags
These two are quite similar, but if done right both pack a powerful punch in their own way. Brand hashtags should be a company name or a tagline that people know. It’s always relevant because, well…it’s your brand.
Think of it this way:
“If you would put it on a billboard, make it a hashtag”
Which is exactly what Nike have done with #justdoit:
What KitKat is doing with #haveabreak:
As we can see, these influential brands have used their commonly used taglines to help bring brand awareness, and also allow users to adopt the tagline for their own personal posts.
Whether you choose your own brand name, your slogan, or both, is completely up to you. But make it engaging and think whether someone is likely to place it at the end of their image.
As for campaign hashtags, these are separate from your brand, but only slightly. Think of these as divisions of your brand hashtags.
Campaigns fit the current:
That you’re working with or creating. And they can be amazing for engagement because people always like to feel like they’re part of something they’re adding value to.
An example of this can be seen in one of Canva's hashtags, #canvalove. This hashtag was built so that we can see the amazing designs that our Canva community makes.
Now, our community is able to be inspired by the designs of others and also the hashtag allows for their designs to be seen by a wider audience.
Trending topics aren’t just for teenagers.
They’re also a great weapon in your marketing arsenal. Because even though the event might only be short term—a few hours, days or weeks—the traffic and followers you get can stick around for a long time to come.
Trending hashtags can fit a specific day of the week, like:
Or they can be a specific event or occurrence in your niche:
Either way, they should fit your niche—or at least the update you’re making—and be done quickly, because what’s hot (and what’s not) can often change at the drop of a hat.
These are not only relevant to your brand but to that specific update, you’re about to put online too.
Take a look at your update and see if it fits any of these categories:
If it doesn’t fit any of these, you might want to double check and make sure it’s a worthwhile update. If it does you’ve got a great starting point for your next selection of Hashtags too.
A great way to make your Hashtags even more relevant and targeted is by using hashtag tools that allow you to see popular tags, and what is most relevant for your industry.
You can wash, rinse and repeat this method for every single update you post too.
Hashtags like this work well across platforms, especially now your feed is hooked up to Facebook and Twitter, so you’re going to be able to increase your reach even more.
Are hashtags on Instagram effective?
According to Sprout Social, Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without. In fact, if you're building your brand, seven out of 10 hashtags that exist on Instagram are from brands—so you'll be in good company.
Tip #2: Share relevant content
As we mentioned earlier, you only get one link on Instagram, and that’s the one in your biography.
But that doesn’t mean that link can’t be changed, adjusted and played around with to boost the traffic back to your site.
Content to consider sharing includes:
- Blog posts
- New products
If you decide to promote any of the above content, it's important to set yourself a reminder to change it back to your original link so that you can continue pointing users back to the sales funnel of your product or service.
Tip #3: Curate your messaging
Putting too many updates too close together can be a sure-fire way to lose followers and annoy your audience.
Unlike Twitter—that is made for, well…twittering—creating a wall of updates that goes on for six or seven images can frustrate people and force them to click your ‘unfollow’ button.
While there is no best frequency for posting on Instagram, you should space out your updates by at least a couple of hours.
But that leaves you with a little bit of time-conundrum because you have to create images at different intervals throughout the day.
A nice little trick we learned is that you can create your images without posting them online straight away. Which means you can create all your images in bulk beforehand, save them to your phone and then put them online later.
If you want to keep in contact with your followers more frequently we suggest using Instagram's other offerings like Instagram Stories or Instagram Live.
To learn more about creating Instagram stories read: A complete guide to creating an Instagram Story
Tip #4: Use pictures of faces
“People do business with people they like.”
And do you know what kind of people social media users really like? Happy, smiling people having a good time.
Whether that’s using an employee engagement shot or showing a happy customer using your product, people are more likely to buy from you if they see people using your product.
And when it comes to Instagram, not only will that help you drive traffic back to your site, but it will help you get more engagements (likes and comments) too.
A study from Georgia Tech looked at 1.1 million random Instagram pictures and found two really interesting bits of information. Pictures with faces get:
- 38% more likes
- 32% more comments
Then images that don’t have them. So for a real spike in traffic at this early stage, it’s a good idea to create images around people using—or holding—your product.