A-guide-to-branding-a-small-business-01

Is Instagram suited to your business? The answer may be different for everyone. But the good news is that Instagram is not reserved for any particular brand or kind of business. Let’s dive into how to start an Instagram page for your business.

There’s a common saying that goes, “Do it for the ‘gram.” To the younger generations, this means to do something so you can take a picture and post it on Instagram to show your followers that ‘you did that’. Because if you didn’t post it, did it actually happen? Ask the millennials, they will tell you.

The same thinking applies to brands and businesses. If someone looks you up on Instagram and can’t find you, do you really exist?

But, why is Instagram so important?

Since the introduction of Instagram, our lives have changed dramatically.

No, seriously.

Everyone is on Instagram. By “everyone”, we mean people, pets, alter egos and of course, businesses. Instagram is a visual platform, making it the best place to showcase content – from Instagram reels and video content to photos and illustrations of practically anything and everything.

Gone are the days where Instagram was only for personal use, and you’d get a dopamine kick for getting 14 likes on your picture at the beach. It’s now a popular platform with over 1 billion monthly users and brands trying to be more human by connecting with their customers. And about 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business.

These statistics are not to intimidate you but rather motivate you because it can only get better from here. And no, it’s never too late to learn how to start an Instagram page no matter where you are in your business journey.

Since you’re here and considering starting an Instagram business account, all hope is not lost. We’ll have you posting up on the gram in no time! Keep in mind that Instagram is said to be more popular amongst the younger generations – Millennials and Generation Z.

Before you get started on Instagram

1. Pick out your people 

Spoiler alert: you can’t attract the people you want if you don’t know who they are. That’s why it’s crucial to detail who you’re speaking to so you can reach and engage with them appropriately. Identify their patterns, behaviours and the type of content they consume and interact with.

Collaborate with the appropriate influencers

Influencers are called “influencers” for a reason. Their purpose is to drive behavioural change amongst their audience.

Working with them can be a great way to reach your target audience and get your brand noticed. But, you need to know that the influencer you want to work with will resonate with your audience.

Don’t make the mistake of using influencers solely based on their followers. Numbers don’t amount to results or engagement if they are not authentic to the brand.

So if you’re in the pet food business, you’re going to pick someone who’s a lover of pets and is known for that.

You don’t have to be intimidated by influencer marketing, even small brands with a limited budget can afford to collaborate with micro or even nano-influencers. If you need a little bit of help using influencers to grow your business, read this article here.

2. Show, don’t tell, your story

Ever heard of the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”? It couldn’t be more true in the context of this photo-sharing app. Think of Instagram as your brand story in pictures. Bring your brand personality forward to make your brand more human. That’s how you’ll create authentic connections.

3. Entertain and engage

People engage with content that captivates and holds some relevance to them. Understanding who they are will work in your favour here because it will help you fine-tune your content to be relevant to them. It’s the best way to attract and retain your followers.

4. Make people part of the conversation

Avoid talking at people. You’ll miss the opportunity to create authentic connections with your target audience. Your goal is to be as human as possible so you can build relationships online. Try to be interactive and invite your followers to be active participants rather than spectators. Ask questions, use polls, follow people and engage with their content – as a real person would.

The advantages of social media for businesses

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to social media. Neither is there a straight forward answer to the question, “Why should I have a social media presence?” But here’s why you should jump on the social media bandwagon.

  1. In 2020, the average person spent 145 minutes a day on social media. So, people are consuming more content than ever on social media.
  2. Social media has become a search engine where people spend their time to gather information.
  3. Different channels can help you reach different and specific audiences.
  4. Social media has tools to provide you with data and insights that can inform a marketing strategy for your business.
  5. It makes your brand more human – helping you connect with your audience.

How to get started on social media

Begin by asking yourself what it is you want to achieve by using social media. This question is by far the most essential question you’ll ask as you upskill yourself and your business for social media.

Here’s an example based on your type of business:

Small business: engaging local followers as well as existing customers with quality content and growing your online community.

Start-up: creating awareness for a new product or business and establishing an online presence.

Enterprise company: providing timeous customer service and boosting customer loyalty.

Have a broad objective in mind (and on paper) that you’ll use to measure your success against. Break it down into small chunks and plan on how you’re going to meet your business account goals.

Here’s an article to help you get started on defining your social media goals and measuring your performance based on them.

Your goals will help you map out your social media strategy. Buffer describes this as a summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve on social media.

Setting up your business page on Instagram      

Some of us understand better when we see things visually. So, we’ve created a step-by-step video for you so you can see how to start an Instagram page.

Just a heads up, for this, you will need a username.

Pro tip: try to have it as your business name, so it’s easier for people to find you. Then, create a unique (and memorable) password for your account.

For back-up purposes, have your business email to link to your profile.

How to start an Instagram page!

>

To put it into words:

  • Download Instagram from your App store or Google Play
  • Select create new account
  • Create username
  • Create a password
  • Complete signing up by adding a phone number or email address of your business
  • Add your profile picture and business details to get your profile started on the right foot

The small area under your username is where your bio lives. Think of it like a mini intro to who you are and what you do. It makes the first impression on the viewer. Don’t let it end there, ensure it makes a lasting impression too.

It’s ideal to include:

  • A short description of your brand,
  • The location of your business if a brick and mortar store exists,
  • The contact information you can be reached on
  • An emoji or two – preferably those that are relevant to your brand,
  • And a link to your website, if you have one – to drive traffic

Reminder: change your Instagram to a business account – it’s free!

To do this, simply click the hamburger icon in the top right corner of your profile for the menu. Click through to settings, and then account. Thereafter, scroll down to the bottom and select “switch to a professional account.” And there you have it!

Now, you are all set and ready to take on the business world with Instagram by your side!

The wonderful thing about Instagram is that it has features and analytics tools that will help you, as a business owner, attract followers, build engagement and gather insights into your customers.

Not to sell Instagram to you, but it makes selling and buying your products easier with the ‘Click to Shop’ feature. For these reasons, among many others, businesses all around the world make use of the app to sell their products.

Instagram Tools

Now that you know how to start an Instagram page, let’s look at the handy tools available to you on Instagram.

Instagram Stories

On top of the list is Instagram stories. Why? They only run for 24 hours which could be your great advantage. On one hand, they’re a great way to attract followers and deliver information. On the other, they only feature for a limited time. Even so, it builds excitement and an urgency around following.

For the most part, Instagram stories provide a fun way to engage people with polls, Q&As and social contests. You can use ads in stories to drive brand and product awareness, announce discount sales and even call for user-generated content (UGC).

Instagram is the main platform for UGC – this is any content created by the public instead of brands. A free giveaway or a contest can encourage user-generated content in the form of photos, videos or stories that you can then share on your business account.

For more tips on how to make use of user-generated content in your marketing efforts, read this article here.

Instagram Lead Ads

Instagram Lead Ads is one of Instagram’s valuable advertising tools. It’s great for collecting contact information from potential customers on the platform, and it also integrates well with Facebook.

Instagram Insights

Instagram Insights is a tool you can use to measure your performance – from impressions and reach to the number of website clicks you’re getting from your profile. It will help you understand which posts are working well and which ones need a bit more love. It’ll also feedback insight into your followers, helping you find out what content they’re engaging with and what resonates with them most.

Instagram Shop

If you have an e-commerce store, you will love this! Instagram shop uses real-time content to create an interactive shopping experience that allows you to showcase your products visually to your customers and make it easy for them to shop products from your page’s images. There’s a shop tab where users can discover new brands, products and pics tailored to them. Here’s an article to get you ready to open shop with Instagram shopping here.

When and how often to post on socials:

Timing is everything.

Knowing the best and worst times to post on social media could be the difference between getting engagement and hearing crickets on a post. At any given time, there are billions of active social media users. But, research shows that there are more favourable hours to post on – otherwise known as peak hours.

According to Sprout Social, while there is around-the-clock engagement on Instagram, not every hour is happy hour for posts. Sprout Socials says that the best times are Mondays – Fridays at 11 am, and especially Tuesday 11am – 2pm. And the worst day to post is on a Sunday.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to only share quality content. Remember that with content, quality outweighs quantity. Finding a balance in the frequency of posts is also vital. You don’t want to be annoying your followers by posting every minute. However, you also don’t your followers to forget you because you post once in a blue moon.

Have a plan in place for your account’s management to see to it that you get the most engagement. And feel free to change it up as you grow.

Instagram page completed

Congratulations, you now know how to start an Instagram page!  Now, you’re ready to swing into action. Get posting! A great first post idea is a welcome post. Above all, it should aim to answer the basic questions like what your business is, your product, why people should follow your account and what they can expect to see.

Let this be your key takeaway from this blog: social media matters.

Your social media presence matters in many ways. From creating a presence for your brand to establishing brand trust and loyalty. Don’t keep your customers and prospects waiting. Start your Instagram business account today!

If you’re still wondering how to start an Instagram page connect with us on social media.

Instagram: iKhokhasa

Twitter: iKhokhaSA

Facebook: iKhokha