Tips on Starting an Instagram Business Profile

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Instagram Profile

As a social media platform with over 800 million active users, Instagram has the potential to boost brand recognition for any business. The site has become a huge part of many companiesmarketing initiatives since it allowed users to create business profiles in 2016.

At the time, many prospective users were hesitant to launch their own business profile. Up until this point, Facebook business profiles had not performed as well as personal Facebook profiles, and business owners were concerned that Instagram business profiles would suffer the same disparity.

Luckily, this wasnt the case, and a huge variety of companies have been able to build their customer base and increase sales by setting up Instagram business profiles. Companies classed as lifestyle brands stand to benefit the most, as they can show off their eye-catching food, clothes, products or luxury services. By regularly uploading high-quality images, Instagrams business users can attract and retain a large customer base.

Regional Instagram Accounts

If youre a franchisor or franchisee and you dont currently operate an Instagram account, you could capitalise on your current success by starting one. But you should take the time to think about how you present your brand to your customers. If your franchise has multiple units across the country or across the world, you may want to consider launching separate business profiles for the different regions.

This is an important decision for the franchisor. If you establish a single Instagram profile for the business, you can create one clear destination for your customers, maintain brand consistency and have control over your companys social media presence. On the other hand, you could lose authenticity and reduce the relevance of the content for regional audiences by doing this.

If you decide to establish multiple Instagram profiles, there are different ways to do this. Get franchisees to manage their own profiles, appoint a social media specialist for each branch or region, or hire a single social media manager to operate all the accounts. Using a team of local social media specialists may work well if your franchise has many different branches. This is because they can put all their effort into creating first-class content and collaborate to ensure its consistent across the brand but this isnt always affordable.

Youll also need to decide whether youll create a main Instagram profile for general business news as well, or just focus on regional accounts. Whichever route you go down, youll be able to craft location-specific content that appeals to local customers.

When you upload this regional content, remember to use location hashtags, such as #London, to make sure your business is found by more people. These can be as niche as you like; for example, if you have a manufacturing centre or other base in a small village, dont shy away from using a hashtag to bring attention to this. Its all about giving your business personality and reducing the sense that it is a faceless corporation.

Advantages of an Instagram Business Profile

If youre still on the fence about starting a business Instagram account, here are a few reasons why you should consider doing so:

· Interact with customers and potential customers. By reading and responding to comments, you can find out what is important to your followers and take action accordingly. Also, businesses that respond to consumer queries are more likely to be trusted by people who havent yet decided whether to buy its products or services.

· Get accurate information about the people you appeal to. Instagram Insights shows you a wide range of analytical information about the Instagram users who follow and interact with your account. It reveals how your profile has performed over the past week. You can find out how many followers youve lost or gained and how many times the account has been viewed. You can even discover the gender, age and location of your followers, in addition to when they are most active. This is hugely valuable, as it can help you establish your primary target audience and tailor your content to them in order to increase sales. For this reason, a franchisor might request monthly or quarterly reports based on Instagram Insights data.

· Add a Contact button onto your profile. This takes potential customers straight from your profile into an open email, telephone call or map showing your location. As a result, Instagram users can easily find resolutions to their problems and learn more about your company, which should boost your reputation in the long run.

· Use Instagrams Stories facility to reveal another side of your business. This is a useful feature if you want to give followers an extra glimpse behind the curtain. You could document daily events at your headquarters, introduce Instagram users to new products or even host live Q&A sessions. As a franchisee, you could tailor your Stories to your specific branch, documenting its milestones or filming local events. The more you can do to add personality to your business, the better.

· Partner with influencers. These are Instagram users with huge followings. Their fans trust their opinions and often purchase the products they promote, whether this is done as an advert or as a genuine review, during which no money changes hands. By partnering with an influencer, you can reach a much higher number of consumers and potentially increase your sales income.

· Find out more about your competitors. As well as posting content, you should also be keeping an eye on other businesses in the sector. If you follow competitors, you can keep up to date with their product releases and observe how they interact with their followers.

One Final Consideration

If you decide to launch an Instagram business profile, you should try to schedule your posts to maximise the number of people that view and interact with them. In other words, upload content when the highest number of followers will be using Instagram.

The optimum times for businesses to be active varies between industries but, if you can identify the best time to post content for your sector, you will be able to reap the benefits. For example, if your business is in the travel and tourism industry, upload content on Fridays between 9am and 1pm. If youre in media, opt for Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12pm and 3pm. If you sell food and drink, reach followers at midday on Fridays. For retail, post on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at midday. (Data from Unmetric and Hootsuite).

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