Posted 15 August 2019

8 Tips For Better Instagram Marketing For Business

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If your business isn’t on Instagram these days, you’d better have a good reason. If you sell any kind of physical product, if you have stores, or if you want people to recognize your brand, it’s time to get an account.

The social network is too popular to ignore. It’s in the hands of your buyers – via their phones – wherever they go.

Instagram is part of our lives now. And for many businesses, it’s vital.

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Yours might be one of them. Which means you need an Instagram marketing strategy, and it needs to be good.

To get you started, we’ve put together these 8 tips to get more from Instagram. Whether you’re brand new or have been using the ‘Gram for years, you’ll find a lot of valuable information.

And now for tip number 1!

1. Understand your audience

This is critical no matter what marketing you produce. You might create the most beautiful Instagram content in the world, but if it doesn’t appeal to your target buyer, what’s the point?

Take the time to find out who your existing audience is, and think about who you’d like them to be. Since you’re using Instagram for marketing, you need to consider whether they are potential buyers, or can help you build your brand in some way.

So how can you learn more about your audience?

Try Instagram Insights

We talked about Facebook Insights in an earlier post. Facebook owns Instagram, and they’ve introduced a similar tool to help users of the image network.

The tool offers some interesting insights (hence the name) into the people following and interacting with your account. These include:

  • Impressions: How many times your content was viewed
  • Reach: Total number of unique accounts that viewed a piece of content
  • Website clicks: How many clicks the link in your business profile has received
  • Follower activity: How often your followers are on Instagram daily
  • Video views: How often your video content has been viewed
  • Saves: How many people have saved your posts

Insights also includes demographic information, so you can see where your followers come from, their age, and their gender.

With this, you’ll have plenty of information about your existing Instagram audience. But what if you want to attract new followers?

Use a listening tool

Social listening shows you conversations happening on social media. That includes Instagram. A good listening tool will tell you what people say about your brand or your industry on Instagram.

If you’re trying to appeal to new Instagram users, you need to know what makes them tick. Monitor Instagram for keywords that matter to you. That might mean hashtags you or your competitors have created, or other terms that relate specifically to your industry.

Look for images and content styles that have proved popular, and consider producing similar content.

What’s important is that you know what Instagram users respond well to, so that you can produce winning content yourself.

2. Talk with them, not at them

Social media marketing is not an excuse to spam your followers with nothing but sales material. It’s vital to try to engage with followers as much as possible.

For one, it makes your company feel more human and less corporate. Also, the more that users share and comment on your content, the easier it is for new users to find it. Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes content with higher engagement, and you want to appear in as many feeds as possible.

Here are a few great ways to encourage interaction.

Share their images

You work hard to build your following, and you want to keep them around. That means showing appreciation when they post great content themselves. And when you prove that you listen to your audience and want their feedback, you build a better image for your brand.

A great example is the Swiss watchmaker SEVENFRIDAY. They ask fans to share photos of them wearing their SEVENFRIDAY watches on holiday or in their cars, to show the product in action. The result is a huge collection of free marketing images from their biggest fans.

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SEVENFRIDAY even puts these images in their online store, to give inspiration to potential buyers.

User-generated content like this is a powerful endorsement for future buyers. When they see other people loving your products, they’re more likely to buy themselves.

Note: Don’t be afraid to repost your followers’ images, with credit. “Regramming” shows that you’re listening, and helps to promote some of your audience to others. They’ll appreciate the help and may continue to share your product with their followers in the future.

Hold contests

The best way to get interaction from your audience is to ask for it. And one of the simplest ways to do this is with contests. People love the chance to respond, and a little healthy competition goes a long way.

Easy Instagram contests include:

  • “Caption this image”
  • “Share a time when…”
  • “Tell us how this image makes you feel”

Ask your audience for their creativity and make sure you share the best responses.

To track responses easily, make sure you use a unique hashtag for each competition. And speaking of hashtags…

3. Use relevant hashtags

Hashtags help you “organize and categorize images and video content” to find content more easily. They’re a simple way to tag your content to make it easier to find for others.

They range from the generic to the very, very specific. And they are so popular on Instagram that they’ve essentially become mandatory. If you want people to find your content, you need to use hashtags.

Here are a few hashtag best practices:

  • Don’t overdo it: five targeted hashtags are better than 25 random ones.
  • Avoid overused tags: adding #love or #instagood is as good as useless.
  • Don’t spam: keep them relevant to the image.

From there, you have two main options when choosing hashtags for your posts:

General hashtags

These are hashtags that anyone might use, depending on the content of an image. “#Sunset” springs to mind, as do “#food” and “#wine.” But frankly, these examples are so broad that it may be hard to get noticed using them.

Instead, try to find niche hashtags within your industry. This increases your chances of attracting the ideal audience to your content.

A quick Google search will bring you lists of niche hashtags by industry. Postplanner has a nice list, for example, as does Soldsie.

If you want to get more creative, see what hashtags your existing followers use. This is a smarter way to find the right people to appeal to.

Branded hashtags

If you’re launching an Instagram campaign, a branded hashtag is a must. This applies to contests, influencer shoutouts (keep reading), or new product launches.

Branded hashtags are specific tags that only apply to your brand. They could be your brand name, the name of a product or person, or something special you’ve created for your campaign.

For instance, SEVENFRIDAY used “#SEVENFRIDAYTOUR” to track conversations and shared images as they traveled around the United Kingdom in a 1969 Airstream trailer:

Branded hashtags are much easier to track because they’re almost always used to talk about your own brand. Track the reach of your hashtags throughout a campaign to help judge whether the campaign was a success.

This also lets you compare several campaigns against one another, to see which strategy was more effective. If one hashtag received twice as many mentions as the other, that campaign was the winner!

4. Know when to post

A recent poll found that the best time to post on Instagram is between 7-9pm. So that’s simple – just post all your photos then!

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If that seems too simple, it’s because it is. You can’t just rely on a few polls – your audience isn’t necessarily engaged when those others are. Instead, try to find the best times to post for your target audience, when you know they’re paying attention.

To do this, you’ll want a social listening tool that monitors Instagram engagement. These track your Instagram posts, then tell you which ones perform the best, based on the date and time.

If you’re not ready for that, here are some Instagram marketing tips from the team at Later:

  • Aim for non-work hours (lunch and evenings)
  • Weekends if you’re a B2C company; probably not for B2B
  • Wednesdays and Thursdays seem to be best for engagement
  • 3-4pm is generally the worst for engagement

In the end, it’ll take a little research to figure out what works best for you. Monitor your posts – and your competitors’ – to arrive at an optimum posting schedule for your account.

5. Create beautiful visuals

Posting great content is always vital for social media marketing. It’s what makes them engage with your brand, and keeps them coming back for more.

On other social networks, this can mean sharing links, posting interesting articles, and starting conversations. On Instagram, it begins and ends with images. The whole network was created to let people share their photos.

This is especially true if you’re selling products online. According to one study, 93% of decisions in the buying process are based on visual appearance. So good images are vital.

Aside from taking excellent photos, how can you make your Instagram content more appealing?

Choose a theme

The best Instagram accounts tend to have an underlying theme or tone. You need something that inspires or intrigues followers, beyond simply your products.

For example, Under Armour uses the hashtag “#IWILL,” and its posts almost always relate to physically overcoming obstacles.

View this post on Instagram

Round and round @anthony_joshua goes. #IWILL

A post shared by Under Armour (@underarmour) on Apr 25, 2017 at 2:56pm PDT

Under Armour’s followers come for inspirational messages and receive a little branded advertising from time to time.

Whatever your particular niche, try to find an overall theme for your Instagram account.

Change the style and subject

As we’ve discussed, you can’t just share photos of your products and hope that people will buy. Your followers will quickly tune out, and you’re unlikely to attract new ones.

Instead, you want to vary the kinds of content you share, to keep your followers happy and interested.

To give you some ideas, here are 6 content types that work well, courtesy of AdEspresso:

  • User-generated content (UGC)
  • Behind the scenes sneak peeks
  • DIY projects and creative solutions to problems (using your products)
  • Influencer content (more on this soon)
  • Motivational images
  • Contests and giveaways

Quote images are always popular as well, and they don’t even require an original photo. Put an interesting quote on a nice background, and users will be happy to share.

Use tools to help

Not all of us are design geniuses. And the good news is that you don’t need to be. Foundr Magazine CEO Nathan Chan recommends leaning on the multitude of apps out there that help you post better images.

Foundr uses WordswagPhonto, and Typorama to beautify their posts. Other popular options include Canva and Piktochart.

6. Add Calls-to-action

Calls-to-action (CTAs) tell the user what you want them to do. Here’s an example:

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Whether you want users to download content, visit your website, or buy, you need to be clear. A good CTA tells them what to do next.

On Instagram, this can be slightly tricky. The network only allows one link – the one in your bio. So you can’t insert links into image captions, comments, or the image itself. And without a link, how can you create a CTA?

Smart marketers have developed a few strategies:

“Link in bio”

We’re all probably a little sick of seeing this, but if you only have one link to spare, you have to get users to click on it. The simplest method is to tell them where they can find more info – the link in your bio:

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Promo codes

Since you can’t put a link in the image, give users all the other information they need. What can they buy, where can they buy it, and why should they (what’s the benefit)?

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Promo codes are perfect because you can easily track them. Whenever someone buys with your Instagram code, you know the source of the sale. So while you can’t track the link as easily, you’ll still know where the buyer came from.

Like vs comment

This strategy also works well on Facebook and Twitter. Conduct a quick poll with your followers, and let them vote by using either “like” or “comment.” It’s a simple way to increase engagements with your profile and doesn’t take much effort.

Alternatively, you can ask users to choose “A” or “B” in the comments section. If you sell shoes, have your followers choose their favorite color. If you’re a University, let them select their favorite uniform for the basketball team.

Make it fun, and generate some interest. But most of all, help your followers do what you need them to do. If you need them to share your content, show them how. If you want them to buy, make it clear and easy.

7. Tell Stories

If you’re an Instagram user, you already know about the Stories feature. It sits at the top of the follower’s feed and lets them see several posts in a row from the same user.

For marketers, this is a wonderful gift. You don’t need to try to convey your entire message in a single image, you can string several together to tell a narrative.

What are Stories?

Stories are different from your usual Instagram posts in a few key ways:

  • These images flow from one to the next in a slideshow
  • Each image is erased after 24 hours
  • Because the images are full-screen, there are no captions
  • Other users cannot see comments

And you don’t need to worry about trying to appear higher in your followers’ feeds. All Stories sit at the top of the app, and users can scroll through them to find the ones they like.

A few best practices

Stories can help brands show some personality, or apply a narrative to their products. Followers see your images in the order you want them to. That’s what makes them, well, stories!

Here are a few tips for first class Stories:

  • Offer something different: Don’t just string together your usual Instagram content. Show sneak peeks or “day in the life” glimpses to make this content feel special.
  • Focus on the narrative: Try to give Stories a beginning, middle, and end. Introduce a person, place, or product, pique the user’s attention, then knock them out with a killer CTA.
  • Be informal: Stories also tend to be more intimate, and less polished, than other Instagram content. That doesn’t mean that they can look rough – far from it – but you can show your brand’s human side here.
  • Try a takeover: Let a talented staff member take over the account for the day and build their own story. Or, if you have good connections, a well-known influencer is even better.

If you’re lucky enough to have a verified account, you can even add links to Stories. This makes for great CTAs, where the user simply has to swipe up to go to your site.

Take advantage of this opportunity to craft a different style of content. Balance your carefully composed timeline images with more off-the-cuff Story content. This variety keeps your users paying attention for longer, and hopefully sharing you with their friends.

8. Work with influencers

Influencers are industry VIPs, and their word goes a long way with buyers. Whether you’re trying to build your Instagram presence or make sales, their endorsement is just what you need.

To do this, you first need to identify the right people.

Good influencers should:

  • Have a suitable audience (that might actually buy)
  • Be vocal and visible in your industry
  • Have a history of influencing their followers’ decisions

In other words, they actually need to be influential. Just having a huge following isn’t enough.

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You may need to pay

Over time, Instagram has become a fine-tuned influencer marketing machine. Models, lifestyle bloggers, and artists make serious money sharing products. Foundr Magazine’s Nathan Chan shared this table with us in our Instagram Masterclass:

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While it can cost you serious money to market your brand this way, it might just be the jumpstart you need.

Give them swag

Some influencers can be persuaded by the offer of a little free stuff. If you sell interesting, exciting products, many well-known users will gladly wear them in an Instagram photo, provided you let them keep the goods.

This approach is nothing new. It’s the reason why millionaire movie stars are given goody bags at the Oscars. Brands hope desperately that George Clooney will be seen wearing their watch.

Offer your target influencers your next season’s stock in exchange for a little publicity. Make sure their followers match your buyers, and your business is sure to grow.

“Share for share”

We don’t all have money to throw at influencers. Sometimes, it’s better to find other people and brands with a similar profile to yours. They can help you reach new audiences in exchange for shares, comments, or links.

If you want to work with these people – and you should – you need to figure out what you can offer them. This doesn’t have to be limited to Instagram, either.

Maybe your Instagram account is new, but you have a thriving Facebook community. Would they give you a shout out on Instagram if you link to them on Facebook? Or maybe they’d prefer five tweets?

The key here is compromise. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

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Time to dive into Instagram marketing

Those were 8 great tips – and way too many words – to make Instagram work better for your brand. Now it’s just time to put them to use.

If you only want the highlights, grab our checklist. It has all of these tips, without all those pesky words getting in the way.

Get it, print it, and share it far and wide:

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Posted 15 July 2019

Top 10 Benefits Of Instagram For Business

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With over 800 million monthly active users and over 500 million daily active users, Instagram has come a long way since it originated in 2010, and businesses are starting to take note.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, saw so much potential in the platform and the benefits of Instagram that he bought it out just 18 months after it launched for $1 billion, and the platform has continued to grow since.

Businesses have started to react more and more to this rapidly growing platform, and if you analyze the top 100 brands in the world, 90% of them have an Instagram account.

With so many brands and businesses on Instagram, you may be thinking, “There must be some incentive for them to consistently use Instagram, but is it really just to post some cool photos of their brand?”

Not quite.

As proven by some of the top brands in the world (as well as by some of the small to mid-sized businesses that DUBUB Marketing Agency works with!), there are several clear-cut methods to generate sales, leads and more via Instagram.

However, Instagram is still a relatively new platform (compared to other social media sites), and new app updates are rolling out all the time. So how do you stay updated and capitalize on all of the new features? What do all of the benefits of Instagram include and how do you tap into them? Whether you’re new to the platform or whether you’re looking to better your existing account, you may just be overall wondering where to start.

Well, not to worry. We’ve put together the top 10 benefits of Instagram for business and how to use them to your advantage.

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1. Over ⅓ of Instagram Users Have Used The App To Purchase A Product Online

We just have one word: sales. At the end of the day, sales are what most business owners are striving for, and it’s no different when it comes to the benefits of Instagram. Sales guide the bottom line, and trying to learn how to increase sales is probably the main reason you’re reading this blog! And we don’t blame you.

It’s important to know that what you’re investing in is worth it (aka is going to provide a return on your investment)! So how worth it is Instagram? Well, let’s take a look at some of the facts.

Over ⅓ of Instagram users have used Instagram to purchase a product online, making them 70% more likely to do so than non-Instagram users.

Now, let’s break this down a little bit. We mentioned earlier that there are 800 million monthly active users on Instagram, so ⅓ of them would mean at least 266,666,667 Instagram users have used Instagram to purchase a product online!

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Before diving into the other benefits of Instagram and its user base, we wanted to point out the sheer volume of potential customers that are just waiting to interact with your brand. These are not just followers; these are people who have a history of buying on the Instagram platform. Their next purchase on Instagram could be from your company!

In addition to this, 75% of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website, after looking at an Instagram advertising post.

Now, an Instagram advertising post (or an Instagram ad) is different than an organic post you’d publish on your Instagram account. An Instagram ad is a post that you sponsor with advertising dollars so that it reaches more people.

This statistic is saying 75% of Instagram users take an action on these ads, such as clicking the Shop Now or Contact Us buttons. Even if these people do not purchase on the first click, the action is still valuable because you can retarget them with Instagram ads from that point on until they do purchase!

2. Instagram’s Ad Platform Has Access To The Most Advanced Social Media Advertising Targeting Options Available

Now that we’ve established how many Instagram users there are and how likely they are to purchase, let’s talk about how to leverage this data to your advantage.

As stated previously, Instagram was bought out by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a few years back. Due to this, Instagram’s capabilities rapidly broadened to start matching Facebook’s capabilities. Facebook is known for having one of the most advanced social media advertising platforms. You can advertise to people by age, interests, behavior, and location on Facebook, which means you can now do the same on Instagram.

What this means for you, is that you can hone in on your specific target audience within the 266,666,667 Instagram users who are already likely to purchase.

In addition to the cold targeting options listed above, Instagram has the same extensive retargeting capabilities that Facebook does!

Here, cold targeting refers to people who have never seen or heard of your brand and business before. They’re cold and need to be “warmed up” in order to become a buyer and hopefully repeat buyer.

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Retargeting means targeting people again who have somehow already seen or heard of your brand and business.

The most common form of retargeting is targeting your website visitors who haven’t made a purchase yet (or filled out a contact us form, or completed whatever action you’re wanting them to take on your site). Instagram offers this and more!

You can create custom retargeting audiences based around Instagram post engagement, customer email lists, Instagram video views and more.

You’d be surprised to learn that other social media platforms that have been established for a lot longer, simply do not have some of the targeting capabilities that Instagram now has.

Having these options allows you to take your Instagram marketing strategy to the next level and implement a specific sales funnel with your Instagram ads to achieve more results.

3. Sales and Leads Are Trackable Through Instagram Ads So You Can See Clear ROI

This benefit of Instagram may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many companies invest into platforms without gauging the effectiveness of it!

Since Instagram uses the same Ads Manager platform as Facebook, it has all of the same tracking capabilities that Facebook has.

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You can see everything from link clicks, to leads to conversions, and you can see the cost per result on any campaign you run.

This means depending on what objective or goal you’re measuring, you can always see how many results you achieved and at what cost.

In addition to this, you can break down the results you receive to see who or where they came from (i.e. which gender, which age range, which region, which device etc.).

Having this knowledge allows you to understand where your money is going to best be invested.

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At DUBUB Marketing Agency, we always A/B split test ads and ad sets for our clients. A/B split testing means running a group of different ads at the same time to see which is going to perform the best. We also test these ads in different ad sets to see which target audience + ad combination is going to provide our clients the most results at the lowest cost per result.

Instagram’s analytics and tracking capabilities are what make A/B split testing efforts not only worth it, but highly effective.

Tracking metrics is one of the most important benefits of Instagram. It’s important to clearly see which ad and ad set is bringing in the most revenue, and business owners can see this with Instagram ads. 

4. Instagram Differentiates Personal Profiles from Business Profiles

Like Facebook, Instagram differentiates account by personal accounts and business accounts.

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If you turn your account into a business account, you will unlock a world of features to help promote your business. Some of these features include having a call to action button for your page visitors, the ability to promote your posts with ad dollars, and access to account insights.

It also gives Instagram users a clear understanding that the page they are on is owned by a business and is not just a personal Instagram page.

Making this adjustment allows you to set your account up for success to reap all of the benefits of Instagram.

5. Instagram’s User Base Allows You To Tap Into An Otherwise Unreached Customer Base

We mentioned earlier that there are 500 million Instagram users who are active on the platform at least once a day, and at least 266,666,667 of them are actively purchasing specifically via Instagram ads and profiles.

If your business is not present on Instagram, can you be sure that you’re reaching them?

200 million Instagrammers actively visit the profile of a business every day, but your company will not be one of them if you don’t have an Instagram account!

Think of Instagram as a hand or extension of your company. The more present you are on Instagram, the more present you will be to your potential customers on Instagram.

6. Build An Audience That Will Stay Connected With Your Brand

One of the beauties of Instagram is that it has all of the paid advertising capabilities of Facebook, but it has something in addition to this that Facebook does not have: organic functionality.

When we refer to organic functions, we mean actions you can perform or results you can achieve without having to directly pay for them in advertising dollars.

On Facebook, if you want to build the amount of fans (or followers) that your business page has, you have to pay for them with Facebook ads.

On Instagram, you can build your followers organically. This allows for a very natural relationship to occur between your brand and your followers from the start as opposed to forcing the connection with paid ads.

It’s like a grassroots movement that takes effect where the more followers you have, the more others start to follow you. That organic, word-of-mouth type follower growth is priceless, especially for newer businesses.

In addition to whatever efforts you put forth into building your followers, 50% of Instagrammers follow brands anyway!

This means that half of the 800 million people on the Instagram platform are specifically more likely to follow your brand just for being on Instagram.

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When a consumer follows your brand on Instagram, they are making the active decision to see your posts on their timeline moving forward. This shows strong, initial interest on their part, and you can continue to build the relationship from there!

7. Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Followers And Potential Customers

Another one of the benefits of Instagram being an organic platform is that you can see a lot of engagement on your posts without having to pay for it.

Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.

Additionally, Instagram users “like” 4.2 billion posts per day.

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With these kind of engagement rates, you can count on your ever-growing follower base to interact with your posts more and more, for free!

Whether they are liking the post or commenting on it, they are making the decision to interact with your post which shows interest in your brand.

Specifically within Instagram, once you like a post, it gets archived under your profile settings under “Posts You’ve Liked.” This means that Instagram users who like your company’s posts are simultaneously saving your posts to their bank of liked images that they can reference whenever they choose!

Businesses can capitalize on this opportunity to stimulate conversation and comment back directly with their followers. On Instagram, you can use the @ sign to tag users and reply directly back to someone who either liked the image or commented on the post.

The more transparent and responsive a brand is with their followers on Instagram, the more trust is built between that brand and its potential customers. The more trust a consumer has with a brand, the more likely they are to purchase from them over competitors.

8. Learn The Likes And Dislikes Of Your Customer Base

How much do you really know about your customer base? Sure, they might be between the ages of 25-54, but what is their sense of humor like? What are their pet peeves?

Whether you’re a startup who has everything to learn about exactly who your target market is or whether you’re a seasoned company that’s just new to Instagram, there’s always going to be room to learn more about your target market.

It’s important to remember that a target market is more than just an audience with statistical demographics and behaviors. A target market is comprised of real people, so your marketing efforts have to stay as fluid and flexible as they are to stay in front of them.

Having said that, Instagram is a great tool to learning the ever-changing likes and dislikes of your customer base and followers. You can see what kind of content they like best and are drawn to, and which they aren’t. You can see which accounts they like to follow and which they don’t.

This information will be crucial to know as you create content for your Instagram account, but it’s also valuable to know for your marketing strategy as a whole!

9. Instagram Is A Visual Platform

One of the main benefits of Instagram that separates it from all other social media platforms is that it’s photo-centric.

Unlike other social media sites, Instagram is comprised solely of photos and videos that can be accompanied with text, but text is not mandatory.

This is beneficial to you because most people remember more of what they see than what they read or hear!

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Additionally, videos tend to outperform images on social media when it comes to engagement and results, but both videos and images outperform social media posts without either.

This instantly gives Instagram the leg up on other social media platforms that don’t require one of the two to post!

Having a photo or video centric platform allows your followers to remember your brand betters, and it makes them more likely to engage with your content. Both of these factors bring your followers on Instagram one step closer to a purchase.

10. You Can Constantly Use Instagram To Fuel Your Other Marketing Efforts

One of the biggest benefits of Instagram is that you can take all of the information and data you gather from it and use it across all of your other marketing efforts.

All of the website traffic you send from Instagram can be retargeted on other platforms as well such as Facebook, Google etc.

You can even use your Instagram posts to promote other marketing efforts you have going on and vice versa!

Cross-promoting channels and marketing efforts allows you to extend the reach of that channel and encourage existing followers to keep track with your brand on other platforms. The more touch points your brand has with a consumer, the more likely they are to purchase from you over competitors!

Those are the top 10 benefits of Instagram for business! While building your Instagram can consist of a lot of hard work, the benefits of Instagram are worth the effort in the end! Interested in letting the exerts at our Instagram marketing company do the hard work so you can reap the rewards? Contact us today!