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Level up your (business) Instagram game

By Kaziah Howard

Whether you are running a brick-and-mortar business, an e-commerce empire, or launching your first startup, there’s an audience for your business on Instagram. The platform places your brand in your clients’ hands – via their phone – wherever they go. And, as the platform continues to roll out new business-focused features, there’s no better time to revamp or launch your brand’s Instagram account. 

While Instagram involves many moving parts (you might be wondering, what is a regram anyway? Why doesn’t anyone like my stuff?), attracting followers is easier than ever – if you are strategic. Here are six ways to level up your business’ Instagram game.

Kaziah Howard is a social media strategist and creative director for SmartMarketing Communications.

1. Know your audience. You might have the most aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed in the world, but if you’re not reaching your target market, what’s the point? Use a listening tool to discover key insights from consumers about your brand, and leverage these insights to curate your content. 

2. Publish goal-driven content. Managing a social media account takes thought and dedication. So ask yourself: why are you investing in your business’ Instagram account in the first place? Are you trying to build brand awareness? Do you need a way to direct traffic to your website? Once you have your reason, build your brand’s online narrative around that reason. 

3. Use relevant hashtags. Hashtags are more than just an extension of your caption – it’s a way to organize content that makes it easier for others to find. Hashtags range from generic trends (#throwback) and location markers (#blufftonsc) to niche, brand-specific tags (#localbizmagazine). It’s generally best to use a combination of both, but don’t overdo it. A few relevant hashtags are far better than many irrelevant ones. The current “magic number” is typically cited to be around 9-15, depending on the industry. 

4. Talk with them, not at them. Having an Instagram account is not an excuse to spam your followers with nothing but sales content. You’ve worked hard to build your following, and engaging your audience will make them want to stick around. Take on a conversational tone in the captions, reply to comments, and interact using quizzes, chat boxes, and reaction bars in Stories. Contests are also a win-win: your feed gets more engagement, and when executed well, your follower count increases. 

5. Know when to boost. More and more often, boosting posts has become the best way to grab attention on Instagram. While it is easier to get attention organically on Instagram versus Facebook, boosting posts and creating ads ensures that you’ll pop up in the right users’ feeds. 

6. Add calls to action. A follower reads your caption, likes your post – but then what? Adding a call to action (CTA) tells the viewer what to do next. The primary purpose is to create a post that both compels and motivates the reader to take action. You can direct them to your website “link in bio,” offer a promo code, tag partners, and more. However, a common pitfall is not tailoring your CTA wording to current Instagram algorithms. Stay on top of this information to ensure your post gets maximum engagement.

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