How to get the most out of your Instagram posts for business

Launched on October 6, 2010, Instagram has quickly grown to become one of the most popular apps in the world. The Facebook-owned app allows users to upload photos or videos to the platform. Instagram for business has provided an opportunity for businesses to reach customers through curated content. If you are reading this blog post, it's probably because you want to get more out of your Instagram posts for business. Here are a handful of tips that will help you increase brand awareness and sales:

Quality images and videos: Post the highest quality images and videos you're capable of posting. Your image or video needs to focus on the best aspects of your product or service while providing value to your followers. One such account that does a great job on highlighting its strengths and focusing on what its customers want to see is @nikebasketball.

Nothing but Nike basketball athletes and products.

Nothing but Nike basketball athletes and products.

Everything about this account is focused on Nike's basketball apparel, basketball equipment, and sponsored athletes. It's a very targeted, zeroed-in account with high-quality images and videos. While you may not have resources Nike does to have top-level photographers provide images, you can still post the best images and videos you're capable of posting with the resources you have available. If you don't the resources to have an in-house photographer or videographer, one thing you can do is hire a professional photographer for one photo shoot a month where you can get enough photos for one month of posting. Outsourcing is an option you should always consider if you don't already have a photographer who is part of your creative team.

Captions with personality: Stay true to your brand's image and culture when writing captions. Brands who stay true to their personality include Chipotle, Shake Shack, and Starbucks. Work on maintaining a consistent personality and identity. Consistency will help you develop a reliable relationship with your followers. Think about your well-known brands and their behavior. Consider the following scenarios:

  1. Lebron not sounding as inspiring or motivational which goes against the #striveforgreatness hashtag he uses in most posts.

  2. Harvard University switching their caption language to old English saying things like, "How may we help thee further thy education?".

Anytime a recognizable brand posts something out of character, everyone is thrown off balance because it is not what they were counting on. The same thing happens when you write captions that aren't consistent with your brand image or objectives. Consistency is key to success on Instagram. Give your followers something they can count on and regularly expect.

Engagement: One of the great things about Instagram for business accounts is how easy it is to engagement and interact with your followers and other accounts. There are several things you can do to engage with your followers and attract new customers.

  • Liking: By far one of the easiest ways to engage, liking posts allows you to gain a little more exposure and interact with followers and non-followers.

  • Commenting: In the Instagram algorithm, a comment carries significant weight compared to a "like" because it takes more time and effort. Do you want more attention per comment? Leave actual sentences on the posts of followers such as and avoid leaving single emojis:

    • "Love this photo! You definitely rock those kicks!"

    • "Thanks for stopping by today!"

    • Oh no! Spilled drinks are the worst"

    • "Wish we could be enjoying that sunset too!"

  • Hashtag follows: Follow relevant hashtags or hashtags that you use (visit this link if you don't know how to use the Instagram Hashtag Follow feature). If you're a small, family-owned ice cream business located in Denver, CO, follow and engage with posts that use the hashtags #icecream, #Denver, #Colorado. It'll help locals in your area find out about you and you can also stay on top what's going on in the area around you.

  • DMs: Did a follower just post a flattering pic of one of your products? Shoot them a Direct Message to thank them for posting such a great pic! DMs are an underrated method to increasing customer loyalty and improving communication with your followers.

Each of these methods of engagement take time but will result in greater brand awareness which leads to more sales.

Now that you're aware of how to get the most out of your Instagram account for business, get to work! Always remember that consistency is key and that results will come when you put in the time and effort by following the simple tips listed above.