How do you engage with a brand these days? Is it through their website? Through in-person experiences?  For most people, their preferred engagement is through social media channels, the most popular of which is Instagram.

With the rise of businesses using Instagram to increase their appeal to a new audience, having  an Instagram Business account is a critical need. Originally used for friends and family to share stories through pictures, businesses soon caught on to the popularity of the social channel and began using it to promote their businesses and products. Fast forward to 2019, and Instagram has more than 1 billion users monthly, 25 million of which are business profiles. And it’s estimated that 600 million people use the platform to discover new products.

Or in some cases, engage with beloved, established brands, like Oreos. With more than 1.6 million users, the brand uses Instagram to invoke nostalgia for your favorite childhood cookie with recipes, photos, and more.

Consumers–particularly Millennial consumers, who make up the bulk of Instagram users–increasingly seek out companies that share their values, and Instagram serves as another connection point for brands to engage. Tito’s Vodka, for example, uses its Instagram account to connect with the pet lovers in their consumer base, and promote pets in need of homes–as well as their vodka, of course.

If you’re new to the Instagram game, or a veteran still trying to keep up with fast-changing trends, have no fear! Here are the top five best practices for optimizing your Instagram account:

  1. Create an Instagram Business account. First things first, you need to make sure your Instagram account is set to a business account. And bonus, it’s not hard to do.  (Within the app, find settings, then scroll down to “Switch to Business Account.” Once you have a business account, you can add in pertinent business information like store hours, your business address or a phone number.)1 With a Business account you can get real-time metrics on how your stories and promoted posts perform throughout the day, insights into your followers and how they interact with your posts and stories, and more that will help you be more successful using Instagram for your business.
  2. Give your audience an experience. Instagram was created to give users a way to convey a message through visuals. So do just that! Meller, an international sunglasses brand, highlights the importance of effectively engaging with potential customers online using engaging visual content. It brought them a 13% increase of conversion rate just by integrating this shared experience into their e-commerce store.2 Think about your branding and the messages you convey on any other social channels you use–everything should be cohesive.
  3. Use #hashtags. Branded hashtags improve your company’s discoverability while also helping consumers connect over shared interests and values.3 Creating hashtags for your company will help your audience find posts that circle back to your business. When using hashtags, try to use at least two or three that can appeal to a wider audience, because #visibility #discoverability and potential #newcustomers are what we want #right?
  4. Collaborate. Gone are the days where consumers  turn to Google to look up reviews about a certain brand or product. Today there are  influencers–people who get paid to review or sponsor brands or products. If you collaborate with an influencer, your brand is more likely to be discovered, and have the appeal needed to entice your audience.
  5. Use Software. Managing an  Instagram Business account will be a lot different than a personal account. The content and campaigns that you create will need to be strategically posted during your specific audiences peak use time. Using an automation software can help you schedule future posts, know the best times to post (like between 10 am and 3 pm, according to one source), and give insight into key analytics that you will want to track.

With these tips, you’ll be a business savvy Instagram user in no time. But one last thing you should do–add your Instagram Business account to your RangeMe profile! Suppliers aren’t the only ones using Instagram–retailers are as well. Retailers look to Instagram to discover the newest brands and trendiest products for their stores. By ensuring your Instagram account is on your RangeMe profile, you are leveraging  another channel to potentially connect and showcase your products to retailers.

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