With over 800 million active monthly users, Instagram has huge potential for your business. However, with changing algorithms and fierce competition it is easy for your brand to get lost amongst a million others. It is also worth noting that Instagram isn’t necessarily the best platform for every brand. With the recent launch of a ‘shop’ functionality, businesses with a product to sell have benefited hugely from the ever-growing platform.


If you are selling a service, it may be harder to generate photo-based content that you can post on Instagram. Here at Add Then Multiply, we do not actually have an account, but thanks to connections within industry, we’ve been privy to insider tips on how best to use the tool, which we will share with you today. Our business is best suited to Twitter and LinkedIn, where written content prevails. So use these tips wisely, for a poorly curated account is often worse than none at all.


What kind of businesses should use Instagram?


Technically, any. As discussed above, those that have a product to sell often perform best. Instagram is all about photography, so written content or service-based industries tend not to work as well unless you have a dedicated social media coordinator who documents the events you hold, the projects you are working on, or the services you offer. If you have a wealth of photography to use, then go right ahead.


It is important to consider whether your brand has the capacity to post interesting content on a near-daily basis. If you want inspiration for a service-based brand that uses Instagram well, follow Vaynermedia. With fun features on members of staff, documentation of events and digestible graphic quotes, they use the platform well.


Key tips


Keep abreast of the algorithms that dictate your brand’s visibility. Instagram constantly changes the coding behind their platform, which means that businesses need to keep ahead of the curve. A recent change has meant that likes aren’t worth as much as they used to be. Instead, a value is placed on comments or sharing, and if a brand hasn’t hit a certain level of engagement in the first 24 hours, their post will drastically reduce in its visibility in the feeds of its followers. This has meant brands have had to think about what kinds of posts will generate the most comments and continue posting images that encourage conversation.


There will no doubt be another change coming soon, so be sure to keep on top of your reporting and if a sudden dip in engagement occurs, do some digging. Instagram is very elusive about their algorithm changes, so it pays to speak to as many businesses you can if you notice anything is amiss. Videos are great to feature because engagement is also measured by a user hovering over the image for a few seconds, so the longer you can keep your viewer looking at your content, the better.


Instagram stories are also hugely important. Brands can now embed links into their stories which users can directly access by scrolling up. Because stories only last for 24 hours, they can feel quite exclusive. Post a sneak peek of a product you’ve been working on, an event you’ve been to. Generate interest and consider where on your website you want the story to lead to. If you sell a product, send the user directly to the listings page. If you have a service, consider leading the user to the contact us page. The most important thing is to mix it up, so users don’t get bored.


Post regularly. The top brands post an average of 4.9 times per week, so ensure you have someone dedicated to maintaining your account.


Test, test, test! Try out different timings and post on different days. Lifestyle content might work best for your brand (inspirational quotes, travel guides, events), or products might be the winner. Experiment with photography. Due to Instagram’s blogger culture, intimate, street style photos often win out over highly stylised content.


Experiment and be brave. Your Instagram customer may be different to your LinkedIn follower, so it’s important to get to know what works where, and not create a one-size-fits-all approach to social media.


Facts and figures sourced from Instagram statistics


See you next week!