When it comes to growing your business, Instagram may not be the first platform you think of using. Those who are unfamiliar with the platform often find it confusing and less intuitive. However, the photo-based platform is one of the fastest growing social media options available today. Younger audiences choose this site over Facebook or Twitter time and again.

So how can you use Instagram to grow your business, reach your target, increase audience engagement and establish your company's voice?

This platform is actually built to do all of those things for those who understand how to use it to truly engage with their audience. Let’s look at what this tool can do, how best to use it, and what your audience will expect to see from you on this growing platform.

What Makes Instagram Unique

This platform has actually set itself apart in such a way that some of the other social media sites have adopted some of its features. For example, Instagram uses “stories” as one of its most popular features, and sites like Facebook have adopted this to keep up.

One of the first things you’ll need to know is that links aren’t clickable here. This turns a lot of users off, especially those who want to use Instagram for business. Understand that this has become part of the culture on this social media site and is one of the things that sets it apart–and that still, major companies are successfully using this social media site to connect with their audience, so there are ways around it.

Insta (as it is commonly called in shorthand) is a photo-based platform. The photos are a unique square shape. You can also post videos, though photos are the most popular type of content here. For the most part, short videos are used in the “Stories” section. While some users will watch stories and look at posts in their feed, many will only do one or the other. Taking advantage of both of these sections will get you the greatest reach and is the best way to use Instagram to grow your business.

Because users expect mostly photos and very brief videos, your audience may have an even shorter attention span here than on other social media. This means that brand consistency is even more important here than on other sites. You need your followers to see a post from you and immediately recognize that it’s your company’s work.

How To Successfully Use Instagram To Grow Your Business

Now that we’ve gone over what makes this social media site stand apart and some of the obstacles you can face when using this platform, let’s look at how to successfully overcome them and connect with your true audience.

Be Authentic With Your Posts

If your posts seem generic, no one will care what you have to say. This is becoming more true every year, and is especially true with the short attention span of users on this platform. For your audience to care what you have to say, you need to find a way to connect your company’s story with your audience.

Post about interesting topics. Post with information on what’s happening behind the scenes of your business, offering an exclusive look at how things get done.

Comment on other people’s photos, and always reply as soon as possible when people reply to those comments or comment on your posts. The businesses that are most successful here will be doing the best audience engagement, and that means talking to your followers.

Create A Smart Bio

You only have 150 characters. What do people need to know about your account and your business straight away? What type of content do you post about? Try to write your bio in the same voice you use for all of your posts so you are staying true to your brand.

Use Your One Link Wisely

You only have one clickable link. It’s located in your bio and is set as “The URL” when you’re editing your page.

So where do you link to? This is a big deal if you’re looking to use Instagram to grow your business.

Your first option is to link to your home page. It may be a better option to link to a landing page that has your capture form for your newsletter sign up or a lead magnet.

More and more, it’s becoming normal to use a service that allows you to link to a page with multiple links on it. As users are seeing this more commonly, it’s become an acceptable option. You can use a site like Linktree, Shorby, or Lnk.Bio to accomplish this. Then, if you want to mention something your audience should check out in one of your posts or stories, you can say “Check the link in my bio for more information”, and add a link to the new content on your Link page.

Brand Consistency Is Key

You need your posts to be recognizable as yours instantaneously. Choose your colors for your brand and choose a filter for your photos. Every photo should have a similar aesthetic through the filter, color choices, and even the framing of the photos.

You want your individual posts to be recognizable as they pop into people’s feeds. You also want to consider the look of your feed overall. When people load your profile, the feed should look pleasing and consistent.

Target Your Audience

You always want to be considering your target audience when you create content anyway. Make sure your style is in alignment with who your audience is. Does this content appeal to them?

You can also use hashtags to target the right people. When you’re ready, create a hashtag for your business. Don’t just use your company’s name. Try to be creative with this. If you can, incorporate your slogan. Use hashtags on your posts and use one to three in your Instagram bio.