Instagram has twice as many visitors now than in 2015 at a whopping 800 million users per month so businesses can no longer ignore it as part of a social media strategy.

But just how can businesses get the best out of Instagram to influence potential customers?

First, you need to be aware that IG is about influencing not selling so it’s best used to build brand reputation and awareness.

Secondly, of all the social media platforms it is probably the one where high-quality images will determine how successful your business will be in influencing people. It is, therefore, essential to build a stock of unique images. They don’t have to be images of your products – in fact it is often better not to post product images. The typical Instagram user will be more attracted to aspirational lifestyle images, which is how many big brands have built their following.

You can read a detailed guide to using Instagram for business here or check out our quick overview of the crucial steps to success for a business on Instagram below:

Set Up a Dedicated Business Account

When building your business reputation on Instagram always use a dedicated business account – never a personal one. Your IG name and account handle can both be up to 30 characters long so choose them carefully.

Use The Power of Great Images

Aspirational lifestyle images influence potential customers and help a business gain the trust of followers so professional images are a must. Make them unique and never use stock photos that people might see elsewhere.

Yet while the images will attract people’s attention they also provide an opportunity to say something about your business with overlaid text. These types of images are becoming more and more popular across all social media platforms and tend to achieve higher rates of interaction than just photos.

It is a relatively simple job to add text to an image with the use of tools such as Canva, which enable you to set up templates so your style is consistent. You can also use branding such as logos and brand colours to reinforce your business brand, without the hard sell, of course.

But, a word of warning, some individuals and businesses have used excessive text or images that are only text and no visuals. You are looking for a fine balance of attracting attention with visuals but also getting your message across so try different formats until you find the one that works best for your business.

Remember To Add a Link

You can add a link to your main business website in the IG Bio, which is where people will look for it if they want to find out more. Make sure your link is wrapped in a clear call-to-action and also include hashtags as part of the bio.

Make Good Use of Captions

To get your business message across but avoid having your caption truncated use between 70 and 125 characters. Where you can, include tags and mention other accounts so people know you have posted something new, and so will their followers.