Since its release in 2010 Instagram has grown into a great tool for businesses. No longer just about snaps of your morning bagel, Instagram can enhance your marketing presence in the public eye by tapping into wider audiences for next to no cost. Here are 5 top tips you should be considering when you are developing your Instagram strategy.

1. Keep it Consistent

Staying consistent doesn't mean every post is the same. It does means that your posts should feel like they all belong to one profile. You can achieve this with pre-designed templates and specific filters, as well as a set colour palette, preferably using your brand colours. Have specific hashtags that you have chosen to include for different scenarios. Use you brand guidelines to inform to include for different the style of your Instragam posts and, if you don't have any guidelines for posting on Instagram and other social media platforms, create them yourself. Decide what your key message is and stay on it!

2. Use your Bio

Introduce your Account well by including your name in the title section. Keep it concise but informative and where possible include relevant hashtags. Don’t get too carried away though! The bio is also the only place you can include a weblink so you may want to think about including your website link to direct users to your site.

3. Use Stories

Stories are great for highlighting specific moments as they happen, without cluttering up your feed. You can livestream, create polls and share existing posts within your stories in order to engage with followers. There are also a whole range of brushes, fonts and colours available for you to play around with so get creative and make yours stand out?

4. Upgrade to Business Account

If you haven’t already, enable your business account mode! You can do this easily in your settings menu. This will give you access to a whole host of tools including direct contact information on your profile, access to analytics using Insights and the easier creation of ads. You can also find new features like a direct link to your online store when you tag a number of your products in different posts.

5. Time it well

Keep it fresh, interesting and up to date. Work out when your key audience is going to be checking their Instas and make sure you are posting in those peak times. Posts have a life of around 4 hours so it is no good posting when the majority of your audience aren’t looking. Work out when you need to post and stick to it. Have a bank of general but relevant posts for when you don’t have a lot going on. It may feel forced at first, but soon it will become obvious when something would make a great post.

Some Insta-inspiration

play-doh!

It helps that Play-Doh is super fun, but their instagram feed is a great at using their product to engage their followers. This includes cute games and ‘how to’ instructions in short video format. Importantly these are easy to understand with the sound on or off!

Bird & Blend Tea Co.

Mixing their beautiful drinks and lifestyle shots, (including adorable pooches from their dog friendly stores) Bird and Blend  Tea Co. use the shopping tool to tag their products and give users pricing information and direct links to their online store.

boohoo

Boohoo uses Influencers and stunts, for example they have created a series of stories starring a group of reality show Love Island's ex-contestants. They gave live commentary of a recent episode whilst showing off their outfits in various locations to show off their products.

Vans

Also a clothing and lifestyle company, Vans use stories to show various lifestyle articles and videos which link to their brand. They use both influencers and everyday followers to promote their product in specific features.