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Instagram - for business or pleasure?

by Sarah Broadfield

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 24 May 2022

Whether it’s posting dinner time pics, finding the best filters for summertime snaps, or creating hilarious reels for the world to see - there’s a high chance that Instagram features have their uses in your personal life. 

But what about your business? Since there are over 200 million active Instagram users worldwide, it seems like a bit of a goldmine area to sell your products and services as well as create awareness of your brand.

Currently, around 86% of top brands have Instagram accounts, with 73% of those posting at least one photo or video per week (OurSocialTimes) - so it’s safe to say that since Facebook (Meta) bought out the channel back in 2012, business use has been growing exponentially. 

So, if you’re not already capitalising on the snap-happy platform, how do you get involved - and what features are best to boost your metrics?

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#1 Carousel posts 🎠

Carousel posts combine multiple photos or videos into one post, allowing your audience to swipe through the content at their own leisure - much like when you upload multiple pictures on your personal profile. 

Instagram carousels are one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to engaging and maintaining an audience, topping the charts of organic posts with a 1.92% engagement rate, compared to 1.74 for images and 1.45% for video! 

Storytelling has undoubtedly become an essential part of the social media strategy of brands and organisations - grabbing audience attention, evoking emotions and conveying vital information all in one post. Structuring your carousels so that they have a beginning, middle and end will help ensure your audience is getting the complete picture and isn’t left hanging.

Carousels are the perfect way to mix things up and spark your audience’s interest when there’s a whole host of brands, organisations and influencers flooding feeds and vying for attention. Whether you’re showcasing fabulous transformations with before and after shots, comparing products or services, or sharing simple how-to videos - a picture (or video) can paint a thousand words.

With Orlo, you can now create and schedule Instagram carousels straight from the platform too! Making it even easier to get that content out there, and measure the performance of your other channels. 

 

#2 Instagram Reels 🎞️

Inspired by TikTok, Instagram Reels use short-form video content to connect an audience with a variety of different video trends. Instagram uses a complex algorithm based on personal data and viewing habits to serve each individual with an endless feed of video content.

Reels receive 22% more engagement than regular Instagram video posts, but it can be hard to predict what will hit the mark. With reels restricted to a maximum of 90 seconds in length, there are often trending sounds and filters that you can jump on as a business to get your content in front of a larger audience.

We’ve learned in the past from Facebook, that around 85% of users watch videos on mute (InfluencerMarketingHub) - just think of all the times you’re sitting in public scrolling through videos! Top tip… make sure you add subtitles to your Reels too, to make them super accessible for those watching without sound! 

Be careful what you post though - you’re representing company values after all! 

 

#3 Single organic posts 🌱

A single organic post is what you’re more than likely used to seeing on your personal Instagram feed. They appear in either video or photo format and include captions to entice the audience to follow a CTA, and with over 2 billion monthly active users on the platform (Statista), there’s a huge potential audience to connect and share these with.  

You’ve probably seen Instagram posts littered with huge amounts of hashtags in your personal feed, and there’s a reason for this - posts with at least one hashtag have a wider reach for people outside your follower network, and get 29% more interactions! (CompareCamp) It’s hard to put a rule behind how many hashtags you should be using on your posts, so experiment with different numbers, and record your engagement and post reach to find out what works for your business.

Instagram doesn’t allow links to be placed in content or captions, so you’ll have to place it in your profile ‘bio’ or as a pinned comment to get your audience away from your social post, and into your website!

Single posts are perfect to keep your brand at the forefront of customer or citizen minds. Regular posts with great topics will work to drive engagement, awareness and brand reputation. 

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#4 Instagram Ads 💷 

If you have the budget available and you want to advertise your brand, products or services outside your existing customer base, you could join 38% of marketers that employ Instagram ads as part of their strategy, and harness the power of the platform with the potential of reaching up to 849.3 million users through bespoke campaigns (StartupBonsai). If you’re familiar with the workings of Facebook Ads, this should be second nature. If you aren’t, then it’s as simple as selecting your desired target audience from the parameters available through Facebook Ads Manager and setting your maximum budget spend. 

Here are a few of our favourites ad types:

- Image and Video Ads

The most basic of all the Instagram Ads. Image ads enable businesses and organisations to advertise using a single image and CTA, with the option to overlay text too. Video ads follow the same format and can be up to 60 minutes in length (although you might lose audience attention if you’re pushing the boundaries on that one).

- Stories Ads

Stories ads are image or video ads that appear full screen in the Stories section of the platform. Appearing between Stories, these ads will give you the opportunity to immerse your audience, and blend in with other Stories using GIFs, stickers and trending filters.

- Carousel Ads 

Following the same format as Instagram Carousels, these ads allow you to showcase multiple products or services, or tell a story with your advertising. These can be set to appear in stories or feeds, and include a CTA to drive new customers to your desired link..

There’s more to discover too, with other types of ads including…

  • Reels Ads
  • Explore Ads
  • Shopping Ads  
  • Collections Ads
  • IGTV Ads

 

Wrap it up 🌯

So, do we think Instagram is for business or pleasure? As much as we hate to be those people that choose the third option in a 2-choice question, our answer is both

Instagram is a fantastic social outlet for connecting and keeping up to date with friends, family and your favourite influencers, sure - but it’s also a great place to reach new and existing audiences, drive digital engagement, and generate new leads for your business. 

Whether you’re in the B2C or B2B game, at Orlo, we give Instagram our stamp of approval and recommend it to any business social media mix. It’s also one of the top priority channels on the Orlo platform and with the recent addition of the Instagram Carousel functionality, it’s the perfect place to launch or build your business reach!

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Sarah Broadfield

Sarah is Orlo’s Customer Success Manager for Transport and Hospitality. She has 7 years experience in the world of social media, previously working in both B2B and B2C businesses. Sarah has worked on various award-winning campaigns and social strategies throughout her time in the industry and is now passionate about ensuring customers are also achieving their social media goals and how Orlo can support them on that journey.

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