Boasting over 700 million monthly users and with less competition than Facebook and Twitter, Instagram offers a great opportunity for businesses to reach new customers.

In this article we’ll give you some ideas for how you can use Instagram to promote your business and build engagement and interest in your brand.

Get creative

Instagram is all about showing off what your business does in a creative way. Lifestyle images, behind the scene shots and company culture are all examples of ways that you can showcase what your business does in a creative way. Instagram is a visual platform so your images need to have real impact, be professional and stand out.

Theme your content

Even if you have the best images in the world, if you don’t create relevant content themes you may find that you struggle to gain new followers. Creating content themes helps to give your account a defined structure and makes it easy for users to understand what you do. If your posts are cohesive and all work around a central theme it will help users understand your business and your offerings.

Be consistent

Where possible try to stick to the same visual style for all of your posts. Using lots of different filters and frequently changing the type of photos you post may seem like a good idea but won’t help your business create a consistent brand image. Over 60 percent of the top brands on Instagram use the same filter for every post – if it’s not broken don’t try and fix it.

Focus on your profile

With only 150 characters your profile needs to be laser targeted and get across the right message. This is what users will see and is your one chance to entice them. Stick to a single USP or why not change up your profile to promote your latest offer. Also don’t forget that the only link will be in your Bio section so update this frequently to reflect your latest offer, promotion or event.

Make sure you create a business profile and not just a standard user profile as this will open up some additional tools such as analytics data and the ability to add business opening hours and a phone number.

Boost reach with hashtags

If you’re looking to build up a following and get your posts seen by more people then you need to be using hashtags in your posts. While you are allowed to use up to 30 hashtags in your posts for best results its best to limit your usage to between 3 and 5 hashtags. Mix in branded hashtags as well as broader reach popular hashtags to help more people see them.

Popular ways to add hashtags include at the end of your post, in a comment or worked into the post. Experiment and see what works best for you and don’t be afraid to change it up and try new things as well as different hashtags.

Offer exclusivity

Everyone likes to feel like a VIP and by giving followers an exclusive look at new products, upcoming events or new services you can give them a reason to come back for more. Engaging and keeping your audience interested is an essential part of any marketing campaign so make sure you reward loyal fans by giving them a reason to continue to follow you.

Teaser photos, preview videos and early access to offers will all help to make sure that your Instagram followers stay engaged with your brand.