In the age of social media marketing, Instagram has become a popular choice for some businesses in pursuit of marketing their products to millions of users. The social networking service was launched in October 2010 as a photo and sharing platform.  It has a since grown into a colossal with over 1 billion active users per month.

In July 2016 the rapidly growing platform started enabling users to convert their accounts into business profiles to benefit brands who wanted to get in-depth insights into their followers and grow business. On a mission to encourage businesses to leverage the platform Instagram claims to be, “the place where visual expression from businesses inspires visible action from people around the world.” In comparison to other social media networks, it’s proving that visual content has the power to attract and sway an audience.

People love good stories that connect with them on an emotional level and Instagram enables businesses to document those stories to prospects. Here is a closer look at how brands can find success using Instagram to tell their stories.

Knowing your target audience

Unlike personal accounts, where users can only connect with their friends and family without a detailed strategy, businesses must know their target audience. Just like any other marketing strategy, companies must conduct research about people who are likely to buy into their brand.

In the process of defining and learning about your target audience, you will be able to determine what kind of content will have a significant impact.

Active user and maintaining consistency

Once you have identified your target audience and decided that Instagram will be part of your digital marketing strategy, it is time to start publishing content. For people to understand and learn what your business is about, you need to maintain consistency when posting content.

Your content can be educating, entertaining and informing, but the trick is to establish the right number of posts that will go out over a specific period of time and publishing times. The good news is that, there are social media publishing tools that can be leveraged to create a content calendar that keeps publishing schedules on track.

High quality and appealing content

With 80% of accounts following one business on Instagram, it goes without saying that the competition to be the best is fierce. Posting high quality and appealing content will make your business stand out from the crowd and drive real business results in the long term.

The purpose of being on Instagram is to connect with your followers. Creative and quality content will spark a desire to engage. This ultimately enables your business to understand them and have meaningful interactions which are mutually beneficial.

Making use of the correct hashtags

Across different social media platforms, hashtags make it easier for users to discover content from accounts they may not be following. On Instagram, hashtags also increase your content visibility and makes it easily discoverable for people searching under the same hashtag. Businesses can use hashtags to caption posts.

Trends on social media are often evolving and this requires businesses to be constantly learning and trying out new ideas. To see which hashtags are relevant and can increase engagement, you have to see what your competitors and influential people in your specific industry are doing.

Monitoring insights and analytics

By leveraging Instagram insights tool, business profiles on Instagram can have access to follower insights and content performance. Here, there is an opportunity to see which posts and stories are performing in terms of audience engagement.

According to a blog post from Later, you need to invest time in understanding your Instagram analytics in order to turn the data into actionable business decisions. The knowledge gained from metrics paves way for future success as it becomes a part of formulating a solid content strategy.

Leveraging paid advertising

For businesses in pursuit of intensifying their marketing efforts, Instagram has a great advertising platform that allows companies to drive awareness around their products with a highly engaged audience. The ads can be in the form of photos, stories, videos and carousel ads (which combine photos and videos).

Instagram’s powerful tools are empowering marketers to zero in on the desired target audience by using targeting options such as location, interests, lookalike audiences and demographics.

Final thoughts

As Instagram continues to gain popularity, businesses have a chance to leverage the platform to grow their online presence. It is a user-friendly platform that can be easily understood over a period of time as you get familiar with it. The good news is that Instagram is also offering free online courses about the guidance of using the platform.

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