Wondering what advantages you’ll gain?
To explore Instagram business profiles, I interview Jenn Herman.
More About This Show
The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.
In this episode, I interview Jenn Herman, a social media consultant and Instagram marketing expert. Her blog, JennsTrends.com, has placed in our top 10 social media blogs three different times. She also wrote an ebook called The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Instagram.
Jenn explores Instagram analytics.
You’ll discover valuable Instagram business profile features.
Share your feedback, read the show notes, and get the links mentioned in this episode below.
You can also subscribe via iTunes, RSS, or Stitcher.
Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:
Instagram Business Profiles
The Instagram Algorithm
The Instagram algorithm came out last year and Jenn explains that for marketers, the algorithm is helpful. You can use it to get better reactions from, engagement with, and reach to your target audience.
Jenn stresses that the Instagram algorithm is more personal than the Facebook algorithm.
On Facebook, when something is really popular, Facebook is more likely to show that content to more people. However, the Instagram algorithm is based on personal use, not public use. Instagram users don’t necessarily see someone’s content just because others engage with it. That said, the Instagram content that each user engages with most does show up higher in his or her feed.
To make the Instagram algorithm work for your marketing efforts, Jenn recommends sharing the best content for your customers and followers. When you emphasize quality over quantity, your users are more likely to stop, engage, comment, like, and so on. As a result, your followers will constantly see your content higher in their Instagram feeds.
Also, Jenn says the Facebook and Instagram algorithms re-sort content differently.
Facebook constantly re-sorts content, whereas the Instagram algorithm doesn’t. Instead, on Instagram, the re-sorting is based on how often you post and how often a user logs into Instagram. For example, if a user logs on and then logs on three hours later, Instagram re-sorts only the content uploaded in the last three hours. The content that appeared during the user’s last login appears exactly as it did before.
For marketers, this approach to re-sorting means that your Instagram followers won’t miss your content if they scroll far enough through their feeds. For example, say someone follows Social Media Examiner and likes to engage with its Instagram posts. The user logs in after 24 hours and Social Media Examiner has posted three times. In this case, Jenn says the user will see Social Media Examiner’s three posts higher in his or her feed, but not necessarily back to back.
I ask what marketers can do to encourage fan activity and make their content seen first. Jenn says the key is having better content and (counter-intuitively) posting less content. When you post a lot, Jenn says it’s more difficult for that content to show up high in your followers’ Instagram feeds. People are more likely to skip your posts. However, gorgeous posts can create a strong connection with your followers and people are more likely to engage.
To increase the chances people see and engage with your Instagram posts, Jenn recommends posting your best content three times a week. Also, Jenn suggests adding calls to action. In a text overlay or caption, encourage people to leave a comment or tag friends in the post. The algorithm will see that engagement.
I ask Jenn how the algorithm applies to Instagram Stories versus the Instagram feed. Jenn says that at least for now, Instagram Stories doesn’t seem to be algorithm-based. Stories appear chronologically. In the list of stories, whoever posted most recently will be the furthest to the left.
Jenn adds that people tend to interact with the Instagram feed or stories, but not both. Therefore, you need to know where your audience is and create the right strategy around that content.
Listen to the show to hear Jenn’s tips for timing your Instagram posts.
Jenn says you can upgrade a personal Instagram profile to a business profile by linking your Instagram account to your Facebook business page. When you do that, Instagram pulls your Facebook business designation into your Instagram profile. For instance, if you’re on Facebook as a consultant or a store, that designation appears on Instagram, too.
With a business profile, your Instagram profile gains a Contact button. Jenn says the Contact button is the best reason to upgrade to a business profile because people can email or call you right from Instagram. Jenn knows multiple people who have gotten new clients solely because of that Contact button. When you convert to a business profile, you can also access Instagram analytics.
I ask Jenn whether converting to a business profile impacts how the algorithm handles your content. Does a business profile signal that you have money and can pay for advertising?
Jenn says that right now, a business profile has no impact on the algorithm. However, that can change anytime and Instagram will want advertising money to increase content visibility. In fact, Jenn says she’s noticed Instagram doing a Facebook-like thing, saying, “This post is performing 95% better than your other posts. Boost it now.”
At this point, Jenn believes the advantages you get from the analytics, the promotional capacity, and the Contact button highly outweigh any risk. Also, switching to a business profile doesn’t have to be permanent. You can try a business profile, see what it does for you, and switch back to a personal account if you don’t get good results.
To turn your personal Instagram into a business profile, open your account settings and select Switch to Business Profile. Instagram then guides you through a few steps, such as linking to a Facebook account and setting up your contact information. Jenn says the process is really easy. If you decide to switch back to a personal account, open your account settings and choose the option to switch back to a personal profile.
Listen to the show to learn how Facebook Business Manager is integrated into Instagram business profiles.
The Contact Button
When you set up the Contact button, you can choose email, phone, or both. Jenn connected her Contact button to her email address but says that for certain types of businesses, the phone option is great because a phone call is direct communication.
When people tap Call, the phone app opens and dials the number. Jenn says the phone option is perfect for restaurants (so people can call and make reservations), real-estate agents, retail locations, event planners, and more.
For example, say someone is on Instagram searching for a local restaurant. When she finds your business, she just needs to tap your photo, the Contact button on your profile, and then Call. Because the button makes calling for a reservation so easy, the conversion is amazing.
Jenn and I talk about how you might take customer calls while still keeping your phone number private. Jenn says you can use a Google Voice account that calls your phone and set up a special ringtone so you know when an Instagram customer is calling.
I ask how simply adding your phone number or anything else in your bio works compared to the Contact button. Jenn says adding plain text contact details to your profile is less user-friendly. Someone has to write down or remember your contact information and jump over to the phone or email app.
Listen to the show to find out how Instagram uses Facebook geotags to share your business location.
A personal Instagram profile has no access to analytics but a business profile has access to Insights, which is Instagram’s analytics feature. To open Insights, tap or click the little bar graph icon on your profile and you can see several metrics. Jenn notes that the metrics are all on a weekly basis. For example, you see how many impressions you had for the week and whether your impressions went up or down compared to the week before.
To analyze how many people see your posts, Jenn explains that you need to look at the metrics for Impressions and Reach. The Impressions metric is the total number of views, and Reach is how many people actually saw your post. So if a post has 1,500 impressions but a reach of 1,000 people, it means some people could have seen one post multiple times.
You can also see how many people looked at your Instagram profile. Jenn says most people who view your profile are either first-time visitors who want to find out more about you or people who click the link in your bio or your Contact button. When you know how many times someone views your profile, this metric can be very influential in terms of the calls to action you’re driving.
I ask Jenn what you should or shouldn’t do in your Instagram bio. Jenn says a strong bio tells people who you are and what you do. It’s a first impression, the 30-second elevator pitch that will convince a stranger to follow you on Instagram. Jenn recommends a bio that has personality, and you can make it quirky and fun (as long as it’s consistent with your branding).
To make the most of your 150-character bio, Jenn says emojis can help you save space. For example, in a call to action, you might write “Click the link” followed by a down arrow emoji, rather than “Click the link below.” In this case, the emoji saves four characters.
Instagram has emojis for iOS and Android; however, Jenn says you need to watch out for weird emoji conversions. For example, when an Android doesn’t recognize an iOS emoji, the emoji won’t show up on the Android device. Also, a certain smiley face on one device may be a grimace on another.
Jenn recommends avoiding hashtags because they’re not clickable in your bio.
In Instagram Insights, you can find out how many people clicked the link in your bio to visit your website. However, if you change the link after a few days, Jenn explains that Insights doesn’t tell you how many clicks were on one link versus the other. The Insights metric is just total clicks. To track clicks on different links, Jenn says you can use Bitly or another link tracker for each campaign.
Instagram Insights also tells you when your followers are most active on Instagram and shows you the numbers for each day. When you select See More, you can learn when followers are active on different days of the week and find breakdown demographics. Jenn explains that these analytics help you time your Instagram posts. For example, if your followers are active at 9 AM, you want to post at 7 AM.
Because the analytics in Instagram Insights go back only one week, Jenn recommends setting a time on your calendar each week for entering all of your analytics into a spreadsheet. Instagram Insights has only a small amount of data, so tracking it in a spreadsheet is manageable. After you track your numbers for a while, you can create bar graphs and pie charts and analyze trends.
If you want to use third-party tools to track your Instagram analytics, Jenn says Iconosquare is a good one, although it’s a paid platform. Squarelovin is a free tool that’s like Iconosquare. Agorapulse offers analytics too.
Listen to the show to hear Jenn discuss boost-post analytics in Insights versus Business Manager.
In Instagram Insights, you can see Instagram story analytics until the story expires. (Stories disappear after 24 hours.) To find Instagram story analytics, tap the bar graph icon at the top of your profile and scroll down until you see the Stories option. Tap See Older and you’ll see analytics for the stories you’ve done in the last 24 hours.
By default, you see Impressions. Tap on Impressions to select another metric. Your options are Replies, Reach, or Exits. (An exit is when someone leaves in the middle of your story.)
Jenn says you’ll lose people at various points throughout your stories, especially when it has 8 to 10 images or videos. She finds that even stories with 5 or 6 images or videos are questionable. However, if your content is really good and keeps people watching, that’s great. Jenn shares she has 13,000 followers and averages 200 to 300 views on her stories.
Jenn explains that you can’t rely on notifications for messages. If people are messaging you from stories and you’re not following those people, you won’t get a notification. After you run a story, Jenn recommends checking your messages because they’ll sit as pending requests.
Listen to the show to hear how we use Instagram Stories at Social Media Examiner and why I feel story analytics are worth the upgrade.
Instagram Tips and Tricks
Jenn says Mari Smith uses the expression “thumb-stopping” and Jenn likes it too. Because people scroll through Instagram really fast, you want awesome content that’s literally thumb-stopping. Casual content that’s just okay, blurry images, poor video, or low-contrast pics will not stop people from scrolling. Find content that resonates with your audience, stops them in the feed, and makes them pay attention.
To create thumb-stopping content, you might need to create awesome graphics. However, Jenn says a simple strategy can also help you share your best content. Don’t post just because it’s Thursday and you haven’t posted in three days. Instead, plan out your content and have photos on your device ready to upload.
In your caption, Jenn says the first three lines need to contain super-important information such as your best blog post title or your call to action. After those first three lines, followers need to tap “… more” to see the rest of your caption text. Jenn adds that there’s no way to know where the caption will be cut off. Sometimes Instagram cuts off the caption text after about 40 characters, and other times, 100 characters. There isn’t a specific number. Jenn says the caption is never cut off mid-word, so Instagram does decide on an appropriate place.
Jenn says Instagram also removes extra line spaces if you add them.
As far as post frequency is concerned, Jenn thinks less is more. She thinks posting three times a day is too much. But post frequency also depends on your business.
Jenn also shares tips for using Instagram’s new Album feature. You can upload up to 10 images or videos into an album. Videos are 60 seconds each, and although you could post 10 videos to create a 10-minute video, no more than a 5- or 6-minute video is better. Because albums are so new, Jenn recommends adding a text overlay on the first item that tells your audience to swipe or scroll to see the rest of your album.
Jenn has seen businesses and even museums use albums for a product launch or announcement. People can also use albums for live events, charity events, anything going on in the community, or whenever multiple posts can be associated with one thing.
Right now, you can’t boost an album (known as a multi-image post) or get any real analytics about how many people scrolled from one image or video to the next.
Listen to the show to learn the exception to Jenn’s “less is more” posting rule.
TouchRetouch is a cool tool for mobile picture-takers who want to edit things out of their photos such as a photo bomber or utility lines.
The TouchRetouch app is incredibly easy to use. After you open a photo in the app, you select a brush or selection tool and run your finger over the object or line you want to remove.
The tools create a mask over the undesirable image content, and the app analyzes what’s around the masked area and wipes it out. Although the analysis isn’t 100% perfect, the app does a pretty good job of removing what you mask.
TouchRetouch costs $1.99 and is available for iOS and Android.
Listen to the show to learn more and let us know how TouchRetouch works for you.
Listen to the show!
Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:
- Learn more about Jenn on her website.
- Email Jenn@JennsTrends.com.
- Follow @Jenns_Trends on Instagram and Twitter.
- Like Jenn’s Trends on Facebook.
- Read The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Instagram.
- Take a look at Social Media Examiner’s top 10 Social Media Blogs for 2014, 2015, and 2016.
- Learn more about the Instagram algorithm.
- Create an Instagram business profile.
- Explore emoji conversions.
- Take a look at Iconosquare, Squarelovin, and Agorapulse.
- Check out TouchRetouch.
- Watch our weekly Social Media Marketing Talk Show on Fridays at 10 AM Pacific on Crowdcast, or tune in on Facebook Live.
Ways to subscribe to the Social Media Marketing podcast:
- Click here to subscribe via iTunes.
- Click here to subscribe via RSS (non-iTunes feed).
- You can also subscribe via Stitcher.
What do you think? What are your thoughts on Instagram business profiles? Please leave your comments below.