Looking for some Instagram for business tips that help you save time, grow your following, and make sales?

We’ve got you covered with quick and easy ways to make your Instagram strategy work harder for you and your business — without adding anything to your to-do list!

Here’s our top Instagram for business tips so you can plan, manage, and post without stress:

Instagram for Business Tips #1: Post When Your Audience is Most Active

Do you feel stuck in a rut of posting at the same time every day? Or maybe you just post “when it feels right” and there’s no rhyme or reason to when you hit share on a post.

You could be missing out on some serious engagement — simply because you haven’t figured out your best time to post on Instagram yet!

Every Instagram account has a unique audience, with followers located in different time zones, so it’s important to find your personalized best time to post on Instagram.

Scheduling your Instagram posts for optimized times is proven to help you reach more followers and get more engagement on your posts — so you need to find those key posting times for your profile!

As a starting guide to the best times to post on Instagram in 2020, we analyzed 12 million Instagram posts, posted in multiple time zones around the world from accounts ranging from 100 to 1 million+ followers.

And here’s what we found!

Here’s a quick snapshot of the best times to post on Instagram, EST time zone:

  • Monday: 6am, 10am, and 10pm EST

  • Tuesday: 2am, 4am, and 9am EST

  • Wednesday: 7am, 8am and 11pm EST

  • Thursday: 9am, 12pm, and 7pm EST

  • Friday: 5am, 1pm, and 3pm EST

  • Saturday: 11am, 7pm, and 8pm EST

  • Sunday: 7am, 8am, and 4pm EST

But the analysis doesn’t stop there. While these are the best times to post on average, here at Later, we’ve found that if you want to get more engagement, it’s best to find your personalized best times to post based on your unique audience.

Timeliness has always been an important factor in the Instagram algorithm, but ever since Instagram updated the algorithm in early 2018, when you post to Instagram is more important than ever!

Think of it this way: Since Instagram is now prioritizing “new” content on people’s feeds, your best shot at getting your content in front of your followers is by posting when most of them are actively scrolling the app.

As a result, if you want to beat the Instagram algorithm in 2020, you need to optimize your posting time for when the majority of your followers are online.

Want to learn more about finding your best time to post on Instagram? Check out this quick video guide:

If you want to skip the experiments and get right to the good data, an Instagram marketing platform like Later can do the work for you!

Later’s Best Time to Post feature automatically calculates your 7 top posting times based on your best performing posts from the recent month:

Since every Instagram account is different, we wanted to create a feature that would give you your personalized best posting times — and that’s exactly what Best Time to Post does!

Instagram for Business Tips #2: Use Instagram Stories Templates to Maintain Your Aesthetic

As Instagram Stories continue to grow in popularity, brands are taking them as seriously as their regular Instagram posts by creating highly designed stories that stop people from swiping past!

That “tap-to-hold-worthy” content can take a lot of design time, as well as, some flare for conceptualizing what you want your stories to look like.

But what if we told you there was a quick fix? Step up, Instagram Stories templates!

You’ve probably already spotted brands and influencers on Instagram seamlessly using Instagram Stories templates as part of their strategy.

Generally, Instagram Stories templates are pre-made layouts with graphics, text, or animations that you can edit to fit each new story.

By using the same (or similar) templates for your Instagram Stories, you can create cohesive, on-brand stories that align with your business as a whole. Plus, it makes it easier to work as a team on your Instagram account!

And the best news? Instagram Stories templates are quick and easy to create and use for your brand — no graphic design experience necessary!

Here’s a few of our favorite apps for creating Instagram Stories templates for your brand:

  1. StoryLuxe

  2. Over

  3. Canva

  4. Unfold

  5. Mojo

But it doesn’t stop there — there tons of great apps to try out. And once you find the perfect fit for our brand, there’s no stopping you from increasing your stories scheduling and posting!

If your Instagram Stories design and style doesn’t match the aesthetic of your profile page, you’re missing the chance to introduce your brand to new audiences, build brand recognition, and leave a lasting first impression.

So if you want people to stop, notice, and remember your stories and your brand, using Instagram Stories templates is the perfect strategy!

ICYMI: You can also schedule your Instagram Stories with Later!

Whether you’re a huge announcement coming up or want to get into a strong publishing routine, scheduling your Instagram Stories can seriously level-up your strategy!

Instagram for Business Tips #3: Use the Best Hashtags for Your Content

Instagram has gone through a lot of changes since its initial release in 2010. But through it all, one thing has remained consistent: the importance of Instagram hashtags.

Using relevant, targeted hashtags on your posts and stories is still one of the best ways to get discovered by new audiences on Instagram. And this can translate into more engagement, more followers, and more customers for your business.

A post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag. So it really is worth creating a hashtag strategy for your brand if you want to grow your account!

Like on Twitter and other social media platforms, Instagram hashtags work by organizing and categorizing photo and video content.

If you have a public Instagram account and add a hashtag to a post, that post will be visible on the corresponding hashtag page (it’s basically a directory of all the photos and videos that were tagged with that hashtag).

Since hashtags are used with an intent to discover content, the right hashtags can put you in front of your target audience, even if they haven’t connected with you before.

For example, a food blogger might post a picture of a gorgeous smoothie bowl, and then use the hashtags #superfoods, #cleaneating, and #vegansofig when it’s uploaded to Instagram.

But where do you find relevant hashtags?

The best way is to look and see what Instagram hashtags your audience, competitors, and industry leaders are already using.

We’ve noticed that the more niche the topic, the more conversations users are having around it, so it pays off to really hone-in on a topic or theme. And you’d be surprised by how niche hashtags can get!

For example, let’s say you’re posting a photo of a French Bulldog. Instead of just tagging #dogstagram (over 85 million posts), you could also tag #frenchie (over 19 million posts) and #squishyfacecrew (over 3 million posts).

But if you really want to reach a more targeted audience of people who really love French Bulldogs, try out #yourdailyfrenchies (66K posts), #frenchie_mob (30K posts) or #frenchie_feature (55K posts). Including these hashtags with smaller numbers is the best way to get a lot of targeted engagement on your posts!

Want to hone in on your hashtags? Here are 3 ways to find niche hashtags:

#1: Use Later’s Hashtag Suggestions Feature

If you need some help finding niche and industry-specific hashtags then you may want to check out Later’s Hashtag Suggestions feature.

Hashtag Suggestions works by automatically finding relevant hashtags for your posts based on other hashtags that you use.

For example, let’s say you’re posting a photo of a beautiful bedroom to promote your business that sells linens. All you have to do is know one relevant hashtag (like #livesimply), put it into Hashtag Suggestions, hit “Suggest,” and the feature will immediately generate 30 other hashtags, sorted by relevance.

You can then pick and choose which of these hashtags to add you to your post. All you have to do is click “Insert Hashtags” and they’ll be added to the end of your caption.

You can then pick and choose which of these hashtags to add you to your post. All you have to do is click “Insert Hashtags” and they’ll be added to the end of your caption.

#2: Research Your Audience

There’s nothing random about hashtags — so slotting in some token hashtags at the end of your Instagram post caption isn’t going to grow your audience.

Instead, find out what hashtags your audience is using and see which ones fit the content that you’re publishing.

Your hashtags should be relevant and contain keywords that your audience is actually searching for.

#3: Research Your Competitors

It’s always smart to find out what hashtags your competitors are using. By doing so, you can determine which hashtags provide the most engagement.

While it may not be your intention to compete on those hashtags, you could still end up figuring out what your potential customers are talking about and which hashtags they’re using. And maybe you’ll discover new hashtags to add to your repertoire!

Instagram for Business Tips #4: Share Carousel Posts to Educate

Instagram carousel posts are one of the most versatile tools you can use to achieve your business goals.

With a good creative strategy, you can boost engagement levels, increase brand loyalty, and even drive product sales!

But a trend we’ve spotted amongst brands and influencers alike is using carousel posts to educate audiences.

Whether that’s on a new product’s features and functionality, or on important cultural matters and movements, carousel posts are the best way to share a lot of information in one post!

Take for example Create & Cultivate. In support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, the brand used its platform to showcase Black creators, business owners, and inspirational voices on their Instagram platform.

Combining their caption with a 7-image carousel, the result is a jam-packed post full of resources and information for their audience. Information that could otherwise be overlooked if it was just in the caption!

On the product side of things, carousels open up the opportunity to jump into the details about your products or share information to encourage a sale.

Take skincare brand @supergoop — they cleverly use carousels to showcase how to use their products, targeting the “on the fence” shopper with encouraging and educational messaging!

You can now schedule Instagram carousel posts with Later! It’s available on all paid plans, starting at $9/month.

Instagram for Business Tips #5: Repurpose Lives to IGTV, Stories & Grid Videos

Going live on Instagram is one of the best ways to connect with your followers in a direct, transparent, and authentic way.

Unlike pre-recorded Instagram Stories or IGTV videos, Instagram Live is a totally unedited stream for your followers to tune into and engage with — which can be a great way of showcasing the more human side of your business for your audience to connect with.

But that shouldn’t mean that your Live disappears once it’s over — there are ways to repurpose your Live content across your Instagram profile!

#1: Share Instagram Live Videos on IGTV

Ever wish you could share your Instagram Live to IGTV? Now you can!

Since social distancing began, Instagram Live has seen a 70% increase in use. And given this surge in live streaming, Instagram announced several new features for Instagram Live, including a new button that allows you to upload your Instagram Lives directly to IGTV when you’re done.

When you select this option, you’ll be able to choose or add a cover image for your IGTV video, add a title, and craft your caption.

The new feature also makes it super easy to start building out your IGTV channel! With Instagram continuing to roll out new IGTV features (and rumor of monetization opportunities), there’s no better time to shift focus back to your IGTV strategy.

#2: Share Instagram Live Videos to Your Grid

There’s a couple of ways to get your Instagram Live video to your grid, so there’s no excuse for not repurposing that content!

Firstly, if you decide to share an Instagram Live to your IGTV, you also have the option to share a 1-minute preview of that video on your grid!

So with just one click, you can share a snippet of your Instagram Live-cum-IGTV video with your audience on your feed! Check out how Bri Saintt (@eargardn) did just that!

But you can also take it a step further and edit your Live video before it goes on the grid!

Now it’s possible to download your Live videos to your camera roll, and use video editing apps like InShot or Magisto to cut your footage to an interesting soundbite!

Just remember that Instagram videos in your feed can only be 60-seconds long, so hone-in and choose our favorite snippet to share!

#3: Share Instagram Live Videos to Instagram Stories

Just like posting to your grid, you can also repurpose your Live footage for your Instagram Stories!

Using video editing apps, you can trim your content to Instagram Stories 15-second clips (or up to 1-minute that Instagram will automatically trim for you into 15-second slides!).

Maybe you shared some really stellar tips in your Instagram Live that you want to post to stories, or there’s an important announcement that should be kept in your Instagram Stories highlights?

Reuse your Instagram Live footage and you’ll quickly have more content to post on Instagram!

Sharing your Instagram Live footage across your Instagram profile is a great way to get more eyes on your content and reach new audiences.

Rather than investing in content that will live on your profile for one day, you can extend the life of your broadcast and continue driving audiences to your video.

Get More From Instagram Tip 6: Use Analytics to Learn More About Your Audience and Content

Monitoring your Instagram analytics is more than just finding out which photo, video, or Instagram Stories post performed best.

Truly understanding how your content performs – by tracking key Instagram metrics over time – is the key to developing a content strategy that works for your business.

For example, if you’re running an Instagram account for an online e-commerce store, you may want to investigate how different product photos perform against each other. You might have some product photos on a white background, some on a dark background, and others out in nature or the city.

By using engagement data such as likes, comments, or clicks, you’ll be able to tell which type of product shots perform best so you know what you should be posting more of.

Whatever category your Instagram account falls into, delving into your Instagram analytics allows you to understand your audience’s wants, improve your content, and ultimately drive more traffic and sales!

If you’re looking for a quicker way to analyze your audience engagement and content performance, you may want to check out Later’s new Instagram Analytics.

Not only can you track how your posts perform over time (across several metrics, like comments, likes, and engagement rate), but you can also get Instagram Stories analytics.

Unlike the Instagram app, which only gives you 2 weeks of data, you can track up to 3 months’ worth of Instagram Stories using Later.

If you’re on a free Later plan, you’ll have access to a basic analytics dashboard with a highlight of the top 5 best performing posts out of your last 30 posts.

If you are on a Later paid plan, you’ll have access to Later’s advanced Instagram Analytics!

Through the Later dashboard, you’ll find a comprehensive overview of how your posts are performing, with metrics like comments, likes, impressions, saves, reach, and more.

The free version of Later Analytics available to anyone with a Later account, while the paid version is available on all Later paid plans, starting at $9/month.

Get More From Instagram Tip 7: Schedule a Week’s Worth of Content in One Go

Scheduling Instagram posts and stories in advance is one of the best ways to get more time back in your schedule, so you can invest more time in engaging with your community, or planning your next campaign strategy.

With Later’s planning and scheduling tools, you can prep a whole week’s worth of posts and stories in one go — rather than having to come up with a new content plan every single day.

Don’t think it’s possible? We have a whole blog post on how to schedule a week’s worth of content in 20 minutes!

Here’s a couple of handy features that help speed up the process:

#1: Find and Repost User-Generated Content (UGC) Collection with Later

User-generated content has a big pay off for brands and business, with some impressive benefits, like building a stronger community and sharing genuine customer reviews with your audience.

But building a successful UGC strategy is hard work. Whether you’re sourcing photos and videos from your branded hashtag or running a short-term UGC campaign, finding the right content for your brand can be seriously time-consuming. That’s where Later’s UGC tools and features can help!

Instead of having to search for UGC, Later automatically pulls in all the content you’ve been mentioned or tagged in into an easy-to-use dashboard.

From here you can quickly choose what content you want to add to your Media Library to use later — all in one seamless workflow!

#2: Gather Content From Instagram Partners, Influencers and Contributors

If you’re working with partners (like influencers, brand ambassadors, agencies, or photographers), you can add them as contributors and make sure their content is delivered straight to your Later account.

You can then approve or deny the content, and the approved media is added to your library. No need to hop between apps or uploads—the content is right there for you and ready to share.

Collaborate with Contributors is available on all Later Business plans.

#3: Schedule to Multiple Platforms at Once

One of the main advantages of using a social media scheduler (like Later) is that you can prep and plan content for multiple social channels, all from the same calendar.

With Later, you can prepare photos and videos for your Instagram feed, Instagram Stories, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter — and thanks to Later’s in-app photo editor, you can quickly crop your posts so they’re the perfect aspect ratio for each publishing channel.

This is a huge time-saver for busy social media managers, as you can publish the same post to multiple platforms from one place — saving a TON of time and effort.

Don’t forget you can use Later’s Calendar Notes feature to reserve slots in your content planner for a specific theme — even if you don’t have a full post ready to schedule yet. This will help you to focus on what’s coming up, and what content you still need to collect!

Whether you’re looking to level-up your Instagram strategy or kick off a brand new profile for your business, there are tons of easy ways to get more from your efforts. Without having to put in extra hours!

Hopefully, you’ve found these tips useful and you can start actioning them in your Instagram plans!

With Later you can plan, schedule and post to Instagram, and get access to all the added perks of our Business plans like Instagram analytics, Best Time to Post, and hashtag suggestions!

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