Instagram is continually-evolving to become more and more dynamic. Long gone are the days of simply sharing (single) photos. Now it’s single photos, multi-photo posts, videos, Instagram Live, Instagram Stories and Highlights.
There are, of course, still personal Instagram accounts, but the advent of business Instagram accounts gives you features like Instagram analytics for your individual posts as well as your profile overall, plus other features like the ability to add clickable buttons to your profile, including Email, Call and Directions.
You can save Instagram posts in Collections, archive posts you no longer want on your profile, and even bookmark posts for future reference or use.
And who can forget hashtags?!
You can include up to 30 hashtags in 1 post, but be sure to research your hashtags before using them.
In fact, you can now even follow hashtags that are relevant to your business or interests, and when you do so, posts that include that hashtag will show up as you scroll through your feed.
When you start adding up all these features, it’s pretty clear that developing a strong Instagram strategy for your small business is much more involved than it used to be.
How to Rock your Instagram Business Profile & Highlights
A few months ago when I decided to put more time into Instagram for our business, I “met” the fabulous woman behind NicteCreativeDesign. If you are active on Instagram, I strongly recommend you check her out. Even if her business isn’t directly relevant for your business, you need to consider following her if for no other reason than inspiration for your own account.
Full disclosure: she owns a branding and visual communication company, so her level of color and design skills, and creativity are far and away above what most of us can deliver.
Nicte has a bubbly, effervescent personality that pairs perfectly with her dynamic, bold and beautiful posts. She kicks butt at engaging with others, too.
For the purposes of this post, I want to focus solely on her posts and her Highlights.
4 Reasons Why NicteCreativeDesign’s Instagram Posts are Awesome
- Her images are visually stunning. This girl *knows* how to “stop the scroll”
- She knows her brand’s color palette and sticks to it
- She finds her brand colors “out in the wild” for those real life, personal posts
- She understands how to do an Instagram grid correctly
An Important Note on the Instagram Grid
An Instagram Grid is when you take a larger image (or plan for a larger image) that is “broken up” into 3, 6 or 9 segments. Visually, it packs a punch when viewing your Instagram profile because Instagram organizes your posts into 3 columns. However… and this is a big “however”…what I see far more times than not is that the individual photos that make up the grid, don’t make sense on their own. And the majority of views you’ll get on your Instagram posts come from their exposure in the feed (vs. profile visits), where the photos are seen individually. The same is true if someone finds a post of yours by searching a hashtag; it’s a single photo they’d see vs. viewing it as part of a grid.
This is why Nicte rocks the grid; each photo that’s part of one of her grids can stand on its own. Here are a few examples from a larger grid. Notice how you see the majority of the typewriter in 1 photo, but the edges of the typewriter carry over into the other 2 photos? Also notice how each of these 3 photos has its own message and can stand on its own. So, even without viewing all of the grid photos together in the grid format, each photo works and makes sense as an individual post.
Using Instagram Highlights to your (Business) Advantage
To properly explain and understand how to strategically use Instagram Highlights, you first need to know a bit about Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories are a running, 24-hour, chronological “story” of your day. To add a new image or video to your Story, tap on the blue and white plus sign located at the bottom right corner of your Profile photo.
With Instagram Stories, you post images or videos to your Story as you go about your day. Each photo or video will disappear after 24 hours of being added. If you’ve previously used Snapchat, this feature will feel very familiar to you. You can also find Stories on Facebook Profiles.
Now to explain how your Instagram Stories can become your Highlights.
Highlights give you a way to put all that hard work put in to build your Story, to strategic, long-term use. Your Highlights are prominently displayed on your Instagram Profile, and you can give each Highlight a name. You can add a Story (or Stories) to your Highlights to keep it featured on your Instagram Profile for as long as you want.
For example, you may develop Stories that explain services you provide or an event you held, or as an About You or About Your Team.
While you can have more than four Highlights, four are what will show when someone views your Instagram profile and doesn’t actively scroll for more.
Note: If you’ve had some awesome Stories in the past that would make for an awesome Highlight, don’t worry! Your Stories are saved in an archive within your Instagram account. When you tap on the Story Highlights button on your Profile, you’ll be able to access those archived Stories for use.
Nicte rocks her Highlights because she has strategic Highlights designed to focus visitors on things like tips and her blog. Plus the cover image of each Highlight corresponds with her overall aesthetic, brand and design style.
Nicte is an incredible example of an Instagram Profile Done Right, and whether it’s her or someone else like her, spending some time tapping through to others’ Instagram Business Profiles may be the perfect inspiration and idea source for you and your small business.