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9 Ways to Polish Your Instagram Account and Take Marketing to a Whole New Level Instagram provides an amazing opportunity to storytell in a fun, engaging way.

By Lesya Liu

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Natee Meepian | Shutterstock

Is your Instagram profile ready for the real business opportunities that come with introduction of business profiles?

Wondering how to polish and perfect the look of your page? How to maximize brand experience? These little often-overlooked details can differentiate a rock star Instagram account from an amateur.

1. The photo.

It seems like a no-brainer, yet marketers make this mistake all the time. Instagram profile image is extremely small on the phone, so please, make sure it's still legible.

The safest route is to stick with a brand logo. Some people use that space to put a low-res picture or text that is absolutely impossible to read. Same goes for Snapchat codes: it's hard to screenshot and scan it, so save those Snapchat codes for other networks that are more suitable for desktop.

2. Bio.

Because the character limit on Instagram is pretty small, you have to get to the point fast. Do not go in and start cramming in your company's vision or mission statement. Short sentences that get right to the point of what you are doing are the best. Another creative way to get the most out of that limit is to sporadically use obvious emojis instead of its obvious word replacement.

Related: A Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing

3. Link.

The link in your Instagram bio is the only -- I repeat: the only -- place where the link is live, except for paid ads. So, it is the only organic live link. Why would you waste it to send traffic to your homepage? Create a special landing page for Instagrammers.

You will:

  • Create a consistent brand experience on Instagram and your site;
  • Clearly call your visitors to action;
  • Create an additional way you can track that mischievous Instagram traffic that shows up as "Direct" in your Google Analytics.

I think you see why you're wasting time and effort with a generic homepage link.

4. Hashtags.

I see time after time that marketers simply do not check hashtag meaning, especially if they use some sort of acronyms. Please, check your hashtags before you post them.

Related: 7 Instagram Accounts That Inspire the Entrepreneurial Journey

I have to admit that I was the same way not so long ago. In short, I was using the make of a car model as a hashtag (there are quite a few brands who use two to three letters as a model name), until half a year later I checked what that hashtag was used for. It turned out to be used by some sort of a pre-teen girl fan club. Umm, not my target audience. My photos of cool cars looked very out of place in the mix of fan-created content with sexy vampires.

The other side of this advice is to have a good mix of high-performing hashtags. Do not just cram 30 irrelevant hashtags; but also don't include some really obscure hashtags that were used a total of 10 times. Research your industry and your target market to see what types of hashtags are used, and then occasionally mix them up with something cool and trendy.

For example, if you're trying to reach foodies, do not use hashtag dessert but instead try #dessertporn or #yum. Instead of #business, try and see what results you get by using #hustleisreal. Those are just examples – research what kind of lingo your target market uses.

5. Posting schedule.

It seems like marketers assume that no one is noticing their inconsistent posting schedule. Yes, it's more apparent on Facebook or Twitter, but it's still pretty noticeable on Instagram.

I understand that you might not find something to post every day, but post at least once every few days. Otherwise, just get off of the platform completely, because you're wasting your efforts.

There are about a million of photos uploaded to Instagram on a daily basis, so your content clearly gets lost in this flood. Plus, your account will start looking stale and leaving people confused on whether there is any value in following you on this platform.

6. Branding.

It's also not uncommon to see even bigger brands to have no coherent experience whatsoever. Here we have an image of the product, here we have a blurry "behind-the-scenes" image, and here we have an inspirational quote from a person who has nothing to do with a given industry.

I am going to guess that you have some sort of strategy for Facebook communications, Twitter presence… so what happened to Instagram? Why are you treating this super-hot network like an ugly stepchild? And then you are wondering why you're seeing no results from it either.

Related: 5 Must-Have Instagram Tools

Keep your messaging and branding as consistent as you would on any other network. Create a mini branding guide that clearly lays out colors, graphic fonts, caption mood, hashtags, and anything else you need.

7. Engagement: tags, comments, follows.

Most importantly, do not forget to engage. Social media is about being social. Respond to those comments you get, follow other cool handles, and tag any relevant handles. Demonstrate that you are an active part of Instagram community. Show that you enjoy conversations; this will encourage more conversations. If you're ignoring the comments, your followers and customers will eventually cease to comment and engage with your content.

8. Direct messages.

Direct. Do you get it? You can directly message your followers! Facebook, for example, doesn't have such option. So why not use it to your benefit? Use it sporadically, though, so you're not annoying your followers with every update. Yet, it is a great tool to leverage when you want to announce something big, like a new product line, a sale, or a company merger.

Think of it as getting into their inboxes. Your message will enjoy at least a few seconds of their full, undivided attention. It can't get much better than this.

9. Graphics.

We've all heard this advice at least a few hundred times: you can stand out in a text-saturated platform by using images. Think Twitter, for example. So why not use that same logic, but flip it around? Since Instagram is visually-saturated, use text to stand out. How do you that? By using graphics. Put text on your images. Again, keep in mind that it's relatively hard to read a lot of text on your phone screen. So, short message or an announcement is all you need to catch your audience's attention.

Instagram is pretty different from other, more "traditional" social networks. That doesn't, however, mean that you should take it less seriously. Instagram provides an amazing opportunity to storytell in a fun, engaging way. Do not waste a single opportunity to impress your existing and potential followers and customers.

Follow Entrepreneur on Instagram for inspirational visual stories.

Lesya Liu

Social Media Strategist at The Social Media Current

Lesya Liu helps entrepreneurs create a meaningful and profitable Instagram presence that feels right for their creative businesses. Born and raised in Ukraine, she is a social media strategist and a photographer. Her passion lies in combining art and marketing to create compelling storytelling, both visually and textually. Most days she roams the Interwebs, looking for fresh, inspirational ideas or testing things out on her own social channels.

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