With more than 900 million users in various parts of the globe, Instagram has become the first point of call for business owners that want to reach the right type of clients, increase engagement and improve sales.

However, to increase engagement, drive traffic and improve sales you need to have a good knowledge of the right Instagram features that can help you grow your account in 2018. Some of this features include the following:

# 1 Create an Instagram Business Profile: The first step to growing your Instagram account is by making a switch to an Instagram business profile. Recently, Instagram announced some changes to their API which offers a better advantage to people who make use of Instagram Business profile. Apart from the previous features like Instagram Insight that allows you track your impression, engagement, and reach using a mobile device, people with an Instagram business profile can now schedule a single photo post without the use of push notification.

This feature is of great importance because by scheduling your Instagram post ahead of time, you can focus on other aspects of your business and have your post go live at the scheduled time. Also, switching to a business profile allows you to run Instagram ads which are the most effective ways to build engagement and increase sales.

# 2 Use hashtag and location stickers to reach more Instagram users: Instagram keeps expanding its geo-tagging features. At present, it has become quite easy to grow an Instagram account using the location and hashtag stickers which are currently making a significant difference on businesses today. Some of the benefits of making use of the location and hashtag stickers are; for a business that has physical locations, you can encourage your followers to tag your business in their Instagram Stories, which will lead to more exposure and followers. For a business which has no physical location, this is an excellent way to build brand awareness and recognition.

“Instagrams discoverability feature sets it apart from competitors like Facebook and Snapchat. Hashtags and geolocation accessibility have allowed businesses, entrepreneurs and brand enthusiasts to find and engage directly with their audience. For example, a local fan shop here in Columbus, Ohio could look up the hashtag #Buckeyes and find thousands of potential customers interested in their products for free,” said Carson Jones, digital entrepreneur and Founder of Influencer Collabs.


So how do you engage with that audience to get them to follow you and potentially purchase your product?


“The first instinct of business owners or anyone trying to sell a product is to send links and start DM’ing people offers. Instead, you must become part of that community. Don’t start spamming everyone in that hashtag about your t-shirt deals. Instead, leave thoughtful comments like “Excited to see how the rest of the season goes! Go Bucks” or something along those lines! If you leave thoughtful comments, people are more inclined to visit your profile. If you are putting out great content on your wall/story, people will naturally see that you sell apparel and if the products are good… you might gain a new customer,” Jones explained.

#3 Use Instagram Stories Highlights to turn your Visitors into Followers: The best way to create a positive impression and entice people to follow your account is by optimizing your Instagram profile. However, you can also convince new visitors to follow your account by making use of Instagram Stories Highlights. Instagram stories highlights are creative ways to show off your product, express yourself, market your business and drive traffics.


#4 Optimize your content strategy using Instagram Analytics: Another way to grow your Instagram account is by understanding your audience and content performance, which can be done through tracking of your Instagram analytics. The new Instagram Insights API offers businesses a more convenient way to track analytics, improve content, and ultimately reach more users. By tracking your analytics, you will get a perfect understanding of what type of content performs the best and how to re-strategize to increase engagement.

#5 Use Instagram Live to grow your account: Instagram Live adds excellent value to your business because it can be used to reach new followers. One way of making effective use of Instagram Live to reach new followers is by ensuring that you get featured on the Explore page. The Explore page shows all love broadcast trending on Instagram. However, your chances of getting featured on this page is much higher if you already have large viewership with your broadcasts.

Finally, Instagram is the best platform for anyone who wants to increase engagement and improve sales. However, to grow your Instagram account in 2018, increase engagement, drive traffic and improve sales, all features listed above must be taken into consideration.

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