What are the social media platforms your business is using? Facebook is probably in there because Facebook is the social platform every business uses. If you’re going for local rankings, Google My Business is probably in the mix, as well. And how about Instagram? The Facebook-owned social network has plenty of potentials to help you grow your business. If you know how to use it, that is. Every social network has its own list of do’s and Don’ts, and Instagram is no different. So, when you decide to develop your first Instagram strategy, here are five things you will need to figure out.

Let’s start with the Most Obvious – A Goal

You can, if you like, just start posting photos on your business’s Instagram profile. You might see some kinds of results, or you might see no results at all, but nothing is preventing you from diving in head first without a strategy.

But if you want to achieve results, you need to put in a more structured effort that’s built around a specific goal. You will not use the same strategy, or success-measuring metrics, to increase brand awareness, build customer loyalty, or drive sales. Each of these goals requires different approaches to content, different actions, and different metrics. So before you start doing anything else, make sure that you know what is it that you want to achieve.

A Stylish Brand Is a Brand with a Style Guide

In marketing and branding, consistency is very important. You brand your business so that you make it instantly recognizable. You want to make it stick inside your customers’ heads. Well, you can do the same with the content you post on Instagram.

And here’s how you do it. Make sure that the photos you post are all roughly of the same size. Next, try out all of the Instagram filters on your private profile or somewhere else away from your business’ profile. When you see two or three filters that you like, use those, and only those, on the photos you post. You should also pick consistent composition, color palette, and make sure that the captions if you’re using them, follow the same guidelines.

Hashtags, Because You Can’t Forget Them

There’s nothing that can help your content explode all over Instagram as a well-researched, well-used hashtag. You have three types of hashtags to choose from: industry-specific hashtags, trending hashtags, and company-specific hashtags.

As you can see, you can use different types of hashtags to target different segments of the audience. And, because Instagram tolerates a lot of hashtags in a single post, you can use all three kinds of hashtags all at once. Just keep the number of specific hashtags up to 10 per post, at most. If you’re not sure which hashtags to use, you can search for them manually, steal a couple from competitors, or use a research tool.

Knowing How Often to Post

Here’s the thing – there is no correlation between posting frequency and user engagement. You don’t have to post things on Instagram five times a day to keep your following entertained, engaged, and wanting for more.

But you will have to develop a posting schedule that takes frequency into account. Why? Because of consistency, of course. We said that consistency is important in marketing and branding, so here we are. Once a day, once every two days – just make sure that there’s some regularity to your posting.

Ads, and Maybe Influencers

Lastly, you should think about using money to grease the wheels of your Instagram strategy. To run ads on Instagram, you’ll need to create them through Facebook’s Ad Manager.

You can also try getting in touch with influencers, the people who have a sizeable following on Instagram. Influencer marketing is booming right now, and you can contact agencies to do your bidding and find influencers for you. Just be sure that the influencers you contract follow the rules and regulations of advertising on the social network. Otherwise, you might get yourself into trouble.