As a business leader, you understand the importance of having a strong online presence. Even if you’re running a brick-and-mortar store where many of your transactions take place in person, you’re going to draw many of your customers by using online strategies. You need a mobile-friendly, minimalist website, a blog that draws readers to your business, and a strong social media presence. And one of the most important elements of social media is Instagram. This platform, which started as a way for friends to post pictures with cool filters on them, has become one of the most popular ways for businesses to reach out to their customers.

But having a great Instagram account, especially if you want to use it successfully as a business, isn’t just about posting the right pictures and using cool captions. There are lots of strategies for making your business Instagram account awesome--and here’s how.

1. Create an audience-friendly aesthetic

When it comes to being a successful Instagrammer, one of the most important aspects of having a great account is, of course, having great pictures. But it’s more than just taking pictures from cool angles of the merchandise you’re selling. When you’re creating an Instagram aesthetic, you have to think about what your audience wants. A great way to get started is by taking a look at what your competitors are doing, as well as surveying your current customers and checking out influencer accounts in your industry.

Considering that Instagram images get an average of 23 percent more engagement than their Facebook counterparts, it’ll make a huge difference once you understand your audience’s preference for fonts, colors, and types of images.

2. Make your account Instagram for Business

One of the smartest you can make as a business leader is to make your Instagram account one that’s officially for business. Once you have a Facebook page, you can connect it to your Instagram for Business account, and automatically start getting more views. 60 percent of Instagram users hear about a product or service through the app, so augmenting your visibility with the Instagram for Business account is key.

Additionally, you can define what type of business yours is, and provide information such as your website, email, and phone number so that your followers can get in touch and learn more about your business. And another great benefit? You’ll get free info about your followers with the Insights feature, such as average age, gender, and location.

3. Be smart with captions and hashtags

An image is worth a thousand words, but adding a few extra words with captions and hashtags doesn’t hurt. After all, using the right tone of voice--whether it’s informational or funny, depending on what you’re selling--will hook followers, too. So just like with choosing the right aesthetic for your pictures, you’ll choose the right voice by taking a look at what your competitors are doing, and who your audience is. For example, if the majority of your customers are Gen Zers, then you need to use an absurdist sense of humor and avoid sounding too much like an ad.

Additionally, use the right hashtags. The right combination includes using hashtags related directly to your business (for example, your business name and a special product you sell), trending industry hashtags, and hashtags that are popular or seasonal (for example, #christmasinjuly). There are 4.2 billion Instagram likes a day--and by using the right hashtags, your posts can be among these liked posts.

It’s also a smart idea to invest in tools so that you can collect more likes at a fast pace. For example, there’s SocialGoneViral, which will help you get more followers with their automated targeted marketing strategies.

4. Use Instagram stories

Finally, you want to use one of the most exciting new features on Instagram: Instagram stories. This feature was created two years ago as a reaction to the popularity of Snapchat, but it is now one of the best ways for a brand to make a name for themselves. Stories are a quick way for your customers to get a sense of what is trending and current within your brand. If you aren’t sure where to get started, don’t forget to check out what your competitors are doing to get inspired.

80 percent of Instagram users follow one or more brands, and this is a surefire way to get these followers following you!

These are some of the best strategies you can use to make your business’s Instagram account awesome. What other strategies do you use with your social media accounts to get new customers interested in your business?

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