Instagram is a powerful, and thriving social network, featuring more than 700 million monthly users, according to some statistics. While many loan officers and mortgage brokers assume that they should launch their social presence on Facebook, there is a host of benefits to getting active on Instagram too, for instance:
- 36% of marketers use Instagram, compared to 93% on Facebook – that means less competition.
- 62% of Instagram users follow at least one brand.
- 70% of Instagram users report searching for a brand on the platform.
- Brands on Instagram enjoy engagement with 4% of their audience, compared with less than 0.1% for Facebook or Twitter.
Instagram provides companies on social media with a new opportunity to overcome the clutter of the online space and start speaking to their audiences on a different level. For loan officers and mortgage brokers, this could mean that you have a new, and cost-effective method of expanding brand reach.
Of course, before you can begin making the most out of Instagram for business, you need to know how to create your own Instagram business account.
How to Make a Business Instagram: Designing Your Profile
Before you start exploring the concept of building an Instagram business account for your organisation, make sure you know how the platform can serve your company. For instance, are you going to be using the same strategic efforts you’ve already integrated into Facebook and Twitter, or are you going to use Instagram to serve a different goal?
Switching to an Instagram business account gives you an opportunity to add more information to your profile, including businesses addresses, opening hours, and phone numbers. You can also access paid advertising strategies too. Here’s how to make a business Instagram:
- Step 1: download and launch your Instagram app. This is available for Windows, Android, and iOS. After your download has finished, open the program.
- Step 2: Click on “Sign up” then enter your phone number or email address to register. You can also sign in with Facebook if you’re considering looking at how to link Instagram to Facebook at a later stage.
- Step 3: Visit your profile and click on the cogwheel settings icon in the right-hand top corner of the screen. You can then click on “Switch to business profile”.
- Step 4: When you arrive at the connect page, simply tap “continue” until you reach the “connect to Facebook” page.
- Step 5: Select your business Facebook page, and link it through to your Instagram profile. Remember that you can only link Facebook business pages, not personal pages.
- Step 6: Fill out the rest of your profile information and start posting and measuring your metrics with analytics.
Instagram for Business: Completing Your Bio
Filling out your profile is probably one of the most complicated parts of creating an Instagram business account. The decisions you make when you first begin to create your profile will stay with you for the rest of your time on the social media platform, so make sure that you don’t underestimate the importance of each choice.
Your Instagram handle is one of the first things you’ll need to select. That’s the username that follows the @ sign whenever someone tags you on Instagram. In most cases, you should make sure that your handle matches your handle on other social accounts. Unlike Facebook profiles which can be quite in depth, the rest of the information on an Instagram profile is often quite basic.
The only other information that will appear on your public profile is a short URL and a couple of words about what your company does. You can use that space to explain what people should expect from your Instagram profile, and include any hashtags you want followers to use. The link you include in your bio will depend on your overall strategy for social media success. For instance, you might choose to use a company homepage, landing page, or even a tracked link that will allow you to measure the performance of a campaign.
Remember, the “bio title” of your page is different from your handle. Instagram refers to this term as the “Instagram name”, and it’s what shows up in the bio portion of your profile. Your Instagram title shows up on Instagram search results, so it’s important to make sure that it indicates what your company does.
Most people use the title on their Instagram for business profile to showcase their company name. However, if your handle is also your business name, then you might decide to be a little more creative.
Choosing a Photo for Your Instagram Business Account
Instagram is all about the images. As a mortgage broker or loan officer, it’s up to you to show the visual and human side of your business through the profile photo you choose. Remember, over 40 billion photos have been shared on Instagram so far, and around 80 million new images are uploaded each day. If you want to stand out, then you need a solid strategy for your user photo.
Choosing the perfect Instagram profile image can be a complex experience. Though most people assume that they should automatically use their company logo – this isn’t always the best option. While it’s helpful to have your picture match your other profile photos on other social media accounts, it doesn’t have to be the same. Showing your visual style could be a great way to engage your audience.
Some people prefer to use human pictures, such as an image of the team, or the founder for the business, over the background of the company logo – to help bring a more human element to their social media presence. After all, people do prefer to follow “people” instead of brands.
Whatever decision you make for your profile photo, remember that this image on your Instagram business account will be cropped into the shape of a circle on the app, so you’ll need to choose an image that won’t lose any importance when its edges are cut off.
Additionally, though the app image will only be 110 pixels in diameter, it’s worth choosing a picture that’s a lot larger overall, as the shot will appear larger when people are connecting with your profile over the web.
How to Make a Business Instagram: Embracing the Strategy
Getting signed up and set-up on Instagram is just the first step in your new visually-focused marketing campaign. If you really want your mortgage broker or loan officer brand to be successful on Instagram, then you’ll also need to launch your profile alongside a scalable strategy for long-term success.
Ultimately, as mentioned above, Instagram is all about the visuals. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you create content that delivers visual value to your audience, or any potential customers that might be coming your way. Look for ways that you can inform, inspire, and entertain, rather than simply promoting the services you offer.
For instance, you could post images and videos for up to one minute about what you do within your company or generate a behind-the-scenes look at your brand. We’ll offer additional ideas at the end of this article, but in the meantime, remember that everything you do on Instagram should link back to the rest of your strategy for online presence. Accompany every image with a great caption or selection of hashtags to help expand your reach.
Choosing Your Hashtags on Instagram
When it comes to building your Instagram business account, it’s important not to overlook the importance of using the right hashtags. “Hashtags” are a valuable way to help other users find the content that you want to draw the most attention to on your social media channels. Just like on Twitter, and even on Facebook, your hashtags are an instant way to access more reach for your branded posts.
When you’re trying to grow your company, make sure you use the right selection of hashtags, including both “general” terms, and phrases that are directly linked to your company. Often, when people want to find a new company on Instagram or learn something about a specific topic, they’ll search for a hashtag instead of a company name. With that in mind, it’s making sure that #’mortgagebroker or #loanofficer appears somewhere in your bio, as well as in your posts.
Of course, just like on Twitter, it’s important to make sure that you don’t go overboard with your hashtag addition. Too many words in one post and you could end up scaring your customers off, because you appear to be more focused on marketing than you are on delivering quality.
While Instagram allows for a maximum of 30 hashtags in any single post or comment, using that full amount would probably be too excessive. Ideally, some statistics say that the perfect number is ten, but the fewer you can use while still generating a response, the better.
Creating Relationships with Your Instagram for Business Account
Ultimately, the purpose of an Instagram business account is to improve the relationships you have with your existing customers and generate new interest from people who have yet to discover your brand. Since mortgage brokers and loan officers already operate in the incredibly visual real estate industry, Instagram can be the perfect fit when it comes to inspiring engagement. What’s more, you can even learn how to link Instagram to Facebook if you want to take an omnichannel approach.
There are plenty of great ways that you can interact with users on Instagram, including:
- “Mentioning”: Just like on Twitter, Instagram allows you to use the @ symbol to mention other people in your post captions. When you type this symbol followed by the first few letters in a person’s username, Instagram will automatically give you a list of users to choose from. Mentioning is a great way to link your business with real estate partners in your area and give the brands you work with a quick shout-out.
- Commenting: Another great way to interact with your Instagram users is to simply comment on the photos that they share. After all, you want to show your clients that you care about them, and this means using social media as part of a two-way conversation, rather than just a foundation for advertising. When clients share images of themselves happy in their new homes, make sure that you leave a comment thanking them for working with you to achieve their goals!
- Liking: Liking is a simpler way to connect with users when you might not have time to leave a personalized comment on every picture. If people in your network share an image that’s relevant to your company, but they haven’t worked with you directly, then you could always offer a “like” to non-intrusively remind them of your presence.
- “Tagging”: Finally, just like you can tag users in your photos on Twitter and Facebook, you can also do the same thing with videos or image that you post on your Instagram business account. To use this feature, simply tap on the photo where you’d like to add a tag. This is a great way to link out to real-estate agents and other brokers you might work with to close bigger deals. Remember that you can also tag locations on Instagram too, to help show your customers where you prefer to work.
Making the Most of your Business Instagram
Just like any social media strategy, using Instagram for business can be an incredible way to build your brand reach and connect with new customers or partners. Of course, it can be difficult to find the inspiration you need to get started if you’ve never used social media before. Here are a few quick suggestions for loan officers and mortgage brokers to use at the beginning of their Instagram campaigns:
- Show off your Services: Share pictures of happy families getting the keys to their new home, or your team working with people to help them find the perfect mortgage product for their needs. The more you show potential clients how happy your customers can be with you, the more likely they are to trust you when they need someone to help with their own real-estate queries.
- Go behind the scenes: Take videos and pictures that show your team working hard to make a client’s dreams come true. This is a great way to remind your clients of the human beings that exist behind your company, and it can make it easier for you to develop relationships with the people you’d like to work with in the future.
- Ask customers to get involved: Make sure that you share your branded hashtags and Instagram handle as often as possible so that your clients can get involved and contribute to the content on your page. For instance, you could always ask your customers whether they mind you sharing a picture of them after they’ve got their mortgage approval, or whether they’d share images themselves and tag you in them!
- Collaborate: Instagram for business isn’t just a great way to build on the relationships you have with your customers – it can also improve your connections with partnered companies and real estate agents too! This could even help you to find new people to work with when your business begins to grow.
- Use Instagram to launch exclusive deals: Finally, remember that Instagram can always be a great place to share exclusive deals and offers when you need help selling your services. Include coupon codes on your pictures or information about your latest deals and packages.
Ultimately, there’s no one-size fits all solution to designing the perfect Instagram business account. However, with the information in this guide, you should have everything you need to get started building an identity on the visual side of social media.