Instagram has become one of the biggest tools in a business owner's social media arsenal when it comes to engaging customers and driving sales. After being purchased by Facebook in 2012, the app has continued to grow and eventually became the fastest growing social media platform, surpassing Facebook itself. Recently, they’ve given users the ability to create profiles for their businesses making it possible to track analytics and create ads within the app. Whether your goal is to gain followers or boost sales, here are six tips to ensure your business is making the most of Instagram.
1. Take Full Advantage of Your Business Profile
To upgrade your Instagram account to business class all you need to do is link it with your brand’s Facebook page. This gives you the ability to create ads and access analytical data about your photos, stories, and promoted content. Everything from impressions to reach and profile views will all be at your fingertips. You’ll also be able to see your top posts and track your followers along with the average times they’re on Instagram during a typical day. Two more analytics you’ll get to work into your strategy are the top age ranges and locations of your followers. Plus, you can finally see how many people click on your profile’s website.
All of these tools will give you a better sense of who your followers are, when you should be posting, and what type of content your followers are drawn to the most. You can also use this data to see what demographics you’re missing so you can focus on tapping into the right audience for your particular business. When it comes to creating ads and spending money, it also doesn’t hurt to be an expert at Instagram’s new analytical offerings so you get the most bang for your buck.
Just like every other aspect of your brand, you can’t just put things out into the world and expect magical results. Success demands hustle and that’s why actively engaging on Instagram is key when it comes to growing your following. It’s as simple as taking some time every day to search hashtags related to your business, your products or your industry. Then, just start liking and commenting away on the photos you find. This is a technique I’ve dubbed “Insta-grinding”. Essentially, it serves as an organic way to build your following and customer base by showing some love for people who might be interested in what you’re selling. Bottom line: supporting other Instagram users can do wonders to increase your stats, so Insta-grind away! Oh, and don’t forget about engaging with the followers you already have and anyone who likes your photos or leaves comments. Make sure to reciprocate and share the support.
3. Create Partnerships
Another way to encourage growth is to create partnerships with brands and influencers. Reaching out to brands or influencers that complement yours is a great way to barter mutual exposure. Whether you decide to do a product giveaway, have an Influencer take over your account for the day, or agree to simply cross-promote each other’s brands, partnerships are a great way to be discovered by potential new customers.
When it comes to partnerships don’t be afraid to reach out to accounts who have more followers than yours. Just be willing to come up with an appropriate barter. If you have 20,000 followers and they have 60,000 you can offer to post three photos to your account in exchange for one on theirs.
If you have more Facebook and Twitter followers but less Instagram followers than a potential partner, suggest a campaign strategy across multiple social platforms that feels fair to both parties.
4. Closely Follow Insta’s Algorithms
Alas, because Instagram is owned by Facebook, a platform notorious for quietly switching up its algorithms, it’s important to keep any eye out for changes that might be going on behind the scenes at Instagram. Remember their ill-fated Discover page? That fun feature, unfortunately, doesn’t exist anymore. There was also that stressful week when businesses scrambled to get their followers to turn on notifications because Instagram switched the way photos would be fed into its users’ timelines. The new feed favored the accounts users interacted with the most, leaving businesses worried their photos would get lost in the mix. Luckily, that wound up being temporary. And while those were obvious changes to the app, not all of their switch-ups are as easily noticed. Staying on top of them is key to ensuring your strategy is on point and ahead of the curve.
5. Use hashtags to Your Advantage
Somewhere along the way, it seems Instagram users decided that openly using hashtags was embarrassing or should be hidden by using paragraph breaks or inserting them into the comments section. The fact is, at the moment at least, hashtags work. Do some research to find the top hashtags related to your business and use them shamelessly. Not only will your photos be pulled when people do specific searches, but it’ll also help boost your photos to the top of users’ search pages. Overall, hashtags are a great tool for getting your photos in front of the people who would be most likely to give them a double tap.
6. Stay on Brand
While it might be tempting to post a really great food photo, an adorable pic of your pooch, or a group shot of your squad -- unless it’s directly related to your business and/or fits into the aesthetic of your page, those are best left to your personal account. Having a cohesive, well-curated page looks professional and shows users what they’re in for if they follow you. So although it might be hard, make sure to leave any curve balls out.
Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.
Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.
That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.
Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.
Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.
Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.
With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.
The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.
Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.
As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.
Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.