An expert’s top Instagram tip for business

Instagram algorithm

Do you follow Octonation on Instagram? If you’re not then, according to Jenn Herman, you’re missing out. “His Stories are lit,” she said. “He’s so creative. I always use his Stories as examples of what to do.” Jenn is an Instagram expert. Her blog, Jenn’s Trends, has long been the go-to place on the internet for anyone in business looking for tips and advice on how to run a more successful Instagram account.

Octonation, would you believe, bills itself as “the world’s largest octopus fan club”. The account has more than 177,000 followers on Instagram and his Insta Stories get tens of thousands of views, so it must be doing something right. “I don’t even like Insta Stories,” Jenn admitted. “I don’t watch a lot of people’s stories. It’s not the type of content I like to create or ingest. But they’re hugely powerful for business. There are so many ways to use them – from behind-the-scenes or ‘raw’ content, to very educational content (like ‘how tos’).”

Or, as Octonation does, you can make them interactive, engaging and entertaining.

Jenn started her blog in 2013 as a hobby. She worked in the aerospace industry alongside a lot of older, retired military men who “didn’t understand or embrace the concept of opening up via social media”. “In trying to get them to understand social media, I overcame a lot of different challenges and I thought someone else could probably learn from my experience,” she said. “There was no strategy; there was no content schedule; there was no end goal. I just started cranking out blog posts whenever it felt right to do so.

“In addition to doing that, I fell in love with a little platform called Instagram that, back in the day, was popular with the kids but not so much in the business world, and I just fell in love with it. And because nobody else was blogging consistently or strategically about Instagram, I quickly became the world’s forefront blogger on Instagram marketing.” Thousands of people now engage with Jenn’s content every day, and she is invited to speak at conferences around the world. In June, she’ll be a keynote speaker at the State of Social conference in Perth.

Thousands of people now engage with Jenn’s content every day, and she is invited to speak at conferences around the world. So, what’s her top tip for anyone in business trying to get the most out of their Instagram account?  “Make sure you have a really good bio,” she said. “Most people will only look at your bio the first time they come to your account. If they’re already following you, they’re probably never going to look at your bio, but if they don’t know who you are, they’re going to look at your bio to see if they want to follow you or order from you. It has to be written basically as a 30-second elevator pitch: who are you, what do you do and what’s in it for them? And give it some personality. So many people, especially businesses, try to make it too ‘corporate’. That’s not what Instagram is. Use the Emojis; use the slang; use some formatting.”

You could also try adding an octopus. That seems to work.

Dan Hatch, freelance journalist