Instagram has taken over the world by storm, changing the way we interact, operate companies, and conduct business online. It is one of the most downloaded apps of the 21st century, hosting an average of 500 million users on a daily basis. When Instagram was first launched, its main purpose was to provide users with a digital platform so that they could virtually share photos with their friends.
Fast forward ten years later, and Instagram is now one of the most popular sites to network with professionals, engage with consumers, and provide services. In today’s day and age, if your company is not on Instagram, you’re definitely missing out on business opportunities and lagging behind your competitors. But, you’re in luck! We’ve prepared a quick and easy guide to use Instagram to grow your business on Instagram.
Phase 1: Getting started (Guide To Use Instagram To Grow Your Business )
You want to make sure you have a proper business profile set up. This entails the following:
- A profile picture with your business logo or, if you’re the face of the company, a professional picture of yourself will do.
- The biography should be short and to the point. You should view it as if it were a ‘social pitch’ for your business. You will want to state the what, why, and how).
- In addition, you will want to state your profession (for instance: coach, blogger, entrepreneur etc.) and contact information (which means business address, email, phone number) in your bio. You also want your username to be relevant to your business so clients can easily associate what you do.
Post quality pictures that are consistent with the brand theme
- This might seem unnecessary, however, it is important to have a clean and tailored profile, as it serves as a form of visual representation of your brand or business. It’s basically the first impression your customers have of your brand and what you stand for, which is why you want to make sure that they have a positive first impact or experience when scrolling through your page.
- If your profile is messy or the quality is poor, then you will most likely fail to attract new customers and your current followers will not view your business as a serious and respectable endeavor.
Hashtags are extremely important!!
- It is important that you leverage and make use of hashtags to promote your business. Hashtags can be seen as a way of increasing SEOs on Instagram, which is why it’s important to do the necessary research to understand what hashtags will help increase your visibility on the platform.
- Another reason why it’s important to make use of hashtags, is simply because followers cannot search captions on the homepage, but they can search hashtags. Again, making use of these tags will increase the chances of your post, and consequently your profile, being discovered by potential new interested followers.
- Make sure to always mix up the hashtags you use in your captions. By rotating hashtags, you can avoid being accidentally flagged as spam by Instagram.
- Do the necessary research to find the most suitable hashtags that represent your brand. You can use more general hashtags, such as #arttherapy, however your post will most likely get ‘lost in the crowd’. But, if you employ a more niche tag, such as #arttherapyfortoddlers, you are targeting a more specific pool of potential customers. In order to find what tags best suit your brand and customer market, you can conduct the necessary research to find small-medium size tags that best apply to you.
The graph below shows that the more hashtags you use on your post, the more likes you receive.
Make use of Instagram stories:
- You’ll want to use your Instagram stories to deliver value to your customers/followers. Users are currently most active on Instagram stories, wanting to learn more about the business (education), obtain behind-the-scenes footage, for inspiration, or just pure entertainment.
- Instagram stories is your opportunity to make yourself more approachable to your customer base and can be used as a platform to start building potential connections with consumers. If customers view anything of interest to them through your stories, they won’t hesitate to send you a direct message (dm) and this, in turn, will provide you with the window of opportunity to create a line of communication with them.
- We recommend aiming to post at least three times a day (morning, evening, and night) so your profile can remain at the top of their newsfeed.
Don’t forget to comment and engage with your followers
It’s important that your customers feel noticed and that you care about them. Engaging with your customers not only can provide you with valuable customer insight, but you also simultaneously represent yourself as an approachable figure that cares about the service you provide on your platform. Simply responding to direct messages or comments on your posts (whenever possible), can go a long way and help boost your image.
Don’t underestimate the importance of good content
- Writing good content for your posts provide your followers with the opportunity for engagement but also provides them with a better feel or understanding of the personality of your business.
- There is a general rule of thumb when creating captions for your post:
- Educate – you want to teach your followers something new about your business or the industry you operate in
- Entertain – Instagram can also be used as an entertain mechanism. We suggest occasionally sharing something funny or relatable content
- Inspire – A lot of Instagram profiles like to share inspirational messages with their followers. You can share a motivation quote or any positive message to help uplift them or contribute positively to their mental wellbeing
- Inform – Show your followers the behind-the-scenes of your business, sneak peeks, or the general everyday operations of your company
- Interact – This goes back to providing a line of communication with your followers. We urge for you to engage with them by creating polls, asking questions, selling through posts etc.
Phase 2: Post-traction (tips to consider for the future)
Make use of Instagram analytical tools
If you have a business profile, Instagram provides you free infographics into your follower base, which is useful information you can use towards tailoring your strategy of you digital marketing consultancy in London. Once you’ve already began publishing content on your platform, using a variety of analytical tools can help you understand what’s been working and what hasn’t and, thus, make the necessary adjustments based on that.
Look into collaborations:
- Influencer Marketing: Influencers have become notorious in the digital industry over the past few years. Brands have partnered with influencers, who have millions of followers, to promote their brand and products. Collaborating with influencers to help publicize your profile is not a bad idea, however, many companies make the mistake of not partnering with influencers that operate within their market. You want to target influencers that have your same customer base, and therefore are most likely to be interested in your product. However, take note that these published posts may not come cheap. Depending on the prominence of the influencer (and therefore the number of followers they have), the more they will charge for a sponsored post.
- Business/brand Partnerships: You can partner with other brands to work on a special project together, whether that is a new project, product/service, or freebies. This is another good way to promote your business because you can garner new customers that already follow the other business or collaborator. Those customers are also more likely to follow you, since a partnership with your brand means that the other company deems you to be reputable.
Start to consider the use of Instagram Ads
- Instagram ads are a neat way of directly and efficiently reaching your target audience. Again, this form of advertisement does not come cheap and different types of ads come at different costs. However, these types of ads help “drive awareness, increase customers and share your story among a highly engaged audience”.
- You can reach your exact audience through the targeting model that Instagram uses by focusing on the following factors:
- Custom Audiences
- Lookalike Audiences – new customers that are similar to your current ones
- There are several different types of ads you can choose from, depending on what you’re looking for or your type of business:
- Stories ads – featured in the Instagram stories
- Photo ads (appear on newsfeed)
- Video ads (appear on newsfeed)
- Carousel ads – bring depth to the campaign (people can swipe to view additional photos)
- Collection ads
- Ads in Explore
Begin hosting online contests
Online contests are a more economical option of obtaining new followers. The way most brands or businesses will do these types of contests are by:
Having people comment on their post by tagging (for instance) two or three people that they would like to share the prize with, as well as asking ‘all parties involved’ in the contest to follow the social media page
Hopefully this short, but comprehensive, guide has been helpful in learning a variety of methods that you can employ to professionally grow your business on Instagram.