Leveraging Instagram to Grow Your Business
As a business owner or personal brand, it’s critical that you have an active Instagram presence. In this guide, you’d learn proven methods you can use to grow your business on Instagram.
Audience interaction with brands on Instagram is unmatched when compared to other social media platforms. It’s a no-brainer to include Instagram (basically a free marketing tool) into your marketing strategy.
More and more companies are focusing on growing their Instagram presence especially now, in 2018, and you should too.
There are many approaches when it comes to leveraging Instagram to increase brand awareness, but here’s exactly what you need to be doing if you want to see results.
The first steps to growing on Instagram
Start by identifying your target audience. Look at how successful businesses in your industry are using Instagram and follow suit. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, if it’s working for them it’ll most likely work for you.
While content is key, your bio, profile image, and captions are almost as, if not equally important. Your profile image needs to capture your audience’s attention.
It’s usually the first impression a person has of your account, make it unique, brandable, and easily identifiable from a phone screen.
Find out what interests your audience. Ask yourself what they’re following you to see. Is it new products? Tutorials on how to use your products? To see you post other customers using your products, what is it?
An easy way to find out would be to pay attention to the content they’re expressing the most interest in. Go through your content to find out what’s is performing best.
(It’ll most likely be the content providing some sort of value or that’s just more creative/ appealing than usual)
If either of these isn’t the cases make it your duty to figure out what the reason is. When you have, implement the same factors that are causing this above-average performance in future posts.
Doing this will improve your content, increase your engagement with your audience and once consistently executed upon, will grow your brand’s Instagram.
How your audience perceives your brand is important. People follow brands they can relate to. Create captions and consistent content that are both original and relatable. Doing this will help create a theme for your account.
Your audience is more inclined to interact with, unique content that evokes some sort of emotion, or provides some sort of value.
They want to know what’s going on with your brand. Using Instagram stories to show your followers that they’re real people behind your products are a great way to do this.
One luggage brand, for example, uses Stories to share a behind the scenes look at store events, launch parties and campaign shoots in various tourist destinations.
Instagram stories don’t always have to complement each other aesthetically, unlike your feed. This allows you to be even more creative with the content you share on it.
Instead of just directing persons to the link in your bio on a regular post, you also can leverage Instagram stories to drive traffic to your landing page by linking directly to your URL. Be it a blog post, product page, sign up page, etc.
Stories are also useful for getting real-time feedback from your audience. You can do this by turning on the direct messaging feature on your stories. Or by using Polls to ask questions and gather information from the results as viewers vote.
Also Read: The section titled “Using Instagram Stories For Your Brand” in our article titled Instagram Vs Snapchat and Which is Better for Your Business
Following accounts in your industry and engaging with your target audience is also a good way to grow your Instagram and its engagement.
Engage with accounts of a comparable size to yours with content in the top posts of hashtags relating to your niche by following them and leaving genuine comments on their content.
This will result in returned interaction from others within your industry, make your connections open the doors for possible collaborations. It’ll also put your posts on the explore page of their followers when they consistently engage with your content.
#Hashtags, #Hashtags, #Hashtags!
We all use them. Hashtags can put your business’ account in front of a larger and targeted audience. Your customers search for tags related to your business all the time. Which means they’ll see what you post when you use them correctly.
Once you’ve found the top hashtags related to your business and your area, use them in your posts. There’s a wide variety of hashtag categories, for simplicity sake, we will limit it to the main types.
Mainstream – These are overused tags with hundreds of millions of posts. Some examples are: #like #cute #follow.
Industry – These are tags that are specific to your niche and are useful if you want to get your posts promoted to the right audience. E.g: #realestateagent
Location – These are tags that are specific to your area and are useful if you want to connect with people within your region. E.g: #LosAngelesPhotographer
Your own hashtag – This one is self-explanatory.
So how do you use hashtags correctly? First, Stay away from mainstream tags that your content will get lost in and isn’t related to.
Instead, use tags that are relevant to your content and your industry. Your content has a better chance of being a top post in these hashtags.
You can create a list of relevant tags and comment them under your post as the first comment or use them in your caption and its almost guaranteed that your content would get more exposure.
Give and You’d Recieve
Want to increase your engagement? Well, you’ll have to interact with others.
Once you’ve еѕtаbliѕhed your own hаѕhtаg, promote it tо уоur audience bу using it in the сарtiоn оf the majority of your Inѕtаgrаm роѕts and ask them to use it
Engage with your audience when they use your hаѕhtаg by means of commenting on, liking or by rе-роѕting their content either on your profile or Instagram Story. By giving recognition to your customers that use your hashtag, others will be еnсоurаgеd tо use it аѕ wеll.
Your target audience is much more likely to find you not only from your posts but when others are posting content about you. You should also be consistent with your posts. If you share posts relating to a different topic every time, it’ll be hard for your audience to understand the message you’re trying to share.
As mentioned in our previous article: 30 Businesses You Can Start Right Now on Instagram, under the section titled “How To Be Successful on Instagram Right Now?” To do this, think about three to five important aspects of your business or your personal brand. Then try to weave at least one of those items into each post.
This combined with engaging content will bring more attention to your account. Invest in creating visually appealing content. When it comes to Instagram, you get out what you put in. Nothing pays off like investing in creative, original, and valuable content for your audience.
Ask for engagement
It may seem obvious but many persons, maybe even yourself included, aren’t doing this. Simply posting content with a generic caption isn’t going to cut it.
Don’t use generic captions. Make thought-provoking statements, ask questions or simply ask for engagement with your captions.
What response do you really expect to get from posting a photo just displaying your product/ service with a generic caption?
The responses are limited to the viewer complimenting the product or the creativity of the photo itself.
When you make thought-provoking statements, ask a question or ask for engagement you’re encouraging interaction between you and your audience instead of just making an announcement.
Give Persons a Reason to Follow You
The goal is to build brand awareness with your target audience and get more followers that turn into leads that eventually buy from you. You have to share engaging content for this to happen.
Make it a goal to consistently share quality content with your audience. You can also make unique offers and do promotions exclusive to your Instagram followers.
Have a new product/ service? Why not offer your followers a special or entry-level price. After all, once it’s a good product they’d want to continue using it and pay for the convenience it offers once they’re in.
Do tutorials on how to properly use your products with step-by-step videos using Instagram stories. Your audience is more likely to follow you if you’re providing them with information that they can later use.
You need to start using Instagram influencer ads from accounts in your industry if you really want to grow brand awareness with your target audience.
Many businesses aren’t using this as yet to grow their Instagram and they should. They’re all missing out on a huge opportunity to basically have today’s and ever more so, tomorrow’s new wave of celebrities endorse their brand.
A quick search on youtube would show videos of many Shopify store owners sharing how much they’ve made using influencer promotions alone and how well it works for them.
Instagram pay per click ads
There’s also Instagram’s own method of PPC ads.
These ads can be used to put your services in front of your target audience to drive sales, but are even more beneficial for audience retargeting.
If you’re advertising to places outside the US, the cost per click, despite already being low compared to other forms of advertising can sometimes be even more affordable per click.
Ads targeted to the US, UK, Canada etc. are higher because persons are more likely to purchase your products, but Instagram pay per click ads, for what they offer is still underpriced compared to other forms of advertising.
Here’s what Instagram says businesses need to do to grow
Here are some trends organizations can experiment with, that Instagram itself has suggested you use.
1. Instagram says more organizations will use social media to drive more sales. This is why they have “Shopping for Instagram” with Shopify in the US.
You can use this feature to tag up to five products in your posts with links to your product. Your audience can then buy your products without leaving Instagram.
Without a doubt, this feature will make Instagram the go-to shopping app compared to other social media competitors.
2. Short videos, though started by Snapchat with their Stories feature. Instagram took this and made it greater with more than 300m active users.
You need to be using stories and the swipe up feature it offers (which allows persons to go directly to your link) to grow your business on Instagram.
Instagram says Stories will become more popular. You should start creating immersive videos, post them to your Instagram stories and pay for Instagram Storie ads.
3. Instant messaging between brands and customers is taking off. Instagram says 53 percent of persons they surveyed said they would shop with a business they can contact by means of an instant messaging application.
More of your customers want to message your business instead of calling or sending you an email.
Instagram thinks this pattern will continue to grow and more business and inquiries will take place via your dm’s.
4. Trends in your industry are key to development. You need to observe this, for any brand there’s an audience that can be targeted.
According to Instagram, the rise in niche audiences within industries offers the ability to make specialized products that that audience is looking for.
6. Lastly content is the key. Instagram is about content. The best thing your brand can do is to make great content that provides value to your audience.
Instagram says that you need to connect with your audience and provide them with quality content if you want them to grow your business on Instagram