Are you a small business owner? We know how difficult it is to manage everything, especially when you’re just starting out and have little outside help. You’re most likely preoccupied with managing employees, developing your product/service, blogging, branding your business and much more. So, is Instagram really a priority? The short answer is yes, it is indeed of great importance for any business. Recent studies show that:
Instagram has over 1 billion users, with daily active users above 500 million (25 million business profiles). 80% of users follow at least one business, with 60% of users actively seeking new products and services. Instagram has the highest engagement rates of all social networks.
There is nothing worse than a great business, with a fantastic product/service that has no idea what they’re doing on social media. Now that we know the facts, let’s get into the main ways you can use Instagram to grow your business effectively in 2018.
Optimize your profile
Ensure you’ve switched to the ‘business profile’ on your account, not only will this help your audience understand your page, but it will give them easy access to contact information. Not to mention it will enable your access to insights (Instagram’s in-house analytics). Once you’ve switched to a business profile, it’s time to optimize your bio – you only have 150 characters here, so make the most of it. Research is key, have a look at your competitors’ profiles and see what works and what doesn’t. However, there are key factors an effective profile and bio need to have:
Your profile picture, I recommend you use your business logo.
Express what exactly your business does by selecting the appropriate category.
Show a little personality, be this via the use of emojis or something funny.
Use a CTA (call-to-action).
Include the URL to your website.
Stick to these steps and you’ll make a great first impression to anyone viewing your profile. See how @bbcnews are doing it below, just one of many dominant bio examples:
Set goals & plan your feed accordingly
Your three main objectives with Instagram should be to grow, engage and monetize.
Engagement should be the priority, without effective engagement growth is difficult and therefore monetizing your account will be even harder. If you already have your account up and running and you’ve published posts with very little success, I advise you delete pictures that are low-quality or don’t fit into the aesthetics of your profile. Ensure your posts from here on out are planned, targeted and have your three objectives at heart.
Ask yourself if your captions tell a story, a joke, provoke thought, emotion and reaction with your readers. In order for them to want to both follow and engage with your material. Before every post you plan and publish again you need to ask yourself, ‘if I were part of my audience, would I follow this account? Would I comment? Would I tag a friend?’. If the answers are all no, don’t post it.
More and more people are seeking human interaction in our now predominantly digital world, you can use this to your advantage. By not only posting your best perfectly staged pictures, but real-life imperfect representations. Maybe you want your feed to always look professional, which is perfectly fine and highly advised, however in this case try to use Instagram stories to show the behind the scenes footage. Post pictures of your office, your employees enjoying a coffee break, the office dog, your team building events or office parties. There’s nothing wrong with showing your audience that humans are behind the business. Your viewers will not only appreciate the authenticity, but these interactions will help build trust and admiration toward your brand.
See below an example of a high-quality feed in the travel industry:
When to post
So, you’ve put some time and effort into planning your posts, writing your captions and now you need to schedule the right days and times to post. There isn’t a rule of thumb or a one size fits all approach here unfortunately. Your best bet is to test different days and times, track your engagement and post consistently during the days and times that work for you and your brand.
Recent studies show that top brands post 5 times per week, to start plan your 5 posts and try to split test them between 9am and 5pm to see the difference in engagement.
Boost your engagement
Once you’ve reached this point in your journey, you should already have ample high-quality photos and videos on your profile. You should have seen an increase in followers and engagement, however it doesn’t end here. Investing in your business the right way can often bring a higher return. There are several possibilities to take into consideration, below you can see outlined examples:
1. Promote your Instagram on other social networks and your website, consider having a pop-up on your website linking to your Instagram account, be sure to put your username in your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and account.
2. Use our ‘Social Media Growth’ service to save time every day, we follow/unfollow your target audience to ensure you always have fresh eyes coming to your profile. We like photos, send custom DM’s to your new followers and support your overall growth process. To see our different plans, click the link above and explore exactly what we can do for you.
3. Use Instagram Ads to get higher visibility and show your brand to your target audience, this can be great to give your profile a little nudge in the right direction. All you need to do is click ‘promote’, choose an already posted picture or video, choose your audience, budget and begin. I recommend you do some research beforehand, platforms like Google Trends and Facebook Audience Insights can be very effective for understanding your target audience in more depth.
4. Lastly, consider both Affiliate & Influencer Marketing. Once you already have a decent following behind you and your engagement is only rising, this can be a good time to consider branching out and collaborating with influential people within your industry. You can reach out to these people directly via email or DM, or by using a platform designed for connecting brands and influencers such as TRIBE or Influence.co.
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