Instagram is a new marketing frontier for small businesses and bringing in new customers. As of July 2019, it was ranked #6 among the world’s most popular social networks, with over 1 billion users worldwide. Users love it for its strong visual focus and upbeat vibe – more and more for bringing in low in the funnel users and potential customers.
The key to successfully marketing your small business on Instagram, as with other social networks, is building an engaged following and positioning yourself as part of the online community which could very quickly become your future customer base.
Here are 15 tips for building an Instagram marketing strategy for your small business:
1. Use a business account
When joining Instagram, you can select whether yours will be a personal account or a business account. The latter is ideal for business because it allows you to view analytics, connect your account with your Facebook page, and run paid advertisements, and it makes it easier for followers to contact you.
Starting off with a separate business account is crucial toward establishing your brand presence and will allow you to strategize and implement many of our Instagram marketing tips for all small businesses:
2. Fill in your bio
Instagram gives you 150 characters to tell potential followers everything they need to know about you. Use this space wisely. You can include hashtags in the bio, which can help more people find your profile. And don’t forget to include a link to your website.
3. Establish your identity and look
Because Instagram is such a visual platform, the “look” of your profile matters. You want your followers to immediately associate your content with your brand. Using certain color palettes and fonts can help with this, as well as a certain style of image that’s consistent with your message.
4. See what your competitors are doing
Not sure where to start? See what other businesses like yours are up to and draw on their ideas for inspiration. Take note of the kind of content they post, the hashtags they use, their visual language, and so on. You can also check to see how well they’re doing: how many followers do they have? Do they get much engagement on their posts? This will tell you how well their strategy is working.
5. Plan your content
Once you’ve decided what kind of content you want to post, be strategic about it: plan what you’re going to post at least on a weekly basis, if not for several weeks at a time. Posting regularly and consistently helps keep your followers engaged.
6. Use hashtags strategically
Hashtags are one of Instagram’s most important features. They make it possible for people who don’t follow you to discover your content. Research has shown that using 7 or 30 hashtags per post performs best, but that it varies depending on how many followers you have.
By the way, Instagram recently added a feature allowing you to see how many people found your post through the hashtags. This can help you measure how well your hashtags are generating engagement and adjust your strategy as necessary. Don’t underestimate #hashtag strategy as a really powerful Instagram marketing tip for small businesses!
7. Embrace Instagram Stories
The Stories feature on Instagram has been making a huge splash. Stories appear at the top of followers’ feeds, which makes them stand out — and they’re a lot more dynamic than regular Feed posts, with tons of cool features. You can post multiple Stories a day without cluttering up your followers’ feeds. Stories should be an integral part of your Instagram marketing strategy.
8. Use video
Instagram isn’t just for stills! Videos are more engaging and fun, and you have multiple ways to post them on Instagram. Clips of up to 1 minute can be shared on the feed, 15-second clips can be strung together on Stories, and there’s even IGTV, the new feature that allows you to post videos of up to 10 minutes in length.
9. Don’t be shy about direct messages
Direct messaging is more intimate than public discussion and may be considered more invasive. However, there are cases where it’s appropriate and can help you build better relationships with your customers. For example, if someone writes a post or comment praising your business, sending a DM to thank them is a nice personal gesture. On the flip side, if someone says something negative or posts a negative review, moving the conversation to DM helps keep it out of public eye and shows the customer that you’re taking their concerns seriously.
10. Actively engage with other users
If you really want a strong presence on Instagram, you need to do more than simply post your own content. Interacting with other people’s posts and comments shows them you are sincerely interested in them and not just trying to get their business. Respond to comments on your posts, follow interesting accounts, and like other people’s posts. The more they see you in their notifications, the more often they will think of you.
11. Encourage engagement
The next level of engagement is posting content that encourages your followers to engage. For example, ask your followers to answer a question about themselves, or to tag another user who they think needs to see your message. On Stories, you can do even more with this: use the emoji slider, quizzes, questions, and chats to get your followers actively interacting with your content.
12. Add calls to action wherever you can
Make it as easy as possible for your followers to move to the next stage of the sales funnel. Be straightforward and tell them what you’d like them to do next, such as clicking the link in your bio to learn more.
13. Post at peak times
Posting your content at times of highest traffic means you’re likely to get more engagement and interest. How do you know when is the best time to post? It varies, according to the nuances of your specific audience, and the best way to know the ideal time to post is to experiment and see what works best. Sprout Social, a social media management platform with more than 24K followers, conducted an experiment like this and found that the best times to post on Instagram were on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and Friday between 10–11 a.m.
14. Collaborate with Influencers and Related Businesses
When you collaborate with other businesses and influencers on social media, everybody wins. Having another Instagrammer review your product, run a competition with you, take over your account, or work with you to create joint content exposes you to a wider audience and can be lots of fun to boot!
15. Use Paid Ads
Even with all the above efforts, it can be a challenge for businesses to reach new audiences organically. A little paid advertising can go a long way. Instagram ads allow you to target very specific audiences, increasing your exposure to the people most likely to be interested in what you have to offer. This generates excellent conversion rates and often proves a good investment.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new strategies as the social media landscape changes and Instagram rolls out new features. If you play your cards right, embracing Instagram as part of your social media marketing strategy will be effective, fun, and profitable.
SOURCE: The Boost Apps