Why is Instagram so important for my business?
Instagram may have been made famous by aspirational travel and food photography, but these days, social media has moved to an entirely different level. Businesses of all sizes in every industry have realized that a huge base of potential customers is daily thumbing through their posts at every opportunity – in line, on the bus, at work. It’s mobile marketing that is crucial to growing your business.
But don’t take our word for it – just look at the numbers. Instagram, started in 2010 and absorbed by the social media giant Facebook in 2012, now has one billion active monthly users and 700 million daily active users. Of these, 400 million users check out Instagram stories regularly.
One of the most important stats concerning Instagram for business? 72% of Instagram users have purchased a product or service they saw on their feed. A quick bit of math, and you realize that of the 700 million daily users, just over 500 million made a purchase from Instagram.
So the people are out there, looking for your business, but as stories are added and monthly users grow, people are missing 70% of posts from the people they follow. Part of this is due to a new formula (nearly identical to Facebook’s formula) that shows the user content they “value” the most first (as judged by regular interactions with posts). You can’t change that formula, but what you can change is knowing how to grow your business on Instagram. This means getting users to like, follow, and interact with your content on a regular basis.
How to grow your business on Instagram
Growing your business on Instagram takes thoughtful time and attention. Here are ten steps to get you started.
1. Optimize your bio
Start at the very beginning. Does your bio picture reflect your business (or you)? Do you have an engaging description of your products or services? Have you added a link to your website? Are you using clickable hashtags in your bio?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, start by refining and optimizing your Instagram bio.
2. Post great, unique content
Instagram is a visual medium, and eye-catching pictures are key.
You don’t have to travel to Bali or concoct luscious desserts to get people’s attention (although it doesn’t hurt!), but you do need to focus your efforts on unique, high-quality photographs that are beautifully curated and edited. Free photo editing apps can bring a professional quality to your pictures that sets you apart from the competition.
3. Get on a consistent posting schedule
People buy products and services from businesses they (and their friends) trust. The way to build a relationship with potential customers is by posting your great content consistently.
4. Play with Instagram Live and Stories
These two tools bring your pictures to life. While a picture is a brief snapshot, Live and Stories can go more in-depth and present your company much-needed personality. They also offer a chance for interaction with polls and other widgets that offer instant feedback and easier access to links.
Stories used to disappear in 24 hours, but Instagram now offers tools to organize them on your bio.
5. Tap into your industry’s hashtags (but not too much!)
Think of hashtags as signposts that direct your potential customers to your page. Hashtags organize and present content so users can easily find (and follow) their interests. Posts with at least one hashtag have more engagement than those without.
Use your industry’s hashtags judiciously for the best results. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but just because you can use that many doesn’t mean you should. Find and select the top ten in your industry, and add those as needed to each post.
Other hashtag strategies include:
- Adding a clickable hashtag to your Instagram bio
- Follow hashtags for your industry to stay up-to-date
- Consider adding hashtags as the first comment in your post to avoid cluttering your image
- Use both “big-hit” hashtags (lots of followers) and more specific hashtags (fewer but more focused followers who are more likely to be looking for your exact services)
- Add hashtags to your Instagram stories
- Use your branded hashtag in every post
- Take some time to find the best hashtags for your industry, and use them consistently
6. Track your analytics
All of these hashtag strategies and posting to Instagram stories won’t mean much if you aren’t crunching the numbers, too.
Use Instagram’s analytics tools to see how each post is doing. Under each post, click “view insights” to see who is checking out your content, how they got there, and who clicked a link in your bio.
Analytics make the digital marketing world go ‘round. Keep track of your numbers and let them do the work for you.
7. Bring in guest posters or post to another account
Inviting an industry expert to “take over” your Instagram account (or taking over another account for the day) can bring excitement and variety to your Instagram account.
Imagine a medical account that brings in an expert on a seasonal topic for a Live chat, or an architect that gives followers a walking tour of New York City architecture.
8. Host a giveaway
Everybody likes free stuff. Even if you offer services (instead of products), teaming up with another account to host a giveaway (or getting creative with your own giveaway) can bring in new friends and followers.
9. Offer “followers only” promotions
Just over 40% of Instagrammers say they would follow an account just to get a perk.
Offer money off of services, free consultations, or some other reward to capture new followers to (and keep them engaged).
10. Be attentive
Don’t just post and walk away. Engage with your followers by answering questions, responding to comments, and “liking” what they say. This is a big part of relationship building, but it’s a step many brands skip.
And social media is a two-way street. Like and comment on your followers’ content, too.
Finally, one major “don’t”: Don’t buy followers
Sure, you could spend a little cash and pick up a couple thousand followers, but remember: social media is about building relationships.
Relationships built on dishonesty aren’t destined to last and they certainly won’t actually add revenue. Sure, it takes more time to build up a large following the ethical way, but that foundation is rock solid and likely to last. Fake followers might seem impressive, but in the long run they aren’t likely to grow your business.
At Boost, we are experts at helping businesses of every size and in every Industry with their Instagram marketing needs. If you want to know more about how to grow your business on Instagram, get in touch today!