While many people today are aware that social media sites are vital to their business’ success, the key question is how, and furthermore, where? Facebook has become the immediate response when thinking about social media, however there’s a new kid on the block that’s attracting enormous amounts of attention: Instagram.
First and foremost, like with any other social media site, it is imperative that you know who your avatar is. Who is your exact potential customer? What does he/she like? What is he/she looking for? What will catch his/her attention? Answering questions such as these is an essential first step, because if you don’t know who your customer is, there is no way you can know what kind of content to post or how to direct it towards your audience.
Once your avatar is established, there are several general steps you should take to ensure your Instagram marketing strategies are reaching a maximum number of people. First, go into the settings on your account, and like you did with Pinterest, opt in to have Instagram linked with your Facebook account. Not only will this share whatever photos you post on Instagram to your Facebook, but it will also update your Facebook friends if you ‘like’ someone else’s picture on Instagram. This is an excellent Instagram brand strategy to expand your market reach. Since your Facebook is probably much more established and you have a lot more friends than you do on Instagram, if someone didn’t already know that you were on Instagram, now he/she will. This will draw people to your Instagram, and increase the number of eyes that see your content daily.
Another step to take when you set up Instagram for a business is to choose a user picture and write a description for your profile. These two aspects may seem small, but they are crucial to your success on Instagram because they are the first two things others will see before they decide whether or not they want to follow you. And like we have said many times before, people will not purchase anything from you if they do not feel some kind of a connection to you. Putting a picture of yourself or your staff as your user picture will help your audience resonate with you and your company, and forge some kind of a connection. Similarly, your description will help build that relationship as well, so it is important that it not only states what your business is, but is also something your avatar could relate to. This description should be short, sweet, and to the point, and is a perfect opportunity for an introduction on who you are.
Once you have those basic first steps out of the way, now you can really get into the heart of marketing in Instagram: posting pictures. When posting to your Instagram, it is imperative that you always keep your avatar in mind. Post pictures that will interest them. Not every single picture has to be about your business, however they cannot all be completely random either. It is good to balance fun images with pictures from your business, as the fun ones will likely attract a greater audience to your Instagram, causing people to see all of the pictures about your business because of it. So post pictures that your avatar will relate to. For example, if you are a nutritionist, aside from pictures strictly related your services, you could post anything that has to do with living a healthy lifestyle, as this will most likely pertain to your customers. Pictures such as quick and easy workouts, healthy foods, and even beautiful, peaceful scenery would draw attention to your Instagram.
You should also be using Instagram to showcase your work because like Pinterest, Instagram is, in a sense, a portfolio for your business. Emphasizing before and after pictures is one wonderful way to show your audience exactly the kind of work you do. For instance, if you own a fitness club, promote the progress of your clients on Instagram. This not only encourages those current clients and demonstrates a connection to them, but also gives your audience visual testimonials on just how well your fitness programs work.
Another fantastic way to use Instagram for your business is to endorse deals, sales, and promotions you may have going on. Take advantage of the visual aspect of Instagram! Use colors and fonts that will pop-out at your audience, and really catch their attention. Promoting sales or limited-time offers will help people believe that they are getting a great amount of value for their time and money, and that is something that will help your business tremendously.
And while knowing what pictures to post to Instagram is a key step to your success, that’s not all you need to focus on. One of the most prominent aspects of Instagram is the ‘hashtag’, so utilize this, but keep in mind they must be relevant. Hashtags can greatly increase the number of people who see your pictures, and if done correctly, can expose them to the ‘right’ people. For example, if you are a photographer, there are numerous ways you can use hashtags to increase your presence on Instagram. While you could hashtag the obvious, #Photography, or whatever topic your picture is of, like #Wedding, think of other relevant, industry-related hashtags. You could post things like, #PhotoOfTheDay or #PhotoCred. And because there are over 100 million people searching #PhotoOfTheDay hashtags, think of how many more people will see your post! There are thousands of millions of people searching on Instagram daily, so why not do everything in your power to make sure that they find you? Don’t be afraid to have too many hashtags on one picture, the more hashtags, the more likely someone else will see it. One important thing to remember however, is to keep these hashtags consistent. Always hashtag your business’ name and once you find a handful of other hashtags that work for you, be consistent across all social media outlets. Not only will this make it easier for your avatar to find you, but if you are showing up under the same categories daily, it will also add to your credibility.
This leads into the point that you need to post consistently, just like with Facebook or Pinterest. Whether it is daily, or every other day, make sure you are posting at consistent times, preferably around noon or after four p.m. Since people are either on their lunch break or off work and back to being glued to their phones, these are the most optimal times.
In addition to using relevant, industry-related hashtags, it is also important to include a caption or description on each picture, as well as a link back to your website. Including a link to your main website is essential to maximizing your business’s presence online. Think about how many millions of people are on Instagram every day, and by providing a link to your website, it will greatly increase the amount of traffic on your website.
Another way you can make the most of Instagram for social media marketing is by really working on expanding your network. Similarly to Pinterest, if someone follows you, follow them back. This is crucial in creating relationships between you and your audience. By simply following others back, you can help your followers truly believe that you care about their activity as much as they care about yours. And furthermore, liking and even leaving comments on customers’ and followers’ pictures will enhance that relationship and connection. You can also browse your audience’s profiles to see what they are posting and get a better feel for what your target market is interested in. This can help you direct some of your pictures accordingly and ensure that your followers will respond well to them.
Lastly, make use of Instagram’s new video feature. Instagram now not only lets you posts pictures, but you can now also post 15-second videos. These will further grab people’s attention and extend the reach of your content. Make sure videos are mostly relevant and all appropriate, and always include a link from these videos back to your blog page or website.