5 Ways to Use Instagram to Promote Your Business
Guest Post by Sarah, Founder of Creative and Coffee
Instagram can be a platform that is somewhat ignored by businesses in the wake of the ‘bigger’ platforms like Facebook and Twitter. However, with over 300 million users that interact with the platform every day, Instagram is definitely something that needs to be on your radar.
However, with 95 million photos posted every day, it can be difficult to know where to start to make yourself heard. So, how can you use Instagram to effectively market your business?
Use Your Link Wisely
At the moment the only link that is ‘clickable’ on your Instagram profile is the single one you are permitted to insert in your bio. This can be a cause for frustration among Instagram businesses and is often the reason why Instagram is accused of not ‘converting’ for business, ie that followers on Instagram do not equate to customers on your site.
To avoid this problem, you simply just have to be a bit more strategic than the average user. Make sure to really think about how Instagram is going to be used in your sales funnel. Make sure you link to a page on your website that is going to encourage visitors to keep coming back. This will usually entail linking to a landing page; something that has a clear focus and purpose. Landing pages often encourage visitors to subscribe to your email list by offering an opt-in or gift to encourage people to sign up.
Make sure to double your link’s effectiveness by inserting a clear call to action in your bio, encouraging people to click the link. It may sound simple but the more instruction and guidance you can give people; the more likely it is they will follow through.
If you have a physical product Instagram can be an excellent platform to showcase your product in different environments and styled in new, interesting ways. Creating a story that your followers can join in will help humanise your brand and create that all important connection between you and your audience.
If a member of your following has joined your journey of designing a product, creating, manufacturing and launching, then they are going to be as invested in that product as you. It’s all about that emotional connection and Instagram is the perfect platform to tell your story.
Social proof is huge online. Customers are getting more cynical online and will do their research on a product. So if you have pictures of happy customers wearing/interacting with your product then you are going to make a really good first impression.
Most people are excited to have their content shared on Instagram but do make sure to drop a DM asking if it would be OK to republish the image and make sure to credit the creator.
An easy way to find customers with your product is to start your own hashtag. Simply look through the hashtag feed and pick out those posts that present your product in a good light.
+ It’s an excellent way to give your customer ideas about different ways they can use your product. For example, whilst I might not by a skirt after seeing it on ASOS (ie on a white background) if I see one of my favourite fashion bloggers styling it in a way I hadn’t thought of; I’m much more likely to go back and pick up the skirt.
Speaking of hashtags, make sure you’ve done your research when it comes to hashtags. These can be the difference between been found by hundreds of the right customers or deafening silence.
Start with a general search on Instagram with terms your customers might be using. For example #fashion. However, you will want to narrow this down. For example, if I am looking for high street fashion, I won’t be interested in haute couture focused accounts. So try to summarize your niche in a hashtag, for example #bohochic.
Once you have a general direction you can use Instagram’s suggested hashtags (which will pop up at the top of the screen when you search for a hashtag) in order to find related hashtags in your niche. Use these to make sure that you are getting the right sort of people to your account.
Finally but most importantly, you must engage with your followers. If you just come, post a photo and leave, you may get the likes rolling in but you won’t be connecting with your followers. Business is all about building trust and would you trust someone who you’d never spoken to? Well maybe, if you have heard good things about them from friends but you are much more likely to trust them if you have actually communicated with them in person, right?
So make sure to take the time to reach out to your followers and let them know you are interested in what they are up to and that you are there and accessible.
Instagram is a fantastic way to promote your business, by creating in-depth connections with your readers. However, social media is not a goal in and of itself. You must remember to use it as part of and as a complementary element in your marketing plan.
If you need help using Instagram in a more strategic way, you can drop by our free course here.
Sarah is the founder of Creative and Coffee, a website home to a supportive network of female entrepreneurs who work together to support and educate each other in all things business. And who, you know, hang out and drink coffee too.