I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of Instagram but clearly, I'm wrong. About a billion people (serious stat, not hyperbole) use the platform every month. 500 million people use the platform's stories feature every day. This year, Instagram is expected to reach 112 million users in the US alone and it's the fastest growing social media platform in Canada. If your target demographic is under the age of 40, they likely have an Instagram account, which means you should probably be on there.
Instagram is an ideal platform to help people enter your world and assist them in getting to know you and your business. Whether you have the type of business that is very visual like a restaurant or a florist shop or you have a business that is service-based but not so visual like a plumbing company or tax preparation, there are plenty of ways to get more business through his popular platform.
Instagram is a visual platform so you want to start thinking in those terms if you're going to participate. Just like on other social media platforms you needn't be all business in your posts. Sometimes just showing a little piece of your world is enough to get people interested in doing business with you. Here are a few other ways you can do it:
1. Share Pictures of Your Product or Service
Think of these as visual testimonials. If you have a business that lends itself to showing samples of what you sell great. If not, consider creating image quotes from your customers about your services or share pictures of things you can help with.
2. Identify and Follow Instagram Influencers
Find people who may be interested in your product or service and who often share their experiences with their audience. You want to find someone who has a strong following but who isn't quite yet a Megastar. Megastars likely already have sponsors. Get to know the influencer and what they share. Then ask/invite them to sample your services or products. Hopefully, they’ll have some nice things to say.
3. Create Blog Images with Instagram in Mind
While you can post links in Instagram image descriptions, this is not like Facebook where posting a link will automatically pull in an image. You’ll need to upload it. Create an Instagram-friendly image for your blog post complete with article title and share the URL for your post in the description.
Keep in mind if you share your blog posts on Instagram that you want to make the posts appealing to Instagram users. Design the posts to keep the reader skimming down the page. Use lots of headers and bullet points. Most Instagram users don't want to read long novels. They’re visual people. Keep that in mind when trying to move traffic from Instagram to your website.
4. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are how people find things on social media and Instagram is one of those platforms that uses a lot of them. In fact, the magic engagement number seems to be around 11 per post, although you can include up to 30 on a post and 10 on a story. So make sure you not only use your own hashtags but other hashtags that might help someone find your content. Look at other posts so you can see what people use. Hashtags are a good way to get new eyes on your content.
5. Follow Others and Comment
Unless you have a private account, Instagram posted images are visible to everyone. So take the time to follow some accounts that may have a similar audience to what you want to attract. Comment on their shares and you may get some new followers of your own.
6. Use Location
With Instagram posts, you have the choice to add your location. By doing so, you can help people find you. This is especially important if you have a brick-and-mortar location or concentrate on mainly local business.
7. Don't Forget Video
Video and video loops are incredibly popular on Instagram. When you're considering content posts, remember to use video as part of your posting mix.
8. Tell a Story
Sure, it's quicker to slap a picture up on Instagram and move onto the next task but it likely won't do much for your business. The reason you share on Instagram is to help people get to know you.
While it's true an image Is worth a thousand words, you need a few more to convert to a business sale. So tell the story behind your picture. While you're doing it, think of what would help someone connect with what you're saying. Tell a short story they can identify with by using emotions they’ve likely felt. Aim to create a shared experience.
When people interact with your image, engage with them. If someone has a question, answer it. You are not simply hanging a picture on a museum wall with Instagram. For it to be effective for your business and sales, you want to ensure you're there interacting with those who take interest in your work.
Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and refuses to believe meaningful copy can be written by bots. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time or interest to do so.
Christina hates exclamation points and loves road trips. Say hi on Twitter or reach out on Facebook.