Instagram is one of those platforms that feels shrouded in mystery for a new business setting out on their online journey. Whilst scrolling through limitless pretty pictures, videos and self-promotion, it’s easy to stop and wonder, how on earth have so many businesses done so well, simply from sharing their story online?
It’s true that Instagram initially set out as a simple photo-editing app, but over the years it has become SO MUCH MORE than a place to find a pretty picture. There is real opportunity on this platform for businesses and it has the power to skyrocket your brand. However, it’s not quite as easy to do as it may seem.
We are often contacted by businesses and brands looking to ‘gain more followers’ or ‘get established online’, and although there are often some initial quick-fixes to help set them out on their Instagram journey, the real success comes from sticking to a few simple principles. In this blog post, we pick out our top tips for using Instagram effectively to grow your business online.
Quality over quantity
A lot of people think you need 100k followers to generate a return for your business, however, the simple truth is the quality of your followers far outweighs the quantity, EVERY TIME.
While it looks impressive, having a large follower number next to your name, it rarely equates in monetary terms. 100k followers, does not mean £100k in the bank!
The first stage in becoming successful on Instagram account is to truly understand who your target audience is. Remember, these are the people who are going to make the actions to buy your product, book your service, or share your message.
If you aren’t sure who your target audience is, begin by asking yourself questions like….
1. What is the biggest problem my customer would want me to solve?
2. If a potential customer called me, what would their main questions be?
3. If someone asked you who you are interested in working with, what would you say?
4. Who do you want to be a hero to?
Spending time identifying who you are speaking to is the most important first step. From there, you can create content specially for them.
Put in the legwork
Once you’ve identified your target audience, the real work starts. Find your customers on the platform and spend time investigating what types of accounts they are following, what content they are engaging with most and what types of questions they are asking in the comments sections.
An easy solution is to pick the top 10-20 accounts your ideal customers engage with regularly and look for gaps in the content: What images or video clips could you take a different perspective on? What content are competitors posting and thriving with?
From this information, you can begin to create your own content. It’s all about taking upcoming trends and putting your own unique spin on them to stand out and connect with your audience.
Use Instagram the way it’s been designed to be used
No longer are pretty pictures on your grid enough, Instagram’s various features mean each section is designed to be used for different things.
Here’s an overview of the sections and what to post on each…
Your feed/grid is where you share your bread-and-butter content. Feed posts should showcase who you are, what you do, and why you do it. These posts can come in various formats: images, multiple images, videos, graphics etc. but they should always add value for your customers. These posts can be educational or knowledgeable, but they can also be entertaining or funny to encourage people to share them.
These short snippets of content last just 24hrs. They’re a great place to let your audience get to know you and interact directly. The content used in Stories should show your personality to show authenticity and create trust between your customers and your business/brand. Content should include behind-the-scenes, never-before-seen footage. You can also have some fun with Stories by incorporating creative elements to encourage engagement. Stickers for polls, questions, music etc have all been introduced to add more interactions and spark conversations here.
These longer pieces of video content can help you show up as a leader in your industry and give you an opportunity to educate your customers. IGTV videos should be more in-depth about your business, your brand, your industry. These can include your own point of view on specific topics, whether time-sensitive or not. Posts on IGTV that don’t have a specific shelf-life can then be saved as evergreen content for future use.
The newest feature to Instagram and currently the best way to reach new and existing audiences is reels. These short, Tik Tok-style videos can pop up in the feeds of anyone on Instagram- even those who aren’t yet following you. You can share tips and tricks whilst jumping on the ever-evolving trends and having some fun!
Make it personal
Engagement is king across all social media channels when it comes to creating a successful online presence. However, although commenting, liking and sharing others’ stories or posts are a great way to foster a community, don’t be afraid to take it another level. View your engagement online like building a relationship. if you want a commitment, you must be willing to get personal. Start up conversations through Direct Message or in comments and arrange to have a chat over the phone, on zoom or even face to face. Building relationships can not only establish commitment from customers but also lead to more referrals and a wider network of contacts for your business/brand.
Don’t underestimate curated content
Creating all of your own content can be time-consuming and when first starting out, it can take a while to get the tone right. To speed things up and escalate your content, don’t underestimate the impact of reusing content from other sources that have gone viral. Always credit the original creator and only choose content that will resonate with your audience and add value.
Curating content that engages both your audience and the other account will all play a role in growing your Instagram.
Growing an audience, especially one committed to your brand or business, takes time. Just as in real life, it won’t happen overnight. One viral image or video isn’t going to turn your business into an instant success. So, keep in mind, patience and consistency really is key.
If you stay accountable to putting in the work, building your audience, committing to your focuses, and delivering on your plan, the money will follow.
There is no golden secret or magic touch to generating massive income online. There are, however, tried and tested practices that if applied appropriately, will result in success. It really comes down to knowing what you want and putting in the effort to attain it.
So crack on with growing your business through Instagram…if you need a hand, we’re here to help!
Get in touch with us via our contact page.