Building a business up from scratch is one of the most difficult things to do. Because no matter what market you’re in, you will always face competitors who are targeting the same customers as you.
Yet there are businesses that appear to sprout from nowhere…
And make six figure revenues.
What’s their trick?
What’s the secret to rapid business growth?
How do they get to double, triple or even sometimes multiply their customer base? What’s the one thing that could catapult your business into a whole new level of growth within the next year?
Give it to you in one word – Instagram
Why is Instagram important for business?
Here’s the deal:
Instagram has 400 million active users around the world. Needless to say, that is a huge audience that you can use to create more exposure for your products and brand.
Statistics have shown that visual posts online attract about 92% more views than usual text-based posts. What’s more, Instagram can guarantee about 20-25% more engagement than other social platforms.
But wait a minute:
If all a business needed to do was get on Instagram and customers would start tricking in, why aren’t all the businesses already on Instagram growing exponentially? Good question.
It’s because it takes more than just having an Instagram account to grow your business using Instagram. Unfortunately, most business owners don’t know this.
The good news is in the next few minutes, you’ll learn tricks you can begin employing today, to grow your business using Instagram.
Are you ready? Okay, here we go:
Cross Promotion in other Social Networks
Rather than starting to build your Instagram following from zero, take advantage of the buzz you’ve already created around your brand in other social networks.
For example, by connecting your Instagram to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, all images you share on Instagram will get posted to the profiles of your other social platforms. This way, your friends or followers on those social platforms will get to see your images, possibly comment on them and will more likely start following your business.
Cross promotion is the perfect way to begin growing your business using Instagram. In addition, this may be a good time to begin creating graphics for each post on your other social handles – to increase your online audience. It’s not only in Instagram where people love seeing great pictures you know.
Here’s a list of places you can ask existing users:
Optimize your Business Instagram Account
Does your Instagram profile have everything your customers may need to contact you?
Or do business with you?
If your answer is not a straight ‘yes’ – then you haven’t optimized your account.
Optimizing your profile means including the details customers may need for finding you.
The first important optimization tip is to use a name for your Instagram business account that’s similar to the one you’ve used in all other social platforms. The same applies to your logo. The idea is to make you easily recognizable while maintaining professionalism.
The second thing you want to do is add a link to your website’s homepage. This will help drive as much traffic as possible to your site.
Don’t forget…. Only in the bio will the link be clickable. Not to mention, a site such as https://bitly.com can help you create a shortened link for your website to put in the bio. When shortening the link and adding a ‘+ icon’ at the end, it will tell you exactly how many people have clicked on that link before. Here’s a good example http://bit.ly/1P3hw2k+.
That leads us to the last crucial factor…Having an interesting Bio!
Most people will take a quick look at your profile before they decide whether to follow you. Your bio, thus, makes or breaks the deal.
A catchy bio, with just the right information can help convince your customers that you’ll add a tone of value to their feeds. Often, a brief introduction of your business or brand will do. While at it, however, make sure you don’t come across as a salesperson.
Although many people might want to know a little bit about your business….a majority will be put off if they feel you’re only interested in making a sale. So as you write your bio, keep your tone light, avoid the urge to pitch and show some personality.
Mix Work with a Little Play
Corny as it sounds, all work and no play…. Well, you know the rest!
I can’t stress this enough.
Instagram or any other social platform is not the place to make a hard sale. If you go all macho on your customers all the time, instead of embracing you – they will flee.
You’ve got to loosen up a little.
Maintain a healthy balance between cool, fun images and your business or brand pictures.
Your fun images will act as a way to lighten the mood of your customers, make them smile and draw them to you. Then when you finally post business images, you’ll have already won them over and they’ll be willing to embrace your brand.
Don’t always post photos that are perfect and professional. At times, post rough and behind-the-scenes photos. Make your photos amusing, intriguing, creative and above all – appealing.
To grow your business using Instagram… Engagement is King.
Every so often you will need to spice things up.
There are several ways you can do this with the most effective being holding contests. Contests increase your following and boost engagement. They are also a good reward system for your most loyal customers.Contests increase your following and boost engagement. Click To Tweet
It’s ‘killing’ three birds with one stone!
What to post on Instagram for Business?
Find your Customers’ Soft Spot
Sure, you have to post photos that are relevant to your brand. After all, the main goal is to see your business grow – right?
But what gets your customers tick? What are they looking for? At the back of their mind, what’s that thing that they yearn for but haven’t got elsewhere yet?
Have you figured out their soft spot?
The fact is your customers are looking for value. Give that to them and seeing your Instagram following grow will be the least of your worries.
It’s not enough to give your customers a visual treat of the best photos. That helps… but is still not enough.
You have to know what your customers love – and what works for them.
Then go ahead to give them exactly that in a way no other business can…
And you’ll have hit home run.
What is the best time for a business to post on Instagram?
Follow a Consistent Posting Schedule
You don’t want to seem like a one-hit wonder!
Posting photos of your brand once in a while is recipe for disaster. It’s the reason why most brands don’t grow much using Instagram.
Your job is to wow your customers as often as possible. You need to make them look forward to your next post…. And you next….. and your next…… and your next.
Do you get the point?
You have to be consistent. It’s the only way that it works. When your pictures are often in front of your audience – your brand remains fresh in their minds.
Businesses that post frequently normally have a high following.
Best of all:
When you post consistently, your customers know when to expect your next post. That way, at least most if not all of them, get to view your posts.Consistency is key. Businesses that post frequently normally have a higher following. Click To Tweet
Using Relevant Hashtags can Skyrocket your Following
It is one thing to post stunning images…
….. It’s another thing to get your customers to see them.
The right hashtags bridge the gap between your business and your customers. Hashtags increase your discoverability and makes it easy for people to track your posts.
They open up your posts to people who are not currently following you.
The best Instagram hashtags to use are the ones that are relevant to your brand or industry.
Time and again, you’ll need to brainstorm on the trending hashtags related to your brand. There are several hashtag research tools such as RiteTag, but you can go to www.instagram.com and use their search functionality.
Another essential factor about using hashtags is being specific.
Avoid generic hashtags like #Handbags.
It’s good – but generic.
Your competitors are likely using the same hashtag and your brand can get lost in the mix. Specific hashtags in this case may include #vintagehandbags or #professionalhandbags.
Keep in mind; you can use more than one hashtag to reach a wider audience.
If you put your hashtag in the wrong place, it is easy for it to overpower the message of your caption; which is important and necessary for your customers to see.
Therefore, put your hashtags in the comment section right after you’ve already posted your photo with the desired caption. This allows people to see the photo, read your caption and then – see your hashtag right below.
Do you follow other brands on Instagram?
You better get started!
But don’t just follow any brand – only brands related to your business. This is necessary to widen your exposure to other brands…. and build strategic relationships.
Make a point to follow your followers back. Many brands don’t do this and that’s where the problem lies. Find brands you respect and love and begin following them.
Nurture interaction between you and your customers by commenting on their posts or liking their photos that you think look cool. Also, you can encourage engagement by responding to the comments made by your followers. This will make people more loyal to your brand.
The best way to begin networking on Instagram is through the Kik Messenger App. Not only will the app improve your Instagram networks but it will also provide you with the best platform to solicit for paid shoutouts.
Throw in Some Videos
Have you heard that a third of all activities done online involve watching videos?
Now you have!
Videos are one of the most powerful tools you can use to grow your business using Instagram. Your online audience often has a short attention span. That is why Instagram limits the length of videos to only 60 seconds. Videos that are creative, sweet, fun and shareable will leave your customers smitten.
So choose wisely.
Finally – remember to post the videos at the right time.
Videos posted outside working hours or on weekends are 25% more likely to be seen by your customers than those posted during working hours.
It pays to post your videos at the right time.
Practice S4S (“Shoutouts for Shoutouts”) on Instagram
S4S can tremendously grow your business using Instagram. All you have to do is look for other key players in your space, especially those with large accounts, and ask them if they’d be open for the both of you to begin cross-promoting each other through S4S.
With S4S, other similar businesses or brands begin posting your images, tagging you or mentioning you in the caption – and you do the same for them too.
Essentially, they market you to their audience while you also market them to your audience.
It’s often a win win situation.
To find other businesses that would be open for S4S, search the main keywords or hashtags your customers use on Instagram. Then narrow down to the accounts that use those keywords or follow those hashtags – which have a large following.
Such strategic relationships can be good for the long-term growth of your business.
What’s the Takeaway?
To grow your business on Instagram, stay focused on what your customers want. Target posts that are inspiring, exciting and can prompt people to follow you. Let your posts tell a story.
You know what they say – A picture is worth a thousand words.
That’s not all:
Avoid hard selling. Show more of your personality. People will buy what you’re selling provided they first develop a liking towards you. Over to you? Do you have any cool tip to share with us?