How can I promote my business on Instagram?
33 Quick & Helpful Instagram Tips You Need To Know About
We have compiled a list of 33 things you need to know about Instagram to create a successful marketing strategy for your small business. Instagram is a visual social media platform that is exploding in new global users and engagement leading to brand visibility, traffic, and sales. Below are the strategies, tips, and hacks to help your profile, photos, and videos stand out amongst 500 million+ daily users.
Instagram For Business Tips
1. 800 million Instagram Users
Instagram is one of fastest growing social media platforms now with 800 million+ users, up 100 million since April reported by CNBC September 2017. It has emerged as of the best places to get your brand, business, and services noticed with unparalleled organic and free reach.
2. Underrated Social Network
Instagram is still somewhat an underrated network an early adaptor opportunity with Facebook closing in on a 2 billion user network. Facebook is over saturated and has made it even more difficult for small businesses as it's evolved into almost entirely a pay to play model. I grew my followers from 500 to 2,000 in 45 days with minimal effort proving you can grow very fast on Instagram in comparison to paid efforts on Facebook.
3. Instagram Users Engage With Brands
The visually appealing use of Instagram helps brands connect and engage with their audience if done correctly. Facebook users tend to post random images and personal photos. This is the wrong approach to a successful Instagram account that will attract a large following. You need a theme, vision, aesthetically appealing images, and strategy for a successful account. It's important to note that Instagram drives the most engagement per post compared to any social network, 84 times more than Twitter, 54 times more than Pinterest and 10 times more than Facebook according to Sproutsocial.
4. Demographics of Instagram
Below is a chart breaking down the demographics of Instagram users from Pewinternet.
5. Goals For Your Account
Begin by defining the goals for your account. Are you selling a product with an online shopping cart, are you a service looking for clients, are you looking to hire team members, or maybe you are aspiring to be a future influencer who gets free swag. Each objective will help you decide on the exact type of content you will share to build an audience. Ultimately you should be looking to trigger emotion, create value, get leads, traffic, and authority or social proof. Building up tons of followers in the end means nothing if you can't monetize it.
6. Business Account
Transitioning from a personal account to a business account is important because there are insights that you can use to find the demographics for your followers, the time of day that your followers are engaging, there physical location, and age range. You also have contact information visible below your profile for your prospects to easily call or text, email, and get driving directions.
7. Your Username
Creating a username with one to two keywords relatable to your business is smart. Instagram like Pinterest is a search engine. Your username is your profile address or social media handle. It's also a good practice to have it matching to Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook as well as your blog url if possible.
Your brand defines who you are, how you are special, and unique. On Instagram most importantly it shows why a user should follow you over the other competitors in your niche. When you build a brand you can begin to build an audience beyond your personal sphere, friends and family that would follow you irregardless. A brand begins with a compelling bio, memorable profile photo, and styled professional photography. Correct branding builds authority and trust and earning clients.
9. Text Editor
You can use a text editor like Evernote for free to assist with layout and line breaks. Evernote has both a desktop and mobile version that automatically syncs. When I'm doing hashtag research I find it easier to copy and paste on a desktop into Evernote, and then login to the mobile version to copy and paste the actual post into Instagram.
Your bio or profile is an important piece of real estate allowing up to 150 characters to use as a funnel to share your services. Optimize your by bio staying creative, speak to your audience, and use emojis to break up the text. Check out lingojam for some fun fonts that you can easily copy and paste into your profile. You get only one clickable link in Instagram which is the best avenue for driving sales and traffic. Use Evernote to help layout your bio with emoji's and line breaks. A relatively new and free service LinkTree allows you to have a link landing page. Now you can have multiple landing pages with your story, shopping area, blog, youtube tutorials, and other social media profiles. You can also use your linktree on other social media like your Twitter and Pinterest (only if you don't have a confirmed website on your Pinterest profile). Check mine out here.
11. License Number
If your business requires a license number such as ours does in real estate, you must have your license number in your bio the same as on all other social media channels. Failure to do so could mean significant fines and other consequences. As a real estate agent we can't use a fictitious business name ending in real estate or realty, or brand ourselves apart from the brokerage whom holds our license. Unfortunately part of our 150 character limit must be dedicated to our state licensing requirements.
12. Social Proof
Social proof is important for branding and authority. The higher your vanity metrics the more convincing you are to a new prospect that you are an expert and reputable. No matter how tempted you are to give your new profile a 10,000 follower boost DON'T. If you buy fake likes it will ruin your account, could get you shadowbanned, and if you have tons of followers and not a comparable ratio of likes and comments on your post it announces to the world that you are a fraud. Not to mention it doesn't take long to scroll through someone's followers to see unfavorable looking accounts. Also beware of fake Instagrammers. There are reports of a large number of spam bots. Sometimes these accounts are disguised with professional looking profile photos. Be careful robo following back wihtout looking at the user's profile first. These accounts can organically find you but also harm your engagement to follower ratios.
13. Best Time Of Day To Post On Instagram
Coschedule reports the best time to post on Instagram is Monday and Thursday at 8-9am or 5pm. Trackmaven says Fortune 500 Instagram posts have the highest average level of engagmement between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Eastern Time. Hubspot says the best time to post videos is 9 p.m.-8 a.m. on any day and to avoid posting anything at 3-4 p.m. Finally Later reports the best times to post on Instagram are lunch time (11am-1pm) and evenings (7-9pm).
Growing an Instagram account requires daily discipline with consistent posts, theme, and style. When Instagram changed their algorithm from chronological post order to algorithmic prioritizing posts based on the likelihood you're interested in it, consistency became even more important. Now Instagram's algorithm rewards consistency.
Your photo aesthetics are the most important aspect of Instagram. You must take the time to create a photo strategy, plan your layout, and be willing to brighten, crop, enhance, and edit for eye-catching photography. It will be very difficult to grow your account organically beyond your sphere if your photos are blurry, have poor lighting, and are off brand.
16. Add Location
It's imperative to add location on each post tagging where you are, the location of the photo, or the spot you want to highlight if it's a non location specific post. Location sharing in an Instagram photo or video can help you attract new followers around the same place, or show your photos to users browsing through geotagged photos.
17. Tag People
Tag people, businesses, and products relevant to your post. The tagged user will get a notification and the tagged post becomes a part of their profile. If you are eating out with friends and tag the restaurant, you'll also want to see if the restaurant has created their own unique hashtag and add that to your post as well. An example of this is California's first urban destination distillery @youandyourssd and they have their own hashtag #YouAndYoursDistilling Often times the business will reshare the user's photo and reciprocate helping you reach more targeted audiences.
DIY Genius explains brand storytelling it involves telling snackable micro-stories with visual storytelling, cutting through mediocre content to inspire others while developing a strong brand presence. The optimum amount of characters for your caption is 138-150 according to Sprout Social. For more examples of brand storytelling read on here to DIYGENIUS for 15 Brilliant Examples Of Visual Storytelling On Instagram.
19. Instagram For Content Marketing
An epic content strategy is imperative to a successful Instagram account. The Linktree in your bio is the number one way to funnel off of Instagram, however creating microsite URLs in your content relevant to your photo and post is another avenue to direct users to new blog content.
20. Bilingual Copy
If you are bilingual, use more than one language to reach a secondary audience in your bio and post.
Adding a CTA (call to action) is inbound marketing 101. Some non salesy CTA's are double tap if you agree, click on the link in my bio, and tag a friend that needs to see this.
22. User-Generated Content
User generated content is the sharing of other users photos while crediting the original user whom posted. Larger brands who already have their products and services used by millions have an easier go at this.
23. Instagram Hashtags
Hashtags are an aspiring SEO's dream. You can rank quicker and higher than with traditional search engine marketing. A hashtag helps you get noticed in the hashtag deck, for users who are searching based on #. If you use hastags that are too popular you will get lost in the feed and it becomes a waste. If you use the exact same set of hashtags over and over again it could get you shadowbanned. Best practices are to use relevant hashtags to your niche, location, product, and service. You can search for hashtag popularity, trends and correlations with Hashtagify.
24. Automated Direct Messages
Think twice before sending new followers an automated direct message. Personally I get uber annoyed on Twitter and Instagram when I follow a user and automatically get a direct message soliciting their products and services. It may be a better approach to begin building a relationship with the person via liking their posts and commenting before initiating a sales conversation.
25. Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories is set up like Snapchat an in the moment unfiltered photo or video. In "Your best Instagram Stories can now live on forever in your profile" Mashable shares that there are now two new features that allow you to save your Stories indefinitely: archiving, for private saving, and "highlights," a feature that puts Stories right on your profile. By enabling the new Stories Archive setting, Instagram will automatically download your Stories to your account's archive before they expire placing them with any posts you've previously archived.
Reaching new potential prospects has never been easier with Instagram's hashtag deck, explore page, and the ability to direct message anyone that you follow. You can even search by location to begin building your network in a certain area. Commenting on local posts will help the Instagram algorithm give you more love in your preferred geographical area.
Unless you are already fabulous and famous, reasonably following back and engaging is critical. I've noticed myself that once you comment on other's posts, the Instagram algorithm will reward you with suggesting your account to other higher level users. Robo liking is not enough to move the needle. Best practices are to like or reply on comments to your posts as well. Reciprocity builds your audience.
28. Instagram Pod
Later defines Instagram pods: private groups of 10-15 Instagrammers with similar audiences and the desire to increase their Instagram engagement and get more followers. These are secret groups that are invite only.
Wordswag has hundreds of quotes and thoughts with custom text layouts in just a tap.
After you select a background typorama lets you create amazing visuals by "automagically" transforming your text and photos into beautiful typographic designs.
Phonto is a simple app that allows you to add text to pictures with 400 fonts.
Canva has a drag-and-drop feature with professional layouts to help non professionals design consistently stunning graphics.
30. Shoutout For Shoutout
An s4s is when two users with similiar audiences, themes, and user profiles repost a photo or video from the other's account. The shoutout is a tag, brandhashtag, and CTA to follow in the post description.
31. Influencer Marketing
An influencer is a user that is not a non celebrity who gets paid to promote brands and products. Most influncers have at least 100,000 REAL followers with authentic engagement in order to get an opportunity from brands. There are accounts with 10,000+ followers with very high engagement that are paid to promote products and services. If you have an ongoing budget for social media marketing, influencer marketing may be an avenue you want to pursue.
Shadowbanning (also called Stealth banning, ghost banning or comment ghosting) is Instagram’s way to prevent users from posting against their terms of service and to eliminate hashtag spam. The Instagram algorithm encourages useful and entertaining content and rewards users who post engaging content in the hashtag deck without requiring you to pay to boost. An account that has been shadowbanned wouldn't show organically in the explore page or the hashtag deck.
33. Delete Off Brand Content
If you have an existing account clean it up. It's meaningless if you have 200 likes on a post that is off brand and doesn't flow well with your feed.
Instagram For 2018
What does 2018 have in store for Instagram? It's very possible we could see a clickable link in the post in the future which would elevate bloggers and content creators exposure. How will you use Instagram in 2018?
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Joy Bender is the co-founder/owner of Aumann Bender & Associates, La Jolla real estate agents with Pacific Sotheby's International Realty. She has a passion for digital marketing, the SERPS, and helping clients discover San Diego's lifestyle. Joy Bender specializes in San Diego luxury real estate in La Jolla, Coronado, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, and beyond.