• Christian Michaels

Successfully Use Instagram for Business

It’s official, Instagram is now the second most popular social media platform after Facebook having surpassed Twitter in terms of users. By providing a strong visual appeal, Instagram presents a wide variety of marketing opportunities for businesses of any size. If you’re looking for new and exciting ways to engage with your customers and attract new ones through social media, Instagram is the platform you should be investing your time and effort in to.

In this post I’ll look at four great tips to promote your company’s products and services successfully with Instagram.

1) Using Hashtags to Give Your Photos Greater Reach

The use of hashtags has become an intrinsic part of any social strategy. They allow you to expand your posts farther and wider and connect with more people than those directly following you. Although hashtag abuse has become a problem in terms of spammy and ugly looking posts when not used correctly, they do play a very important role for Instagram engagement.

An investigation by Max Woolf where he analysed over 12,000 Instagram photos and the correlation between hashtags and likes, found that the more hashtags a photo had, the more likes it received. There is one simple explanation for this finding – hashtags give photos greater reach.

A great example of hashtag use is by Fringe and Fettle. They are a small ceramics company and in the image below you can see they do a fantastic job of including not one but four hashtags into their post, each of which is relevant to the image.

When using hashtags it’s advisable to be clever about it and research which hashtags are most popular. That way you can ensure you’re giving your photo the best possible chance of being found and liked.

One way of finding which hashtags are beneficial to your products or services is by using Iconosquare.

In this example we can see the hashtags that Fringe and Fettle have used each have thousands of images associated with them. This clearly indicates that there is great demand for these types of images from the number of people searching for these hashtags. Ultimately, what this means is that there is more chance of people finding you company’s photos and subsequently liking your images and following your profile.

2) Building Trust is Key

A great example of building trust is that of Australian personal trainer Kayla Itsines. Having started on Instagram her photos were made up fitness selfies, clips of her workouts and mouth-watering pictures of her meals. This consistent posting strategy helped her to receive great attention and lots of questions relating to her workout routine and diet.

Some o f the ways Kayla leveraged this attention was by creating informative guides her users would find useful such as the ‘Bikini Body ebook’ and ’12 Week Training Guide’. As interest continued and followers increased she released part two of the guide along with a line of fitness equipment.

With over 1.7 million followers and a dedicated customer base, it’s fair to say Kayla has become a great success. So how did Kayla achieve this and how can you achieve this? It boils down to trust. Establishing herself as an expert in her field of personal training was no easy feat but by providing valuable resources for her followers and sharing testimonials (social proof) from happy fans, Kayla gained their trust and loyalty.

If you have an ebook available why not post a few tips from it to your Instagram account and allow people to try before they buy. This is a great hook and will entice people to want more. By brainstorming ideas you can use to offer value to your Instagram followers, you can set yourself up as a thought leader, expert and authority in your niche, thus bringing attention to your products and services.

By regularly sharing photo testimonials from fans it demonstrates that your product really does work.

Seeing is most definitely believing and if your fans have any reservations these visual testimonials are sure to dispel any concerns they have.

3) Connect With Key Influencers

There can be no better way to build brand awareness than having an influencer promote your products for you.

Instagram, like other social media networks is comprised of communities relevant to almost every industry. A good example of this is the huge number of makeup experts which attract tens of millions of fans.

Sigma, a makeup company which used this community advantage did so by contacting influential members and sending them free samples in the hope of a product review. But how does sending free products help a brand like Sigma with brand awareness?

By sending samples to influential members; members seen as experts within the community, you encourage that influencer to post a product review noting that the product they’re reviewing is from Sigma. Other members following that influencer are then more likely to buy from Sigma if they want to replicate a specific look. Besides, having an influencer recommend your product provides a positive perception of your product – if the pros use it, it must be good!

However don’t just stop at one influencer, the key here is to reach out to a large number of influencers. The more you can get your products appearing in a user’s feed, the more chance you have of being noticed.

Be sure to actively research those Instagram users which are great fit for your business. Chances are their followers will have the same interests and are potential customers. Once connections have been made with influencers and you’ve found some who resonate with your audience, collaborate with them regularly and build on that relationship.

4) Be Regular With Your Posting

As with all social media platforms, frequent and consistent posting is key to success and this is no different with Instagram. Much like Twitter, Instagram’s feed is in real time, so it’s constantly refreshing, meaning your posts can be missed quite easily. Because of this chronological feed it’s essential to post frequently to ensure visibility in your follower’s feeds.

High end baby clothing retailer The Beaufort Bonnet Company posts no fewer than four times a day. With product images mixed in with fan photos and fun quotes, they’re able to claim 80% of their sales come from Instagram.

Of course there is no magic formula to the number of posts you should be putting out per day. The only way to find out is through trial and improvement. Why not experiment with different numbers of posts per day, the times at which you post and monitor the results. If you keep testing and tailoring you’ll find the perfect formula for your Instagram strategy.

In Conclusion

When using Instagram for business, the possibilities of developing a thriving community are boundless. Through patience, creativity and dedication, as with learning any new skill, this highly visual social media platform will introduce your products and services to a whole new world of leads and customers. When it comes to brand awareness, Instagram is excellent!

Do you have any best practices for Instagram use you would like to share?

Christian Michaels

#instagram #socialmediamarketing #digitalmarketing


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