Instagram is a photo app which people do not necessarily associate with business. However, there are 400 million monthly active users, with more than 75 million daily users, a lot of who are highly motivated to buy. Instagram for business must not be ignored and here I will show you how to acquire new followers and how to convert these followers into potential sales as well as increasing your brand awareness.
As someone who manages two e-commerce businesses, I am familiar with the power of Instagram. Always keen to learn new tricks, I want to share with you the tips I have picked up to increase sales and brand awareness for businesses.
Driving traffic from your account to your website
- You cannot put working links in your Instagram posts, but you can include a link in your bio. This link can be changed as often as you like so it can be your website one week, a certain product, etc at any given time. Don’t forget to mention this if your post relates to. E.g. Check bio for post.
- Google analytics underestimates how much traffic you get from Instagram. Make sure to use link shortener such as bitly to track the clicks you’re getting.
- Make sure your profile picture on Instagram is consistent with the profile image you have on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Our brains process images quicker and a consistent image on your various social media platforms means people will recognise your business and brand quicker.
- Who are you and what do you do? Use your bio to interact and inform.
- Although hashtags do not work in your bio, you can encourage people to use a certain hashtag and promise to regram/like their photos and/or follow them.
- Don’t be afraid of including calls to action in your bio such as a “visit our website” and include a link.
- If you have awards, mention these in your bio. This makes you trustworthy to people who may not know your brand.
- Know your goals – do you want to drive sales for a particular product? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Do you want to promote an event?
- Know your audience – do your research. Who are the people you want to appeal to? What do they post? Look into your customer profiles.
Know what’s trending
- Are there currently any popular memes you can utilise? Make your own using Canva.
- Be aware of significant events. If it’s Christmas then use Christmas memes that relate to your business. Is it International Women’s Day? Is this day related to your brand at all? Events can help to show what your business is about and where you stand ethically and socially.
- Your medium will dictate your content. What might work on your Facebook and Twitter won’t necessarily work on Instagram. Research will show how your more successful competitors are posting on Instagram compared to their other social media platforms.
- Don’t post too frequently. This will lead to you clogging up your followers feeds and people unfollowing your account. One to three photos a day is enough.
- Don’t make your posts salesy. How would you feel if you were following a company and they posted mostly salesy stuff? I’m guessing you would unfollow pretty quickly.
- The time of day you post is important. Lots of research has been done into this. Use iconosquare to check. (You will need a minimum of 500 followers for it to work.)
- Jumping onto newsworthy content/social phenomenons, if done right like this Snoopy one, can be very effective.
Newsjacking at its finest
Rogue and Wolf being a badass Instagram business
Search hashtags and mentions of your company and like/follow/interact with people who are talking about you. One brand I personally love for this is Rouge and Wolf. They regularly comment when I tag them in a photo of my purchases. They also repost photos and add their own compliments to the description (See photo of moi, on the right). It’s a small thing to do to make your customer feels special!
- Using Instagram to deliver great customer service is a great way to attract new followers. Respond to any questions and messages left by your customers and followers.
- Competitions are a great incentive to gain followers and increase your brand awareness.
- Engaging with customers on Instagram can also be used to point them to your Facebook and Twitter accounts as your competitions can run across your social platforms.
- Which companies do you aspire to be like? Who are your competitors? Engage with them through social media.
- Instagram is great for sourcing brand ambassadors and people who will promote your products. Search for influencers (people who are relevant to your business, have lots of followers and engagement). You can contact them and get them on board!
Optimise your photos
- Make sure your photos work for a small screen. 800px by 800px is perfect for Instagram.
- Is it worth a photographer taking your photos? Is there someone you know who can do this?
- Make sure your photos are edited to look the best they can.
- Strategically use colours, lines and patterns to create eye catching content.
- Burberry have distinctive colour themes for their seasons. They also focus on very specific things such as the British weather and fashion shows. They stick to these and do them well.
- Don’t be afraid of consistency.
- Unlike Twitter, where the same hashtags have been used for years, the popularity of Instagram’s hashtags change every six months. Research what is popular by using tags for likes, as well as seeing how many times a certain hashtag is searched for using Websta. Don’t be scared to use a lot of hashtags! Some people say the golden number is FIVE, anymore and people will start to unfollow. In my opinion, the amount of people you follow will be a lot less than the amount of people you are reaching out to with the hashtags you use so hashtag away!
- Hashtags work best when you place them within what you are saying as well as the end of your post.
- Include your hashtags within the post and not in the comment below otherwise you will miss the opportunity to be at the top of the hashtag search.
- Instagram now truncates people’s descriptions so get your key message in within the first 200 characters. People now have to click to expand your post, which is fine for your hashtags.
Measuring Your Success
- Make sure you have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in place to work towards.
- You can access interesting insights through Iconosquare (formerly known as Statigr.am, which is free).
Some KPIs to measure on Instagram:
- Followers (new, lost, growth),
- Total Media (new media over the past month, photo vs. video),
- Likes (new, total),
- Total Reach (organic, paid)
- Impressions (organic, paid)
- Engagement rate (love, talk, spread)
Crowdfire is a free app which tells you who unfollows your account. You can also copy followers from competitor accounts… (naughty, but everyone does it!) This also allows you to plan your posts ahead of time with its add on called Take off. However, you will need to press send when the time comes to post. The only app that will post automatically for you is http://schedugr.am/ There is a monthly cost for this, but if you’re an Instagram power user, it will come in handy!
All in all, Instagram is a vital social tool for pushing sales and raising your brand awareness and should not be ignored. Follow these tips to gain more followers, interact with your customers and measure your success.
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