Some business owners neglect using Instagram when marketing their businesses.
They do this primarily because IG is a photo-sharing platform, and many entrepreneurs simply assume that if their business has nothing to do with pictures, then Instagram is a waste of time.
This is a major mistake and one that will cost you more customers than you can count.
In recent years, Instagram’s users have ballooned to approximately a billion people, rivaling that of other social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Within the website, almost 100 million photos are shared daily.
If you’re not using Instagram for your e-commerce marketing, then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a photography expert to take advantage of Instagram’s reach. By following these five tips, you’re sure to be off to a good start.
1. Create a complete profile.
The idea might seem obvious, however, I’m afraid it needs to be said again.
You’ll be amazed at how some business owners are creating IG accounts without completing them.
They leave their Public Information empty and they don’t even take the time to add an action button. It only takes a couple of minutes to do this but they’re neglected anyway.
Because of that, people who are looking for the business’s address, email, or phone number to have their questions answered (before buying a product) end up leaving and buying from the competitors.
That, right there, is a missed opportunity.
You need to make sure that your IG profile is complete.
Your Instagram profile should maximize all the allowable word count and space. This is especially important if you manage an indie brand, a dropshipping company, or a recent startup since nobody knows who you are and what you do.
An ideal Instagram profile should have the following basic information:
- A short and efficient description of your business using target keywords.
- The link to your main website.
- Your store’s logo or another excellent profile pic.
- Pertinent contact information including a map of your physical location, if applicable.
- Appropriate hashtags.
2. Engaging content instead of promotional material.
There are several ways you can categorize the content. There are those that are promotional, evergreen, audience-engaging, etc.
Your job is to balance the posts that you are publishing.
For example, a business selling shoes might display an eye-catching photo of their product together with the price tag and a call-to-action.
There’s nothing wrong with this approach, of course, especially during peak selling seasons like Christmas or Black Friday.
The problem, however, is that if you don’t diversify the type of content that you’re publishing, your viewers will naturally get bored with your Instagram page.
That is why you need to publish value-packed content that’s engaging to your audience, instead of always publishing promotional ones.
These can include you holding exciting contests, posting personalized messages that make an impact, asking visitors for comments, and even re-posting material that came from your own followers.
They may seem unconventional marketing strategies for you, but they work — even in other social media sites.
Twitter, for instance, offers Twitter chats to promote your brand, and you can run your TikTok ads using hashtag challenges.
Similarly, Instagram as a gallery of visual content invites your audience to interact with your brand.
We’re in the social media era, after all, and engaging content is a premium currency for you to market your business profitably.
To help you brainstorm for content ideas, you can use a free service called answerthepublic.com. It lets you search for commonly asked questions about your industry. You can then take inspiration from the questions, and create Instagram posts off of them.
3. High-quality visuals or nothing at all.
There are great photos, “OK” ones, and there are those that aren’t edible at all.
Don’t bother publishing the latter, you will only hurt your brand.
Your audience is going to love you for publishing great photos. As for the “OK” ones, it might also fly and still help you get the audience engagement (or conversion) that you’re trying to achieve.
However, as for the crappy photos — those that look plain ugly without anything going for it — it’s going to make your brand look like a total greenhorn. (Fraudulent, even.)
With how paranoid people have become about cyberattacks, you’ll just push people away from buying from you if your brand looks like a total amateur.
As a rule of thumb, it’s better not to post at all rather than publish something that’s vomit-worthy.
Of course, Instagram has many options other than a simple snapshot.
You can also post video clips, create a live stream where you can interact with your followers in real-time, and use Instagram TV that allows you to post much lengthier videos.
You can even use Instagram Stories, a time-sensitive post that shows up at the top of your followers’ feeds and gets a massive amount of views during its run.
High-quality posts like these make for a successful Instagram content marketing strategy that can engage your audience effectively and boost your online business performance.
4. Collaborate with popular personalities
Instagram is a fairly popular platform to showcase your business, but that also means that you’ll be competing with thousands, if not millions of other entrepreneurs.
In fact, huge companies have dedicated marketing teams working around the clock solely for their social media efforts.
In this case, an indie entrepreneur or someone starting out have no chance of competing unless they’re willing to work with other people.
“Influencers” is a term that has gotten a bad reputation lately (mostly because some recommend a product that they themselves don’t use), and people have become cynical about endorsements.
Nevertheless, influencers still hold a massive following. Just one collaboration or re-post from an influencer regarding your brand could get you the kind of spotlight that takes years to build.
Out of all the pointers, this is the one that will deliver the most value for your business in the shortest amount of time, so don’t neglect it!
There are many popular tools online to help you search for influencers to contact. Below, a service called influence.co allows you to search for a product and find celebrities who endorse them.
Ideally, go for influencers with blue ticks beside their usernames — which indicate their accounts are genuine.
Blue ticks can boost their trustworthiness when your influencers endorse your products and help you grow your Instagram marketing to the optimum.
5. Timing and Statistics
Eventually, you’ll want to sit down and take notes about which of your efforts are yielding positive results, which ones could use a little improvement, and which ones need to be eliminated entirely.
In particular, things such as the growth of followers, number of likes, number of clicks to your homepage, comment activity, and most viewed posts are keys to determining your progress.
In general, you also want to be keeping in touch with the trends surrounding Instagram itself, such as peak usage hours, the top brands on the platform, number of purchases due to posts, and so on.
For example, it’s well-known that users who are browsing Instagram reach their highest levels at around 7 to 9 PM, and taper off at around 3 to 4 PM. Armed with this knowledge, you can then make sure that you schedule your posts at the former timeslot rather than the latter.
The good news is that there are countless e-commerce/marketing statistics published on the internet. By gaining access to the numbers/statistics that are crucial for your marketing campaigns, you can make better decisions to grow your business.
It seems like Instagram is a force to be reckoned with in the foreseeable future.
There’s a tendency for business owners to shy away from marketing their wares and to rely on the quality of their products alone to carry them.
This is an outdated model, especially in today’s competitive environment. You need to get your head above the crowd to even have a fighting chance.
Instagram can help you do that, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how effective it is.