You may use Instagram in a personal way, but how do you go about using this popular, and ever-growing app to help market your own small business? We won’t lie – seeing as Instagram is newer to the app world, it can be tricky to make the transition from personal to professional. It’s also one more thing to take up your time promoting your side hustle when you really just want it to help generate income. Trust us, with over 500 million monthly active users, it’s worth your time to help reach some of those potential customers; here are a few ways to get you started!
Don’t Wait – Get on Instagram ASAP
We know it’s scary, but the longer you wait to set up your profile the longer you go without getting noticed. When setting up your profile, make sure to connect all other social media links you and your business already have set up, such as Facebook, Twitter etc. This will make it easier for sharing (while making it more time effective for you!) and will help with cross-promotion to drive your customers on your higher liked sites to your Instagram feed.
When it comes to filling out the remaining details on your profile, don’t leave anything out. Explain in a fun, direct way what kind of company you are in your bio and don’t forget to include contact details. By default, you are only allowed one URL on Instagram, so make it count!
Proper Use of Hashtags for Businesses
You may be using Hashtags already, and that’s great! This is the number one way to be seen on Instagram by all audiences, and not just your followers. However, it’s not as simple as hash-tagging specific words anymore. If you do a little research into finding out what your target audience is interested in, you’ll be able to widen your reach and target a more specific cliental. What’s so exciting about doing this is that lately Instagram has allowed it’s users to follow Hashtags (as if they were people) that they feel represent their likes and interests. As a business, you can even go through your followers and see which Hashtags your customers are following. Do this by going to their profile, and hitting the ‘following’ tab – it will now show people and Hashtags. After checking out a few active users you will start to see patterns, and that will allow you to then use those Hashtags and put your business in front of other like-minded potential customers.
Remember, the magic number is 30. Anymore than that, and Instagram will not allow you to post your text with your photo.
It’s All About the Instagram Stories
Instagram stories is just another way for you to stay connected to your audience/customers while allowing them an inside look at your business in real-time. Don’t underestimate the use of stories; compared to Snapchat it is gaining users faster and maintaining their interest longer. Start off slowly, but then try making it a regular thing. Post about upcoming sales, sneak peaks, new products or even highlight a typical day at the office or show the faces behind the brand… get creative! What’s even better, if people see something they enjoy on your story, they even have the ability now to reach out and message you directly – just another way to reach new customers and interact one-on-one with them. These stories can even be saved and promoted as highlights on your profile so that your audience can see what’s most important to you as a business. Not to mention, having an active story will naturally put your profile in front of your followers – making you top of mind!
Extra Tricks You May Have Overlooked
One thing that is often found annoying with Instagram is that unless you have enough followers, you are unable to have a clickable link in your posts text. Although it still won’t be clickable, one way to help include a link in your post is by shortening it. By using a service such as Bitly, you can even track how many people are actually going to your URL via the shortened link you specifically included in your post. Plus, it makes it cleaner in your text, and allows users to copy and paste it quicker.
It sounds so simple, but remember that Instagram is first and foremost a mobile-app and was created for photographers. Meaning, take pride in what you post (if that means using an actual camera, and not your phone – then go for it!). Don’t be afraid to be a little picky when it comes to photos you’re willing to post – clarity and choice speaks volumes about your brand.