While it's still something of the new kid on the block for marketing through social media, momentum is really starting to build and more people are doing business on Instagram. With 14 million UK users and 300 million worldwide users, Instagram is really taking hold, which is not a surprise when you realise it's owned by Facebook. Having said that, it's quite different to Facebook in that it's far more visual, the whole emphasis being on images, short 15 second videos and hashtags, up to 30 if you want.
With no links on the posts themselves, you'll have to be very shrewd when marketing your business on Instagram. With this in mind, the most important element to your Instagram strategy other than #hashtags is your 'Bio'. You need to fully utilise the 'Bio' if you want to get more traffic, leads, sales or opt-ins as this is the only place that users can click a link to find out more about what you have to offer. This is your only clickable link on Instagram so make it count.
Choosing your username
Your 'username' wants to be strong, memorable and consistent with your branding, and needs adding to every image you post.
Creating an impactful bio
With a 150 character limit, you need to make each character count. Put the key benefits of your product or services here. Make it short, punchy and include bullet points or relevant emoticons to point people to your call to action with a link to wherever you want your traffic to go to. If your url is too long or looks unsightly use either bit.ly or PrettyLink to shorten the link to make it look more visually appealing and by using a link shortener you can also track your responses.
When you are composing your 'Bio' text you want it to line up and look good. To do this don't type directly into the 'Bio' itself this causes spacing issues, simply compose it in 'Notepad' then copy and paste back into the 'Bio'.
Instagram is all about hashtags - they are not optional, they are a must! By using hashtags, you give yourself the greatest possible opportunity of getting found. If you don't use hashtags, you'll lose around 10% engagement per post you make. Post the hashtags in the 'Comments' section, not the 'Caption' section to avoid spamming your users.
A great app to use for creating quick and simple content on an iPhone is Typorama or for Android users you can use Phonto. Create images that back up what you are promoting, for example if you're into health and fitness create images that showcase that industry. If you're into fashion use images that ooze fashions statements. Know your audience, what excites them, what do they like, what do they feel is valuable to them and create content/images that trigger emotions.
As with most social media platforms quotes work well, whether you love them or hate them, they work. They are easy to create and are very shareable and create emotion. Tips of any description are also popular and work well and you can design images based around the tips you are providing.
To grow quickly on Instagram, search for people following other businesses like yours then follow their followers. 10-20% of those you follow will follow you back. Once they have followed you, unfollow them, allowing around 7 days for them to follow you. You’ll end up with lots of followers but you’ll only be following a few! Instagram allows you to follow up to 50 followers per hour with a max of 400 actions per day, i.e. you follow 200 people per day and unfollow 200 people per day.
As with most marketing on social media, it's all about giving, giving, giving and then you take. Add non promotional images time and time again and then drop a promotional one in every now and again asking for the sale and re-direct them back to the link in your 'Bio'.
How to increase engagement
Consistently post 2-3 times each day to begin with. The top and bottom is, the more you post the faster you'll grow.
Turning followers into leads and sales
This is the most important part of Instagram for business. Your ’Bio’ should link to a lead capture page or a page on your website with an offer. You cannot post links in your posts but you can add text onto your image with a 'call to action.' For example, 'Get Our Latest Juice Product - (link in bio).' This will direct more users to your ‘Bio’ to click the link to get the offer.
Track your progress
Use a free app called ‘Social Blade’. Monitor your daily following/follower rate for proof that the more you post, the more interaction you’ll get and the more your daily followers increase.
Finally, if you want to be successful with marketing through social media, make sure you comment and like other images. Engage with your community on your page and reply to all comments. Engage with users on other pages and reply back. Most of all ensure you post consistently at least 2-3 times each day to begin with and increase that as you get more familiar with the platform.
Want more social media advice? Then download our free guide to social media advertising.