How to increase your sales and reach through Instagram
Instagram is a social media platform that draws heavily on visuals. You lead with an image and follow with a caption. Users scroll down through their feed seeing content posted by the accounts they follow in addition to some paid advertising (interesting fact: Instagram ad revenue is expected to reach $7 billion in 2018). While it is often thought of as a “young” social media platform, the penetration of this platform across the world is making it a “must-use” tool for businesses small and large.
So, how do you stand out on this platform and attract followers and sales? Continue reading for 5 proven ways to see results.
Who is using Instagram?
More than 800 million people are active monthly users of Instagram. And experts believe that 2018 may be the year that sees this number climb to one billion (yes, you read that correctly)! More than 500 million users look at Instagram every day. Every. Day.
But it’s not just the quantity of people that makes Instagram so intoxicating. The Instagram audience is known to shop – they are comfortable with online selling and spend time interacting with their choice brands online. According to Instagram, 80% of accounts follow a business online. Instagram users are primed and ready to meet new businesses and see new products through this platform.
Here’s one more stat for you: In the US, 71% of businesses are on Instagram, and in Canada, more than half of small-to-medium businesses are better positioned because of Instagram. If you aren’t one of these businesses, now is the time to grab life by the picture and start showing your current and potential customers what you’ve got.
How do I promote my business on Instagram?
Use your bio wisely – Did you know there is only one place on your Instagram account that is a direct link? It’s not in your image or in your caption. The only place to directly link is in your bio. Make sure you include a link to your website and be strategic about where on your site you direct people. Depending on the nature of your business, you may want to link to your homepage, directly to your shopping platform, or you may want to update the link frequently to direct to your most recent blog post.
Don’t stop at your link. Make sure you include an informative and catchy intro to your business. Look at how other business like yours demonstrate what they do and who they are in only a sentence!
Post visually captivating content – Did you know that the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text? And that 93% of communication is visual? Make sure you are speaking the “Instagram language” with high-quality, engaging images. When choosing and setting up pictures for your account, ensure they are professional-looking and relevant to your business. Fortunately, you can get professional quality pictures using your phone these days. Take the time to learn how to light your pictures properly and spend a few dollars on an editing app. Neil Patel has some great information on colours, lighting, blocking, and sizing that will help get you started.
Here are some interesting tidbits: • Images with faces in them get 38% more likes. Don’t just feature pictures of your products or beautiful scenery. Grab the team for a group shot or take some candid pictures of the people who make your products. • Using a consistent filter helps build the branding of your images. 60% of the top brands on Instagram use this tip!
80/20 rule of promotion – Gary Vaynerchunk writes about the 80/20 rule in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. The premise is that 80% of the content you generate should enhance your viewer’s experience (through things that engage, educate or enlighten) and only 20% of it should be directly promotional. Why? People stop responding to the constant product push. You need the other 80% to build your brand, your customer loyalty, and interest in your business. The catch here is that the non-promotional content you post should be related to your business in some way so that followers aren’t confused by your account. Think of each post as an insight into who your business is and what you stand for.
Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag (and do it strategically) – Hashtags aren’t just a misappropriation of what was previously referred to as the “number sign”. They are a method for organizing content and help extend the life of your Instagram post by making it searchable. People can search for content using hashtags and can also use them to be a part of bigger conversations (such as trending hashtags). When choosing hashtags, brainstorm keywords that relate to the image and your business. Find a balance between popular and trending hashtags, hashtags you create yourself, and informative hashtags. Leverage apps like Iconosquare to help determine which hashtags to use.
Tip: Instead of cluttering your precious caption space with hashtags, include space between your caption and the hashtag by using the ‘enter’ key or put your hashtags in a comment.
Use your caption wisely – When you look at a post on Instagram, what do you see? You see a square image and one or two short sentences underneath followed by a “more” link to expand the caption. This means you have around 10 words to hook your viewer into reading more or engaging with your post. Lead with your most interesting and relevant information. Depending on the post, this might be an explanation of the image, an announcement about your product, or a catchy tagline. Take a look at our account to see how we use this valuable space.
Looking for more information on how to make social media work for you? Read our post on Facebook pages.