The Instagram tips that EVERY small business should be using.
Social media has grown at a ridiculous rate in the last year, and many small business owners have been left feeling behind and out of touch. Don’t fear – you’re not alone. As my full time job is now social media, I’d love to share a few tips with you that I’ve picked up, particularly on Instagram.
A lot of businesses underestimate the incredible impact that Instagram can have. They see it as just a image site, where people only look at images. Little do they know, Instagram is now one of the most successful social media platforms for small businesses and brand awareness.
Instagram allows you to build a beautiful, visual portfolio for your business with unlimited creativity. It’s important to remember that Instagram posts may not always translate into sales, but if you can garner a strong following it will always lead to strong brand awareness which will then naturally transform into sales in the long term. Here are my top tips for building your Instagram following:
Switch to a Business Account
The first step (if you haven’t already) is to switch your account from a personal account to a business account. You’ll need to update your Instagram app first, and then go into settings and press the switch button. If you’re having trouble finding it, check out this visual guide HERE. When you switch over, a few things happen. You’ll give anyone who checks out your Instagram instant access to contact you. It means you won’t have to waste your precious bio space listing your email or work address, as they can just click the CONTACT button and go from there. It also means you’ll gain access to your own Insta analytics… which is PRICELESS!
Use the Analytics
You’ve got access to them… but now what? The analytics will let you see exactly what post got the most reach & engagement, and from there you can begin to track what goes well and what doesn’t. Maybe your followers react really well to funny quotes, but not so well to product shots? Whatever it is, make sure you keep an eye on what is doing the best. The other great factor about the analytics is that Instagram has taken the guessing game out of when to post… it literally gives you a chart of when your followers are most engaged and the best time to post. All I can say is USE IT!
I’ve worked with a few small businesses and helped to implement their social strategies now, and the most popular question is always – ‘What are hashtags and how the heck do I use them?!’. In simple terms, hashtags are words that you’d associate with your post. So if you posted a photo of you at the beach, you’d instantly be inclined to use the hashtags #beach #sun #beachtime etc. There’s a few tricks with hashtags that you can begin to implement NOW. Make sure your hashtags really relate to your pic so you can begin to target your niche audience. If you’re running a swimwear company, don’t begin to use super generic tags like #cute or #girls – use tags that people will search like #swimwear or #sydneyswimwear etc. The more niche your tags are, the more likely you’ll appear on the popular page for hashtags. There is SO much more I’d love to talk about on hashtags, and if you’re interested have a look HERE for some more hashtag guidance.
Have a think to yourself, who do you follow on Instagram, and why? 99% of the time, it’s because they’re engaging. What they post is interesting, they comment back to other people’s comments and they post consistently. If someone comments on your post, ALWAYS comment back to them. I always make the point that if someone comments on my post, I will click onto their page and return the favour. It makes that person more likely to keep engaging on your posts. More engagement = new algorithm love. The trick is to get as much engagement as you can in the first hour of your post, which we do by engaging on people with similar hashtags that have just posted around the same time as we have.
Quality & Consistency
If someone likes your post on Instagram, you’re likely to go visit their page and have a stickybeak. It is within those first 5 seconds of someone clicking on to your Instagram post that they’re going to decide whether to follow you or not. This is why it is so important to have beautiful, curated content that is relevant to your niche. It’s great if you’re posting three times a day, but if those posts are crappy IPhone shots with bad lighting and shaky hands, they won’t get as much engagement. Also, although it may be tempting, do not post sporadically. Note your highest engagement time from your analytics, and only post at these times a certain number of times per day or week. The new algorithm is more likely to show your posts to your followers if your posts are consistent and are always receiving high engagement.
There is SO much more to Instagram, but these are the first few steps for any small business (or anyone really) that is trying to build an engaged Instagram following. What would you like to know more about? I’d love to hear your thoughts and remember to follow me on Instagram @eatwithelle to learn more.