For a long time, I used Facebook to follow celebrities. I used Facebook to follow just about everyone. Then Twitter took the world by storm and soon it was a race to see if Ashton Kutcher or CNN would get 1 million followers first (I was rooting for Ashton).
Today if you want any celebrity gossip you have to head to Instagram. On a daily basis, you can find photos and captions that spur millions of fans to speculate on hidden meanings and messages. Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Kim K are just a few of the top celebrity influencers with millions of followers.
What Does This Have to Do With Your Business? Everything.
Pop culture controls current trends, and if celebrities are on Instagram then you can rest assured that your customers are as well. In fact, there are over one billion active monthly users on Instagram and 500 million active daily users.
That means your target audience is on Instagram, the trick is to divert their attention away from the latest celebrity scandals and towards your product. I can understand if you feel intimidated but think about all of the small-time influencers that are now making millions a day. That can be your small business.
All you need is a few tips to help you refine your Instagram marketing toolkit.
Maximize the Potential of Your Instagram Profile
We all know how to fill in the Instagram profile form, but a savvy Instagram marketer will take limited space and turn it into a goldmine for their company. Carefully craft your profile information so that it is keyword-optimized and choose a logo for your profile picture that represents your brand. If you don’t have a professional image, get one.
According to Shopify, to use your profile correctly for Instagram marketing you should include clickable profile links, clickable hashtags, and story highlights. See the pattern here? You need to make your profile interactive so that you can engage your target audience.
I like to use a mixture of trending hashtags and product hashtags so customers can instantly find my items. If they are thinking about buying, I don’t want to lose momentum when they search for my brand.
Increase Your Instagram Followers
This may seem obvious, but it is an integral part of your Instagram marketing strategy. If you don’t have followers no one is going to see your posts. You can have awesome consistent content, but you won’t have any potential buyers to convert.
73% of Instagram users follow brands simply because they are interested in them. If you want to get your customers on your Instagram, you have to first snag their eye. I have found a multi-layered approach made up of the following components works best.
- Send Out Emails– Reach out to your current customers and tempt them with exclusive deals and discounts if they follow you on Instagram. A simple email that says, ‘Follow me on Instagram for special promotions’ is all you need.
- Instagram Badges– Create an Instagram badge and place it in a prominent location on your website. If your customers (or potential customers) are interested enough to check out your website they will click through to Instagram.
- Follow Others– Following other people is a great way to get them to follow you back. However, this strategy does not work if you follow random users. I look at people who have profiles that match my product niche to follow. You can also check out your competitors to see who follows them because they probably would like you as well.
Stay Consistent and Regular With Your Instagram Posts
Adding a photo or video to your Instagram account when the mood hits you once or twice a month is not enough to build brand presence. You aren’t going to get any exposure if you are the business equivalent of a lurker on Instagram.
Ideally, your brand is so hot and fresh that you are the first thing that pops in their mind when they need a product or service in your niche. I am not a big fast-food fan, but I know Wendy’s has a savy and snarky social media team. If I do want a quick burger, I will go there just for that. Get your products and content on people’s Instagram so they can form a relationship and connection with your brand.
On the other hand, you don’t want to flood timelines and get written off as the spam of Instagram. You don’t want your business to be that one attention-seeking friend who posts every single life event of her cat. We get it, your cat likes boxes. There is a happy medium that you can obtain by posting once daily. If you have a day that requires more content, utilize your Instagram story, but do us all a favor and make sure the content is actually fresh.
Take Your Instagram Marketing to the Next Level by Going Live
It’s understandable that the idea of going live on Instagram can be intimidating, but it is also one of the top marketing trends of the decade. The first time I went live I overthought every single thing, but now I just talk and reach out to my followers. It will get more natural the more you do it. Channel your inner Lizzo.
Influencers have already figured this out as they regularly choose to go live on Instagram. It’s become so popular, there are even virtual influencers! Customers love to watch live videos because it allows them to connect and engage, and in the new millennium, most followers prefer to look and listen.
While live make sure you reply as customers comment, it’s a golden opportunity to show you value your customer base. If you can’t get to all the comments while live, shout out to them during your live segment. Customers who missed the live video may be encouraged to join next time just so they have the chance to personally talk with you.
Things You Can Do Live:
- Offer a guided tour of your facility/business/office
- Introduce some employees
- Show off your new products
- Host an open-ended Q&A
- Collaborate with another brand
Partner with a Social Influencer
Finally, if your major Instagram marketing issue is exposure, partner with someone that already has it. Social influencers have a dedicated group of followers that they’ve already built trust with.
I can find an influencer for a few hundred dollars with 50K followers that will tout my products. You can’t even buy followers for that price (which you should never do because it doesn’t work to boost conversion rates long term).
Influencers abound on Instagram, so look for one that matches your niche and send them products. It’s a win-win situation for both of you.