Claire Saxton’s Social Media Basics – Instagram

A lot of people are confused when it comes to using Instagram to promote their business.

Visual-based social media can be tricky for marketing purposes, but it’s not impossible, and Instagram is particularly useful for building a rapport with your target audience.

So, let’s delve into the basics of Instagram and how you can start using it today for your small business.

Pay attention to your profile

Picture of a laptop with the Instagram log in screen ready for some social media marketingYou might not be able to say very much in your profile, but filling it out correctly and making sure that it’s a business account is the best approach to be taking here.

With Instagram, there’s some debate over using your business logo and brand for the profile, or yourself as an individual. I would always recommend using a photo of you and your personal details unless you have an e-commerce store or your brand is well known already.

It’s important to remember that people do business with people, and that’s one of the key reasons why social media marketing works so well.

Do make sure your website is on there, and write a bio that not only captures interest quickly but is on brand with your other social media profiles. Remember that consistency is critical when it comes to social media marketing.

Your profile should succinctly explain what you do, how people can find you and showcase a little of your personality.

Instagram is about quantity rather than quality

Your aim isn’t to get tons of new followers.

Don’t get me wrong, followers are always lovely, but 10,000 followers that don’t interact or buy from you aren’t going to do much for your business.

The reality is that you need to focus on a small tribe of people that you can build trust with and engage with one to one.

“Tribe” is definitely the right word here – you’re wanting to create a micro-community of followers that are genuinely interested in you and supportive of what you do.

When you have that tribe in place, and others can see the engagement and interaction you have taking place on your Instagram posts, it’s a fantastic boost to your credibility as a business owner and generates the interest you need to convert passers-by into clients.

Start with your own customers

An ideal customer using InstagramIf your customers are on Instagram, then engage with them and encourage them to join your tribe.

Interact with their posts where it’s appropriate to do so, if you’re a b2c business it’s best to avoid personal and opinionated posts, but if you’re b2b then some mutual engagement is often appreciated.

Do ask your customers to follow you on Instagram – highlight this in your mailing list, invoices, email signature, etc. Just a simple reminder that you’re there and maybe a small incentive to get the ball rolling can be enough to begin building your tribe.

Identify your audience through the right hashtags

Hashtags are a funny thing on Instagram, where the recommended number is 7 – 12 each post rather than the 1 or 2 you’re used to using on Twitter.

Choosing the right hashtags to use for your posts is something of a fine art and is definitely a balancing act in terms of numbers. The hashtags with higher numbers might seem like an obvious choice, but if everyone’s using them, your post can easily get lost.

Aim for a balance of popular hashtags and those with smaller numbers that are more focused on your niche and likely to be used by your target audience.

It’s a good idea to add in some location specific hashtags now and then too, to make sure people know where you’re based and the community you belong to.

Carefully consider your Instagram content

A Derby based business owner posting a new update to InstagramA lot of business owners I talk to have no idea what they can post on Instagram to promote what they do. Here’s a hint, it doesn’t have to be photos of products.

The good news is that there’s a wide range of content you can publish, yes, even if you’re a service based business.

If you can’t post a product, focus on the solution you provide. This can be happy customers, tips and how-tos for problems your target audience have, short video testimonials reinforcing how you’ve made your customers feel, etc.

Go behind the scenes and post content of you hard at work, your office, your “company” cat or dog, etc. Let your personality shine through and remind people of the person at the heart of your business.

Don’t be afraid to tap into seasonal holidays, appreciation and awareness days or even events that are personal to you.

Your images don’t have to be perfectly beautiful either. Sometimes “keeping it real” hits the right chord with your audience over filtered and manipulated images that may look great but aren’t authentic.

Consistently engage with your audience

Posting regularly and interacting with your tribe is the key to successful social media marketing with Instagram.

I’m not saying that you need to be constantly by your phone waiting for an alert 24 hours a day, but do make sure you check in before you clock off for the day and reply to any comments, tags and interesting posts in your feed.

Consistently being active on Instagram, as with any social media channel, is the best way to build a tribe of followers that support what you do and provide the credibility and reputation you’re looking for.

If you want to find out more about Instagram and how it can specifically help your business, get in touch with me today for a consultation, I can help you with training, strategy or manage your Instagram account for you.

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