Love it or hate it, Instagram is having its moment right now. With over 1 billion active users Instagram is a social media marketing gold mine. It feeds our desire for constant content in terms of photos, videos, and text with regular posts, Insta-stories, and now IGTV.
And although Instagram is powerful, it is NOT a magic pill to fix your marketing needs. It is a platform that needs to be used with care and taken with a grain of salt. It’s so easy to overthink followers, hashtags, your feed and when you do get caught up with those details you forget the true purpose of the platform: to connect and build relationships.
At the end of the day, what happens to and with the platform is out of our control. The algorithms will change. The best times or how often to post will change. Hashtags will change. But you know what will always stay the same? The desire to connect and build real relationships.
Oh and let’s talk about followers! Here’s a simple analogy: just like losing 10 pounds will not automatically make you confident and healthy, gaining 10K followers will not make your business automatically profitable. Your business first needs a strong purpose, a targeted audience, and a clear offering.
Here are three questions you must ask yourself if you are looking to use Instagram for your business:
- What is my intent with this platform? Is it to merely entertain or do you want to sell a product/service?
- Who am I speaking to? Again, if you don’t have a targeted audience, your message will get lost with the noise.
- How will I make money? I know sponsorships is a popular way to monetize Instagram but there are so many possibilities! Brainstorm a few ways that will work for your business!
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s chat about how you can use Instagram to effectively engage your audience that will help you sell!
Instagram Tips & Tricks:
Instagram is a visual platform which means the photos do matter. But people are looking past a curated feed. Crisp, bright photos are generally preferred but don’t forget to add personality! Humans are emotional beings which means we react positively to pictures that evoke an emotion. You’ll see that pictures of yourself, relationships, and ever certain food (because I know many of us have a strong emotional attachment to food) will perform better than a flat-lay or a quote.
However, storytelling is what actually converts. Most people will stop at the picture, but the small percentage that really cares about you and your brand will read your caption. Focus on this 1% and create a caption that tells a story. Stories don’t only have to be shared through written-word. Luckily, Instagram now has 3 different ways to share stories through video.
Speaking of video, it’s pretty damn powerful! Use Insta-stories to give your audience a behind-the-scenes reel into your life. This does not have to be curated like your feed. Live videos are great to keep your brand top-of-mind (users get a push notification when you go live). You can also great engaging conversations with Live by adding a friend or two to the stream. IGTV allow you to go even deeper! I would see IGTV as synonymous to YouTube (but perhaps the video quality isn’t as important). Great for how-to’s, deeper stories, and entertainment. However, I think it will still take some time for your audience to catch-on!
The best way to grow your following? Collaborations. Collaborate with other accounts and share value with their audience to attract new, qualified, followers. Always lead with delivering some sort of value whether it’s in the form of inspiration, education, or entertainment!