I have always had a love-hate relationship with Instagram. At first I never tapped into how I could use it for my brand. I would post random photos of my lunch, train journey or view from my office. I never really thought about how I could use it as a space to grow my brand and business. I just loved it as the visual platform it was.
As a result, I DEFINITELY missed out on that wave of notoriety and metaphoric growth on Instagram.
As a blogger for over 10 years I do kick myself a bit about that one a bit!
If I had jumped on that bandwagon a bit sooner things might have been a bit different. But, hey ho, things happen for a reason, right?
However, whilst there are many frustrations about Instagram and how it has developed and grown as a place for businesses to connect with their audiences, I do still love it! And I do definitely believe that it is a place where you can grow your biz!
Whilst that might seem easy for me to say that as someone who (finally! This was my goal for a LONG time!) sits with over 10k followers, that milestone was still a little underwhelming if I am honest.
Now, I am less about counting those followers and more about using the platform to create a space that is more aligned with who I am and what my business is about.
However, I do know that, whilst you might be perfectly happy using Instagram as a place for personal reflections and something for others to enjoy, many of you do want to use Instagram to drive sales, convert followers to customers and bring in new clients.
So, let me walk you through some of my steps for how to use Instagram for business…
How to optimise your instagram bio
However people find you on Instagram, they will land at the bio. It is so important that you grab their attention and demonstrate who you are and how you can add value to that potential customer. There will be a whole range of things that happen in a person’s brain in that split second that will dictate whether they hit follow or bounce off, so make sure they want to stick with you!
Make sure that your name reflects who you are and what you do
Add in some key words so that if someone searches there is a greater chance that they will find you!
Include your USP
How are YOU serving that follower in 2 or 3 ways?
Share your results
Give some clout to what you do by sharing the impact you have had on others.
Don’t forget that CTA and add the all important link
Make it exciting and enticing. Change it if you need to and don’t forget that a link to your own landing page or website will always be better. Revisit this and refresh it as often as you need to!
Ways to use your grid to reflect your brand identity
When you head to someone’s Instagram profile you will see their profile, bio, highlights and probably the six most recent images. Make sure that these six images consistently reflect what you have said in your bio as, even if the rest of your grid is AMAZING, it is unlikely that anyone will scroll beyond these six if they don’t reflect your brand vision, values or voice.
Do they reflect your brand aesthetically using your brand colours and imagery?
Do they provide the content that your ideal client is looking for?
Do they share the message you are trying to convey?
Know your ideal client inside out
This is key to ANYONE using digital marketing. If you really know your ideal client, then you will always be creating content for them! Whether you are thinking about informative posts, inspirational posts or relatable posts – whatever – if you know what your ideal clients wants, needs, desires as well as what they are struggling with and what their pain points are then you CANNOT go wrong on your grid! Picture that ideal client whenever you create content and, if you do that, you are on to a winner!
Understand the way your audience engages
Whilst Instagram was once all about the likes and comments, now you really want your audience to save and share! Think about it, if your followers choose to save your post or share the content then, great, you have created something that is informative, entertaining or inspiring! Saves are great for the algorithm and give your post a bit of a boost and shares mean that your post will reach a whole new audience!
Remember, is it really worth having 400 likes on a post if no one is buying your products or converting to a client or a customer? Really think about what you are aiming for with each piece of content.
How to create a hashtag strategy
Do you have a hashtag strategy? Or do you simply throw a few on your post that you have seen someone else using? Whilst hashtags may not be as important as they once were, people are still using hashtags as a way of searching for things. They have become much more literal though so it is key you include hashtags that your ideal client is actually searching for!
Most importantly, make them relevant. Otherwise, the Instagram algorithm simply won’t know where to serve your content up. Aim for those hashtags that are popular but not overly saturated – somewhere between 10k and 100k is ideal. Once you get over 500k (and certainly over a million), chances are your post won’t be visible for more than a few seconds.
Always think about the relevance, searchability and size of the hashtag.
Inject your own personality and voice
This is the fun bit! If you are a solopreneur or small business owner, chances are your brand voice is YOU! The way that you create and deliver content is your USP. This is what is going to convert that follower into a lead, a warm lead and then, eventually, a client.
Don’t be afraid to inject a bit of yourself into the grid but keep it relevant. Instead, use your stories as a way to share your lifestyle, daily routine or life behind the scenes.
Always create focused captions
When it comes to writing a caption, mix it up a bit. Sometimes you might want to share your thoughts in a mini-blog style whilst other times you should make it all about that CTA. It is always important to think about what you want your audience to DO. Do you want them to reply? Or, do you want them to head to your website? Do you want them to save and share? Be specific and focus on just one thing for each caption.
But, don’t be disheartened if it’s tumbleweed! It happens to the best of us!
However, if someone does go to the trouble of commenting, be sure to reply!
Use Instagram stories to start conversations
Stories are a great conversation starter! I love stories as a form of market research and finding out what my followers or ideal client wants or needs. Use all of the engagement tools like polls and questions as a way to hear from your audience.
Use Instagram reels to improve your reach
Instagram loves reels! The algorithm seems to push mine to the explore page much more frequently than any of my grid posts. This makes them a great way for a solopreneur or small business owner to improve their reach. Have fun with them! Get creative! They don’t always have to be about you if you are not someone who is comfortable in front of the camera or be the face of your brand. If you haven’t tried them yet, just give it a go! Instagram is HEAVILY promoting video now which reflects the general move in digital marketing,
And most importantly, enjoy it! Use it as the social tool it is to hang out and get to know your followers. Don’t just focus on the numbers but the quality of those conversations.