How to use Instagram to grow your business
How to gain Instagram followers for business
Instagram has over 1.9 million users in Singapore where 77% of the population are on social media. Instagram also has the highest engagement figures as compared to any other social media platform. With over 800 million users worldwide, Instagram has become a platform for businesses to gain customers. There is no one definitive strategy to gain sales from Instagram. If you do a quick search about “Instagram for businesses” online, you’ll find many articles about how Instagram is great for business, filled with statistics and compelling figures as to why you should use Instagram.
But you already know that. How can you increase engagement and gain valuable followers on Instagram?
When running a business account, understand that Instagram is not a gallery. Anything that you upload on Instagram is an advertisement. You want people to like your pictures and follow your account. More importantly, you want people to find out more about your brand and make a purchase in the future.
As a business, you need to understand your target audience. This may seem like an obvious start. When you create your business, you always look at your target audience and create products and services for them. This is the exact same process for Instagram. If you haven’t yet created your Instagram account, you need to first identify the type of people that you are targeting on Instagram. You need to understand what it is that your audience likes and what they would share on their own personal Instagram.
The easiest way to do this is to search for hashtags that they might use. If you are a business that provides Photobooth services, you might search hashtags like #photobooth or #weddingphotobooth. When you search for hashtags, you can see the most popular pictures attached to the hashtag. Every industry has popular hashtags. Find these hashtags, look at the people interacting with these hashtags and profile them. Find out what kind of pictures they are posting, their likes and dislikes, their interests etc. Every single bit of information that you can get on your target audience is important. Do not discount anything.
People like pictures because they gain some value from it. As a business, you need to be able to list down what this value is. Once you have identified your target audience, you need to list down what kind of content they will gain value from. The Circles.life Instagram account is a great example of this. This is a company that does not have any brick and mortar store. They recognise that their target audience would want to know why they should use their service and when they have roadshows. Therefore, they publish convincing content as to why people should use their service and when their roadshows are happening. This is value for the audience.
Businesses need to make a list of content that they can make that will provide value to their target audience. If you have done step 1 right, this step is easy enough. Based on what your audience’s likes, dislikes and interests, you can create content that’s relevant to them. Tell your brand’s story through videos and images and make sure you always keep the value of the audience in mind. Your audience must gain value out of everything that you post.
Captions are equally as important if not more then your picture or video that you post. Captions must be compelling enough to make sure your audience will want to continue reading the rest of the content. Try to make it witty and funny if that fits in with your brand image.
Instagram is also full of trends. From the running man challenge to the backpack dance, trends appear all the time. Always keep a lookout for the current trends and create posts around these trends if they fit in with your brand image.
Pushing out content
Your content can be pushed out in 2 ways. Remember the hashtags that you searched for in the first step? Use these hashtags in your images. The audience that you are targeting are users of these hashtags, so you should also include these hashtags in your content. Every Instagram trend has a hashtag attached to it. Creating content in line with popular trends can help your brand gain awareness as well.
Instagram ads are also an excellent way to push content to your target audience. Remember that audience profile you created? You can make profiles like that for your Instagram ads. Customize your audience as much as you can so you hit the right audience and push content that they will likely enjoy through ads. Audience profile can make or break an Instagram campaign. Before you run ads on Instagram, ensure that content in your profile will provide value to them. If your audience clicks on your profile through your ad and finds nothing else of value to them, they are not likely to like anything or follow you. This leads to wasted budget and effort. This is where many companies struggle because they spend money on ads but get no results.
When you start this Instagram journey, you will want to interact with people and other businesses. Search for hashtags that are popular in your industry and hashtags that your audience are using. Comment on as many top posts as you possibly can and like a few pictures. If you like their posts, they are going to feel the need to click on your profile and find out who you are. When they find content that is of value to them, they are more likely to return the favour and give you a like and follow as well
As you gain more likes and follows through your efforts, you are going to get more interactions on posts. Since they have gone through all that effort to like your picture and leave a comment, it is only right that you reply to it. This is especially important in the beginning stages. If you only receive 5 to 10 comments, it doesn’t take very long to reply to them. However, as this gets bigger and you start to have more than 100 comments per post then it becomes harder to respond to them all. That does not mean that you should not make an effort to reply to comments. Reply to as many comments as you possibly can.
Place your website information in your bio. Once people start coming into your profile, they will likely want to visit your website as well. Placing your website in your bio is the easiest way for your audience to reach your website
You can consider creating content that requires your audience to communicate with you. One way is to create your own hashtag. However, this idea might only take when you are more recognised. Apple uses the hashtag #shotoniPhone to encourage their audience to communicate with them. Any time a user tags your brand or uses a hashtag that you created, it is communication with the brand.
Once you begin doing these things, your numbers are likely to increase. However, remember that social media is a long-term game. Give it time to see the changes. It might take you a few months or even up to a year. Don’t give up just because you don’t see any improvements overnight. Doing these steps will help you to create better content. With better content, comes improvements in followers.