Instagram is the platform of 2019, and you can make a lot of money with it. Look at those ‘influencers’ that can ask a huge amount for a post. It has some merit for businesses as well, with the right strategy you can reach a lot of potential customers and build an active community.
I often get asked how I stimulated my growth over the years, and it’s actually the result of having patience and a strategy. And now I’ll share some of my tips and tricks with you.
The difference with Facebook
Let’s make this clear: Facebook and Instagram are a completely different thing. On Facebook you can invite people to like you page when they interact with your ad or post, Instagram doesn’t do this.
If you’re just starting with Instagram, there’s one important thing to keep in mind: success lies in a high engagement rate. Interaction is the key to success!
Who is your target group?
Want to set up an instagram account for your business? Great, but don’t just start posting whatever. You have to check if your target group is active on that channel. Research your targets and audience on Instagram.
Usually I’d advice to set up personas, these are visual representations of your target audience. I’ve written an article about this before, you can read it here.
If you know who your target is, you know how to communicate to them. This offers a lot of value and will result in valuable clients.
A clear description
Is your demographic on Instagram? Perfect, now it’s time to set up a strategy for this platform. Make an ‘Instagram’ tab on your marketing calendar so you know which posts have to go up on which days. This saves you a lot of time, because coming up with ideas last minute is a very bad idea.
When setting up your page, a clear description is an important thing. Potential customers only need 10 seconds to realize if you can help them. Mine states the following:
My demographic is primarily made up out of entrepreneurs and bloggers that want to improve their online succes. They’re actively trying to educate themselves about social media and my description tells them what I can offer in an instant.
Content is king
It may be general knowledge, but good content is an absolute must. Switch between personal and commercial posts at times. A business that only focuses on the commercial side will stimulate less interaction and active followers. Show your story and the face behind your business.
I switch between personal photo’s and my services, so my page is always interesting for potential clients.
Specify your style
Of course you want your business to be instantly recognizable, this is done with a clear house style. Keeping the colors and fonts the same, you contribute to the identity of your business and it gives you consistency. My photos are taken with a professional camera and I edit them with Lightroom – to keep the same look & feel to every photo.
I always keep a list of content ideas in my content calendar. Make sure you variate between ideas so your content remains interesting. No inspiration? I’ve written an article with 20 content ideas for your next Instagrampost:littlelouvain.com/en/what-to-post-on-instagram-20-great-
So for example, you can share a behind the scenes look, say something about your employees, share a product, video etc. For a full overview you can read my article on content ideas for your next post.
Posting only once a week? A lot of people will drop out due to inactivity. I post once a day, so people will always see my posts. That way I keep being active and people will follow. You don’t have to post everyday but I’d advice at least 4 times a week or every two days. Maybe you don’t have time to post, if that’s the case you can plan your posts with scheduling tools such as Later.com and Planoly. On Later you can schedule up to 30 posts a month, so enough to post once every day.
These tools are automated and you’ll have more time to focus on your core business. But remember: posting a photo and getting reactions means having to interact and answers questions. As previously stated, the success of Instagram lies in interaction.
Use the right #hashtags
This is one of the most important points but is often used wrongly. As a business you should really do the research into the correct hashtags for your business, so here are a couple of things to consider:
- Where is your target audience located? Belgium or the Netherlands or world wide? If you’re looking for several clients in Belgium or the Netherlands I’d advice to mainly use Dutch hashtags. I tend to focus on international businesses as well, so I switch hashtags often.
- What sort of a product or service are you offering? Search for hashtags that are directly linked to your topic
- Check out your competitors, what hashtags are they using?
- When you click on a hashtag you can see how often this one is used. If it’s used a lot, your message will just disappear in the mass of other posts. But if it’s hardly used at all you won’t reach enough people. Try looking for that middle ground.
- You can view your photographs statistics: how many people have found your photo using your hashtag?
Like pictures with a specific hashtag or in a specific niche
This is one of the most important tips for growth on Instagram: check your relevant hashtags and like photos of others using this hashtag. When they see you reacting on their pictures they’ll most likely check out your profile.
Competition analysis is another option, check out what types of people are responding on these photos. They’re usually interested in the subject as a whole.
Like and respond to comments
Instagram’s algorithm analyses the amount of responses on your photos. The faster you get responses on a new photo, the better. It also takes the relevance and quality of the responses into account, that’s why interaction is so important. Whenever you get a new comment, I’d advise you to respond to it as quickly as you can and check out their profiles. That’s how you get an active community going.
Often forgotten, but still important: geotags. When you add your locations to your photos you can reach a much wider audience. I’d recommend you to start using geotags and hashtags with your photos!
Buying followers and likes?
I often get asked if I’ve bought followers or likes. But honestly: if I had bought some, I’d have around a million right now :-). No I haven’t bought any because I think it’s just a wrong thing to do. Instagram takes notice of these types of practices and will take action. So fewer people will end up seeing your posts.
Delete spam accounts
It’s estimated that you only reach about 10% of your followers due to the algorithm. Which is extremely low. Unfortunately Instagram has a lot of spam account, profiles that don’t interact. Quality is better than quantity, you should block these accounts and delete them as they can influence your statistics. Nearly everyone has a few of these in their followers list, I just block them so I only reach those interested in my posts.
My organic growth started with interaction and patience. Obviously there’s somewhat of a strategy behind it and to be honest, slow growth is better that dishonest but fast growth to me. So, my dearest reader, please don’t buy followers as they don’t offer you any value for your business or channel.
You can also read my other articles over here:http://www.littlelouvain.com/en/topics/