Instagram is one of the top social media platforms for photo sharing and now advertising for brands. That’s over half a billion active users who could help build your brand. So why are you not taking advantage of that with your online business? We’ll show you how to get the results you deserve and drive new customers to your online business.
Learn How to #Hashtag
If you use Twitter regularly, then you probably already understand the basics of the hashtag (#). It’s an identifier that can help group your photos into trending categories, which can ultimately get your photos viewed more by potential customers. There are a few basic rules for working it on Instagram with the use of hashtags.
- It must be written as a single word without any spaces. (#cupcakemania)
- Numbers are acceptable, but special characters are not. (#cupcakemania2016)
- You can use emojis as well as text.
- Users can search for photos with certain hashtags using Instagram's search feature.
- If you wish to engage with different types of followers, put your hashtags in the comments section, wait a few hours or a few days and replace those tags with a new set to stay relevant.
One of the best ways to choose hashtags for your photos is to use relevant keywords, use between 5 and 10 hashtags per photo, and avoid adding hashtags like #tagforlikes, which can make your brand look bad. If you do use between 12 and 30 tags, put them in the comments section so you aren't bombarding possible clients with a wordy caption. If you use a hashtag that has been used over one million times, it will be lost or hard to find. Be sure to make the caption about your followers, while you promote yourself, your company, or your brand.
Hashtags are essentially a way of categorizing your content and allowing it to be easily discovered by people searching for content on that topic.
While Facebook and Twitter are mostly text-based social apps, Instagram is all about photography. As such, make sure that you use high-quality and high-resolution photos that are completely relevant to your brand, industry, or niche. What’s more, every photo you post should elicit some sort of emotion by telling a story. Finally, although there are dozens of photo filters to choose from, it is important to avoid using any filters that may seem unprofessional. For example, a black-and-white filter can offer a quality look and feel, but sparkles and glitter may not.
By allowing businesses to use photo and video clips to share advertisements, Instagram is helping to build intimacy with potential customers. Getting your brand out there is just the start. Once you post captivating and charming photos, users will want to see more of your photos, your profile, your website, and ultimately your calendar to sign up for a class or event.
Need more help? Try out Canva to enhance your businesses posts.
Instagram stories are similar to Snapchat stories. They last 24 hours, but will not be posted on your profile. Instead stories will be located at the top of your newsfeed.
Although stories expire in 24 hours, you can save them or use them in a direct message for later use. If you want to upload a photo from your camera roll to your Instagram story, you are only allowed to post a photo or video taken within the last 24 hours. You can screenshot or redownload a video if you wish to share something from a previous day.
How to create a new story:
- From the Instagram home screen, swipe right or tap the camera button in the top left-hand corner of the screen to access the Instagram Stories camera
- The camera screen will appear with several options: Live, Normal, Boomerang, and Hands-Free
- You have the option of using flash and switching between your front and rear-facing camera
- Once you’ve captured a photo, video, or Boomerang, take advantage of the fun features like adding filters, typing text, drawing doodles, and choosing stickers to enhance your creation
- Tap the encircled "+" button in the lower left-hand corner that reads “Your story” to post the content straight to your Story
Tagging brands and people creates more engagement. 1 in 5 Instagram stories get a direct message from viewers interacting with brands. Create intriguing call-to-actions to lead your followers to your calendar, a listing, or class.
In order to drive sales, you can show your product in action, offer exclusive promos, and announce a new event on your Instagram story. Make sure you are being consistent by staying on brand with colors and logos. Ask questions in your stories to engage your followers, ask them what they think of a certain class or event, then reward them with something (new class info, coupon codes, etc). If you are starting a new class or event, share it on your story first and more customers will be inclined to start following you in order to be in the know about new information.
Consider Offering Coupon Codes or Contests
Because Instagram is visual, it affords you an outstanding opportunity to create graphics that promote coupon codes. You can use any variety of tools for this, but in order to accurately track your conversions, make sure you’re using a code that is Instagram-specific. Through Occasion we can help you create coupons, gift cards, vouchers, and daily deals so you can attract more followers.
Everyone loves a great contest, and there’s nothing quite like competing with others for a prize – no matter how small. The best type of contest is one in which you’ll ask your followers to take photos of their own, whether they’re using a product you sell or demonstrating the results of a service. First, choose the prize that you’ll give the winner, whether it’s a free trial, a chance to win cash, a gift card, or even a special incentive. Next, pick a unique hashtag that is relevant to your campaign and industry, but not in use elsewhere. It’s best if you have a theme for your contest, so choose one that fits the season, your industry, and your demographic. Finally, display all of the photos and choose the winner.
Engaging with customers is one of the best things a brand can do so they are more inclined to continue following them.
Include Link to Occasion Calendar in Your Bio
By adding a link in your profile, your followers will have easy access to your calendar or listings.
Adding a link to your profile:
- Launch the Instagram app on your device and then tap the "Profile" button in the lower right-hand corner of the app.
- Tap "Edit your profile" and then tap the "Website" field.
- Type or paste your Occasion calendar link into the "Website" box and tap the "Save" button near the bottom of the page. The link appears on your profile immediately.
Take it to the next level by using shortened URLs in order to track how many people are viewing what post. Instagram launched business profiles in 2016. Perks include: a profile call-to-action, access to insights (knowing how many visitors/clicks per post), and the ability to run ads.
How to upgrade from a personal account to a business profile account:
- Go to your profile
- Tap the gear icon on iOS or the three dots on Android to go to Options
- Select "Switch to Business Profile"
- Tap "Continue" at the bottom of the screen
- Instagram will ask you to connect your Facebook account
- Once you’ve chosen the Facebook Page you want to connect, fill in the information requested by Instagram
- Tap "Done" to save your profile settings
Instagram is one of the best and most visual ways to market your business, no matter how large or small it appears. Don’t forget to add your links from your Instagram profile to your website and Facebook, and remind your users to follow you.