Instagram is fast becoming one of the most popular social media sites in the world. Whether you love it or loathe it, as a business there is no hiding from the social media titan – the photo-sharing platform has hit 1 billion monthly active users, overshadowing Twitter, and hot on the heels of partner platform Facebook. But it’s not all about selfies, cute dog pictures and documenting your raucous night out with mates. There are now over 15 million businesses, big and small, utilising Instagram as a sales tool, and 80% of accounts follow a business. However, with new features being introduced every day, it’s difficult to keep track on what you should and should not be doing as a business. Here’s our handy checklist to keep you on your game:
Get Busy With A Business Profile
The very first step to establishing your brand on Instagram is to create a business profile, rather than a standard personal one. The benefits of business profiles are endless, but in essence you get:
- Access to analytics (known as “Insights”) on your demographic, impressions and engagement levels, empowering you with actionable information to review and revise your overall marketing strategy
- Multiple profile buttons for contact information, industry information and a business address, allowing customers to contact you directly from the app
- The ability to run highly targeted and affordable advertising campaigns
The good folks at Instagram have provided a handy step-by-step video guide to creating a business profile so you can get started right now! There’s no excuse.
Link Up Up & Away!
Driving traffic to your sales page is crucial to your Instagram success. Unfortunately Instagram has yet to allow clickable links in the main body of posts, so your best option is to fully optimise the one golden link provided on your business page. Follow these simple steps to ensure your link does not go to waste:
- Change your URL regularly according to your business goal;
- Provide customers with a simple call-to-action in each post to draw attention to your URL (click on link to buy! click on link to read!);
- Utilise third-party apps to turn your Instagram profile into a storefront. Apps like Like2Buy, Like2KnowIt or Soldsie provide shoppable links and image tagging, ultimately driving revenue for your business.
- Use LinkTree allow you to link multiple URLs to your one profile URL.
- Convert all your URLs into Bit.ly links so you can track your traffic.
For businesses that have reached 10k+ followers, don’t forget to insert clickable links into your Instagram Stories!
Create A Content Road Map
Driving sales is all about inspiring your followers to take action, and this will only happen with consistent and compelling content. The first step to great content is the creation of a content road map. This is a content framework that dictates the post theme for each day of the week. It helps to align your Instagram presence with your brand message, and takes the guesswork out of planning. It also allows you to analyze what types of posts are driving the most sales, so you can adjust your sales strategy accordingly.
When planning out your content themes, it’s helpful to remember the rule of thirds:
- A third of your posts should be promotional (directly about your services or product);
- A third should be a resource (in order to demonstrate your expertise and nurture your community);
- A third should be behind-the-scenes posts that give customers a more personal insight into your company culture and values.
Customers value authenticity and emotion over gimmicky one-liners. Build a community of followers who value your uniqueness, and the sales will soon follow.
Think Like A Photographer
Strong, eye-catching photography is the key to increasing followers on Instagram, and subsequently sales. If you can’t hire a professional photographer, then keep these simple tips in mind when curating your visual content:
- Create a consistent colour palette for your profile that aligns with your brand identity. Most followers will check out your entire profile page before they decide to follow you. A powerful aesthetic will win them over.
- Stick to one type of filter to ensure visual consistency. VSCO is a third-party app that offers a host of sophisticated filtering and editing options that go beyond Instagram’s own offering.
- Utilise stock photography when necessary (but always credit the photographer!). UnSplash is a great resource for royalty-free stock photography.
Also, let’s not forget the power of Instagram Stories. Now one third of the most viewed stories on Instagram are from businesses. Stories allow you to reveal a more spontaneous, personal side to your business that boosts your brand authenticity. Get on it!
Hashtag like a Pro
Hashtags are pivotal to your Instagram sales success, as they increase the viral power of your posts. Unlike other platforms, you have the luxury of utilising up to 30 hashtags in your posts to boost searchability. Furthermore, Instagram now has hashtag profiles which is momentous for businesses who want to discover and be discovered. Using certain hashtags like #entrepreneurtips will include you in a highly targeted and curated Instagram profile all of its own. Go forth and hashtag!
The meteoric rise of Instagram for business is no secret. Get on board this social ship or get left behind. It’s a game-changer.
Need to talk about your social media strategy for your business? Get in contact with Jem today.