One billion connections in the palm of your hand. That’s the power of Instagram. It’s no wonder big companies invest so much time into super sleek mobile content.
But you don’t have to be a big player to get into the content-sharing game. Small businesses everywhere are utilising the social media platform to reach new audiences and drive sales.
Whether it’s with clever captions, perfect pictures or dynamic demo videos, here's 12 top tips to attract new audiences and drive sales:
1. Create a business account
Let Instagram know you mean business and choose a business account when you set up your page. You’ll be able to run paid ads, see how your content is performing and even make it easier for your customers to contact you.
Starting off with a business account will really help when it comes to establishing your brand offering too. It makes everything look and feel more official, and that’s a great way to build up trust with your customers.
2. Write a killer bio
You get 150 characters to tell your audience everything they need to know about your business. Use it wisely. It’s one of the first things potential customers will see when they visit your page, so your bio needs to be razor-sharp to really get the message across.
And make sure you include a link to your website, it’ll help drive traffic and sales.
3. Keep your bio updated
Once you’ve got your bio sorted, it’s tempting to think that’s job done. But it’s important to keep it updated – especially if you have a sale or a new product you want to shout about.
Since you can’t put links in your posts, use the bio space to add new links which promote new features of your business.
4. Establish a look and feel for your page
Everyone knows that Instagram is all about the visuals, so it helps if you have a great product you can photograph.
Even if you don’t, you can still keep things looking fresh by sticking to your brand colours and using the same font styles throughout. This will really help establish your business and build up that brand recognition.
5. Use a recognisable profile pic
Potential customers should instantly recognise your business from your profile picture. It’s best to choose your company logo or logomark (which is your logo without any words). If you have a recognisable mascot, you could try using that too.
If you want your posts to start showing up in Instagram’s search function, you’ll need to start using hashtags. It’s the quickest way to get your content seen and increase your reach to potential customers.
Using hashtags that are trending really helps. A lot of companies make the mistake of creating a unique hashtag, but if you’re not a big business, chances are not many people will see it.
Try creating content that links to popular hashtags. That way you’ll have a reason to post, and your work will stand a better chance of being seen in the Trending Tags section of Instagram.
7. Write captions that cut through the noise
Captions are a great way to set the tone of your page. You’ll notice some businesses accompany their visual content with either long-form copy, or short, sharp headlines. You could even switch things up and try both.
Just make sure your tone stays consistent throughout. Think about how you want to talk to your customers and use that to keep your brand’s voice the same in all of your posts.
8. Tell some tales with Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are usually a little more adhoc than the content that appears on your main grid. That’s because they’re only viewable for 24 hours.
Usually, small businesses don’t utilise Stories like they should, but there’s a lot to be gained from finding some new and creative ways to showcase your business.
You can even insert a link to your website or products directly from your Stories– so it’s worth looking into.
9. Talk to your customers through comments
Social media is one of the best tools you’ve got to talk directly to your customers. A lot of businesses are guilty of posting content and then forgetting about it.
Delve a little deeper into your comments to have conversations with your customers. Start liking and replying – it’ll really help build up engagement and brand love. It’s also the best place to address any negative feedback and show your customers you really care about their experience.
10. Consistency is key
Publishing frequently keeps your audience coming back, which really helps with your engagement. That’s why it’s important to keep a consistent schedule of when you post.
So what’s the magic number? Studies have shown that most brands post to Instagram daily, so if you really want to get serious about making your business account a success, you’ll need to have a good strategy in place.
11. Use a call to action
This isn’t just a top tip for Instagram, it’s great for sales too. Call to actions help guide customers to the next stage of the sales funnel. So any captions you post should have a call to action to finish things off.
Sadly, you can’t put a link directly into a caption, so businesses tend to tell their audiences to click a link in their bio. Whatever you want people to do when they view your content, make sure they have a clear call to action.
12. Get some inspiration from the big dogs
There’s no shame in having a little look at what the global brands of Instagram are doing. A lot of small businesses take inspiration from bigger companies and adapt their content to work for them.
Whether it’s through competitions, Stories or creative content on the grid, it’s worth taking a look at what others are doing to help freshen up your page.
Bonus tip: have fun and stick at it
Instagram is the perfect place for up and coming businesses to drive sales and increase brand love and loyalty. But it takes some time and effort to raise that follower count. Just keep it creative, test new ideas and try to have some fun.