It’s no secret that social media is a great place to market your business (for free), but do you know which channels are best for business? For over a decade, I’ve been using social media to market my business, and honestly, Instagram is where I have the most fun and highest conversions. Yes, I have a Facebook page…and a LinkedIn account, but the ‘Gram is my top priority. Using Instagram basically gives me a 5-in-1 platform that lets me find, serve, and connect with my target audience (that would be you!) But will Instagram work for your business? This post is all about getting crystal-clear and figuring out why Instagram is probably the perfect platform for your business.
Before we dive in, I want to be clear here: Instagram is not the perfect fit for everyone. According to HootSuite, 60% of Instagram users are between 18-34, with nearly a 50/50 split between those identifying as male and those identifying as female. Instagram users also like to keep things more on the positive side and mostly shy away for news and “heavy” content. If that sounds like a great match your brand and your target audience, then you’re in the right place!
EXPLORE AND EXPAND
Want to hear an unpopular opinion? The Instagram algorithm is your friend. Yep! I really and truly just said that. When we (i.e. Insta users) engage with content, the algorithm starts showing more of that type of content. This is why my feed is full of is full of big, fluffy dogs and embroidery, and my Explore tab features so many artists creating bright, abstract art. Instagram knows I enjoy and find value in these types of posts, so it shows me more because it knows I’m likely to click on it. The same is true for Stories and Reels. According to our friends at HootSuite, stories ads, especially those shot in vertical format, tend to out perform big-budget ads 63% of the time. See! The algorithm really does love us small businesses. The trick is knowing what your target audience wants to see and tying that into your content.
Of course I have to mentions hashtags. While most of world knows what they are, we tend to forget what they’re for. Hashtags are a search tool and can be quit power when used properly. The key to hashtags is to find the right blend of representation for your brand, products, and services, while keeping mind how your audience would use them as a search tool. Hashtags can also be followed by searchers, so I highly recommend using them in your posts. Try starting with your location (city, state, local area), product or service type, and a fun phrase or two.
CONNECT AND INTERACT
Want to know the secret of life…on social media? It’s connection. When we feel a connect with a person or brand, we want to support them. Building connects is what social media was made for, literally! Think about: Instagram allows users to leave comments, reply to stories, directly message someone, and talk to people live. Sharing photos and videos of our businesses and lives behind the scenes allows our audience to get to know our brand (and ourselves) and connect with us on a deeper level.
One of the best ways to show your brand’s personality and value is by investing in a personal branding photo session. These unique sessions allow you create images specific to your brand, personality and business. You can find out more about branding session in this post. The main goal is to have professional quality images that aren’t still of impersonal and don’t just show your products. Let the 90’s have the headshots and glamour photos, personal branding sessions are what more fun. 😉
GET THE INSIDE SCOOP
Knowing what potential customers are looking for is the crux of every business. So how do we know we’re on the right track? By asking and listening to what our audience is saying. Instagram Stories are a great resource for business owners to get insights into what customers think. Posting polls and open ended questions invite your audience to interact and straight up tell you what’s working and what’s not. When we ask for their opinions, we’re giving our audience a voice and THAT is powerful.
Another way to gain insight into what’s working and what’s missing the mark is go straight to the data. If your account is set to a business account (which I definitely recommend), you can access Insights from the main menu. These analytics will show you how people are interacting with your content. I suggest focusing on 3 main key performance indicators (KPIs): reach, engagement and comments. The first 2 KPIs are overall views of what’s going; how many people are seeing your content (reach) and how many of those seeing it are actually interacting with it (engagement). Finding which posts are getting the most comments will help understand what’s resonating with your audience so you can make more of the content that’s serving them best.
THE BIG PICTURE
While every business is different and you have to keep your ideal client in mind, Instagram is a great place to start for most creative businesses. Keep in mind that Instagram is a visual platform, so graphics, images, and video creation will need to be part of your content plan. That being said, being able to to give your audience—a.k.a. potential customers—a peek behind the scenes is a great way to build connection, gain insights and grow awareness for your brand. Don’t forget to follow me at @amyclarkcreative.
If you want more help with branding or marketing, join my email list below. I’ll help make it much easier to figure out how to brand, market + grow your business with easy strategies and intentional messages (no spam here). With intention and connection at the forefront of everything you do, you’re going to have an ah-mazing Instagram account in no time. I believe in you!