I am blown away by the amount of business owners I speak to who tell me that they do not prioritise Instagram for showcasing their products. If you're not on Instagram or don't use it effectively you are missing on a potentially huge revenue stream. In this post i'm going to try to briefly summarise why your business should be using Instagram and my beginners tips for growing an engaged audience without forking out on ads
Why should I use Instagram for my business: The Stats
Instagram has approximately 1 billion registered users with more than half of the global Instagram user population being younger than 34 years old according to Statisicta. A huge Eighty-three percent of Instagram users discover new products and services on the platform. If your target demographic is young adults this is the social media platform to effectively showcase your products!
About six in 10 Instagram users log in at least once daily. It’s the second most logged in social media site for daily use after Facebook. Instagram users spend almost as much time on the platform as Facebook users. They browse for an average of 53 minutes per day versus Facebook’s 58 minutes per day. Time spent on a social network is a strong indicator of an engaging platform. And engaged users are more likely to be interested in your brand’s content. Combined with the daily login statistics, Instagram’s user base is only projected to grow.
Growing your Instagram account: My Tips for Beginners
Much like anything in life your Instagram account is unlikely to be an overnight success so don't be disheartened if your follower count and engagement is low in the early days. Here are my top tips to grow your Instagram account over time without spending money on ads.
Think of your Instagram grid as your shop window. This is where you want to showcase your brand and products looking their absolute best. Whilst it's great for your customers to see "behind the scenes" the grid is not usually the best place to show this side of things. Take Mrs Hinch as an example, she is hugely popular and has grown a huge following of people who love to watch the every day going's on of her life yet her grid remains uncluttered and full of pretty, aspirational photos. Save the nitty gritty for the stories where you can really express yourself!
Post consistently. People like to follow brands who post regularly about things that they are interested in. By keeping your grid updated 1-2 times a day your followers will see regular updates and subconsciously get to know about your business and products. On the flip side also don't post too often. Posting excessively could leave your followers feeling bombarded and lead to unfollows.
Use relevant hashtags. You can use up to 30 hashtags on every post on the grid and I encourage you to use all of them to get maximum exposure outside of your existing followers. Hashtags are the best way to have your posts organically discovered by a new audience BUT make sure you keep your hashtags relevant. Using a hashtag that is completely unrelated to your post isn't likely to gain any new followers and is just a wasted hashtag. I will do a follow up post going into further detail on using hashtags effectively but if you're looking for a simple way of finding hashtags that are relevant to your business my top tip would be to search for similar Instagram businesses with a larger following and take a look at what hashtags they are using consistently on their posts.
Don't neglect stories - Try not to focus all your attention on your grid posts and make sure you utilise the stories feature. Even if you're not comfortable showing yourself or speaking on camera just make sure you are posting regular picture and video updates on stories to appeal to a wider audience.
Follow similar accounts and businesses to yours and engage with their posts. Like, comment, save and share other peoples posts, build relationships on Instagram and they will usually return the sentiment and help boost your engagement too!
Use other Apps to make your life easier - There are so many FREE apps available to you to make your content more eye-catching. I'll list my favourites below:
My favourite FREE apps to use alongside Instagram
Some of the below apps do have premium features that require a subscription but all of them have many templates and features that are available for free.
Canva - If you only familiarise yourself with one other app make sure it's Canva. The advantages of Canva are endless and it is pretty user friendly once you've got the hang of it. Canva has so many free templates to choose from to make your grid and story posts look professionally designed. Try to use similar templates consistently with your brand colours and fonts to keep your grid looking on brand.
Colourtone - This is my go to app for filtering my photos. Use the same filter on all of your posts for consistency.
Mojo - I absolutely love Mojo for animated story templates and it is SO easy to use. A super easy level-up for your Instagram account
StoryLuxe - Another app I use when i'm looking for simple story templates. This one is probably the most user friendly and easy to use of the lot BUT the templates are simpler than those mentioned above.
Planoly - I use this app to plan and schedule my grid posts. Upload your posts to Planoly then you can drag and drop them around to see how they will like on your grid and decide what order you want to post them in. Other features are also really handy like saving hashtag groups so you've got your relevant hashtags all saved in one place and ready to add straight to your posts.
This really is just a beginners guide to Instagram and my personal tips and I plan on posting more in depth tips shortly. In the meantime if you want help with your social media Slay The Brand offers packages for social media design, strategy and management so if you want to discuss this with me please get in touch.