Instagram is the Fastest Growing Platform for SMBs

Instagram is an online photo sharing app that allows users to share photos and videos with friends and followers. It was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in 2010. Since this time, the service now boasts over 1.21 billion monthly active users worldwide, accounting for 28% of all internet users. Sixty percent of users login daily while 80% of Instagram users follow a brand. With this type of traction, it’s not a platform to ignore. Yet it is an entirely different social animal with its focus being on vivid imagery and less text. The key here is knowing the intricate operations and all that you have available to you while marketing on Instagram.

When thinking of Instagram KPI’s you want to focus on reach and engagement like any other platform.  This guide will provide you the best methods to increase both of these metrics.  One of the most foundational pieces of supporting any of your social channels is to market it on your products.  If you offer services instead of product, you want the social icons on all printed and digital material – this is the visual cue to your customer that they may contact you and engage with you on these platforms.  Be sure these are at the top and bottom of your website while also in your email signature.  Those email signature links drive more traffic than you may think; consider using a tracking URL to see just how much traffic is driven from different placements.

They Keys to Instagram Engagement

You want to present your brand with a clear and consistent brand message. What feelings, thoughts, and emotions are you trying to elicit? Be sure this is clear in your bio. You have 150 characters to clearly convey your value. Remember some people will follow you because they know you and some will be top of funnel and not know you, so this is very important. There are some cool tools to increase your bio functionality that we will share shortly. Professional quality imagery is not necessary as users want beautiful imagery but not so much as to make it unapproachable. And personality sells – this includes faces – lots of faces, people love looking at faces.

  1. Use Link.tree for your bio link – this is a service that is free at the basic level with upgrades available. Link.tree enables you to provide multiple links by going to an index page – easy to use and expands your functionality.  Best practices include a link to sign up for your newsletter in exchange for a discount, link to your product or service, link to your loyalty program, and link to your about us or explainer video.
  2. Add links to stories and highlights. While your bio only allows one link, you can use as many as you want when you use a link service, stories and highlights enable another unique link by using the icon button you will have the option to select link with a destination URL – great way to promote events. Try linking to specific pages on your website, YouTube extended play video, educational seminars, podcast episodes, or current promotions using story highlights.
  3. Amplify your tags. Users often tag brands and you can amplify this message and show how many of your followers are bragging on you by sharing the message to a story and adding a high five or tag other accounts to bring attention to your story. You may have sister brands or just a simple thanks to the original poster with an @ tag. Users love getting attention from brands and you will find this is one of your most engaging opportunities to get folks to want to interact with you.
  4. Find your audience. Birds of a feather flock together.  This is true most everywhere – one and offline. Identify brands that would be complimentary to your products and organically respond to posts with compliments or questions to engage the user.  You’ll find this person will go check out what your brand is all about.  You can do this with hashtags as well.  A successful implementation for was to search #brokenglasses and respond to consumers sharing pictures of their prized glasses smashed. simply responded, we can fix that – check us out, most glasses can be repaired for $69.99. This increased followership and sales significantly within 2 weeks of launching the program. Try finding new pages or hashtags each day and spread your seeds.
  5. Location matters. Be sure to use the location tag in each post that is local. If you have a store front, this is very important. People often search on locations to find new businesses in their area. HubSpot reports that posts with location tags receive 79% more engagement than those without an Instagram location tag. Go the extra mile and use localized hashtags. Consider finding your Instagram community page and see which hashtags they are using on their most liked posts.  Start using these and testing your reach, impressions, and engagement with the localized tags.
  6. Include Instagram on your website by using a feed widget that shows a few rows of your Instagram page, giving your visitors a taste of what they can expect in your feed.  This is an excellent way to attract new followers. Show them your feed and lead then to your Instagram water. Instagram reports that 50% of users that see a brand story go to the website – that’s a pretty staggering statistic and one you want to get in on.  Now start telling stories and include your link!
  7. Instagram take over or partnership. Consider finding complementary brands and doing exchange takeovers. These will include several complementary posts, videos, and engaging each other’s audiences and typically lead you to a great growth in followership. Consider including both brands in the take over as a thank you and consideration to your host page.  Another version of this would be to invite / hire an influencer. The influencer will have their own audience and you can take over their page while you have yours taken over by them.
  8. Use Instagram poll features to learn from your audience what they like – this or that is an incredibly simple and engaging Instagram story. Post 2 pictures with the question, this with an arrow to one image or that with an arrow to the other – poll results will show upon submission and IG’ers love this type of engagement.
  9. Tagging influencers and micro-influencers is a great way to find a celebrity that jives with your brand. You never know when you may trigger something that earns you a spot in their story or feed – and these organic references earn you a lot of exposure as well as Instagram algorithm goodness – popularity breeds the same.
  10. Make your Instagram Shop. You can now create a shop on Instagram and lead your followers right where you want them to go. Go to “Settings” and scroll to “Business Settings” and click “Shopping.” Now you can set your brand store up and create images for your users to shop on your Instagram page. This also enables your store to feature in Instagram’s Explore which would open you up to hundreds of thousands if not millions of users that may not know your brand. When featured in Explore, there will be a small shopping bag in the upper right portion of your image to indicate its shoppable.

Over 70% of shoppers say they go to Instagram to consider their next purchase. For the millennials, it’s their first stop when learning more about a brand – what is their image or story? Instagram will tell it. Be sure you are clear with your messaging and use these tried and true tips to grow your content marketing strategy, your audience, and your revenue.

Spread the love: