Social Media is undoubtedly the greatest marketing tool at a small business' disposal. It's never been easier to keep customers updated on what's going on in your world while keeping your finger on where the market and your competitors are heading.
Now, anybody can open up an Instagram account and start posting, but there is a bit of a science and (I hate to say it) hard work that needs to go into it to really making it work for you and your business. I've put together my top tips for nailing Instagram:
CLEAN UP YOUR BIO
Your success on Insta starts and ends with your bio.
(1) Your Instagram Name should reflect your business identity as well as your name - that way your followers not only see what brand they're following but the human behind the scenes too
(2) Keep your website line updated with your latest blog post or webpage you'd like to feature at any point in time. Refer back to it in your posts
(3) Use #hashtags - now you can include them in your bio, so find the hashtag that represents what you're all about it and incorporate it into your bio
(4) Describe exactly what it is that you do or offer - let there be no shadow of a doubt what you stand for
(5) Geo locate - tell people where you are. Depending on the business you are running, your country will be enough for your followers (i.e. if you are a photographer travelling the world to take pictures for example), in other cases drilling down the suburb (e.g. lawn services, plumbing etc) or city (maker who sells their products at a market) will be key for your business
(6) Use emojis that represent your brand - audiences on social media engage with emojis in a big way
I talk about this all the time when I do Product Photography audits for clients and their websites: find your unique tone of voice as well as look and feel and draw that through every post you publish. Craft a particular colour palette, filter or sequence for yourself and stick to it - eventually, you'll become known for it. Audiences like to know what type of content they're going to get from the profiles that they follow.
ENGAGE WITH OTHER ACCOUNTS
This is the biggest trick I can pass on to you. Spend some time every day liking, sharing, reposting, tagging and commenting on other accounts. Be quite strategic too, by following accounts that could either become a client one day, repost content they like or whose attention you'd like to grab.
Use them on every post without fail. Have a hashtag strategy in place to guide your keywords. More on this here.
Make use of your stories - daily if possible. Here, you can post content you might not want to share on your feed (for aesthetic reasons for e.g.). Use your hashtags on your stories - you can make them super small in cases where you use a lot of hashtags.
If you've got some stories going, then categorise them into highlights: from "Behind the Scenes" or "Featured Product" to "Blog Posts" and "Testimonials". Use whatever highlights you think are important to keeping your audience involved and up to date.
Post daily - and if not daily, at least 5 or 6 times a week. More on this here.
These will be super important for maintaining and growing your engagement and reach. Post at least 1 video a week. More on this subject here.
Talk TO your audience, not AT them. Ask them questions, fish for advice or stories, encourage interaction and Instagram will reward you.
And while you're at it, ensure you are responding every time someone comments on your posts. Even if it's just an emoji.
Create engaging captions - heartfelt / funny / honest / vulnerable... the adjectives go on. Choose your tone of voice, making sure it matches with the visual content you're posting and draw that through each post. The length of your captions will also make a difference, but this will also be dictated to by the type of content you post. I've scribbled down more notes on it here.
BE ON WHEN YOUR FOLLOWERS ON
Get yourself a business account and make use of the insights: post when your followers are most active - this might change from day to day, so keep on top of it as it shifts.
TAG THE BIG GUYS
Posting a pic that includes stuff from bigger brands? Tag them - they will see the tags and if the content is engaging enough, might well share it with their following. This type of PR could be invaluable for your profile.
RUN COMPETITIONS OR GIVEAWAYS
Just make sure to use the disclaimer that the promotion is in no way linked to Instagram or Facebook and you're away! Ill do a post on this next week to give you an idea of the types of promotions you could run. So keep tuned in for more on this.
But this is my day job, so if you need help, support or guidance on nailing Instagram, get in touch and let's get the dials moving on your dashboard: firstname.lastname@example.org
Images featured have been shot and styled by Shout & Co.
(1) For Flame & Scent
(2) For Skin Me
(3) - (6) For Izzy & Jean