Not using Instagram to market your items? Then you’re missing out on an awesome tool. Instagram is a fun and quirky way to spread the word about your business and chances are your customers are already on the social channel.
Just look at these numbers:
- 400 million+ active users per month (75 percent outside the U.S.)
- 40 billion shared photos
- 80 million photos shared per day
- 3.5 billion likes per day
If you’re targeting moms, dads, Millennials, or just about anyone—especially 18- to 49-year-olds—you should definitely be on Instagram. This 2-part series will help you get started. We’ll explore how to advertise on the social channel and offer advice from e-commerce businesses like yours who are already rocking this powerful tool.
First, create a business account
You probably already know to have separate accounts for business and personal use on Facebook and Twitter. The same goes for Instagram.
Instagram accounts “that mix personal photos with products and sales announcements are confusing for customers,” says Kerry Boozeny, founder of Social Selling Mom.
Next, “determine what your target audience wants and provide it on your page,” advises Ashley Baxter founder of ModernMarketingSchool.com. “That could be inspiration, motivation or tips of a specific subject. Make every piece of content you share a gift to your audience to attract the right crowd.”
And, of course, use compelling images, adds Dimitri Semenikhin, founder of Yacht Harbour.
These can include “shots of your product or of events related to your field,” Semenikhin continues. For instance, you could share photos of great fall decor ideas if you sell items for the home.
Consistency is important, too. “You want people to know what to expect from your channel so they keep coming back for more,” Baxter notes. “Start posting on a consistent schedule and post content they can easily recognize as belonging to you.”
Make your photos pop
As a visual medium, Instagram is all about photos, and yours need to stand out.
“It’s crucial that they look good,” Ann-Marie Faiola of the soap-making supplier Bramble Berry tells us.
She recommends taking Instagram photos with the camera on your phone rather than using the Instagram camera, so you can take multiple shots and pick the best one.
Faiola likes using the square setting on her iPhone camera—a setting most smartphones have—since Instagram only allows square images.
And when you share something, be sure to add hashtags through comments you post under your post.
“Hashtags are the best way to connect with and find other users interested in your topic,” adds Baxter, who recommends leaving a comment on your own graphic with up to 30 hashtags to get more exposure.
Courtney Reimers of StudySoup (a popular site for college students) also feels that “hashtags are a great way to grow your audience.” She advises using the most effective hashtags by “looking up what’s trending and what relates to your image, then comment your hashtags under your post.”
Be part of the community
Finally, be sure to react to others’ posts to be part of the conversation to increase your reach.
“Start conversations, make comments, reply to questions and compliments, and like what other people are posting,” says Stefanie Parks founder of DermWarehouse.com. “Not only will staying engaged with your Instagram following help to build it, you will see that your followers become very loyal to you.”
Now you know the basics about Instagram advertising, but there’s a lot more to learn. Stay tuned for Part 2.
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