5 Do's and 5 Don'ts on Instagram For Businesses
I have been using Instagram now for over 4 years to grow businesses brands. This past year I decided to take everything that I've learned and apply it to my own personal brand; Empowering Women Now. I was able to grow my following to over 56.000+ in only one year. I never once used an Ad but leveraged everything I've learned over the years.
So how did I do it? Here are some major DO's and DON'TS on Instagram that I followed to the T.
1. Do Work On Yourself
As a business you have to remember that social networks are indeed for creating social relationships. Just as any great relationship, you first have to work on yourself before attracting the right type of people... you feel me? Develop your style, work on creating a perfect bio, and posting at least 8 pieces of content that truly show your brand. To read about the crafting the perfect bio and content for Instagram check out my Instagram Style Post.
2. Do Describe Your Ideal Follower
Too many businesses focus on attracting clients but half of the time those clients aren't really people who you want to work with. These clients make your life harder than it should be. This part can be a little scary for a business owner because you don't want to leave any potential clients out. Instead focus on first attracting clients with your similar values, that way when you introduce them to a product they immediately see the value!
The very first thing I did when launching Empowering Women Now was write down a list of who my ideal follower was. I wanted to create a community of women who empowered one another but I didn't just want anyone to follow me. I wanted really authentic women who weren't afraid to stand up for themselves, who wouldn't get offended at my jokes and who were sincerely wanting to help other women. I wrote down what age I wanted my followers to be, what interests she liked, what issues she would be concerned with, who she admired, where she liked to shop at. I went to the extent of even drawing how she would look like (yes, my doodle came out awful). The point was I now could visualize my ideal follower and I now I could go out and find her.
3. Do Target Your Ideal Client With Hashtags
At this point you've worked on your brand and have at least 8 posts on your Instagram. This is when you go and find your client. I think of this of this step as the single and looking phase. It's when you write down your top 30 ideal qualities. This is when SEO specialist in me comes out and I make an Excel spreadsheet - in one column I write down possible hashtags. Once that's complete I research how many hashtags that one particular tag has and put it in a second column. Once I'm finished with my research I remove hashtags that have too many tags or too little tags. The key here is to find hashtags that have room for you to grow in.
A QuickSprout infographic points out that posts with 11 or more hashtags received nearly 80% interaction, compared to just 22% when using 10 and 41% when using two (Instagram limits the number of hashtags allowed per post to 30).
4. Do Engage In Your Followers
One of my biggest take-away from growing my Instagram so quickly was learning how shocked my followers were when I showed that I genuinely cared about them. Every single time I would get a new follower I would go on their Instagram and show them some love. I would like a couple picture and sometimes even leave a comment. Half of the time these women were doing those things on my "Ideal Follower Lists" so I had great feedback to give them in their comments. Guess what? Their friends would be like "Who's that person commenting," and they would click on my profile and since I made sure my content was awesome.... they followed my page. BOOM
5. Do Switch Out Your Website Link
The reason businesses go on Instagram is to reach their clients and make money. There's no reason to have the same link on your profile picture for longer than 2 weeks. I'm at a point were I switch mine out every 2 days. I use bit.ly to make those ugly long links to my site short and trackable. I also give my links a unique tag so that I can track them even further on Google Analytics.
1. Don't Get Disappointed
I'll be the first to admit that the first time I gave this Instagram thing a swing I didn't do so well. I didn't get my first 3 digit followers until the 3rd month. It was a tough bumpy road but I wasn't a quitter and kept coming back. Looking back now I see that the content I had was pretty terrible. I loved it but my potential clients were not interested in seeing pictures of my dog. Instagram is something that you constantly have to work on, just as any solid relationship, You can't expect a great connection if you're not pursuing it on a regular basis.
2. Don't Try To Make Everyone Like You
You started your business because you found a need for your product or service. Following this logic, you've probably answered: Who has the greatest need for this business? As a business person myself I was terrified at missing an opportunity to make money. I wanted to have a product and service that would make everyone happy but quickly realized that would confuse clients. If you try to make everyone like you, you won't be able to create those solid relationships on Instagram. Don't worry about attracting everyone. Worry about attracting the right kind of clients.
3. Don't Be Salesy
Although you’re in business to make money, that shouldn’t be the focus of the vast majority of your Instagram posts. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind here: 80 percent of the content you post or share should be entertaining or informative, while no more than 20 percent directly relate to the goods or services you provide. Once I hit 15,000 followers my strategy changed to about 70/30. I realized that the Instagram algorithm wasn't reaching as many of my followers as it previously did and that creating more CTA's had no negative affect on my followers. When you provide your followers with value, you won't need be salesy, the sells will happen organically.
4. Don't Talk to Your Audience, Talk With Them
Sadly, even when someone decides to follow your page, it doesn't necessarily mean you will ever hear from them again. These are what I consider "ghost followers" they're there but never make a sound. In order to keep your ghost followers to a minimum you HAVE to create engaging content. Think of it this way, when you meet someone new it would be obnoxious to only talk about yourself and never give them an opportunity to voice their opinion. Don't talk at them instead talk with them. Create a conversation you would have with a friend. Too many time businesses forget that people love to talk about themselves. In fact, we love it so much that it triggers the same sensation of pleasure in our brains as food and money do. Harvard neuroscientists have even said that it feels so rewarding, we can’t help but share our thoughts. This makes sense when you realize that talking about our own beliefs and opinions, rather than those of other people. The lesson here is that if you want to make your followers feel good, get them talking about themselves and their interests.
Here are some easy ways to get your followers talking:
- Make a joke - It lightens up the audience and you will be amazed at how humor connects us. You audience will begin to see you as more than just a business.
- Ask your audience a question - It will get them talk about themselves and you will benefit by getting to know your audience more.
- Ask them to tag their friend - This will create an organic flow of new followers to your business.
Instagram is the perfect platform for promoting user-generated content (UGC), probably more so than any other social network. Whether you’re running a photo contest or are encouraging the use of a branded hashtag, Instagram is the perfect platform for building real relationships with real people.
5. Don't worry about the numbers
You don't need a huge following to make an impact. Instead, worry about creating valuable content and connections with your current followers. Brand sometimes get so number driven that they forget about the peole that already committed to following them. Give your followers the opportunity to spread your message, share your content, use your hashtags, and serve as advocates to your brand.
Businesses getting the most out of the network are the ones posting quality content on a consistent basis, and are doing so with a purpose. Even brands that aren't thought of as visually friendly are leveraging the network and seeing it work.
The Instagram community is genuinely interested in connecting with businesses; so much so that they've expressed interest in learning more about brands and products after they've been inspired by what they’re posting.
Are you taking advantage of what Instagram has to offer?
Let me help you grow your Instagram - contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE 30 minute consultation.