Whether you’ve been on Instagram since day one in 2010, or only joined last week, it’s never too late to get serious about using the platform to help grow your business.
I think nearly every brand can benefit from visibility on Instagram, whether you currently have 100 followers or 1 million! It’s a fun and exciting way to engage with your audience.
But it can feel a little overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. That’s why I’ve broken it down into five easy steps for you to help you build a winning Instagram strategy — and then, you can download my free Two-Week Instagram Challenge to get yourself actually taking action on the strategy you develop! Just click here to grab the challenge now, and then read on to learn how to develop your strategy.
Step 1: Set some goals.
The biggest mistake I see people make with Instagram (and with any marketing channel, really) is that they dive in head first — without making a plan.
The truth is, you could publish lovely photos to Instagram all day every day and never really grow your business if you don’t have a clear plan or a goal.
Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all goal. Do you want to sell more products? Get more subscribers to your newsletter? Create a community via a hashtag? Gather user-generated content? Direct people to a services page or even your LinkedIn profile?
Knowing your goal is key so that your strategies and tactics can be aligned with what you want to accomplish.
Step 2: Design your content.
Instagram is all about the visuals, so it’s important to put some serious thought into the photos and/or graphics you will share.
I have an entire Destination Guide inside Business Class dedicated to creating Stunning Visual Content, but the key is to pick a style and be consistent. When creating marketing images for your business, then your image needs to accomplish two primary tasks:
- GRAB ATTENTION
Just like a subject line of an email or headline, the images you use to market your business needs to grab people’s attention; you want them to stop what they’re doing and look at the image.
Assuming you’re able to grab your audience’s attention, your marketing image then needs convey a specific message and communicate something to them.
The trick here is understanding your objective with each image you create, understanding the audience you’re targeting, and then putting your design elements together in a way that gets your image to speak on your behalf.
You want to put images out there that not only accomplish your goals of grabbing attention and communicating, but also reflect your brand, and aid in conversion.
Step 3: Choose your hashtags
Hashtags are an important part of your Instagram strategy. Research shows that posts with 11 hashtags or more get the most traffic.
But you’re not going to do yourself any favors if you just throw in random hashtags like #fun and #beautiful. You want to choose hashtags that are specific to your business, that other people actually use, but that aren’t so popular you’ll get lost in the noise.
While it can be fun to try to create a unique hashtag for a challenge or specific event in your business, when you’re generally trying to drive traffic you’ll want to choose hashtags that other people are using to become part of the conversation.
Do a quick brainstorm to think of topics and hashtag ideas, then type them into Instagram; the app will show how many people are using the hashtag when you type it in. There’s no single right answer, but aim for anywhere between a few thousand to tens of thousands of people using the hashtag for the biggest impact.
Step 4: Grow your audience.
Now that you’ve got a content and hashtag strategy in place, it’s time to make sure people actually see it! There are lots of strategies for growing your Instagram audience, but one of the simplest is to spend 20 minutes or so each day reaching out and following users in your niche.
Make a list of 10 to 20 accounts that your ideal customer might follow. Then, for each account, visit one of their most recent posts and find a high-value commenter — someone who is adding to the conversation. Engage with that person on the post, and then follow them. A good percentage of them will follow you back!
Step 5: Include a call to action.
Assuming that your ultimate goal for using Instagram is to get your audience to take an action — like subscribing to your newsletter, making a purchase, or signing up for a consultation — you want to be sure you’re directing people toward taking that action.
Every Instagram post should include a call to action, but you should also make the most of some of Instagram’s built-in tools to help you encourage your audience to take that action. For example:
- Make the most of the link in your bio. Change it up or use a service like LinkTree to link to multiple posts or pages.
- Use Instagram posts to direct people to your stories, then use stories to encourage them to take an action, like signing up for a newsletter.
- Offer free downloads the same way you would on a blog post.
- Use posts or stories to showcase tips or snippets from your blog post, podcast, or newsletters.
And so on! These are just a few ideas, but hopefully they will get you thinking about how you can use Instagram to reach your marketing goals.
Don’t forget: I’m offering you our Business Class 2-Week Instagram Challenge for FREE for a limited time! Click here to download the challenge and work through it on your own. Or, come join Business Class to go through the challenge with hundreds of your new business besties!