We’ve recently been doing a lot of marketing on Instagram and if that is how you came upon us, EXCELLENT! It’s working! It’s by far our favorite place to interact and engage with people. Instagram is also great tool for business owners. So, how does one use Instagram efficiently for a business?
Let’s hit you with one of our beliefs at Vanguard. Quality is better than quantity. You can run ads all day that will be seen by thousands of people, but not all of them are interested. In fact is a very small portion that are interested. We’d rather get in front of 10 people who are interested, than 1000 people that might be. So, how do we find these people? The answer is hashtags!
Hashtags are a way to categorized and organize your posts. My wife will come up with a unique hashtag for every holiday event or vacation for everyone to use so that we can see all the posts from that particular event from different points of view.
Now that we know that it’s important to choose the right hashtag(s). We’ve found that even though you think you might have the perfect hashtag, others might be using it a different way. So rule of thumb, always search a hashtag before using it. The last thing you want is to use a hashtag that will damage your brand or company. A prime example is Utah Recycling Association. They are an organization of scrap metal recycling companies that will be posting interesting things that come into their yards. They want more followers and that means they have to follow others. While doing our initial research we found that simply adding the #metal and #scrap wasn’t going to cut it as the people that are using the hashtags are hardcore rockers and people that love to scrap book. So, we found other more relevant hashtags like #scrapmetalart that will put their posts in the right category.
Now, how can you use hashtags to get more business. All you need to do is searching the hashtags your customers are using. Take some time to scroll threw the posts and see what other hashtags people are using. Then like, follow and/or comment on their post. Make sure to personalize your comments and to not come across as salesy. By doing this you are creating awareness of your brand and company. Rinse and repeat this a few times a week and soon enough you’ll be getting more business.
IMAGES AND VIDEO
There are a lot of things you can post on Instagram, but not everything is good. We recommend making your posts look as professional as possible. A quick search on Instagram gave us this fantastic example of a new realtor in the Salt Lake Area. You’ll notice that she’s taken some shots of homes and added text to them. We call these “micrographics” and they really can get the attention of people if done right.
Now to ask some people to make these micrographics could be too much. “I don’t have the tools, money or experience to create these.” Well, keep calm because we’ve put together a list of FREE easy to use tools and sites to help.
One other thing to add to a micrographic would be your logo or branding. That way if anyone shares it, it can be traced back to you.
One you get a handle on still images why not try video? We are adding videos to some micrographics and it really has been great for our clients. We do use After Effects for our video micrographics, but there are basic video editing programs that come on most computers that you can use.
If you are finding that your post are lacking it might be that your followers aren’t finding your posts interesting and they aren’t bothering to engage. If people don’t bother engaging for awhile, Instgram’s algorithm will stop showing your post to them after awhile. That means there are post that people aren’t even seeing so it’s important for them to engage.
The best way to get engagement is by asking a question. It’s not enough to post an image, write a comment, and add a few hashtags. Form a well thought out question and post that instead of a comment. Not only will this get your followers the chance to interact more but those who do will give you more info about them. The more you know about your followers the stronger your marketing will be on any platform. Everyone wants to talk about themselves so by asking a question you are giving people that chance and if they engage, your posts will keep showing up in their feed.
Also, ask yourself when was the last time you engaged in something on Instagram. Followup with more questions like, “What was the post and why did I act? What imagery where they using?” Any time you find yourself interacting with any post on social media ask yourself why you are engaging and see if you can apply it to your posts.
TIMING AND CONSISTENCY
Knowing when to post is just as important as knowing what to post. The best advice is we can give is to do your own research and find out the best times to post. You may need to figure this out through trial, error and some critical thinking.
Let’s say your promoting your restaurant that serves lunch and dinner. It does you no good to post at 8 am because people will forget about you by lunch time. So, posting at around 11 am for lunch and 4 pm for dinner are your best bets. At these times people are mentally checking out, taking a break and looking at their phones and possibly figuring out where to eat.
Now you may be offering a product or service where timing isn’t the only an issue. My wife sells LuLaRoe, and once a week she goes live on social media to sell items in her inventory. Now we’ll cover live video in a later post, but the important thing to take from this is that consistency has helped her. Even if there is not a ton of people watching her she has a great time talking and interacting with people. At this point her followers are expecting a video every week so she makes sure there is one even if she doesn’t have new inventory.
Now there is another factor that wasn’t cover her and that is time. Some people have the time and stamina to do all this, others don’t. If you find that you don’t have the time to do this we know a great company that’ll take real good care of you! Feel free to contact us with any questions you have.