Instagram has blown up in a span of just a few years and, as an entrepreneur, it has become a vital part of business, especially with marketing and promotion of your products or services.
What’s the point of trying to grow your Instagram business profile?
With over 500 million active users and counting, even if you think it’s not for you, it’s hard to ignore Instagram. Almost everybody is on Instagram, and those active users could possibly be potential customers. In 2016, 48.8% of brands were on Instagram and, this year it’s projected to rise to 70.7%. Clearly, learning how to grow your Instagram business account is worth the effort because all it requires is a smidge more intention and focus. And yes, even you the uber-busy entrepreneur can do it, too.
However, I do recommend you not feel too much pressure to be there if your target demographic doesn’t use Instagram to search for solutions to the problems that your business solves. I get into it more in this post where I break down which social media app is best but essentially you need to understand this:
Find the platform that your demographic uses to find solutions to their problems. Don’t try to be everywhere because you’ll dilute your efforts and burn out. Instead, pick one or two key platforms that your ideal customers use the way you need them to and then optimize both your content and profile to direct them OFF the platform and over to your business.
How to Grow Your Instagram Business Account‘s Reach
Having a lot of business/competition on Instagram, it might be a challenge to put yourself out there. But don’t worry! We’ve gathered a few tips on how you can increase your Instagram business account’s reach and generate more profits.
Post Quality Photos
One of the golden rules for ‘grammers. With all the images being uploaded on Instagram, (Users share an average of 95 million photos/videos per day) you really have to have good photos. A quick tip: take pictures in good lighting condition and, if possible use natural light.
Have A Theme
This is not a requirement but having a “theme” just makes photos look neat and put together. By having a theme, it makes people more aware of your “brand”. Now, if you’re unsure about how images will look in the feed, you can use an app like Planoly to plan a posting strategy. Consider what your ideal customer is looking for and try to represent that throughout the photos and videos that are posted to help grow your Instagram business account.
In a 2016 survey conducted by Forrester, they reviewed how the top 50 global brands market on social networks. They found out that the top brands post about 4.9 times per week on Instagram. On the other hand, if you’re a small-sized business, and want to increase your visibility – 2-3 posts per day is an ideal figure. If you need help, I’ve created an entire post that’s all about figuring out the best Instagram planner for entrepreneurs. It’s a deep dive that looks at Plann, Planoly, and Later.
This goes hand in hand with the other tips. Spend some time and research the hashtag that your “niche” uses. Add relevant hashtags to each post and this is important, aim for hashtags with less than a million tags. This way your post won’t easily drown with people posting the same hashtag. We prefer to put the hashtags into the first comment of each post, but there’s really no “best” way to do it. If it’s easier for you to just put them into the caption, Instagram won’t ding you.
Engage With Other ‘Grammers
It’s important to keep your business account active by engaging with potential customers and fans to help grow your Instagram business account. Leave a like, comment, and repost. However, as much as possible, be authentic when it comes to interaction. It might take time but if you’re just starting out, interacting with people in the same niche is always a good idea.
Yes, we already mentioned posting regularly but this is such a critical step to growing your Instagram business account that it’s worth mentioning twice. The algorithm prefers to boost accounts that it can trust will post content regularly. If you happen to skip a day here and there, don’t worry about it. It’s when you ghost your account for weeks or months on end that really set you back.
Okay, you’ve done all that but things aren’t going quickly. What next?
So you’re doing things really well, posting consistently and making sure your content goes live at 2 pm every day (just an example, don’t jump into thinking 2 pm is some magic time for your business! Honestly, I have no idea what the right time to post is!) but your account is nothing but cricket sounds. How can you supercharge your growth?
- Pick ONE metric (and make sure it’s the RIGHT metric) – What I’ve found with coaching clients is that entrepreneurs and bloggers will want to focus on and measure a whole lotta metrics that don’t matter. So many variables like the number of followers, number of likes, etc. are just vanity numbers that don’t really matter in the long run. Your business runs on money, not the number of followers, so you’ve got to focus on growing the metrics that really count and stop focusing on the numbers that don’t do anything for your bottom line. What is your conversion rate and what are you considering to be a conversion? That’s what you need to watch; everything else is just icing.
- Add another hour of engagement every few days – Social media is narcissistic and while it might pain you to go out and engage with others, you’ve got to stroke egos to get attention. Set an alarm to go off every few days that reminds you to stop what you’re doing and hunker down on engagement for an hour.
- Consider advertising – If nothing organic is working then maybe you’ve got to throw money at the problem. But again, do NOT waste your money trying to bulk up numbers that don’t matter. Focus your advertising efforts on growing your conversion rate and NOT your follower count. Remember that only a small percentage of people see your posts (even when they’re paid posts) so diluting that number with so-so followers will only make things worse.
If you’re interested in seeing how we do things around here, check out the video below where Megan shows the full walkthrough of her Instagram marketing strategy.
BTW, One more thought before you go. Are you sure you should be on Instagram?
One thing I want you to consider: is Instagram the right social media platform for your business? If you’re having trouble converting it could be that you’re just paying attention to the wrong platform.
I completely understand the FOMO around not being on every social media platform possible…what if you miss the right opportunity or hit that one right customer on that one right platform? Isn’t a buckshot strategy best, anyhow?
I’ve taken myself off most social media platforms now because of ethical reasons, but I don’t deny their power to reach customers, both new and old. However, the thing I advocate the most with all my marketing clients is that you have to be on only one or two platforms. To be effective at social media strategy with a goal of conversion it’s not enough to be on the platform where your ideal customers are. You have to be on the platform where they’re looking for products or services like yours.
I’ve mentioned this on the podcast and on other blog posts, but I was the head of marketing for two separate companies when I worked in the corporate world. One was a job recruiting firm and the other did professional certifications for tech and coding. I would get into heated arguments with the sales departments because they wanted to have Instagram accounts for our marketing strategies.
- No one goes on Instagram to look for jobs or tech certifications
- We didn’t have any sort of content strategy to deliver consistent content that would make the algorithms favor our accounts. No one cares about a corporation’s Halloween contest on Instagram, you know?
Our marketing strategies were instead focused on LinkedIn and Twitter. Those were the platforms where we had a better chance of finding people looking for services like ours. The same goes for your business. You cannot (and should not) be everywhere, you have to go where you’re most effective.
If you try these tips above and don’t see results within 3 months (1 quarter) then it might be time to try another platform. Who knows, you might find more success on Pinterest or YouTube!