This is a guest post from Jennica Collado, a Virtual Assistant in the Health and Wellness industry. If you need Instagram help, this is it! Thank you Jennica for your rocking tips!
Instagram has heightened visual consumerism over the years after its launch. Leveraging Instagram’s features for our businesses is a wise and cost-effective way to widen our online presence and engage with our customers and potential clients.
One thing about me: I love Instagram! I’m a visual learner and consumer so I enjoy the features and limitations this platform has. Emotions aside, I want to give you guys information based on actual studies and data– which isn’t my strong suit. So I went ahead and sought the help of this strong social media management tool, SproutSocial.
I learned two interesting things:
First, SproutSocial’s research summary shows that Instagram now has more than 100 million active users. We can safely say Instagram is at its best year yet.
Second, their social media statistics show that this app drives the most engagement per post compared to any social network. Yes, 84 times more than Twitter, 54 times more than Pinterest, and 10 times more than Facebook. You can just imagine how powerful that is.
If that’s enough to convince you, go ahead and create a business account by following Instagram’s own how-to video. Experience the kind of connection and engagement you can achieve with using this platform– and using it properly. If you’re the kind of reader who likes munching on something while reading, grab that fruit cup (my personal favorite!) and prepare to scroll down for the awesome part.
With almost 6 years of playing around with Instagram, I’ve learned quite a handful of tricks to maximize this platform both for personal / influencer, and business use. All of which I’m going to share with you today.
Ready? Let’s go! 🙂
Tip #1: Know what you want
When I started my business, I was pumped with the adrenaline from launching something I love! I wanted to be present in as many social media platforms as possible. I want to do #allthethings and see my business skyrocket as fast as freaking possible. I was optimistic for the future but I realized that I haven’t thought of why I’m putting in so much effort in the first place.
It took me a good 10 minutes (+ 2 cups of earl grey tea + a plateful of caesar salad) to figure it out for myself. My business goals for Instagram include connecting with my target audience and building a portfolio for my services. I know I’m definitely not interested with using my account for daily ad posting and over-pitching my services. I know I want to grow my followers as organically as possible.
Now, it’s your turn.
Let me hold your hand on this. Ask yourself why you’re in Instagram.
Come on, think about it. I’ll wait.
All good? 😉
You’re spending so much time and energy on
posting photos +
commenting on others’ posts +
upping the exposure on one photo because it doesn’t blend well with the aesthetics of your feed +
paying for stock photos to use +
eating out at expensive but Instagrammable food joints just to feature it on your stories +
a lot more.
So why not take it a bit deeper and write down your goals, right? It will help you determine if you really need to be in Instagram. When you feel lost and intimidated with trends and aesthetics, go back to your goals and re-focus on them.
Tip #2: Maximize Instagram’s features
Instagram was not created with a focus on business, but it’s features can easily be geared towards that purpose. If you’re not familiar with all the bases you should cover, here’s a quick list that can you can start with:
- Curate hashtags with a high community engagement + speaks specifically to your target audience. This article by Louis Myers delves deeper on the topic of hashtags.
- Create an informative and fun bio that quickly shares who you are behind-the-scenes. More tips on this from Sarah Jensen!
- Upload a profile image that is recognizable especially on a thumbnail-sized view.
- Check out the Analytics feature by going to your Instagram account and clicking on the icon with 4 vertical lines, beside the settings icon. It shows you the following useful information:
a. A rundown on your impressions, reach, and views.
b. A list of your top posts for the past 7 days ranked by impressions. You can change this to be sorted a different way by clicking on the word “Impressions”.
c. Analysis on the demographic of your followers– displayed by gender, age range, and top locations. It also shows when they are using the app on a typical day. It’s fancy and user friendly, it uses a bar graph and all.
For more on this, check out this detailed post by Social Media Examiner.
Tip #3: Make friends
Treat Instagram as you would treat Facebook. These social media platforms are very different from Amazon or Craigslist. You’re not a door-to-door salesman who pitches and leaves.
You have to build relationships with people through connecting, being authentic, and serving. Not every Instagram connection needs to be financially profitable. I myself am enjoying this process of relationship building and I do this through:
Making online friends #1: Join Instagram comment pods.
These are groups of like-minded accounts that want to grow their following. Each member posts their photo for the day then all the other members post and comment on them. This is a fun way to start off your organic following but once the pod grows into 8-10 members who post twice a day, it can be tedious and draining to continue. I suggest keeping the pod to a maximum of 4-5 members.
Making online friends #2: Balance business photos with fun / personal photos.
Humanize your brand by posting photos of yourself and the behind-the-scenes of your business.
Making online friends #3: Engage.
Follow your ideal clients’ accounts. Like and comment on their posts. Engage in authentic connections. Try to stay away from pitching your services. Connect without asking anything in return.
Tip #4: Value
Growing an organic Instagram following takes time. You can’t just magically have hundreds of followers because of one post. Bringing something good to the table will make you more noticeable and memorable to your followers. Focus on solving your ideal clients’ problems in spurts and for free–before pitching your own services.
How to give value #1: Share quotes from your blog posts.
If you have some blog content ready, turn the main points into graphics and share those on Instagram. It can be a way to lead your followers to your website to read the whole post.
How to give value #2: Encourage questions.
The main goal here is to encourage engagement between you and your followers. Having a tribe in Instagram is more than just a hundred likes. It’s how willing people are to comment and read through others’ comments. That takes so much more effort.
How to give value #3: Use Instagram stories to feature your products and services.
I don’t personally do this, but it will always be an option for the extroverts out there. My favorite Instagram accounts use these stories to feature products, and the behind-the-scenes of their daily grind.
@ApartmentTherapy and @TheHealthyHousePH does this so well! If you’re a graphic designer, show your followers the latest customized font you just created for a client. If you’re a virtual assistant like myself, show them where you’re currently working. Be creative and authentic– I can’t stress that enough.
Tip #5: Consistency
Being consistent with posting helps your followers be more aware of you. It reminds me of when I visit my favorite yogurt place and they have this girl who never fails to ask me about my hamsters. In spite being such an introvert, I shared some classic hamster stories– just because it makes me feel good when someone smiles and goes out of her way to really talk to me. After a while, that small pleasant interaction (+ the yummy Greek yogurt that I get from it!) became a part of my week. That place become my go-to yogurt haven.
Being consistent brings you from top-of-mind awareness to follower loyalty. It moves you from a place of being a passerby to someone who your followers look forward to seeing.
So you might be thinking, “It’s too hard! I am doing #allthethings and I can’t mingle on Instagram every single day!
First, take 3 deep breaths. Second, grab a mug of chamomile tea to relax yourself. Stick with me through this. I have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to making things easier for me. Who doesn’t like that, right?
Making things easier for me tip #1: Create a theme for every day of the week that you want to post.
If you decided to just post on weekdays, then that’s fine. Assign certain themes for each of those days. I change it up every couple of months but I do it this way:
Monday – a quote from a recent blog post
Tuesday – a personal photo
Wednesday – a promo for one of my services
Thursday – a personal photo
Friday – a quote that speaks to me (It doesn’t have to be something from my own content)
Saturday and Sunday – no photos posted, it’s time to give back the love to my followers
As long as you stick to your daily themes, you’ll be fine. Knowing what to post each day helps in remembering to actually do it and in making the load of consistency somehow lighter for busy bees like us.
Making things easier for me tip #2: Use third-party tools for Instagram.
For this one, I use the Later app . Think Buffer and Hootsuite– but focused on Instagram. I like this software tool because:
- There’s a free plan that is jam-packed with features.
- This is very important for business owners, especially those who are just starting. Don’t go and sign up for tools that need you to sign up for a paid plan before you get the full benefits of using it.
- It’s easy to schedule photos.
- They have a media library where you can dump your photos for the next 30 days then drag and drop it on their calendar, whenever you need those photos posted.
- It has a preview feature. For girls who love to have pretty Instagram feeds, this is a win. It displays your scheduled photos in a grid that imitates your Instagram feed. This allows you to move photos around depending on the aesthetic you want to achieve.
Friendly reminder: Don’t overwhelm your audience. The beauty in consistency is not in the quantity but in the quality of what you post. Don’t drown your audience with posts that you schedule at the same time slots everyday– that’s spam, that’s annoying, and that won’t help you.
There you go, my friend! I hope you were able to get some actionable items from this post. If you were able to create an Instagram account for your business, do let me know and I’d love to follow you and provide you tips as you go along this fun social media journey.
Jennica – https://www.jennicacollado.com/