“A picture is worth a thousand words,” and pictures are the fuel that run the Instagram machine.
Instagram came onto the social media scene back in 2010. And today, it’s one of the fastest growing social networks with over 300 million active users, 1.2 BILLION likes per day, and more than 1,000 comments per SECOND.
So what does all of this mean to you… and your business? That you have incredible potential to generate followers, build a loyal audience, and drive traffic to your website like never before.
Yet, there are a lot of businesses unsure of why their posts aren’t getting them more followers and engagement that translate into sales.
How do you use this visual social media platform to its fullest marketing potential to drive more qualified site visitors, leads and revenue to your business? By making your presence incredible. Here’s how.
1. Make Sure There’s a Link in Your Bio to Drive Traffic.
The easier you make it for followers to find your store or website, the more traffic you’ll get. Instagram gives you a whole space for a clickable link, so make sure you use it. Link your website to it or a product page on an item you have on sale or a blog post, like Starbucks did here in this example. Not including a link in your bio is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a brand on Instagram.
2. Have a Solid Description in Your Bio.
What makes for a solid Instagram description? As you can see in BackCountry’s example, one that:
- States what you do or sell.
- Includes the mission or philosophy, the why, behind your products.
You’re not on Instagram to have people guess what or who you are, what you sell, what service you provide. Tell them, and your bio is the place where you do this.
3. Focus on the Quality of Your Images and Video Clips, Not the Quantity.
Remember again, this is a visual platform. The more you focus on the quality of your posts, the greater your impact and the more followers you’ll generate. And this ultimately means more potential sales. That’s just the way it goes on Instagram. And of course if you can post more often without sacrificing quality, you’ll get even better results.
4. Remember that Consistency is Key!
The quality of your images is only part of the equation. The other part is consistency. Be consistent with:
- How much you post;
- The value you bring to your followers with your posts;
- The aesthetics you choose to use.
You can do all the posting you want here, but if you’re posting four times in one day and then a week later you only post once, guess what? Your audience will have no idea what to expect from you and will quickly move on.
And how often should you post on Instagram? One to two posts per day is solid. And there’s nothing wrong with more. Just make sure you do it every day!
5. Provide Engaging Copy to Strengthen Your Images.
What you write in your descriptions is the second most important thing you can do with your post, only behind your images. What you include should expand on your image. It should provide important, relevant info that enhances what your image is about.
Look at the example with REI. Here, there’s a young woman enjoying the outdoors with her cup of coffee. Their copy: “Savor the quiet moments. They are precious in our noisy world.” It goes along with this image and simply completes it.
6. Keep Your Copy Short and Sweet.
You’re description is not meant to be a novel. This is an image-based platform, remember? Long descriptions cause your following to move on. Offer only the most essential information and just a little pizzazz. Give your following just enough info to inform and intrigue without them having to scroll down to read.
7. Include a Call-to-Action in Your Copy.
It may be obvious to you what you want to accomplish with your post, but don’t count on it being obvious to your audience. Increase your chances of having your audience follow through with your post by out-right telling them what to do.
So, for example, if you post a picture of a cute outfit and you want them to visit your shop, tell them: “Click the link in our bio to shop this look.” Don’t miss out on potential customers (sales) by simply leaving out a call-to-action.
In the graph below, Agora Pulse demonstrates the difference in engagement when you include even “like” or “comment” calls to action.
8. Don’t Be Too “Salesy”.
People really do love to buy. Really, they do. They just hate being sold.
Never forget that you’re interacting on a social platform. The idea is to be social, and not overly “salesy”.
There’s nothing wrong with including a call-to-action as mentioned in tip #7 if you’re promoting your product or service. But when you’re engaging with your followers otherwise, keep things personable and on the lighter side.
Your followers and potential followers will be turned off if you’re responding with comments like:
- “Follow me! I follow back!”
- “It would be great if you’d give me a shout out!”
- “Buy it in my store here…”
9. Respond to Comments as Quickly as Possible.
Instagram is great for creating brand awareness and building trust with your ideal audience. And responding to follower comments and answering any questions they may have play a big part into that.
When someone makes a comment on your post, respond back, and do so as quickly as you can. It shows that you care and that you’re paying attention to them, and that’s what keeps them around. It builds a relationship with your audience.
And if you’re not responding, you’ll eventually lose them… AND you’ll lose their following as well… to someone else who does show that they care.
10. Use Hashtags to Increase Your Exposure.
Using hashtags to go along with your images has a direct and positive effect on your likes, comments, and engagement. That’s because the more hashtags you use with a picture, the more visibility it gets. And the more visibility your picture gets, the more likely people will be talking about it.
Here are the results of a recent study done by Agora Pulse to back it up:
And Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post, although I don’t recommend that you use all 30 of them. It makes you look “spammy”. I like to stick to 10 -15. Posts with 11 or more hashtags get the most engagement.
Just make sure you never misuse them. You want them to be relevant to your post and brand, and you want them to attract the right potential followers.
11. Seek Out Your Following.
Unless you’re a well-known, highly sought-after brand, it’s highly improbable your Instagram profile will be easily found by your potential following. So then, it’s up to you to go out and find them. And how do you do that? Hashtags.
- First, make sure you’re using the hashtags that your ideal audience uses when you post. Think of hashtags as categories. So as you’re posting, you’re categorizing your images by using hashtags. And by using those hashtags, when your audience does their own hashtag search, your pictures… and you… show up.
- Next, do your own hashtag search. Look at the images that show up under a particular hashtag you’re using. The images that pop up should be those of your ideal audience. And if that’s the case, leave thoughtful comments on their images. Engage with them. Those people will appreciate the fact that you took the time to seek them out to engage with them. And that appreciation quite often, in return, translates into new followers.
12. Research Your Hashtags.
When using hashtags, do your homework. You want to make sure the hashtags you’re using are appropriate for your brand, and that they’re not offensive, scandalous, or controversial, unless that’s what you’re striving for.
To do this, simply type the hashtag you plan to use into Instagram’s search bar. Look at what comes up. How does the hashtag appear in the Instagram feed? What’s associated with it? Is it relevant? If it’s not relevant to your brand or mission, skip it and move onto the next one.
Another benefit to researching your hashtags is it gives you ideas for new hashtags. You might even want to create your own hashtag. This will allow you to tap into new followers and expand your reach even further.
In the end…
Sometimes social media can be a bit overwhelming, I know. But Instagram is here for the long haul. This is why it’s so important to know how to leverage its power to send traffic to your website, grow your following, and build a loyal audience.
And when you post with these 12 tips in mind, your presence on Instagram will be incredible!
I’d love to hear from you. What do you use Instagram for?