Love it or hate it, Instagram is an incredibly powerful platform for marketing and if you're not leveraging it in your business then you are doing yourself a huge disservice, my friend.
But before we talk about the how, let's talk a little bit about the why.
So why exactly is Instagram magic for businesses? Let's take a stroll back to marketing 101. The name of the game for any brand or business is to establish the know/like/trust factor. Instagram allows us to connect with our audience on a much more personal level.
Share your story. Let people in on your real life, showcase who you are and infuse your personality (instead of just saying "Here's another picture of my product. Buy my product!" We're all over it, okay?). Provide value to your audience through education, inspiration, motivation, or entertainment.
And you know what all of that leads to? A community of engaged and loyal fans who like and trust you.
But just in case that wasn't enough for you, I'll throw in a couple more reasons.
1. Instagram is free.
Free marketing, people...!
2. And if you choose to actually pay for advertising on the app? Well, as long as you target things correctly, a whopping $20 can get you a reach of up to 20,000 people (maybe even more)!
Now that your brain is racing a million miles a minute thinking about the incredible possibilities this little app holds (same), let's go through what you need to know to get things started successfully. And the beauty of all of this is whether you want to run a successful private music studio, be a renowned soloist, create and sell a physical product, open a restaurant, run a medical practice....the strategies are applicable to any of them.
Are you drinkin' the Instagram Kool Aid yet? 🙋
1. BE CONSISTENT
This is the number one thing I stress to my social media clients. If you want to grow, then you need to consistently show up. Ideally you should be posting at least 5-6 times a week, but we all know that running an Instagram account is basically a full-time job. If you don't have enough content to get posts up that frequently, at absolute minimum you need to be posting 1-2 times a week. But the thing to keep in mind here is that the less active you are, the slower your account will grow, if at all.
In addition to consistency in posting, you also need to be consistent in your engagement. Show up every single day and build relationships with others. We will talk more about how to do this in number 3.
2. BE YOURSELF
I know "be authentic" is so overplayed at this point, but it's true.
When you first get onto Instagram, it can be incredibly hard to stay focused on your goals. You'll see fashion bloggers that look like models who always have the newest clothes and trends (that are all incredibly expensive). You'll find fitness gurus with perfect bodies, coaches claiming they know the secrets to making all of your dreams come true, and beauty influencers that get paid $60k plus for a single video (yes, that is actually a thing).
Being exposed to these accounts is enough to make anyone feel boring or less-than. But the thing is.... whether your have 10 followers or 10k followers, those people chose to show up and follow along with your journey. They are telling you that you are enough and that they want to know what you have to say. They want to know more about your message, your story, and you.
So put your blinders on and focus on showing up and sharing your message!
3. ENGAGEMENT IS KEY
Engagement is one of the most important aspects of Instagram if you want to grow your account and business. If you can master an engagement strategy, this is going to help you build the know/like/trust factor, build a supportive community, and grow your account.
So what exactly do I mean by engagement? Well, when someone gets engaged, they were asked, "Will you marry me?" Which is a question, right? And that is precisely what I mean. The secret to engaging people is asking questions.
If you show up on Instagram but just spend 15 minutes scrolling and double-tapping, that's not really going to do much.
If you seek out new accounts that are your target audience, like a few photos and leave a thoughtful engaging comment (read: ask a question), you will be surprised at how quickly and easily you can build real relationships and community.
So when you see an eye catching photo, instead of dropping a couple heart-eye emojis, take a moment to read the caption. Write a thoughtful reply and ask an engaging question. Genuinely try to get to know that person more. Imagine if you were face-to-face with that person and their caption was what they just said to you. How would you reply? You want to keep the conversation going... nobody likes awkward silence.
PRO TIP: Make sure you use your new engagement skills to build relationships with your current followers, as well! Those people that show up and like and comment on all of your photos? The ones who take the time to DM you or reply to your stories? Those are your loyal fans and make sure you give them lots of love back!
4. BRUSH UP ON YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS
As we all know Instagram is a visual platform, so if you expect your account to have any sort of success, then you need to have eye-catching images. Even if you are doing everything else correctly, if you feel like your account isn't growing or gaining traction then this is most likely the cause.
Taking beautiful photos isn't difficult once you know the basics of photography like lighting and composition. And the best part is you don't even need to invest in a professional camera to produce stunning images! For a long time all of the photos on my Instagram came from my iPhone.
Wanna know something even better? I put together a FREE guide giving you my best tips for taking insta-worthy photos with just your phone...you can snag your copy here!
If you have any questions, comments, or other topics you would like me to cover, please send me a message here. I would love to hear from you!
If you want to see more articles on how to build your career, subscribe here and follow along on Instagram, @nicolericcardo!
Thank you for reading!