Though ecommerce businesses thrive on Instagram, it is such a marketing powerhouse that it can help just about any kind of business find enthusiastic fans and followers that have high rates of engagement.
The rate of growth Instagram has seen is enormous and it adopts new features at blinding speeds. If you can get the basics right, you’ll be able to reap the value for your business.
This starter guide will shed light on Instagram marketing fundamentals that get you more results.
Optimize your profile
This may seem almost too basic, but Instagram business accounts need more than your contact info and a profile pic.
To really take advantage of the platform, add the following.
- Hashtags that are clickable
By just entering the ‘#’ and a phrase, you can focus on a branded hashtag, which is the smart thing to do for most businesses.
- Profile links that are clickable
You can add links in your bio or to direct traffic to a sister company in order to boost your secondary profile.
- Story highlights
Dust off your expired stories and add them to featured categories. This makes your profile look more polished and can be a good way to showcase content that highlights the story you want people to know about your brand.
Building Your Audience
If you are new to Instagram, finding a way to cut through the clutter is a challenge.
Here are the most common ways that people starting from scratch build an audience.
- Buy Instagram likes
Pay for play is very common on Instagram. If your account has few followers, users may pass it over believing it not to be worth their while.
The number of followers you have and likes for Instagram posts are an indicator of the value of your brand in a lot of people’s minds.
Fortunately, there are many companies that can help you. Buzzoid, one of the highest rated vendors providing Instagram engagement has been around from the beginning and can get you Instagram likes instantly.
- Consistently posting photos and videos: We’ll get into this one more shortly
- Instagram Live and Instagram Stories
Getting the most out of images and videos
If you want likes for Instagram that turn into followers and then customers, knowing the kind of post that performs well is key.
Here are some facts to inform your next post:
- White space is preferred
- Blue performs better than red
- One dominant color performs better than a post with multiple dominant colors
- Contrasting textures are liked at a higher rate
What you should know about Instagram hashtags
We can never thank Twitter enough for the introduction of the hashtag – it’s a staple of marketing on Instagram.
By adding some text after the hashtag symbol, words and phrases become clickable topics. Better than that, users can follow the hashtag of their choice and get a stream of content without having to follow a particular person. This is a great way to expand your reach.
What you should know about Instagram Stories
When Instagram launched its Stories format in August 2016, commentators – and Snapchat loyalists in particular – were quick to point out its similarities to Snapchat’s core service: disposable photo stories.
In the months that followed, though, Instagram cruised out into waters of its own, through the app’s combination of usability and versatility.
If Stories apparently began as an effort to lure away Snapchat users in bulk, it quickly became a key part of traditional Instagrammer’s daily lives and a powerful marketing tool to boot.
And small businesses are perfectly placed to capitalize on the combination of intimacy and ephemerality that Stories promises.
This is a way to share videos and photos for a short amount of time. Though borrowed from Snapchat, it’s another staple of the Instagram platform.
Now, Story can be used to share user-generated content, which is a crowd pleaser that results in likes for Instagram posts and products, expanding their reach in the process.
If you purchase Instagram likes, this is a great place to also see if the tactic has paid off. Your real engagement will come through. Buying from a reputable company is the best way to give yourself a chance at this tactic succeeding.
Using Instagram’s Photo Story Feature
Instagram Stories boasts 250 million daily users (to Snapchat’s paltry 166m!). And one in five small businesses can expect to receive direct messages off the back of their output, making it an excellent way to tell a whole bunch of people that your company is waiting to hear from them.
Creating those stories is famously straightforward – it’s a consumer app after all – so there’s really no excuse not to get started.
The key thing to remember is that all the media you use must have been generated over the past 24 hours.
Tap the camera icon to get started, use the record button to create photos or video, and slide up to add images from your library. Swiping left or right will alternate your filter options.
Just because your story has to be fresh, it doesn’t mean you needn’t plan ahead.
Your Instagram story should match the tone and image of your brand, even if the story has an added element of spontaneity. A story is closer to a video than a photo in the sense that it is time-based.
You need to use the first four seconds to make an impact and keep the user hooked right through to your call to action (CTA).
There are plenty more techniques you can use to ensure you get maximum response from your story. Instagram has become the home of the hashtag, and a location tag can really boost your viewership.
It’s simple to add a link allowing those viewers to swipe straight through to your website in response to your CTA. Don’t forget to add an arrow motif to remind them which way to swipe!
It’s a great idea to try a couple of simple stories out while you figure out how to do it. And indeed the occasional random story shows that you’re human and you just want to share.
Once you start to get hot at Stories, though, taking it to the next level is a no-brainer.
Maybe you’ll create a series of stories so that casual users feel compelled to follow you and check back for what comes next. Or perhaps you’ll invite a customer, supplier, or another influencer to ‘guest’ for you for a day.
As a small business, you’re perfectly positioned to keep your approach to Instagram light, playful, and imaginative.
Ready to get stuck in? Have a run through this new visual guide from Headway Capital – it’s packed with all the tips you need to maximize the Storytelling potential on your smartphone!
Read also: How to Make Money on Instagram
Bonus: Run a contest
There’s simply too much to cover on Instagram, but if you’re interested in growing your business, people cannot resist free things.
Different types of contests can be found throughout the platform, each offering a unique set of benefits and they can even be overlapped to maximize your reach and results.
- Like us / follow us: Design this if you’d like to have more followers and likes for Instagram. It gives you a bump in engagement.
- Leave a comment: Users can share an opinion or leave a comment, this is easy to track and easy for users to participate in.
- Photo contests: Instagram at its best. Use this to gain valuable content and higher engagement.
Building a fully fleshed out marketing strategy is key to conquering Instagram. It’s a must if you’re in the ecommerce business to have an Instagram account, so fully embracing it is the way to start out right.