At the forefront of any digital business is the need to create value and customer satisfaction, while still being profitable and maintaining its core value. It’s been a decade since the Instagram app was launched and it’s been growing steadily into the massive platform it is right now. Let’s explore how to promote your digital business on Instagram.
Ready for some mind-blowing statistics? About 500 million people use Instagram stories daily, and up to 200 million people visit at least one business profile daily. And it doesn’t appear to be tapering off.
As of 2020 in the US, there were about 112 million monthly users of the site; that’s a figure that is projected to rise to 120.3 million by 2023. Do you see where this is going as regards your digital business? These figures are literally screaming “take advantage and promote your business right now!”
5 Tips for Using Instagram to Grow Your Online Business
The opportunity to engage with new and existing customers is huge on this platform. Surely, with that many people scrolling through the app, your potential customers have got to be a part of your strategy. However, it’s not as simple as creating a profile and adding “best digital business in the US” to your bio.
Unless you’re a football champion or a reality TV star with over 100 million followers, chances are those millions of people scrolling through business pages have not even come across yours. Good news, though; we’ve got a few tips that could help you promote your business on Instagram.
1. Create a Business Account
A customer shouldn’t have to go through random posts before getting to the parts that are relevant to them. You can certainly have a personal account on the side, but creating one for your business sets the tone for how professional you’re perceived to be.
Plus, there are several benefits a business account has over a personal one. For starters, you can connect with a diverse community of people who are interested in your business. You can also add important details about your business such as location, contact information, and a link to your website. A business account also lets you receive insights on how your promotions are faring, allowing you to figure out what works best for your brand.
2. Engage with Your Customers
Nothing is more off-putting than getting to the comment section of a business post and seeing a ton of unanswered questions and comments. It just gives off a vibe of disinterest toward your customers.
Take the time to respond to all comments and answer their questions. Remember to use a tone that reflects the character of the business, but that sounds like a real person. A lively tone and some emojis go a long way.
3. Post Relevant Content Often
Your posts don’t have to end at just the products you sell. For instance, if your business is about skincare, you could post about the relevance of a particular ingredient in skincare just to keep your audience informed. Also, the more you post, the more opportunities to engage with your audience you have.
4. Create Sponsored Ads
These are posts that are essentially used to reach user’s feeds. They are the same as normal posts except for the ‘sponsored’ label, and the much wider audience they reach. It is also relatively affordable as one can choose how much they want to spend on them. That way, your budget determines how long your ad will run. You could choose to use photo ads, video ads, slideshow ads, or carousel ads. The actual costs vary depending on ad placement and format, targeting, and more.
5. Reach Out to influencers
This is a great way to lower ad costs while reaching an even larger audience. These influencers already have a large following and most people patronize business based on recommendations from them.
Some people don’t even wait for a trusted influencer to advertise a product, they go over and ASK them for their top picks in a niche…be the top picks they suggest. Partner with the right influencer for your brand and watch as your sales skyrocket. Just give them a code that gives customers discount and voila: you’ve got people trooping onto your site.
7 Instagram Features and Tools to Take Advantage Of
Other than the basic tips outlined above, there are several features on Instagram that can be used to place a business on the right track and promote it. They include the following.
1. Instagram Live
This is a bit more serious than other features because it’s a live stream, so, there are no do-overs. Still, it’s an incredible way to drive content and engage with your audience. Not to mention it shows a higher level of transparency and authenticity than just a photo ever could. Also, it will stay on your stories for 24 hours after the live broadcast so others can catch up on the event.
Although, a great way to avoid people missing out in the first place is to make sure you inform them of an upcoming live long beforehand and encourage them to turn on notifications so they know when you start a live video.
2. Instagram Stories
A whopping 75% of Instagram users take business actions such as clicking on a link to a website or purchasing an item after looking at IG ads. Drive more sales today by investing in an ad strategy for your IG stories. Irrespective of the number of followers you have, there are several sales-driving features you could implement here. Think stickers, hashtags, and links.
3. Instagram Support Small Business Stickers
It’s no surprise that small businesses faced and are still facing a real tough time during this pandemic. To help out, Instagram launched a feature called the Support Small Business sticker. People can mention businesses in these stickers to give their followers a preview of the account. The point is not only to help businesses reach new customers but also to stay connected to their existing customers.
As a business owner, you could also reach out to influencers and work with them on this angle. Imagine an influencer with 100,000 followers mentioning your business in the support small business sticker…that’s smart marketing.
4. Instagram Hashtags
This is a bit of a slippery slope. Hashtags are a great way to build a community of like-minded individuals online or join an already created community. They’re an excellent way to get your brand out there. You could use up to 30 hashtags on a regular post and 10 on a story. Although bulking it up can be a bit too much. Stick to somewhere between 5 and 10.
Now, here’s why hashtags can be a bit of a hassle. Someone with Bieber fever who types #JustinBieber doesn’t want to see your wallpaper business pop up with #justinBieber, #baby, and more. It gives an impression of unprofessionalism. And while it could get your business to a large audience, it does that by using the right amount of wrong.
What’s worse? Instagram is clamping down on offenders and doling out shadow bans and other punishments for the misuse of hashtags.
5. Instagram Shopping
Instagram is set on conquering the eCommerce industry. That’s good news for online businesses of all sorts. An Instagram shop allows you to build your product catalog and your IG profile into one integrated platform. With this feature, a user can visit a business shop without ever leaving the Instagram app, or opening another browser.
A business can also tag the store (with the cutest shopping bag icon) the same way a person would be tagged on a photo. So, with just a click of the icon, potential customers will view all necessary details on the products. Ultimately, this little shop brings products to customers and makes shopping easier for them.
6. IG TV
Do you want to post longer videos detailing a product or service on Instagram? You could use IG TV. This is a mobile-friendly video creator that allows for much longer videos as well as easy discoverability through organized channels.
With IG TV, one can build a specific audience with exclusive content and get it to reach far and wide. Also, there’s greater engagement with customers here through Q&As or even featuring success stories on the channel.
7. IG Reels
This is one of the newest features Instagram added to the app. It’s similar to IG TV in several ways. However, it’s meant to be used more often for shorter, portrait mode videos. This feature is definitely for more than just dance videos. Businesses can take advantage of it to make quick, step-by-step tutorials, and other videos of their products/services.
And that’s 7 great tools from Instagram to use to promote a digital business!
Regardless of how much effort the Instagram team puts into providing amazing tools for business, a business still has to put in some effort and ensure their content and strategy is top-notch.
How Should a Business Use Instagram to Increase Their Chances of Succeeding?
According to Instagram business tips, a content creator has to provide content around three themes: engage, educate, and excite.
Here’s how to achieve this:
- Use eye-catching captions on posts. You can use puns, but don’t be trite.
- Post some really cool pictures and videos about your business.
- Consider getting a creative team to ensure the process runs smoothly.
- Write short but highly targeted articles on your niche.
- Create a website with a blog section so your customers can connect with you on that platform as well. Don’t be too serious about your content. Sometimes, brighten up your followers’ timelines with some cute kitten videos – everybody loves those.
- Giveaway time! Yup, give back to your loyal customers once in a while. And be smart about it. Let there be some requirements to qualify such as being a follower, giving a shout out, or even a repost.
How Else Can Instagram Can Be Used to Create and Promote a Digital Business?
It’s safe to say that creating quality content is not enough to sustain your business or build a functional community. Compartmentalization won’t get you very far. It’s best to integrate your business plans, courses, social media platforms, and others into one powerful brand.
Also, make it easy to use and accessible on-the-goal. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone using Instagram on their desktop. It’s primarily a mobile app that gives you the comfort and the interests of the app in the palm of your hands. Let your business fit that model as well.
Another idea is to set online webinars, conferences, and even private consultations with the platform. It certainly makes it easy to deliver paid content with next to no tech headaches.
Want something a little longer? Make videos on YouTube or host webinars all directly linked to your Instagram.
Create themed chats for like-minded individuals and build an engaged community through them. Enable email newsletters and push notifications to market your business and drive sales. Push notifications have a massive opening rate of 90% (two times that of email marketing), but still, there’s a lot of potential with email marketing. Heck, 81% of businesses say they drive customer acquisition with email. With the right strategy, this could be your case.
At this point, Instagram for you is no longer just a social media app. It’s a business tool with loads of free but great features. Take advantage of them. The analytics tool isn’t just for professionals. Check out your audience’s demographics and figure out how to cater to them better.
Also, use a great hosting platform to create a mobile-friendly website. Combining this with a solid Instagram marketing strategy will take your brand to the next level.