I would like to take a moment to share just a few tips I have learned about Instagram. Before I start, let me say there is not ONE way to build your instagram. There is not a right or wrong way. However there are tips, tricks and strategies that if used consistently will give you business results. My mom always says if you treat it like a hobby you will get hobby results. Treat it like a business and you will get business results. I'm applying this train of thought to Instagram. It can be an amazing business tool! How do I know... because 12 of my brides this year in 2016 all found me on Instagram!! Yes ... it is true! You can get clients from instagram. Wait ... what... a free marketing tool... get out of here! Can you tell I'm excited about this fact. Its also a FUN business tool at that. There are some pretty simple things you can do to bring more exposure to your Instagram Profile. I'm not going to talk about what you have already heard i.e. - how to make your posts beautiful. Instead let me share these:
Seems simple enough right!? Well I bet if I asked you how often you repost... you probably do not do this much at all. However it is a GREAT way to gain to open the opportunity for a new connection, new follower and possibly even have one of your posts reposted. The key here is not to repost from someone you know or are already connected to. Research hashtags and reach out to someone new!! Be sure the post fits within your brand or can somehow be tied into what you do. When you repost be sure to repost using Instagram repost tool. This keeps it within the algorithm. Also be sure to keep the authors name on the post. I recommend making this a habit. Maybe once a week. Pick a special day like Share Sunday or Feature Friday.
Speaking of Share Sunday and Feature Friday, posting photos that relate to hot trending hashtags also increases your profiles exposure. It gets your photo mixed in with the many other photos people are searching. The more consistent you are the more you will see engagement increase on your feed. There are so many trending hashtags there is no way I can list them all here. But I can list some very popular ones for the days of the week. The key is to be creative. Find a way to use these popular hashtags, but have them apply to your business. I will list some samples below to give you an idea.
#TransformationTuesday -- use this hashtag to talk about a before and after experience. Maybe a DIY project, or your office before and now clean, or new branding etc
#WineWednesday -- this as a great way to explain how you wind down from a hard day at work or get creative and create a little graphic with a wine glass and a quote
#FeatureFriday -- great time to REPOST
#FridayReads -- share books or articles that have helped you along your business or books/articles you know your audience would benefit from
#SaturdayShenanigans --- even though we are business owners.. there are still things that happen... be transparent and share
#SundayMorning -- talk about your upcoming week... or show your favorite coffee mug/pillow/pets etc. What are your Sunday morning like?
VARIETYI will be bold and say it ... if you just post beautiful photos your feed will be just that ... a beautiful gallery..along with all the other beautiful galleries on instagram (so how does that make you different or stand out?)!! However if you want to receive prospective clients it takes more than a beautiful feed. It takes some personality!! Clients hire you not because of your services (because there are many businesses that offer the same services). They hire you for YOU! You are what they get sold on. Therefore showcase some of you in your feed. Its ok to post a selfie. Its ok to post random raw videos. Its ok to post your shopping addictions. These are the things your clients will attach too. They may see something you have in common and that will make them want to connect with you. I asked the brides that I have worked with who found me on instagram, what attracted them to contact me from my feed. I was told by one bride my video of my singing a praise and worship song in my car on my way to meet another couple caught her attention. Another bride said she loves seeing my DIY posts and she got excited about me creating something for her wedding. Another bride said she loved seeing me around other vendors and said she felt I had strong connections based on that alone. The thing is .. none of my 12 brides said "Because I loved all your beautiful photos". Keep variety in mind when you are creating your posts!! CONSISTENCY
Even if you are not going to post everyday (which I actually recommend you do), at least post on some type of consistent basis. Same days each week, or alternating days each week. You build an audience by building expectancy with them.
This is a new fun thing I have recently tried and have seen great results with. A series is a type of post you do on a consistent basis more frequently than other posts. Check out my series #loveinspiresseries (the white boxes in a straight line on the left side) You can see an example of what I do. I post a quote of love or marriage everyday!! Yep. Everyday. Its my first post, so they always line up with each other. As you can see in this photo. One line going straight down with the same consistent look. Every post is formatted and designed the same .. just the text changes. What a series can do is set you apart, bring new attention and followers and even add something special for your clients. It also draws attention to your page because at just a glance your viewers will be able to see a creative visual. I intend to create these posts into a little photo chat book for my clients welcome bags! Who doesn't love quotes of love and marriage :). If you blog on the regular, you can create a blog photo series on Instagram. If you have consistent tips you can give ... turn that into a series. If you have a daily to do list you can turn that into a series. Whatever you do, be sure you design it to match your branding and one that can be repeated over and over again. Have fun with this. A series can turn into many things. Firstly it will gain you new followers. I forgot to post for 2 days and I had direct messages asking where my #qotd was!!! People follow and pay attention to your page. Give them something fun to follow!
RETURN THE FAVOR
Just as you expect people to like and comment on your feed ... return the favor and like and comment on their page. Here is the rule I have set for myself ... I comment on everyone's page who took the time to comment on my page. So if someone leaves a comment on one of my photos... I click their username and leave a comment on one of their photos. I also go through my newsfeed and try to like at least 20 photos. Why 20 ... because I would love to have 20 new likes on my photos a day. Amazingly it works. When the people you follow see you actively supporting them... they return the favor. So don't just focus on your own feed. Support those around you. Leaving comments on others feeds makes others aware of your page as well. Its all about ways to extend your exposure.
This one is extremely basic but it really does increase your comment engagement!! Whenever someone comments on your post. Respond to them and tag their name in the response. Guess what... they might just respond again .. and next thing you know you have started the conversation. More people will comment now too because they want to get in on the conversation. In addition, instagram has added some new updates. It is now easier to respond to comments. No more having to type @ and remember how to spell the user name. Simply press reply by their comment. You can also now like/heart others comments. Whenever IG adds a feature I'm almost certain it will effect engagement and their algorithm. So ... be sure when you are liking/commenting on someones feed... take a couple extra seconds and like some others comments to help increase their engagement. Also be sure to like ALL comments left on your posts!!
Well there you have it... 7 things you can work on right now to start seeing results.