How to Use Instagram for Business Checklist
When I was first starting my business, it was when Instagram was hot and exciting and booming. Over the years, it’s changed and the strategy I was using at the beginning doesn’t work the same anymore.
As business owners, we often try one strategy that we see someone else using, and if it doesn’t work, we throw in the towel.
The truth is, every single business owner has a different audience, ideal client, personality, and brand voice. So, when you try to perfectly replicate what someone else is doing, you might not have the success that you want.
In other words, be willing to go your own way and try new things.
However, there are some BIG to-do’s for running an Instagram account for your business. But before we get to that, I want to make sure you understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to running a business or using a specific social media app. You are responsible for trying to strategies, for taking risks, and being willing to adapt and overcome.
You are responsible for your business. You are responsible for acting like a CEO and being smart with your business decisions.
How to Use Instagram for Business Checklist
Switch to a Business Account
I remember when Instagram for Business first rolled out and I was incredibly hesitant to switch to a business account. I had heard that it might lower your engagement, and with the new (at the time) algorithm, I didn’t want to take those chances. I liked that a business account could have a button on the profile that read “email” which would make it one click for a prospective client to contact me. But, I was too worried about engagement. I also have this thing with numbers. I actually don’t like them *gasp*! If the numbers reflect something I don’t like (less story views, less new followers, etc), then I often let it affect my mood and self-worth, so ignorance is bliss. Or so I thought.
The reason I eventually made the switch to a business account is because I learned that in order to get the “swipe up” feature I would need to have a business account and 10k followers.
So I switched.
The “swipe up” feature alone is reason to switch to a business account. No more “head to my link in bio, click “shop” and then scroll, blah blah blah”.
But, if you’re like me and you don’t like numbers and insights, you should switch to a business account. In order to run a business like a CEO, you have to look at numbers and metrics and trends and pay attention to what content your audience likes. As an emotional person, it’s really hard to separate the numbers from your self-worth. But it’s a necessary lesson to learn.
And you can’t learn that lesson and grow without actually looking at the numbers.
Having access to insights on Instagram will only help you do market research and make educated decisions about where to take your business.
Use Instagram Stories
Instagram stories is a powerful tool to connect with your audience in a personal way, while also being professional and strategic. At the same time, you are creating even more touch points with your audience. In order to stay relevant and present in the minds and eyes of your audience and ideal clients.
If you’re looking for ways to grow your business using Instagram stories, I suggest reading this post about specific ways to use Instagram stories.
In the meantime, here’s some tips:
Show your face! Your audience will grow to love YOU as a person!
Don’t ONLY sell. Share meaningful content besides what you’re selling.
Stay consistent. If you only post in your story once a week, you will get lost in the shuffle.
But don’t forget to read this post to get even more ideas and strategy!
Some of the most profitable offerings in my business have come from a poll I did in my Instagram story. First of all, people LOVE to give their opinion. Freely. Have you ever had a kid? People come out of the woodwork to share their parenting advice. So, keep that in mind. If you ask others a questions about your business, or about what they love (or don’t love), or if you should sell a specific product/service, they WILL give their opinion.
Use this to your advantage.
I had an idea to sell Mystery Boxes in my shop, but didn’t quite know if my audience would be into them. So, I asked if my audience would want them. They did! And they sold out in hours.
Your audience is ready and willing to give you their opinion. Take advantage of that! Use Instagram polls to learn about your audience, and then give them what they want!
Note: you can and should use polls for fun things too!
One great way to use Instagram to grow your business is by partnering with other business owners with a similar target audience to do a giveaway. In short, you will get more followers and boost your engagement. Obviously, getting more followers for the sake of more followers is not a strategy for growing your business. The goal here is to find potential clients/customers within your target audience. And then the key is to captivate and engage them! Help them learn about you and become raving fans!
Show Your Face
People want to buy from and invest in a person, not just a business.
As the owner of your business, you need to show your face on Instagram. Overtime, you want your face to be known by your audience. It’s no shock to me that my posts showing my face and telling a little part of my life and story, are the most engaged and liked photos. When people get on social media, it’s a breath of fresh air to see a real human, with a real story.
I know some people might think this isn’t important for business, but I would argue that it is. It’s important to share your life with your audience. In a way, you ask a lot of them. You ask them to like and comment on our photos. You ask them to share about your business or products. You ask them to purchase, sign up, or subscribe. The least you can do is show up as yourself on social media and give them insight into your life.
When your audience sees you as a person, they are also more likely to be empathetic, kind, and supportive. They want to see you succeed. They are invested in YOU as a person.
Give them the opportunity to be your cheerleader.
Good Bio Description with Call To Action (CTA)
You know how first impressions last? Well, your first impression on Instagram is typically your profile picture and bio description. The next would be your images. But, let's talk about that bio description. You only have 150 characters to communicate what you do, who you serve, and why you do it. It's tough. I see so many bio descriptions that simply give facts about the person, with no call to action or clear description of the business.
Your goal is to hook a viewer and make them feel as though they are missing out on a sublime experience if they are not following you.
So, what’s the key to accomplishing this? Well, there are countless routes you can go with the way you organize and write your bio, but there are three key factors you should include in your bio:
What you do, who you serve, and why you do it.
Don’t overthink this. If you are Midwest Photographer, then your location can act as the answer to “who you serve.” But, if you want to travel for jobs, you can’t simply put “Midwest Photographer.” If you don’t want to be bound by location, you need to tell people that.
In addition to these three facts, your bio should also have a Call to Action. You want to encourage an action from your audience. Do you want them to view your portfolio? Or browse your shop? Or read your blog? Make sure you guide them for where to go to next. Maybe Instagram stories is where you focus your Marketing efforts, direct them there.
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