Instagram has over 1 billion active monthly users and is, therefore, one of the top platforms to market your business on and raise brand awareness. If you don’t have a business account or haven’t begun using it to attract potential customers, it’s high time you did.
Use the platform to grow your audience and boost engagement. After that, easily drive traffic to your site, blog, and other business pages.
This article will help you to define your audience, retain them, attract more followers, create an online store, drive traffic to your website, and avoid common mistakes.
DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE
This is by far the most important step that will help you to create valuable content that users love and are willing to share. Therefore, decide who your target audience is and avoid common mistakes such as producing irrelevant content, advertising to the wrong people, or failing to attract more people to your page.
Know your audience.
Know who you want to market to before creating your content, uploading posts, or advertising your business and use the most effective methods to see ideal results.
Ask yourself three questions:
- ‘What is the purpose of my business?’
To build authority and reach a specific audience, you have to define your purpose. It will also help you to grow your business and stay on track. So, what is your purpose? Is it to build brand awareness, increase sales, or encourage engagement?
Having a purpose-driven business allows you to connect with and attract the right people. This brings us to our next point:
- ‘Who do I want to attract?’
Once you figure out your main aim or what drives you as an organization, specify your audience. Do you want to market to people based on their location, age-group, gender, or expertise? Answering this question helps you to understand your market and meet their needs.
After specifying your target audience, find out if your offer is on-demand or if it is something that people need. If it is, move on to the next step.
- ‘What sort of value can I offer?’
Stand apart from the crowd and make the competition irrelevant by offering something that they aren’t. Identify the value your service or product can bring to your followers and easily convert them to long-term customers.
Grow and retain followers.
The secret to growing and retaining your followers is sharing useful information that keeps them coming back. So, come up with an effective content strategy and apply it to the content creation process. Answer three questions; ‘What types of posts does my target audience interact with most?’ ‘What are some of the common challenges they are facing?’ and ‘When is the most ideal time to post?’
Share interactive content.
Use high-res images and videos when sharing stories or advertising your brand. Include your business name and logo on all images. Upload inspirational quotes, DIYs, or cheat sheets for more likes and comments. Use meta keywords, meta descriptions, and hashtags for SEO and exposure.
Post as frequently as you desire and know the best times to share posts. This ensures your followers engage with your content, ask questions, share their opinions, or leave a ‘Like.’ It also enables you to send timely responses, develop meaningful relations, and talk about your brand where applicable.
Use Instagram stories.
Countless people prefer videos so use Instagram stories to encourage users to stay on your page longer. They are a fun and interactive way to communicate with your audience. You can share image slides or record live videos.
Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours. Meaning you can upload a new story each day and give your followers a great experience.
Use Instagram highlights, share topics within your niche, use proper hashtags, participate in interesting conversations, and command attention. This can lead to more people visiting your profile, engaging with your content, and following you back.
GET MORE FOLLOWERS
The next step is to get more followers so you can drive traffic to your site, blog, or store. The best way to achieve that is by marketing your content. You want people to know that you exist, find you on search engines, understand your business, and prefer your product or service over your competitor’s.
Market your content.
Ensure more people interact with your content and take action by using the following tips:
● Complete your profile.
Ensure you have a business account so you can meet your goals. If you don’t have one, go ahead and create it. You will gain access to countless features that will help you to grow and build your brand. So, ensure you either open a business account or convert your existing account to a business one.
During the signup process, make sure you fill in all the details and pick the right username so you can appear and rank high on search engines. People will find you based on your username so choose one that best describes your business or offer.
If your existing account is incomplete go ahead and edit it. Ensure all the information is there. For example, business name, description, location, and working hours. Keep your information up-to-date.
● Be consistent.
Consistency helps you to grow your brand and ensure people easily identify your posts. So, give your brand a unique voice, stick to your primary colors, and avoid copying the competition. Learn from them but be as unique as you can be.
● Use proper hashtags.
Hashtags help you to command attention and allow people to easily find your posts. Use industry-specific hashtags to attract the right people. For example, if your business’s primary aim is to offer sales and marketing services to clients, use relevant hashtags. For instance, #marketingservices, #sales, #increaserevenue, and so forth. People follow hashtags and including them on your posts ensures your content appears on search engines. Use AutoHash or Display Purpose to gain access to quality hashtags for your posts.
You can also use trending hashtags, service hashtags, campaign hashtags, event hashtags, and so on. Use ones that are specific to your niche. Find out what the most popular ones are and use them on your posts.
● Follow people within your niche.
Engage with existing communities and follow relevant accounts. This is the best way to market your content and reach your target audience because you can easily form relations with people who are already interested in what you are doing and offering. Like their posts and leave comments that are worth people’s attention. This can pique the account owner’s attention or anyone who reads your comment and encourage them to visit your profile.
● Connect with influencers.
Search for influencers within your niche and connect with them. Engage with their content and develop a worthwhile relationship. Next, ask them to comment on your posts or mention you to their followers. People trust, favor, and easily follow content that’s promoted by a well-known or trusted influencer. So, take advantage of that.
Make it your aim to create valuable and interesting content that’s worth endorsing, liking, sharing, and following.
You can also share user-generated content, offer discounts, and use marketing tools such as Hootsuite or Tailwind.
BUILD AN ONLINE STORE
Reach more people and reduce marketing costs by building an online store. Advertise and sell your product via the newly created site. Drive traffic to your store by linking it to your Instagram account and signing up for Instagram shopping.
Instagram shopping lets people shop directly from your images or videos. They don’t have to follow external links to make a purchase. This is a convenient way to do business and inspire fast buying decisions.
6 steps to build your store.
- Pick your hosting company.
Pick a domain name and hosting company. Make sure you stick to your business name when selecting a domain name to help potential customers easily find you. Choose the best hosting company that fits your budget and goals. Some of the best are; Bluehost, Site ground, and HostGator.
Identify the top 3 hosting sites and run a comparison check. After picking one that you’re satisfied with, compare available hosting packages and go with the best one or one that caters to all your needs.
Ensure your site has an SSL certificate for security reasons. Most providers include free SSL certificates. So, go with one that does or purchase it from companies like DigiCert or Cloudflare.
- Find an eCommerce website builder.
You can either hire a developer or designer to build your site or use a website builder. Site builders help minimize costs and are a convenient way to get online. However, mastering the features or understanding how everything works can take time. Nonetheless, if you pick the right builder, dedicate time and energy you can quickly set things up.
WordPress is the best platform because it allows you to customize your site as you please. Give your store a professional look by choosing from countless free or premium themes and plugins. Easily backup and secure your site by simply installing the right plugin.
You can also use Shopify or Squarespace to build your store.
- Customize settings.
After choosing your builder and the best eCommerce plugin, install and customize it. Add your business name, logo, location, contact details, and so on. WooCommerce is one of the best plugins with over 5 million installations. Plus, it is free. It has tons of features and gives you the flexibility you need to grow your store and add as many products as you like. So, I recommend it.
- Add products.
Create a Main Menu and add Main Menu items such as; ‘Home’, ‘About’, ‘Products’, ‘Contact’, and so on. Complete all the details. Add the product name, description, image, and pricing information on product categories. Complete the design process and move on to the next step.
- Add payment methods.
Add preferred payment methods. Decide which countries you want to market to, find out what’s most convenient to them, or go with popular payment methods like PayPal, Visa, or Mastercard.
- Test and launch your store.
After completing the design process test if everything is working properly and then launch your store. Make sure there are no broken links and that the checkout process works as expected.
When you successfully launch your store, integrate it with your Instagram account. Post promotional photos or videos and add links to your posts.
DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR SITE
Drive traffic to your site, inspire action, and convert followers to customers by doing the following:
● Link IGTV posts.
IGTV is an Instagram video app that lets you create and share longer videos. Many users prefer video posts. So, use the app to give them a great experience. Drive traffic to external pages or your website by adding links to your IGTV posts. Add a CTA on video descriptions or mention the link and ask viewers to click on it.
Keep your videos interactive and informative. It can be a tutorial or a contest. Make sure it is something your followers want to listen to so you can get more clicks.
Your videos can last up to an hour.
● Optimize your bio link.
Your link in bio can drive lots of traffic to your site because it can be easily seen by anyone who views your profile. Plus, it is clickable. The link can direct to any page on your site and you can change the destination page as often as you desire. Meaning you can use it to take users to your homepage, services page, or product launch page. Just add a call-to-action on post captions to let people know what they’ll be directed to.
● Use direct messaging.
Ask your followers to DM you if they have any questions about your service or business. Always check your inbox for new messages, respond to inquiries, and keep the conversation going. If you notice you receive the same question multiple times, create an Instagram story and provide an answer. This can lead to more engagement and is especially useful when you are out of post ideas. Don’t forget to add a call-to-action to your post.
You can also DM new followers, thank them for following you, and share a link to your site. Talk about what they’ll find or benefit from it.
● Use Instagram stories.
Stories help you to connect with your followers. So, keep your audience engaged and interested in your posts by sharing different types of content. Use live video, photos, or Gifs to grab their attention and inspire action. Add links to your stories and direct them to your website. You can also use stories to promote your site, blog, new product, upcoming events, or discounts. Briefly talk about it, add a CTA and encourage users to follow the shared link. This is a great way to grow traffic and help your audience to understand your brand better.
Another great option is to add a screenshot of testimonials from happy clients. Doing this will help you to attract more people to your site, prove your credibility, and convert followers to long-term clients.
● Use hashtags.
People love, prefer, and follow hashtags. When you study and use relevant ones, you will easily grow your following and increase traffic to your site. Include as many hashtags as you like on a single post but don’t overdo it. The best posts normally have 5 or 8 quality hashtags. Add a call-to-action to enable users to effortlessly navigate to your site.
AVOID COMMON MISTAKES
Most people fail to use Instagram to grow their businesses, get more followers, and drive traffic to their site or blog because of certain mistakes that they make during the marketing process. So, identify those mistakes, avoid them, and get results.
Top 5 common Instagram mistakes to avoid.
- Not having a strategy.
Most people fail because they don’t have a proper strategy in place. They don’t know what they want to achieve or how they are going to use the platform to meet their goals. So, don’t make the same mistake. Have a purpose. Set goals and know why you are on the platform. Is it to improve your brand? Is it to grow your audience? Do you want to boost sales? Or perhaps you want to connect with your followers at a personal level? When you know the main reason for being on the platform, create a strategy that will help you to meet your goals. This is the most effective way to learn and guarantee results.
- Too many hashtags.
Hashtags ensure people find you and engage with your content. When used right, they can attract a bigger audience and take your business to the next level. However, countless people overdo it and post too many hashtags that cause users to think “Is this real?” or “This is unappealing!” So, avoid including hashtags in your post description just for the sake of it. Less than 10 are enough. Sometimes even 3 or 4 will do.
- No link in bio.
We’ve already talked about the power that comes with optimizing your ‘link in bio.’ Therefore, don’t skip this step and make the mistake that most people make. Pay attention to your bio link and use it to help people understand your business better, learn more about upcoming promotions, contests, or discounts, and drive traffic to your site.
- Not engaging with followers.
Connecting with your followers is as important as improving your brand. It is the most effective way to help them understand your business better. So, engage with them and send timely responses. Don’t ignore their comments because it can force them to think you don’t value their opinion or care about them. Retain and grow your audience by responding to comments and showing them how much you value their feedback.
- Low-quality posts.
Your posts are the lifeblood of your account. They determine who interacts with your content and who stays on it. They also determine how far you can go. Therefore, pay careful attention to the content you share. Upload quality images and professional videos. You already know the type of content that your audience prefers so don’t let poor presentation ruin your reputation or force users off your page.
Be sure to include Instagram stories and highlights for more engagement and to inspire action.
If you avoid these common mistakes and apply the best practices to your marketing goals, you will get more followers, boost engagement, drive traffic to external accounts or pages, and grow sales.
I wish you all the best!