Published on November 10, 2015
1. How to Grow Your Business On Instagram OWN IT HACKS
2. How do you really use Instagram for your business? Here’s a behind-the-curtain look at how small businesses on the OWN IT network have successfully used Instagram to grow their brands and reach more customers.
3. Can Instagram Really Work? • Connecting with your customers matters, right? But is Instagram the right place for your business? • Many small business folks on OWN IT told us that Instagram is their most effective social media channel for getting new customers.
4. Can Instagram Really Work? • Instagram provides opportunities for both service-based businesses and product-based businesses to visually share their mission and their perspective with a targeted audience. • It's less about sharing images of your products and more about conveying the bigger picture of who you are and what your company represents.
5. Hack #1: Start With Your “Why” To Find The Right Followers • Look at your core mission. • What benefits do you offer your customers or clients? • What sets you apart from other businesses in your industry or profession?
6. Find Your Followers • Who do you want to share your mission with? • Who could benefit from seeing your perspective or the big picture of your brand every day on their phone? • These questions will help you identify who you want as followers on Instagram and what you want to share with them daily.
7. “Businesses have to behave like people on Instagram because it's a living, breathing thing.” Christina Stembel Owner of Farmgirl Flowers
8. “We're successful on Instagram because what we share is true to who we are. We post pictures of actual floral arrangements and orders going out, right at that moment. It’s not staged at all. We learned that our customers want to feel something about the company they're relating to.” – Christina Stembel
9. Hack 2: Create Killer Posts on Instagram • Think of Instagram as a giant candy store. • What is your eye candy? • Is it items you sell? Your store? Your town? Your happy customers?
10. The small business owners we talked to all agreed that their number of engaged followers on Instagram increases when they share a mix of lifestyle and product photos. Finding the Secret Formula to Engagement
11. Post a variety of photos and keep track of each post’s results to find your magic formula for the right mix of lifestyle versus product pics.
12. “Every time we posted an outdoorsy photo, people would interact.” Josey Orr Founder of Dyer & Jenkins
13. “Over time, as you're testing different images out, your customers and followers will tell you who they are by the types of photos they like and interact with. Then, you can adjust what you're posting and the products you carry to better suit your audience.” – Josey Orr
14. TRY THIS • Write down a list of all the different types of photos you want to experiment with on your Instagram feed. • Give yourself permission to try sharing some photos that are obvious (like a photo of your products) and some that aren't (like a well- deserved celebratory cocktail on Friday).
15. TRY THIS • Ask for feedback on a new product or idea. • Feature an employee who went above and beyond this month. • Share a snapshot of some recent press your business got. • Use an app like InstaQuote or A Beautiful Mess to add an inspiring quote or phrase on top of your photo. • Think local, even if your customers aren't. Snap a photo of your favorite spot in town and give it a location so your image has a better chance of being discovered by those who don't yet know you or your brand.
16. The bottom line? We learned that it all boils down to filling your Instagram feed with the images your target audience will be most excited and entertained by when they open up their phones. It’s Like a Conversation Your customers will show you when you have the right mix.
17. Hack 3: Know When to Post • When it comes to frequency, the small business owners we surveyed all agree: posting once a day (no more, no less) is optimal for building a following. • After about 30 days of posting every day, some trends should start to emerge.
18. Planning and Tracking Tools • Download our free tools to help you make the most of Instagram. • InstaWorksheet (Getting Started) • InstaCalendar (30-day Tracking Tool) • Visit OWNIT.com for more.
19. Hack 4: Make Hashtags Do the Work for You • Hashtags are like Instagram ambassadors that insert your content into other people's conversations. • Which hashtags you use determine which conversations you enter. • Use the Instagram Search and Explore tab to see trending places, hashtags and people.
20. “The key is to start posting with hashtags you think will work and see what happens. Then, refine from there.” Rodney Bedsole Photographer
21. “I photographed the New York Coffee Festival a couple weeks ago and put a few photos on Instagram with hashtags that baristas and coffee shops are looking at. It made my number of followers go up by about 15-20 people in the matter of a couple of days. I also got more likes on those photos compared to the ones that didn't have hashtags. “ - Rodney Bedsole
22. TRY THIS • To find relevant hashtags that will reach a more niche audience, start by using a site like IconoSquare or Webstagram. Search for hashtags that relate closely to your brand or your industry and you'll automatically get a list of many more that people are currently using. • Next, look beyond the numbers and find the hashtags that influencers in your industry or in your location are using on Instagram. Are there common phrases that other folks like you are using to be found?
23. TRY THIS • Then, have some fun with it! Create your own brand hashtag or occasionally jump on a trendy one like #TBT (a.k.a. Throwback Thursday) or #dogsofinstagram. • Use our worksheet to make a list of the 10 hashtags you want to test out first. Keep track of your results every day by using the OWN IT InstaCalendar.
24. Don’t Be Afraid to Create Your Own Hashtags. • Reinforce the mission of your brand. • Inspire your followers to use the custom hashtag and help others find your content.
25. Hack 5: The Art of Asking for Some Instagram Love • When your customers are posting images of your product or tagging you in photos, don't miss this opportunity to give them a shoutout on your feed. • If your customers aren't yet sharing photos of your amazing products on Instagram, ask them to!
26. TRY THIS • Start thinking about Instagram as a potential referral channel and treat it the same way you would a Yelp review or a testimonial for your website. • Consider how to ask. Is it via an email? A handwritten note tucked into their order? A prominent sign in your store? • Consider when to ask. Is it after you've shipped their item? When you send a confirmation email? In your monthly newsletter? Right after they send you a thank you following a session? • Consider rewarding folks for spreading the word. Can you send them a discount code as a thank you for posting a photo to their feed?
27. FIND MORE HACKS on OWN IT • Visit OWNIT.com for our full guide on How To Grow Your Business on Instagram including downloadable tools. • Check out the rest of our OWN IT Hacks series. • Join the Network Dedicated to Small Business Success. • Connect with thousands of small business owners like you with our free app.
29. OWN IT is a trusted network of small business owners and the self-employed supporting each other in growing our businesses. Join us to make better, more informed decisions via the experiences of experts and professionals like you. Hosted By Created By