My only regret as a business owner on social media is not utilizing it sooner. This is exactly why I want to lay out my entire Instagram guide for you today…
You know as well as I do that the whole world is online. Therefore, it is safe to say that is where people are going to get their first impression of you and your company.
Not only that, but social media is a powerful tool to generate leads, increase revenue, and follow up with customers. Nonetheless, many entrepreneurs aren’t using it to its full potential…
The secret recipe to make a social media strategy work has two parts…
- Knowing the nuances of each individual platform.
- Getting tons of followers and eyes on your posts.
With this in mind, I am going to share with you the ins and outs of my second favorite social media platform, Instagram — YouTube being my #1 favorite.
At the time of writing this article, I have 4.2 million followers on Instagram and I use it every day to expand all my ventures. And in this guide, I’ll share how you can explode your Instagram following to help your business…
Why Do I Love Instagram So Much I Want to Make a Guide for It?
As I mentioned before, Instagram is one of the social media platforms I like the best — and it’s not because I dig people telling me I look good in pictures.
Instagram has over 1 BILLION active users worldwide. That is one-eighth of the global population in one place. Better yet, those active users are spending an hour or more there per day…
Those statistics mean your business has the potential to be seen by a huge number of attentive people.
Additionally, Instagram is easy to use. So, you can market effectively and not have to be tech-savvy.
That being said, I wrote this guide to show my fellow business owners how to make the most of this unique chance to get known.
However, it takes more than just posting nice photos…
Instagram Business Account vs Personal: What’s the Difference?
The first thing you need to know before we get into the nuts and bolts of strategy is the difference between a personal account vs a business account. Then, determine which kind you should make for your company.
Don’t worry if you already have a certain type of account and want to change it after reading this section. You can easily switch it in your Instagram settings.
The type of account you choose will depend on your industry and your goals with the platform. These are the important distinctions between a personal account and a business one to take into consideration…
Personal Accounts on Instagram
The type of account most people have and are familiar with is a personal page. Often, individuals use them to share pictures and videos with friends and family. Still, don’t count it out as an effective tool for promotion.
For example, if you are the product you are trying to market — such as a personal trainer or coach — personal accounts may be the better option.
For one, they have access to the entirety of the Instagram music library. This means you can create fresh, trending, and interesting content for your audience. Furthermore, you can make these accounts private and use access to their exclusive content as an incentive for clients.
On the other hand, Instagram established business accounts with sales and marketing in mind…
Instagram Business Account Features
There are significant advantages to having an Instagram business account — especially if you sell physical products or plan on running ads.
To begin with, this type of account allows you to select products for sale directly in their “shop” section. This benefits both Instagram and your business.
INSTAGRAM KEEPS THE USER ON THEIR PLATFORM — WHICH IS HOW THEY MAKE MONEY — AND YOUR CUSTOMER CAN EASILY PURCHASE FROM YOU. IT’S A WIN-WIN.
Also, business accounts have the ability to report critical statistics on product sales and engagement on your posts. These insights can help you pivot your strategy if something isn’t working or give your audience more of what they want — a HUGE advantage over a personal account.
Whichever type of account you choose to create will be dependent on the size, goals, and industry you’re in. And if you grow and need to switch, that’s fine too.
The point here is you need to just get on there and get started. Even if your company already has funnels, paid ads, and a killer site in place, Instagram has unique ways to boost your business that those avenues never will.
Why Should YOU Leverage Instagram for Business?
Besides the fact that 81% of retail customers do research online before buying, there is another massive reason to make Instagram a part of your business strategy…
CUSTOMERS BUY FROM PEOPLE, NOT COMPANIES.
The real power of marketing on social media is how it humanizes your brand. The world gets to know and like you before they purchase.
Ads and websites can provide information to try and develop this relationship, but it’s not the same. Social media accounts come off as more authentic.
Now, Instagram in particular was built to share visual media like photos and videos. So, let’s set the parameters for your appropriate business targets with this tool…
What Do Business Goals for Instagram Look Like?
Your goals with Instagram will determine everything from the type of account you choose to the kind of content you post. That is why you need to be crystal clear on your objectives.
REMEMBER, YOUR INSTAGRAM PROMOTION SHOULD SUPPORT YOUR OVERALL CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY.
Keep that in mind as you read this list of common ambitions with Instagram…
6 Common Instagram Business Targets
1. Increase Brand Awareness
At the very least, brand awareness should be your goal with IG.
I think we can all agree our businesses need as many people as possible to know about us.
2. Showcase Product
Because Instagram is visual, it is a great place to take high-quality photos of products to entice clients.
I will go deeper into how in the content creation portion of this article.
3. Establish Authority
Why are your products the best? Why should customers take your recommendations over others?
This platform gives you the chance to show people why you dominate the competition. Take advantage of that.
4. Build a Community
Certain brands have such a loyal customer base because the buyers feel like they are a part of something bigger.
Social media is where you can create that feeling of community with your ideal audience. For example, network marketers and influencers utilize Instagram for this every day.
5. Increase Sales
Whether through the IG shop feature or linking to your online store, it is always a solid goal to want to increase sales.
When you have a tool like Instagram to guide you for free, this business objective becomes more relevant than ever.
6. Put a Face to Your Brand
In today’s marketplace, your customers have more options of places to buy from than ever before…
For that reason, they often make their decision based on who aligns with their personal beliefs. Instagram is where you can show them who you are and what you represent.
These are just a few examples of what you can aim for with IG. Personally, I would work to eventually include all of them in your marketing strategy.
Next, I want to show you how to measure your efforts on Instagram…
Which Instagram Insights & Metrics Are the Most Important?
Again, I want to remind you that these essential statistics are only available with an Instagram business account. Based on your goals, different metrics will hold different significance to your business — which we will go over in this section.
I recommend you review this data at least once per week so you can adjust your Instagram strategy as needed.
Now, here is how you interpret the different groups of information that you will find in the “Insights” section of your business account…
In this area of your Insights Overview, you can see both non-followers and followers your posts have reached. You can also see the type of content people respond to the most, but more on that later…
These numbers are strong indicators of how well you’re growing your following or forming a community, if those are your goals with the platform.
For the same objective, you will want to review the next set of data as well…
The content interaction portion of Instagram Insights shows a comprehensive breakdown of the engagement you have received on each category of content. It takes into account likes, comments, shares, and saves.
From here, it is easy to determine what your ideal customer likes and what they’re looking for.
In addition to growth and community, there are clues on how to generate revenue within the app with these numbers.
While anyone with a personal Instagram account can see their total followers on their main profile, the Insights section takes things a step further…
Here, you have access to:
- Everyone who has followed and unfollowed you
- Top locations people follow you from
- Age range and gender percentage of your followers
- Times where your posts receive the most activity
This information is particularly useful if you want to run ads and when choosing posting times. With that in mind, let’s review what other metrics you should prioritize when showcasing products or driving traffic to your site…
Instagram Shopping Stats
If one of your main goals is to sell products through IG, you will need to see how you’re doing by tracking two statistics…
First, see how many product views you have. Before anyone can buy your products, they have to know they exist. You want to make sure the number of people being exposed to your offer is continually increasing.
Next, look at product button clicks. This is where someone actually showed an active interest and went to purchase. If you see this number going down, it’s time to switch gears.
Up to this point, this data has measured efforts that only cost you time. But what about the ones you’ve backed with cash?
Website Traffic and Sign-Ups
Some of you may be using Instagram with the intention of driving traffic to your website or for lead generation through ads or certain types of posts. These are smart ways to use the platform to grow your business, but only if you’re getting results…
To track this, make sure your website taps and link clicks are doing well in your Insights tab, Otherwise, you can end up spending a lot of money really fast, with lackluster results.
So far, I have thrown a lot at you — nomenclature, statistics, etc. — and I haven’t even told you what to post on the damn profile yet!
Don’t worry. We’re getting to that right now…
I just had to guide you to get your goals and strategic foundation airtight so we can make your content matter on Instagram and make a profitable impact…
Guide to Instagram Post Ideas for Business Owners
All the statistics we covered are interesting, but you don’t need fancy tools to tell you that you have to create great content to do well on Instagram…
So what can you post, and how do you make that content work for your company?
The two areas you can post on your Instagram account are your Feed and your Stories.
The difference between these two is that on your feed, content is permanently displayed there on your main account page. This is where your focus should be when you are first establishing your account because it is what people see first.
However, content uploaded to your stories disappears within 24 hours. Stories have some features that make them great for business owners to connect with customers.
I’ll illustrate these points with examples from my own Instagram account to get your creative juices flowing…
You may be wondering, “If a story only lasts 24 hours, how can it impact my bottom line?” The answer is simple…
Because you can post up to 100 stories — photos or short videos — in a day, you can keep your followers engaged and your company at the forefront of their minds.
Take a look at this story I posted on my Instagram…
This graphic promotes an online event I held a while back. Upon analyzing it, you can see several ways it generates buzz for my business…
Firstly, it lets people know what I do and that there is a project happening. Secondly, it creates interest in that event. Lastly, if you were to have accessed that story on Instagram, you would have had the option to tap the story and register for access to the stream.
MONEY FOLLOWS ATTENTION, SO STAY IN FRONT OF YOUR FOLLOWERS.
In my opinion, video is an evergreen marketing tactic and the best way to connect with potential customers. It’s the next best thing to talking to them face to face. That’s where Reels come in on Instagram.
Reels are 15-to-90-second videos that live on your Feed. These videos give you a chance to:
- Provide quick tips
- Promote your business
- Showcase your personality
Here is an example of a Reel I posted about money and mindset…
In this video, I use a little bit of humor, drop some knowledge, and share my beliefs. It gives old and new followers a chance to see what I’m about.
There are tons of ways to use Reels to reach your goals with Instagram. I encourage you to be creative.
When I showed you a graphic from my stories, it focused on promoting an event. Now, I am going to show a quote graphic I put up here…
Quote graphics can easily be shared to Stories too. However, I suggest you throw a few on your feed for a couple of reasons…
Because people love inspirational quotes, they will often save the posts to look at later. This is a great method to stay on your audience’s radar.
Next, these graphics are very shareable, meaning others tend to repost them to their stories. When they do so, you reach those you might not have otherwise.
Again, you are making your audience see you as a person and not just an entity. Another effective method to that end is pulling back your company’s curtain…
I believe in this method of social media marketing so strongly, I had my team create a separate profile dedicated to it — the Grant Cardone Enterprises Instagram account.
While we do occasionally publicize offers on this page, its main focus is how we do business. This account features pictures of top-producing employees succeeding and performing their jobs…
How our events are set up…
And interaction with clients.
In short, it walks prospects through what their customer experience would look like. Definitely include this as a part of your Instagram business strategy.
Last but not least, we’ll discuss promotional posts more in-depth…
At the end of the day, you are a business owner. You must use all of your social media platforms to promote your company, products, and offers; Instagram is no exception.
Posts like these should be featured on both your stories and feed as soon as they go live and often.
TRUST ME — YOU CAN NEVER POST OR MARKET TOO MUCH.
Instagram users are flooding the app with over 95 million photos per day. You need to make numerous promotional posts if you want to see any significant results.
And when it comes to posting, consistency and quantity are crucial. But for social media to be truly effective, you have to participate in the social aspect of it as well…
Additional Guide to Instagram Growth Strategies
Social media gives consumers the ability to communicate with companies to let them know what they like or dislike about them. This presents a unique opportunity for you to hone in on what your audience wants and build a relationship with them.
However, the key factor is to prioritize meaningful engagement with your audience. Whether you plan on doing this yourself or hiring a social media management team, these are the engagement routines that need to be in place…
One of the most impactful way to get momentum in the Instagram algorithm is to get comments and comment on others’ posts.
Still, you have to be smart about it. Otherwise, people will be put off, and you’ll look like a “spammer.”
These are a few ways to make your comments count…
Research Your Industry on IG
Before you go any further, you need to have a commenting battle plan.
I suggest that you go on Instagram and find the top ten trending hashtags related to your business.
Hashtags are ways to group related posts on social media. They start with a pound sign followed by keywords. For example, a relevant hashtag for the automotive industry could be something like #newcars.
Then, you need to identify the top ten accounts related to your business. These could be other companies or authorities in your field. Finding and following these topics and accounts will set up the framework for good engagement practices.
Daily Commenting Schedule
Great commenting only counts if you are regular and persistent with it. Failure to do so means obscurity for your social media presence.
For that reason, you need to comment on the top posts in your industry and give valuable replies to comments on your posts every day.
Don’t give one-word answers or just respond with emojis. Like each comment and add something to the conversation!
THE POINT IS TO GET A DIALOGUE STARTED.
Performing the above steps properly widens your audience and increases your chances of turning leads into prospects and customers.
But to really forge a close connection with your audience, you want to move from the comments to the DMs…
Direct messages or DMs are a great tool to build a personal relationship with your audience and increase revenue. This is because these one-on-one messages are effective in moving leads from your social media to your main website or to booking a call.
For that reason, you should check and engage with messages in the two areas you can receive DMs — your main inbox and your message requests.
Message requests come from people who do not follow you. So, they are placed in a separate folder in the direct message area of your account. Don’t neglect communication in here. It could result in a loyal customer.
As beneficial as DMs can be to your business, there are some rules you need to follow…
DM Dos and Don’ts
As a business owner, you know dealing with individuals can get messy fast — especially because many times direct messages are sent with customer complaints.
With that in mind, I compiled this list of how to manage your DMs so you can stay on track.
- Resist small talk. It is important to build rapport with your clients, but don’t spend too much time on the weather and kids. People have short attention spans. They will appreciate your directness.
- Control the conversation. The one who asks and gets answers to their questions is the one in control. In addition to posing fact-finding questions, make sure to get answers. Ask again if needed.
- Ensure they feel heard. No one likes feeling ignored. While it is important to control the dialogue, don’t brush past what the lead says. Acknowledge, address, and handle their concerns.
- Don’t oversell. I believe that pressure is a good thing — and there is definitely a time and place for it in sales. However, don’t get pushy in direct messages. You are early in the sales cycle, at best.
- Book calls for high-ticket deals. It’s almost impossible to get a buyer to part with thousands of dollars with a click of a button. Therefore, transition DMs about expensive products and services to a sales call. It is easier to showcase features, advantages, and benefits that way, as well as for clients to make sense of the price.
For my last rule regarding this topic, I want to give you an outline of how to do it as well. So, when you’re engaging in DMs, you should follow a script.
Here is the guide to creating your own Instagram direct message prompt…
Direct Message Blueprint
Of course, there are nuances to every industry that need to be taken into account when communicating with potential clients. You should include those in your individual scripts.
Nonetheless, this basic roadmap will help you keep the conversation moving in the right direction. This is the flow a DM conversation should follow…
- Build rapport. The first step in reaching out or responding to a message is to ask a question based on their profile. Something short and sweet to let them know they have your attention.
- Find out their goals. Next, transition into uncovering what they are trying to accomplish with your product or service. This will also aid in the selection process.
- Discover their challenges. Why haven’t they hit their targets already? What obstacles or objections do they have to purchasing a solution? Get the answers at this point of the conversation.
- Make an appointment. A connection can only go so far when you’re typing back and forth. Whether you arrange a phone call or an in-person meeting, get something on the calendar.
- Obtain their phone number and email address. You should always wrap up an Instagram chat with one or both of these pieces of information. You need to get ahold of them to confirm that appointment, won’t you? And if the prospect is uncomfortable sharing their phone number, offer a Zoom call as an alternative.
Build a script around this framework, and you’ll be golden.
Still, there is another way to utilize Instagram DMs to get tons of qualified leads coming to you…
To automate your DMs, you will need a third-party tool. However, they are fairly affordable and can save you considerable time.
An automation will send a pre-written response to individuals that direct message a certain phrase to your inbox. This can help sort and prioritize messages or get people the information they need.
In general, the tools that set up automations work like this…
You will select a keyphrase such as “yes” and write a response you want to generate when it is used. The software will connect them through Instagram for you. Then, you simply tell your followers to use that keyphrase if they are interested in what you’re offering.
This option is definitely worth looking into and has a variety of uses. I encourage you to look into it.
After reading this guide, you have a lot of aspects to consider when using Instagram to expand your business. But believe it or not, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing your brand online…
How to Take Your Social Media Marketing to the Next Level
Getting traction on Instagram — and all social media, for that matter — takes frequency, consistency, and a lot of trial and error. That space is constantly changing…
A photo that worked one day may flop the next…
Once compelling copy on your captions may suddenly fall flat…
And that is after all the time and energy you put into their creation while also trying to run your business!
A lot of research and vigilance are required to stay ahead of the game. I knew that wasn’t realistic, so I developed something for those overwhelmed by the thought of all that work — the 10X Marketing System.
There, we have templates for any type of post you could ever want to make on Instagram, as well as captions that have proven to convert. You just have to add your business’s name and details.
But most importantly, you need to get on Instagram and promote your business. The stats show your customers are going to scope you out there before you know they exist.
Go out there and make a good first impression.
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