Get real about your business' Instagram account! Gain followers so you can earn credibility, trust and appear more professional to your potential customers. The more followers you have, the more overall traffic you'll have, the more popular you become. Here's how to do it :
Engage with your competitors followers
One of the best ways for you to have a sneak peek at what your target market is, is to have a look at your competitors' Instagram account. Like their photos, comment of them, as these people have already shown some level of interest in the products you carry simply by following your competitors' account. There are many different ways to engage with Instagram users, and obviously, more effort = more followers.
According to Richard Lazazzera from Shopify there are three types of engagement on Instagram are:
- Follow a user
- Like a photo
- Comment on a photo
Lazazzera ran an informal test with his business account to see how my competitors' followers responded to my marketing advances.
"I targeted the followers of a close, local competitor. Since I know many of his followers would be local, I added my city to my profile to create a greater sense of familiarity between my brand and the people I am targeting. I began by simply following 100 of my competitor's followers. Later, I followed another 100 of my competitor's followers but I also took the time to like one of their photos. Finally, I followed another 100 of my competitor's followers and commented on one of each of the 100 user's photos as well as liked that same photo."
His results were as follows:
- Follow: 14% follow back
- Follow + Like: 22% follow back
- Follow + Like + Comment: 34% follow back
Use the right hashtags
When creating an Instagram account for your business, obviously you want to engage your current audience hence growing your following. Posting new, interesting photos with engaging captions will satisfy the first requirement but to begin growing you'll find hashtagging your photos to be extremely important. Hashtagging your photos makes it easy for people to find your photos that are searching for those specific terms.
So which hashtags should you use? It is easy to use popular hashtags, but they change every day. Webstagram and Populargram are booth websites that constantly tracks them, for an updated list check their website. Just like with Twitter and other social sites, users on Instagram use certain hashtags over others. If you use the right hashtags within your photos, you're much more likely to reach new users and be discovered.
If you have however checked out that list and think, these aren't connected to my business, it's probably true. Popular tags like the ones listed above will likely get you additional engagement and likes, however, they will not lead to increased long-term engagement, new interested followers and most importantly, sales. This can be good to portray that you have a load of engagement so that actual relevant customers think you're well established on the site, however you will eventually need to use relevant hashtags. This means you have to research your keywords to make sure you're using the most relevant hashtags that not only describes your brand, but is also somewhat popular on Instagram.
Here are some pro tips from Richard Lazazzera of Shopify who has his own ecommerce business:
"Protip #1: Here’s a trick that I use for my ecommerce businesses. For every product and product category for my stores, I have done the keyword research to see which are the most popular Instagram hashtags around those product categories. I came up with 15-20 popular hashtags for each category of products I sell, as well as a base of 5-10 popular tags that describe my brand and product offering overall. Finally, I also created a list of popular local specific hashtags that relate to my brand.
- Brand keyword hashtags: #mybrandname #mensfashion #mensaccessories #mensgoods #fashion #mensstyle #instafashion #menswear
- Product Category keyword hashtags: #bugatchisocks #happysocks #corgisocks #socks #sockswag #socksoftheday #sockgame #sockswagg #socksofinstagram #happysockday #sockwars #funsocks #happysockday
- Location specific keyword hashtags: #Toronto #TorontoFashion #TorontoFashionBloggers
All of these groups of keyword hashtags are stored in a page on Evernote. This makes it easy and efficient when I’m on the go to post a new Instagram image, optimized for the most relevant keywords. I can easily open my Evernote and copy my standard brand, product and location specific hashtags to post with each photo.Doing the work upfront of researching, organizing and saving the most applicable and popular hashtags will save you a ton of time down the road, increase your engagement and help garner new followers."
Post on the right days & time
A very key element that a lot of people forget about, is that you should also be considering the timing of your posts. You should always take a targeted approach, so analyze what has and has not worked for you in the past. IconoSquare has a fantastic optimization section where you can get a detailed analysis of your posting history vs. engagement. This report will also highlight the best times of the day and days of the week to post. You may want to consider using a scheduling program to schedule your posts, ScheduGram is great, however you have to pay for it. (Worth it!)
Now you know how, go out there and get the #followers and exposure that you deserve!