Before launching the Humble & Whole website, we spent a few months cultivating a community on Instagram. Starting on Instagram was one of the best decisions we made because we quickly developed an engaged tribe that has supported our business through all of the ups and downs. In general, Instagram is a desirable platform for business because it’s highly active with over 500 million monthly users (source). Including Instagram in your marketing strategy can be beneficial when used properly! Keep reading to check out our best tips to make the most out of Instagram for business.
An official business account may hurt your organic visibility
First things first, be aware of the recent changes to the Instagram business account. There have been several complaints that business accounts are not being represented properly in the hashtag search results to push businesses to invest in advertising. Instagram has had a less than stellar response to this issue, so it may be worthwhile to switch back to a personal account in order to boost the visibility of your content.
Showcase what you do
Because Instagram is driven by visuals, this is the PERFECT platform to use for creative entrepreneurs. If you have handmade products, paintings, photography sessions, etc. then Instagram is perfect for you to show off your product AND the creation process. Whether you choose to primarily use video, slideshows, or single image posts, Instagram makes it easy to show your followers what you’re up to.
There is a strong tendency to ONLY highlight the best photos that match the overall aesthetic, especially among creative entrepreneurs. Every once in awhile, if you can, showcase a not so perfect photo that shows the truth of what life really looks like for you. We promise that your audience will appreciate you for it (we’re working on this ourselves!)
What if you don’t have a shop with pretty products to sell? What if you are an info-based entrepreneur, like a social media strategist (hello!), copywriter, consultant, or coach? The approach that Kleneice and I took was to try to share more of our brand photos, photos that complement our aesthetic from other people, and personal photos of our workspace, bible, coffee, etc.
Show people what it looks like behind the scenes of your business. For infopreneurs, I find that it becomes even more important to write engaging, personal Instagram captions to make up for the lack of images that directly showcase our work. Sharing your best education and advice is the best way to build your reputation as an expert on Instagram.
Instagram relies on engagement
Using Instagram for business successfully means honoring the nature of this platform by interacting with others. Many people complain of the tendency of followers to sharply fluctuate on Instagram. While the follow/unfollow method happens to be quite popular, you do have to consider your own engagement habits if your account just isn’t growing. As a business, engaging with other people is expected and can make a huge difference in building a genuinely engaged tribe. According to Forbes, 62% of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a customer.
The worst thing you can do on Instagram is just post your own content and run. Make sure you set aside 20-30 minutes per day to actually interact with the people you’re following! Otherwise, why are you following them?
Engage with entrepreneurs who have brands that are similar to yours. Building relationships with other business owners is beneficial in general because we can only go so far alone. On Instagram, a relationship with other business owners could look like a comment pod of like-minded entrepreneurs encouraging each other frequently with each post or featuring each other on your page so that your reach is expanded.
You don’t have to be afraid to send messages to other IG users! Sending messages is a great way to network, build relationships, and attract potential clients. Kleneice and I love to send sweet messages to the core members of our tribe - the people who have supported our journey the longest, and those who engage frequently on our posts.
You never know what kind of day someone is having, and we wholeheartedly believe in the power of kindness and the impact a tiny love note could have on someone’s day.
Your turn: Pick 1-2 members of your tribe to reach out to weekly. Send them a private message, thanking them for their support. This is critical to continue to build relationships and share your appreciation with your core, most engaged members of your tribe.
Sending messages to other entrepreneurs is also a great way to build relationships and network. Entrepreneurs cherish feedback! We need assurance sometimes that our work is meaningful and impactful, especially when we’re in a slump! Simply sharing a message that you admire the work someone else is doing could open the door to a world of opportunities.
Whether you dream of collaborating with someone or not, if their work resonates with you, let them know!
Make the most of the link in your bio
Unless you use Later’s “linkinbio” or link tree, you’re limited to only one link in your bio at a time. For us, we like to rotate the link in our bio about every month or so in order to get an idea of how well a link performs before we swap it out.
No matter what link you decide to put in your bio, make sure you actually explain WHAT the link in the bio leads to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a random link in a bio without any indication of what it could be. The best way to drive traffic to that link is to clearly explain what it leads to with a clear call to action. For example, on our Instagram profile, visitors know that if they click on the link in our bio, they will be led to book a free social media engagement evaluation.
Make it super easy for your brand to be discovered
Hashtags are absolutely vital to getting your content seen by your target audience. When you’re trying to build an audience, there’s really no reason not to use 30 hashtags with each post.
In order to get visible, you have to use hashtags that describe you AND your target audience. For example, if you know you’re targeting Christian mothers, but none of your hashtags relate to motherhood or Christianity, you’re going to have a tough time getting in front of your target audience.
Kleneice and I are obsessed with hashtag research, and we can spend hours finding new hashtags to use that resonate with our brand and target audience. We try to update our own hashtags often to ensure we are as visible as possible.
If hashtags aren’t your strong suit, no worries. Our friend Zoe Linda developed an AMAZING hashtag database* that truly takes the guesswork out of hashtag research for you. Her database features hashtags from over 35 categories, so you're likely to find the exact hashtags for your industry inside!
*We are affiliates for Zoe Linda's hashtag database, so we make a small commission with each purchase using our link. We have purchased her database ourselves and analyzed the quality of the hashtags and recommend them for market research and for use on your Instagram posts. We only recommend products that we believe in and use ourselves!
Instagram truly is a great platform to use for business because it's easy to build a sense of community, engage with other entrepreneurs, and showcase your best products and services. How has using Instagram transformed your business? Let us know in the coments below!