Social media expert Nicky Kriel has created a simple beginner’s guide to Instagram so you can start using this powerful marketing tool to attract buying customers into your store
Instagram has over one billion active users each month. Are you taking advantage of this highly engaged and fast-growing audience? This social media platform has higher engagement and is growing faster than Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Instagram stories have three times more active users each day than Snapchat has in a month. Instagram is not just for celebrities, selfies or sharing beautiful food snaps, as a retailer you can use this powerful marketing tool to attract buying customers.
Here’s five ways to generate business:
- Create high-quality customer-focused content.
- Optimise your Instagram profile for visibility.
- Engage with your community.
- Words matter.
- Build relationships with influencers.
Create Customer-focused Content
Instagram is highly visual so make sure that images are high-quality and impactful. Have a clear idea of your ideal customer when you post. Customers will be at different stages in their buying cycle, so you want to post content that builds up trust and keeps you top-of-mind. In addition to product shots, share behind-the-scenes images and inspirational photographs and quotes. Also share photographs that your customers have posted, with their permission, of course. User-generated content has a higher conversion rate.
Optimise your Instagram Profile for Visibility
Make sure you are using a business account for Instagram. It gives you access to insightful analytics, allows you to connect to your Facebook Business Page and allows you to advertise easily. It also gives you a contact button. Optimise your bio by making sure it will attract outdoor enthusiasts and gives your location. Add your keyword to your Instagram name. Your name is searchable. If you have a branded hashtag use it in your bio. Instagram is light-hearted and fun, so include appropriate emojis and spacing to create a more memorable bio. As an independent retailer, your location is key, so make sure that you geotag your location and use location-based hashtags whenever you post.
Engage with your Community
It’s very easy to sit back and ask why nobody is engaging with your posts. The question really should be: How many times do you add comments to your existing customers and other local businesses Insta accounts? You will build relationships with customers quicker by regularly commenting and liking other people’s posts and stories. Set weekly engagement goals and you will increase engagement on your own account which will in return increase your visibility.
Too many accounts concentrate on adding images and forget to add captivating captions. Captions are an opportunity for storytelling. Show that you are relatable and human and help them to know, like and trust your shop. Tell a story about why you have posted the image rather than just a brief description. Don’t forget to make it clear what you want the reader to do after they have read your caption.
Hashtags are important for discoverability on Instagram. Use at least five to 11 hashtags each time you post. Avoid using viral hashtags because they are less likely to get you found. You will get more traction with using hashtags which have been used 10,000 to 100,000 times and very specific location-based hashtags.
Build Relationships with Influencers
You may not have the budget to work with an influencer such as Kim Kardashian, but there will be people in your area who are influential to your customers. You may need to pay influencers, but there’s a good chance that local outdoor enthusiasts may be delighted to trial a product for you in exchange for sharing images and telling of their experience of the product. Make sure that you research potential people that you may want to work with to make sure they fit in with your brand image and think of building longer-term relationships rather one-off product promotions.
Instagram is too big too ignore. Make sure that you are using it to generate business.