Using Instagram for advertising is one of the hottest topics in social commerce, as it should be.
Instagram has 400 million active users every month, like we mentioned in Part 1 of this series. The billions of shared photos posted on the site are further proof of just how popular it is.
Your profile should include keywords in a succinct sentence, telling people exactly what you do
Now that you know how to get started on the popular site, let's focus on how to succeed. Let's start with creating your profile.
Be profile perfect
Your profile is the first thing people see when they find you through a search. And usually, when you add a comment, others can tap your username and go right to it. So how can you put your best business face forward?
"Your profile should include keywords in a succinct sentence, telling people exactly what you do," says Brooklyn Calloway, who sells arts and craft items through her website, Brookielynn's Bungalow.
Calloway's Instagram profile reads, "I create custom wooden workshop kits for paint manufacturers and retailers. Let's collaborate."
Dance instructor, health advocate and author Emeroy Bernardo uses Instagram to drive his target market to his sales funnel, where they become leads for his online courses.
Bernardo shared the following tips to guide you in preparing your own profile:
1. Tell your audience who you are immediately. If you're a stylist and a business trainer, make sure to mention that. For instance, you could post: Fashion stylist, biz coach.
2. Add personal quotes, likes and interests. Building on the previous example, your profile could morph into: Fashion stylist, biz coach. Live free, live passionately.
If you're a company, a logo should do just fine. If you're an individual brand, a head shot is the way to go
3. Add your other social platforms or email. For example, Bernardo says if you're trying to promote your Snapchat, you can add your Snapchat handle.
And "if you're a health coach, business coach, or any coach of some sort and would like direct booking, add your email," he says. It depends on your goal. For instance, you could post:
Fashion stylist, biz coach. Live free, live passionately.
Dream Big and Go After it
4. Take advantage of Profile links. He suggests you use any links there as content or promotions you want people to go to.
5. Use a separate writing app to create your profile. As of right now, there's no "Enter" or "Return" button when you're writing your bio directly on Instagram, Bernardo said. If you want to be creative, you'll need to use a separate writing app.
6. Have a strong image for your profile picture. "If you're a company, a logo should do just fine. If you're an individual brand, a head shot is the way to go," he notes.
Post videos that wow
As you know, videos are more captivating than photos. Instagram recently increased the video length allowed from 15 to 60 seconds.
That means "brands have a lot more time to play with their video creation," says Mallory Musante, Co-founder of Bold & Pop, a collective of social media design pros. Instagram also announced it's adding video counts "as the first of many ways you'll see video get better on Instagram."
With videos, as with photos, "you want to make sure you have enough lighting," Musante advises. "This will provide cleaner, more professional-looking videos that your audience will be more likely to engage with."
To be a part of his free iPad giveaway, you would need to follow him on Instagram, like a specific picture he picks and tag three friends
Ideas for videos are limitless: interviews with you or your staff, a tour of your facility, a product demo, etc. Once your brand is established, you have more flexibility to try other things.
Grow your following everywhere
"Use your other media outlets to promote your Instagram page," advises Ashley Baxter of Modern Marketing School. "Include a 'follow me on Instagram' call to action on your blog posts, website pages, Facebook/Twitter posts, and so on. Use the audience you have in other places to drive engagement on Instagram."
Bernardo provided some additional cross-promotion strategies.
1. Ask on all your platforms. "On Instagram you can just put up a picture of your Twitter, or your Snapchat and invite people to follow you there," he notes.
2. Run contests. "For example, if you're on Instagram and you want people to subscribe to your YouTube channel, you could tell them that you're doing a contest," he explains. "In order to be entered, they need to go to your latest video (which they can access on your Instagram link). They can then leave a comment and subscribe to your YouTube channel."
Bernardo gave the example of Tai Lopez, an entrepreneur and author who is a master of cross promotion. Lopez does a free giveaway on each platform he's on.
On Snapchat, "to be a part of his free iPad giveaway, you would need to follow him on Instagram, like a specific picture he picks and tag three friends," Bernardo says. "But if you wanted to be a part of his big free car giveaway, you would need to watch his latest video, subscribe to his YouTube and leave a comment."
3. Use snippets or teasers. Bernardo says he's promoted his Snapchat on Instagram by showing snippets of behind-the-scenes footage of workouts, super shakes he makes, rehearsals and talking about events he's going to. "Then I tell them to follow my Snapchat to see more behind-the-scenes stuff," he adds.
We hope this series has inspired you to give Instagram marketing a try if you haven't already and that you now you feel prepared.