We all know that Instagram is currently the fastest growing social media platform, so now more than ever, business owners— especially online entrepreneurs— should be using the application to the best of their ability in order to drive more traffic to their site and ultimately make more sales via the application. Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t make it especially easy for businesses to drive leads and make sales, but a savvy business owner knows that there are ways out of this jam! So, today, I wanted to share with you three simple and easy to implement tips that you can use right now on Instagram to help you make the most of the platform and gain new followers and well deserved sales!
1. Take Styled Product Shots
The first thing that every business owner should be doing on Instagram is taking styled product shots. I wrote a whole post about how I take mine so check that out if you want more tips on this specifically, but obviously nothing is going to get you further on Instagram than great photos. If you sell physical or even digital products, you should be styling those items into shots to share. Above are a few examples of styled product shots for my digital/virtual products to give you some ideas. If you sell services, you too need to be styling shoots, but instead of showing a product you need to convey a message that aligns with your service. A home organizer may want to share styled shots of organized pantries and linen closets, a dog walker may want to share pictures of happy pets, whatever your speciality, get creative and start shooting some images that show your work in action!
2. Use Custom Bit.ly links
When I said that Instagram doesn’t make it especially easy for businesses to drive leads and sales, this has to do with the fact that the application only gives you one single location for utilizing clickable links. For an online business, direct links to products, email lists or other online platforms is crucial to gaining more of a following and achieving more sales. To work around this issue, I highly suggest using a free resource called Bit.ly which allows you to take long URLs and turn them into custom short links. I then use these links in my Instagram feed by listing them as my location so that the link is clearly visible. Now, the link still isn’t clickable, but the idea is that a unique short link is easier for people to remember and if they are curious they can quickly type it into their browser and get immediate access to whatever you are promoting! Because I run an online business, I make sure that my location services are turned off on my phone before doing this so that the link doesn’t become a live location link for me, but if you run a brick and mortar or do want to mark your geographic location, feel free to skip this step!
3. Host a Photo Challenge
We’ve all see and perhaps even participated in a photo challenge hosted on Instagram, but have you utilized this great community building activity for your own business yet? If not, it’s a very simple promotion to set up. First, start off with a simple graphic of daily prompts related to your industry or the type of challenge you want to host. Above is an example of a graphic from a recent photo challenge I hosted which brought me thousands of new subscribers in just one month! Next, you will notice I gave my photo challenge a simple yet custom hashtag that is unique to me that people could use to tag their images. This is an important step you want to make sure not to miss because you want people to use that hashtag and that hashtag needs to lead them straight to you, so get clever with the tag but also try to keep it short and simple! Finally, you are going to want to set the time frame for your challenge and promote it through your Instagram and other social media platforms. I’d also suggest getting some friends or loyal customers on board with helping promote and share the image so that it gets around to as many people as possible. Once the challenge begins, feel free to take part in it yourself if you’d like, or simply spend some time each day going through the custom hashtag, liking and commenting on the photos from your participants. The more interaction you provide, the more followers you will garner for yourself!
BONUS TIP #4: Use Instagram as Part of a Cohesive Online Business Strategy
Instagram is a wonderfully powerful platform that is constantly evolving, but in order to get the most out of it for your business it should be used as part of a cohesive online business strategy. Now, if you are struggling to develop your strategy for your business, I have a wonderful FREE Webinar on the topic coming up soon called ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS THE NEW BLACK. I’d highly recommend signing up for the webinar and joining me live for some valuable Q&A time to get my direct feedback on your strategy moving forward. I only do these sorts of live webinars a few times a year, so make sure to sign up asap and plan to attend a live session to get the most out of the experience!
Those are my three tips for business owners to make the most of Instagram! Like I said, these are all simple enough to achieve and implement immediately, so I highly suggest spending a few minutes today (or scheduling some time coming up on your calendar) brainstorming some styled shots, and working on a photo challenge to promote your brand! Make sure you sign up for a free bit.ly account and start using those custom links asap, you can even go back and edit some old images with relevant links if need be! Let me know if this post helped you and if it did, I would love if you would share it in social media. Leave a link to this post in your Facebook feed or Tweet a link to it out! That’s a quick and easy way to share my content and I sure do appreciate it! Oh, also make sure you are following me on Instagram @MissTrenchcoat!
This post originally appeared on Strange & Charmed on May 14th, 2015 and is being reposted for any new members of my community who may have missed it!