Welcome back to FYI FRIDAY. For our second instalment of this new business related series, I’m going to chat to you about Instagram.
Instagram is one of my favourite social media platforms. For me, it just has it all, it’s super visual and I love it. But I know that lots of people don’t really get it, or at least can’t work out how to use it for business.
In my opinion, with the introduction of Instagram Stories, this platform is now two fold. It now works as an aesthetically pleasing gallery, for all of your best images, whether they are of your products or your lifestyle, but also as a real time, fun, conversational platform, just like Snapchat (but better, in my opinion).
Unfortunately, a rise in regular users has meant that Instagram have now adopted a similar policy to Facebook, using algorithms to filter who sees your content, as apposed to just posting everything chronologically to your timeline. It’s annoying, but I can see why they had to make these changes and it just means we have to be more intentional about what we post and up our game, to keep our audience engaged.
So, here are my ten top tips for using Instagram for your equine business…
1. Be Visible
If you are serious about successfully using Instagram to grow and promote your business, you can not be messing around with a private account. You want to visible, discover-able and approachable. Private accounts are not that.
2. Write a Good Bio
You want people to know exactly what you do, as soon as they land on your account. So you need a short, sharp, effective bio. Tell us what you do, where you do it (if location is applicable) and why we should follow you.
3. Add a Link
The hardest thing about promoting your goods and services on Instagram is the absence of links. You can’t insert links into your image caption, so you have to be clever about it. Some people change the link in their bio every time they have a new blog post to promote, adding ‘Link in bio’ to their image captions. Some people just link to their website/blog home page all the time.
But whichever way you want to do it, make sure you have some kind of link on your bio, so that people know where to go if they want to know more about you.
4. Only Post Your Best Work
No matter what line of work you’re in, only post good, quality content. The idea of algorithms is to ensure that users will only see what they are interested in seeing. So, if you post something that doesn’t get much interaction, either because it’s a bad quality image, it’s boring, it isn’t of interest to your target audience or it’s too salesy, it’ll flop!
Post engaging content that your followers will enjoy seeing in their feed. Make an effort with your images, rather than just posting willy-nilly. Quality is always better than quantity.
5. Captions Matter
In line with the above point, you must take the time to come up with engaging, interesting, original captions for your images. Post quotes that appeal to your audience or show your personality. Post information and short stories that relate to the image, or just post about your day.
Try to avoid sales posts as much as possible, so that when you do have something of note to share with your audience, you won’t have been prodding at them consistently and getting on their nerves. They’ll be much more receptive!
Extra points awarded for posting a question and encouraging your followers to interact with you.
6. Treat Instagram Stories as Your Closest Friend
My advice for using Instagram stories is to think of it as your best buddy that you’re having a constant, friendly chat with. Show them the things that you’re doing, let them see behind the scenes and chat to them via video, like you might if you were engaged in a continuous Whatsapp conversation. Screenshot your latest blog posts, download your favourite photos… it can all go on your stories, along with your real time updates.
7. Use Hashtags
You get an allowance of up to 30 hashtags per post, and if you’ve got them, why not use them? It’s a great way for your target audience to discover you. If you don’t want them to clutter up your actual post, post them as a comment, after you’ve shared your image, and they’ll be just as effective but won’t be as invasive. You can also use hashtags to search for people in your target audience.
Handy tip: Save your regular hashtags to the notes in your phone so that you can easily copy and paste them.
8. Turn Up Consistently
As with Facebook, to increase your reach and engagement you need to post regularly and be an active user. I post two to three times per day, to Instagram and there really is no limit to how many times you can upload to your story.
9. Interact A LOT
Follow people within your target audience, comment on their posts, like their content…
Be sociable and do as you wish to be done to you. If you get involved in other peoples’ content, they’ll very quickly become curious enough about you to investigate your profile and soon return the favour. I aim to set aside 10-20 minutes at the beginning and end of the day, to comment, like and follow, on Instagram.
10. Use Your Insights
If you change your account to a business account, you will get a little graph appear in the top right hand corner. These are your insights and these will help you work out what kind of posts your audience loves and what doesn’t work so well, without you having to manually look back through each one individually. Use these to help plan your content strategy going forward and watch your engagement soar.
Thanks for joining me for this week’s FYI FRIDAY. Next week I have more on the art of using social media for your business, so don’t forget to pop by.
As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for future posts, or just want to connect, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog, at the bottom of this page, to ensure that you don’t miss a thing!