How to Grow Your Business with Instagram

How to Grow Your Business with Instagram

Since Facebook purchased Instagram it has quickly become a platform tailored to monetization; but in order to represent your business with professionalism to stand out and convert like, follows and comments into sales.

Get Your Equipment Right

In order to build your brand on Instagram, you need to have the right equipment to take pictures that invite people to like, share, comment and follow you for more. So often people have excellent things to share but they don’t have the right gear to do so.

Phone

Granted there are DLSR camera’s that can post to Instagram, those are expensive, hard to work and quite frankly unnecessary. All you need is an iPhone or Samsung smartphone- even if they are older models they will still work.

VSCO App

This app is GAME. CHANGING. It can take an average picture to an AMAZING picture. And you don’t need to get fancy, just make sure the picture is light enough with exposure, change the temperature, I find that red, yellow, orange hued photos are best cooled down in temperature; and blues, purples, greens and the like benefit from being warmed up in the temperature function. To finish saturate the photo to ensure it looks rich. You will get the hang of using the app as you get more familiar with it.

Take a Good Picture

Lighting is EVERYTHING. A poorly lit photo will kill engagement because they don’t look good. I LOVE natural light because it captures the subject beautifully, but with natural light comes shadows.

Shadows are something you want to avoid because it can affect the impact of your photo. If it’s a small shadow, don’t worry about it, but if the shadow is messing with the look of your photo, you need to bounce that light!

Bouncing light is easy, all you need is white paperboard, or a white postcard if you are on the go. Bouncing light goes like this. Set up your dish by a window for natural light, and use the white paper opposite the window to bounce the light and reduce the shadow.

If you don’t have a nice surface to take your picture, head to Ikea, pick up a wood or marble cutting board and VOILA a beautiful backdrop. If you think all those bloggers have beautiful countertops, think again!

Another NO-NO in my opinion is a picture that is too close. It generally fails to highlight the food. And if you are using Instagram to grow your business, then your pictures need to shine.

Once you’ve taken a well lit and focused picture, you can edit it in VSCO cam.

Find Your Style

Consistency is key in Instagram, because people will view you profile as tiles when they click through to it; and if it’s disjointed it doesn’t look appealing or professional.

For instance, if you want to post primarily food, use the same angle and dishware for the pictures you post. If you like memes/ funny post, don’t rely too heavily on them as they aren’t personal and don’t do very much to build your brand.

TAG TAG TAG

Hashtags are how you get your pictures noticed, especially if your following is small. Hashtags are SO important because they can grow your following very quickly.

Don’t forget local hashtags. For instance, I always hashtag #YEGFOOD and #YEG in my posts, as #yeg is the airport code of my city and it’s a very used hashtag. The reasoning behind this is that you want locals to follow you because that’s where a bevy of clients to market to are hanging out. Consider local hashtags as the low hanging fruit, because it’s easy to stand out; and if your pictures are well taken and you present yourself well, it’s possible to grow a large local following in short period of time.

To make your life easier make a note in your phone of all your chosen hashtags and copy and paste them into the COMMENTS when you post a photo, instead of having to write them out every time.

The reason you want to add the hashtags in the comments is that when you add them to the caption of the photo, everyone can see them. This isn’t a huge deal, but for esthetics, put them in the comments.

And one last mention about hashtags, don’t overdo them in the description of your photo, ie. So #happy to be back #cooking at my #favourite #restaurant in #yeg tonight… this is honestly the most annoying thing to read, because when you read it you read it in your head like “ so hashtag happy to be back hashtag cooking at my hashtag restaurant” not a cohesive read.

Save them for the comment section, and where appropriate use one hashtag at the end of the description.

Instagram Stories + Boomerang

Stories share glimpses of your life, your perspective and your process. Since people connect with video, it’s then easier to build credibility via video than it is with still photos or blog posts.

Cull the Heard

When people start to respond to all your amazing photos you want what they find when they click through to your profile to be an excellently curated page of content. If you have a random bowl of poorly lit Fettuccini Alfredo on you recent feed, delete it. Take an inventory of page, does it look cohesive, does it make you want to click through to your website? If not, it’s time to get to work creating content.

Frequency

Frequency is an important factor with Instagram. If you post once a day you can expect to grow your following at an average of about 2-3 people per week; twice a day and you can expect about 4-7 people and 3+ the sky is the limit.

Here’s the reason why, you will initially get a boost in follows, but then over the day people- sometimes the same people that followed you- will unfollow you, so the aforementioned growth numbers are taking that shrink into account. However, if you are posting frequently, momentum is on your side, because the amount of shrink won’t over power the amount of follows you get.

Post at least once a day to keep momentum on your side.

Profile Description

Use this as a place to promote. Since we are only able to have one clickable link within Instagram, your profile description must say WHO you are, WHAT you do for people and HOW, with a link to learn more.

The link should be to your newest lead magnet for your business or your website. But because we only have one clickable link it presents an issue if you are promoting different things with your photos. Solution: linkinprofile; which is an online portal that saves all your pictures and points to the link you place in the description of your photo.

Like this “{THE THANKSGIVING MEAL eCookbook} Brussels Sprouts, Spiced Carrots, Celery Root Mash, Quinoa Stuffing, Mushroom Gravy AND Cranberry Orange Sauce! 😋 Get it here bit.ly/TheThanksgivingMeal or via the link in profile💕”

This way all you need to do is point to the link in your profile and place the link in the description and voila, a way to capture and track what people are responding to on your page.

Promote

Now that Instagram has been optimized, it’s time to talk about what happens off Instagram.

You can share straight from Instagram to Facebook, the picture and the caption will transfer over completely. This is why you want to put the hashtags in the comments; Facebook doesn’t like more than two hashtags, so having them in the description not only looks ridiculous, but it will piss off Facebook- and you want NO part of that!

Twitter is a different story. Twitter and Facebook, who own Instagram, have a long-standing feud between them, so depending on which Twitter app people are using depends on whether they can see the link to the photo or the photo itself. You want the photo showing. So copy and paste the description from Instagram and paste it into Twitter and upload the photo manually, this makes a BIG difference in engagement.

Cross promote. Repost other content you enjoy (giving credit to the original owner). Comment and like other pictures, this will generally garner a like, comment or follow in return.

Instagram is a powerful tool to use in your business, and when it’s optimized it can help you skyrocket your business success.


 
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