When developing your content marketing strategy for your small business, you'll likely find yourself creating social media accounts on various social platforms in order to connect and communicate with your potential customers.
While not every social platform will be appropriate for your business, an active social presence can help customers find you more easily! Remember, in Inbound Marketing, it's all about bringing those customers to you rather than trying to chase them down.
One social platform we've totally embraced? Instagram!
Acquired somewhat recently by Facebook, Instagram started out as what amounts to a kind of digital photo album, with users able to upload an instant snapshot — or load in previously-taken photos — add a filter, and post for friends, family, and the public to see.
Over time, that platform has grown to encompass 700 million totally unique users, with business both large and small making up a significant percentage of those numbers! Instagram is a great tool to build your personal connection with customers and market your business — as long as you make the most of it.
Today, we'll take a look at marketing with Instagram and how to utilize the platform to help your small business succeed and grow.
Instagram Provides Free Training and Resources: Utilize Them!
Many businesses just create a regular Instagram profile, start taking photos, and can't quite understand why their followers list isn't growing as fast as they'd hoped.
Did you know that Instagram has free tools available to help businesses market more effectively? Instagram: Business is a great place to get started on learning what steps to take next to help your business get more visibility and potentially more leads!
The site will walk you through creating an ad using the Ads Manager (It's the same as Facebook Ads Manager, so if you've previously done a sponsored post or ad on FB, you'll already be two steps ahead). The Instagram Business site also maintains free training for businesses and even a blog that keep you up-to-date on the latest options Instagram has made available for small business owners like you.
If you've been relying on a traditional "regular" Instagram account and now you're worried you'll have to delete and start all over to make it more professional, don't worry! You can have a regular account become a business account simply by following the steps listed here.
A business account will give you access to realtime metrics that will help you see how you're doing and give you a better look at how to engage with potential customers!
For a B2C Small Business, Instagram Business Profiles Change the Game
Previously, businesses who wanted to link to a specific product or service had to resort to posting a link in the bio section of their profile, with no option for customers to access any particular information or even a link to shop directly from the post.
We've been asking for a better way, and Instagram definitely heard us.
Kate Spade New York was one of the brands used to test Instagram's new, easier shopping experience, and they were thrilled with the results. In this blog post, you'll see pretty effusive praise from the marketing team at Kate Spade for how quick and easy the new shopping experience is!
Basically, Instagram made it possible for those using a business profile to link to a product directly from their post! That's right, gone are the days when your customers would have to click around two or three pages just to find one little link; now, all they have to do is tap the photo for all the information they need. This definitely improves the experience for the customer, and a great experience makes them far more likely to commit to the purchase.
More interested in using Instagram for storytelling than for direct sales? Especially when you're focused more on B2B sales (in which a direct purchase off of a post is rare or simply doesn't happen), Instagram may function more as an outreach tool for you.
Using Instagram for B2B Outreach and Small Business Storytelling
When your product isn't one you can just buy with the tap of a button, but instead involves a more substantial financial and emotional investment—a B2B company that works with other companies that are more customer-facing, or a design-focused business that specializes in kitchen renovations would be good examples here—you may feel like Instagram Business Profiles just won't work for you beyond the bare bones. Not true!
Of course you should still utilize the basic benefits of the Business profile (such as listing your hours of operation, phone number, and exact location), as well as using the metrics that show how your posts are performing and what sorts of interactions you're getting from followers, but there is more that Instagram can do for you!
Your strongest option will be promoted posts or creating sponsored ads. These will allow you to show off your product or service to the largest possible audience even if the shopping-on-Instagram experience just won't work for you.
Instagram has really upped their game when it comes to your options for sponsored posts, with everything from basic photo ads, to video ads, to "carousel" ads available for you to use! One of our personal favorite new tricks Instagram has up its sleeve? Sponsored Instagram Stories! Get your day-to-day out there in-the-moment. This is perfect for a B2B, where you can let customers get to know you and your employees, show off your product or service, and generally create that authentic personal connection that every customer is searching for!
Remember not to get too bogged down. Instagram is a valuable resource and its hundreds of millions of unique users make it an important social platform to embrace, but it's not the only game in town.
If you're not seeing the results you want after you've taken all these steps, you may need some help with maximizing your Instagram presence to build your connection with customers.
That's where we come in.
At Waypost Marketing, We Specialize in YOUR Story
We understand that building your social presence, maintaining consistently updated and active content, engaging with potential leads online, and creating online campaigns to help meet your customers where they are can take valuable time away from what you're really passionate about: your growing business.
That's why we specialize in full-service Inbound Marketing, designed to help tell your story, help you reach a wider audience, and help your customers realize your business is the solution they've been searching for.
With everything from Website Design to Content Marketing to our new Video Marketing services, we're ready to tell your story! To get started, give us a call at (864) 288-6162 or contact us online at any time.