If you are an entrepreneur, you need to get your business on Instagram.
According to Sprout Social, 71% of US businesses are using Instagram.
There are currently an estimated 8 million Instagram business profiles — this is up from 1.6 million in September 2016.
And, small businesses make up the majority of Instagram advertisers and business profiles.
According to Instagram, a whopping 80% of its users follow at least one business on Instagram.
And, 60% of users say they first heard about a product or service via Instagram.
As of March 2017, over 120 million Instagram users visited a website, got directions, called a business, emailed, or direct messaged a business.
So, don’t dismiss this seemingly simple app.
Truth is, Instagram is a powerful business tool, and you’re falling behind if you’re not leveraging this social Media platform to promote your product or service.
Here are just a few easy ways to use Instagram to grow your business…
1. Get an Instagram business account
The Instagram business profile is beneficial to business owners for several reasons.
Above all, it provides entrepreneurs with Instagram insights – much like the insights provided by Facebook pages – so that you can see how well your posts are performing, when your followers are online, how many people are visiting your profile, and how many clicks you’re getting to your Instagram bio page.
You also get access to some demographics regarding your followers, including their genders, ages, and cities of origin.
This information will prove to be very useful when you are trying to figure out what to post, when to post, and how often you should post.
With the business account, you also get a handy “contact” button on your Instagram bio page, which enables your visitors to email or call you with ease (if that’s something you want).
At the very least, making the switch to a business account will give your business brand more credibility as a legitimate business.
Making the switch to a business profile is free. You will first need a Facebook business page (not just a personal profile) and 100 followers to get the ball rolling. You will also be required to log into Facebook and select one of your business pages in order to get an Instagram business account (remember that Facebook owns Instagram).
Switching to a business account won’t automatically improve (or for that matter, destroy) your presence on this growing social media platform, so you will still need to be prepared to consistently update your Instagram status with great content.
And, if you don’t like the business account for some reason, Instagram has made it very easy to switch back to a personal account. Just go back to the gear/wheel in the upper right corner of your bio page and select “switch back to personal account.” Be warned, however, that some users have complained of not being able to switch back to their business account after changing their minds too many times.
2. Post more videos to Instagram
Uploading videos natively to Instagram is beneficial for many reasons.
For one thing, most people use Instagram to upload photos, so a video suddenly popping up in your audience’s feed really stands out.
The audio for Instagram video won’t initiate automatically – your audience has to select the video in order to hear what’s going on, which is why it is very beneficial to add subtitles to the video, in order to get further engagement.
It’s important to note that many people will watch your Instagram without sound, so it is in your best interests to provide captioning or titling.
You can also provide a transcript of your video in the caption section of your Instagram post, but subtitles are really more eye-catching and will get you more views.
3. Have a solid call-to-action strategy
It’s not enough to get lots of likes and comments in Instagram.
As an entrepreneur, you need to get your Instagram followers to do something – to take action – so that you can get them on your email list, or book a consultation, or download your e-book, or whatever the case may be.
And, the way to do this is to get your Instagram followers to click on a link that will take them to your website, blog, sales page, or some kind of landing page where you can convert that click into a solid lead or even a customer.
But, here’s the hook – links are not clickable in Instagram. They are not even copy-and-paste-able. The only place in the Instagram universe where you are permitted to have a clickable link that leads outside of Instagram is on your bio page.
Since you only get one clickable link to a web page outside of Instagram, you’d better make it count.
You can get more clicks to your bio page by having a solid call-to-action (CTA) in your Instagram caption (that’s the descriptive text that accompanies your photo post).
But, that’s not enough. You can’t just say, “Go to my bio page to click on my link and visit my website.”
You need to offer real value, so instead, say something like, “Go to my bio page and click on the link to download my free e-book which will help you with XYZ,” or to get a coupon, or subscribe, or register for an event, or book an appointment, or make a reservation, or what have you.
In any case, you will find that more people will be inclined to click on that link if you’re offering them some kind of free gift, such as a downloadable PDF, in exchange for their troubles.
The other thing to include in your call-to-action is your Instagram username preceded by the “@” symbol. In my case, for instance, that would be @nishi_sood.
What this does is it actually makes a “special” sort of clickable link that goes directly to your bio page.
So, you would say something like, “Clickable link for my free mini-course in my bio, click here @nishi_sood”.
And then, clicking on that username will take you directly to my bio page, and then you’re only one click away from fulfilling my call-to-action.
Using Instagram is a great way to grow your business. To get the most out of this powerful social media platform, make sure you upgrade your account to an Instagram business profile. Be diligent about providing effective calls-to-action with every post. And finally, post videos to Instagram to improve your profile’s visibility.