From small markets to malls to e-commerce websites – there are many opportunities to tap into for both a seller and a buyer. And with the internet, the ease of doing business has gone beyond borders. Joining this league of market opportunity is – Instagram! The photo sharing app has a lot of potential – almost 600 million people waiting to be your prospective customer base. If done right, Instagram can do wonders for your business and help you build a loyal community.
Fun Fact: The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than words and it takes just two-tenths of a second for someone to form an opinion on your brand online.This means that using a platform like Instagram creates a faster connect with the user.
With the idea to help students and young entrepreneurs learn how to build their business rapidly through these platforms, Facebook and Youth Ki Awaaz are organising #MyStartupStory workshops across colleges in India. A workshop on using Instagram for business was organised at Amity University on March 22, 2017.
Shared at the workshop, here are 7 ways to make sure your business slays it on Instagram, in terms of both engagement and lead generation:
Individuality and discoverability are the hardest to crack for a brand on social media. It is extremely crucial to make a great first impression with your Instagram profile and bio. This impression will determine if the potential customer will decide to stick longer on your profile, scroll through your feed, maybe check out the website link in your bio, and maybe even end up following you. The tone and the content of your bio has a huge role to play in attracting your target audience.
By the virtue of being a visual platform, your brand colors, visual style, color palette, aesthetics, and your product at the heart of it – all need to stand out for the user. Nearly 50% people follow businesses on Instagram.
Also, building the human connect between your brand and your customers can give you extra mileage. Photos on the lines of ‘Behind-The-Scenes’ and ‘Work-In-Progress’ give a more human feel.
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Now that you have your profile and photos sorted – it’s all about taking things to the next level. The golden rule: Post consistently and timely. The not-so-golden-rule – There is no such thing as the ‘best time to post for maximum engagement’. The level and timing of engagement largely depend on the nature of the content, the way it’s packaged, the timeliness of the content and way it appeals to the audience. Initially, a lot of trial and error will go into figuring what’s the ‘best timing’ for YOU and what sort of content your audience identifies with. And there is a lot more than timing that can help you grow your audience – understanding user behaviour. Going by the basics – start by keeping a track of what kind of posts receive the best response, what these responses look like, at what time these posts get the best response and how you can make these posts more engaging.
People buy experiences and not just products/services. If you were to sell me a bag, there are two ways to do it. One would be to simply say – here is a bag that is eco-friendly and ergonomically just what my back needs and this is the price. The second way is to tell me a story about how you stumbled upon your business idea, the problem your product aims to solve and how your brand’s values resonate with me at a personal level. Bottom line – go beyond product description to build that brand affinity and recall.
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Now content is a tricky thing. How much is too much? Caption your pictures CAREFULLY on Instagram – be crisp, concise and compelling.
Like Facebook Insights, Instagram now can also help you with analytics. Once you switch to a business profile – you shall be blessed with a number of features and tools that give you an insight into your audience’s gender, age-range, geography, and most responsive hours on specific days. This can be a huge value addition in terms of understanding who your target audience is, where your presence is the most and how you can leverage the optimal time of engagement. This data is also extremely helpful if you want to tailor Instagram Ads for maximum conversion.
With great numbers comes great responsibility. It’s imperative that while building your community, you build quality engagement as well. The key to building engagement is recognizing your community and interacting with them – and the possibilities to do that are endless. From hosting contests and hashtag projects – to acknowledging your users who in turn can become mini influencers for your brand – try and build a sense of relatability with your audience that gives them a rewarding experience of associating with you!
They will surely see you rolling if you break the visual monotony every once in a while. Instagram has some really uber cool features that can add a bit of quirkiness to your content – from stories to Boomerangs, to Hyperlapse. Tap into them and see how your brand messaging can make use of these tools.
Nearly 50% people follow businesses on Instagram. Social media platforms can help you scale your branding and marketing efforts immensely.
If you have a startup, or a business idea, or a hobby, passion or idea that you would like to turn into a business – share your thoughts and journey with us here. If you would like us to organise a workshop at your college, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.