How to Use Instagram for Small Businesses in 2018
I decided one day to delete it. To delete the app helped that made me mindlessly scroll for what accumulated to hours on end. I scrolled so much that even without the app on my phone for some time, my hand would still go looking for another pretty picture to like.
But that was just one interaction I had with the ever-growing Instagram app. Let me take you back to the origin story with me and the ‘gram
December 13th, 2011 I joined what was a simple picture sharing app called Instagram. As a fan of pretty pictures, I followed all the major accounts (which later would be known as influencers), to get insight of their life.
It was a peaceful time, with no algorithm, just chronological scroll I wish we still had (a girl can dream).
But friends, we have to come back to reality and see where Instagram is at now, and work with what we got.
So I can feel you on the edge of your seat for this one! Infamous Instagram has been making us lose our minds in 2018 with all the algorithm changes so here are some things you need to know:
Current Placement of Hashtags should be within the caption and do not edit the picture for 24 hours or else Instagram will punish your picture.
Which Hashtags to Use: Make sure to still stay at 30 or less, but I need you to understand this crucial part about Hashtags: You are putting these for your real, human clients, not you.
So if your client is a fellow business owner and you put #creativebiz or #laptoplifestyle, you are
a) not actually helping others who have a problem finding you
b) not creating any reason to continue to follow you.
Instead: Use each hashtag with intention. Meaning what would you be searching for on instagram if you had a problem?
Need an example? I get it.
Mini Storytime: I was using hashtags for months with the ones above that had barely any meaning or had 100,000+ posts. And guess what? No one found me except for fellow happy people who didn’t need help at that time or the dreaded bot.
It wasn’t until I understood what I would be searching for like something with #help or #tip in it. And one faithful day, a lovely woman who I’d never heard from before said she found me through a hashtag with #wordpresshelp that only had 611 posts and I was the first one she saw on there.
She needed help, I talked to her, and spoiler: she became my client.
Moral of the story: the number of posts on there does not matter because you’d rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small goldfish in an ocean.
Use Them, Don’t Abuse Them.
Think of these guys as folders for your business. They are split up into different parts of it or yourself.
For me, I add Podcasts (because I host the Female Entrepreneur's Journey and true lover of them); Business Tips which have been turning into Instagram Lives recently but I will do once or twice a week a fellow tip I think would be helpful. Business Updates: Great for my upcoming Branding Series and anytime I add new services or product (hint: might be soon)
Life: I think this might be a little too broad but anything I think would provide value for my day to day dealings.
Health: I currently do Muay Thai Kickboxing and am training for a fight in 2018 (don’t worry, you are safe). But I provide clips of my upcoming training since many people know me as the Blonde girl that can kick.
Stories are widely used and the most viewed short clips with WhatsApp and Snapchat right behind.
So now you’re probably wondering, how do I use these for my business? Glad you asked friend! First thing, think of it as small glimpses into your life or thoughts. You would be surprised by how many people want to see a relatable clip of you praising your coffee mug or idea for your business.
Pro Tip: Use the location button to help increase your likelihood of searchability by over 100% (Don’t worry, you don’t have to post it in real time if you feel uneasy about sharing where you currently are at).
And now you can actually make mini series with Stories like “5 Things I can’t Design Without” or even make games for your audience through use of tools like fastory.io.
(Personal Experience: audience raves over it with a lot more engagement)
I will note, for marketing Story Ads are becoming huge and I do suggest using them for launches. However, I will go over the marketing aspect of Instagram in another post.
Personal vs. Business Account
Lastly, for the age old (but really one or two year old) question of switching to an instagram personal account versus business account, this one is a doosy.
I will say I’ve done both from a personal and business account to back to personal and I think that decision came from Jenna Kutcher showing that even though Instagram has been wanting you to move to them, there isn’t a guarantee it’s good for you.
Yet, I know it’s worked for others and coming out of business account wasn’t fun follower wise (I had a bit of a dip and now steady growth).
So please: don’t take this choice lightly but do what feels right for you.
And might be wondering what to post or what works well. You ready for this: Pictures of you looking directly at the camera does the BEST over all other pictures. (Inspirational quotes are a close second). But this is due to people wanting to know YOU and see you’re a person.
Some of you might be smiling knowing humanity is still in the virtual world, while others are wanting to run before getting in front of the lens.
But if you take one thing away from this is: You are meant to be Social on Social Media. And the statistics/people show that’s still what they want.
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Now I know this was a lot (as even my fingers are a little cramped now) so as my gift to you: here’s a quick guide on what we covered about Instagram that you can apply to your business now!
Next week, is going to be all about Pinterest! And here’s a secret: this platform could be one of the single best marketing decisions you do for your business in this year.
Alright friends! Off to brew another batch of iced coffee..
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