You heard right.
1 billion users.
It stands to reason then, that there will be more than a handful of those users that will be interested in what your business has to offer. How to use Instagram for your business is one question. But before you get to that point, you definitely want to to know why you should be using it.
How using Instagram for business is going to help you?
Instagram has become a multi-faceted platform with different uses and an infinite number of potential strategies that businesses can use to their advantage. In other words, it’s highly likely that unless you have a clear idea of what you want Instagram to do for your business, you’re going to feel pretty swamped. At this stage, you don’t want to enter into this and fall into the abyss of failed business Instagram accounts.
So let’s get out of the doom and gloom and have a look at some of the major things Instagram could do for you so that you can clearly define to yourself and your team, why you should invest in it.
Share Content – Tell your story
The first thing to remember about Instagram is that it is a storytelling platform. If you’re looking to increase leads and sales, we live in an age now where people want to get to know you and your brand. This is one of the major reasons why Instagram is one of the best mediums for business; it allows the space for you to display an artistry and a creativity that is unique to you.
With the right pictures, videos and live content, you can share the values, aims, and objectives of your business. That content will share your ‘why’ with prospective customers and begin nurturing the connections that will eventually turn into sales. Or donations.
Charity: Water, which aims to provide people in need with a clean water supply, use Instagram to tell inspirational stories about their work. They use photography to display the communities they support and the success stories of people they’ve helped. Making use of captions under the striking photos they post, draws people in and keeps them coming back for more. A whole community of supporters and patrons have been built around this strategy and their poignant stories inspire us to take action.
If you don’t already have a clearly defined brand voice or brand story, take the time to figure that out in detail. It’ll help with your storyboard planning on Instagram and you’ll be able to use this platform to deliver a cohesive overview of what your business does and the principles it stands for.
Build A Community…and Brand Loyalty
Using Instagram for business is great for building a community around shared values and interests. If you tell your story and you share what’s important to your business, people will gather. Why not use Instagram to bring those customers to you?
To really get things started, why not run a giveaway or a competition? Alternatively, give away valuable insights for free to increase your credibility as a business. If your company has a charitable outlook, use your passion to help others as a way to win customers to your cause.
Tito’s Vodka use their love of dogs as the carrier theme for their instagram content and very subtly promote their artisan vodka. If you love dogs, chances are you’ve got a big heart. If you like vodka and you like dogs…it’s a no brainer; why would you continue buying mass produced vodka that doesn’t make sure man’s best friends are being looked after?
Use your content as a calling card; hold it up high and watch the approach of a whole bunch of friendly faces, ready to bond around a product or service they see value in. The strength in numbers provides a perfect base for you to drive your business success forward because you can…
…Get ahead of the curve
If you have spent time building an Instagram community, you can make them an active part of refining your product or service. Testing out new ideas becomes more straightforward and Instagram gives you a couple of different angles to explore. You can be interactive with your community and ask them specific questions. You can see what content resonates with them the most so you can produce more of that. Whenever you’re using Instagram for business try your best to think a little outside the box. Why not incorporate fresh new tech ideas to display your products and services?
In a digital marketing triumph, Ted Baker created an interactive virtual neighbourhood on Instagram to accompany a 360 degree VR shopping experience they were hosting on their website. Followers on their Instagram were able to complete different challenges which could win them prizes, and ultimately drive traffic to the Ted Baker website. Off the back of this, Ted Baker found that sales increased when customers could interact with content and become a part of the story.
Use Instagram as a research platform to look for what people are talking about and cater to that need. Alternatively, use Instagram to test out different marketing techniques that might showcase your products and services in a different way, and see how your community respond to it.
When wielded fearlessly, Instagram can provide the kind of high-quality insight that can take your business to the next level.
This enables you to…
…Drive Traffic to your website
If you can get people to ‘lock in’ with your brand via your content, they will trust you, when it’s time to take them off-platform. Include links in your Insta-stories or another tactic you can try is to get your prospective customers to message you directly with their queries. Then you can refer them to your website to get all the information they need. With the rise of AI messenger bots, you can even automate the responses to direct people to specific pages/products.
Organic reach makes us feel good, but a carefully crafted journey to connect the right people to your business is always a healthy addition to the organic traffic you get from search engines and the like.
Increase your email subscriber list
When you use Instagram for business, you can take advantage of the opportunity to build CTA’s (Call To Action’s) into your content. If you can get people to engage with your business and get them to share their email address with you, you are on to a winner, winner, chicken dinner. Since GDPR came into force, email subscriber lists everywhere may have come under attack and every email address you win these days is like a badge of honour. There are plenty of ways you can do this so get creative!
It’s much easier to sell to your dedicated email subscribers; they’re committed to you and they have actively signed up to receive business oriented love notes from you.
Build a local client base whilst opening up the world market
The final point, I’d like to leave with you with is that Instagram is local, and it’s global.
It’s never been easier to nurture your ‘low hanging sales’ from a local market whilst simultaneously building a client base further afield, if you want to. One of the biggest Instagram business success stories is the now global fashion brand Fashion Nova. Richard Saighan started his brand in 2006 with a traditional shop front in a California mall. Fast forward a few years to 2013 when he noticed that there were online stores selling the same products as him but at a much higher price. In an effort to get his products closer to his customers, he started posting pictures of models wearing his best selling clothes on Instagram. After building over 60,000 followers, he finally launched his online Fashion Nova store. He sold all his stock within a weekend.
At first they catered to an American market. It was time consuming, difficult and expensive to get their clothes in Europe. But as their global fanbase continued to build, thanks to a really robust Instagram influencer programme, could not contain their excitement as Fashion Nova expanded. The PR that influencers generated positioned the brand in front of young fashionistas from around the world.
They’d gone viral.
After that they had enough of a platform to include celebrities endorsers, but before they got to that stage, they simply approached Instagrammers with a significant subscriber base to show off their products.
In 2017, sales for Fashion Nova increased by 600%. They now have over 15 million followers and have expanded into selling Menswear and Plus Size clothing as well. This affordable fashion powerhouse doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing down anytime soon.
There’s no reason why you can’t carve out a similar space and build global demand in your chosen niche. The longevity of your business will be rooted in your ability to in the form of repeat business and new business. So why not let Instagram do the work of connecting you to a global market?
That all sounds perfectly good to me.
To finish things off…
Instagram is an excellent way to open things up for your business. The important thing is to choose what you want this particular platform to deliver. Choose one of these reasons, choose them all if you’d like! But use the reason why at the heart of your strategy for Instagram and you won’t go far wrong.