Guest post by Melissa Camilleri
As long as you haven’t been living under a rock the past couple years, you’ll know that Instagram should be a key component to your online marketing strategy, especially as a service-based business, where the competition often believes Instagram will not work for them. Newsflash: it can and it will. With over 300 million+ active users, it’s pretty certain your people are on Instagram. So, it behooves you to show up there, too.
Likely, you already have a presence on Instagram. If you’re anything like I was when I first started using the platform, your growth has been slow going and your reach not quite multiplying in the way you see it happening for other businesses. It’s frustrating to be in this space. In fact, I know that feeling well.
It took me one full year to grow my following on Instagram to 1000. But I was determined and focused. I observed and took action. I put in place some key strategies that took my Instagram (@shopcompliment) from 1000 to 17,000 the following year. These days, I’m adding an average of 1500 new followers per month and get 70% of my website traffic and conversions from Instagram. I’m selling multiple five-figures month after month, and my Instagram strategy is a large part of that.
I have no special photography or tech training under my belt. Just sheer will + an iPhone + a pretty good sense about people. There are some key things you can do to make sure your efforts on Instagram are giving you a solid ROI for your time– no matter your business model.
Here are my Instagram marketing tips – four things you can start doing today to give you the foundation to start actually making money on Instagram:
1. Show up consistently.
It is essential that if you have an Instagram account, you are posting at least once a day to maintain a part of the conversation. Posting consistently will keep you top of mind in your customer’s heads. Did you know that studies show that a potential customer has to interact with a brand a minimum of 7 times before ever taking action? The more you post, the quicker this will happen. I do suggest posting no more than 3 times per day, with your posts at least 3-4 hours between posts. Anything more frequent will just clog your followers’ feeds and get annoying.
2. Get social.
Interact with the people who comment on your photos. @Mention them back. Ask them questions. Share your gratitude. And don’t be afraid to leave comments on other people’s pictures, too. Be generous with your likes. Follow back people who are consistently interacting with you. It’s called a social network for a reason! Let people get to know you, and seek ways to get to know your followers.
3. Post with your ideal customer in mind.
What does she like about your brand? What is on her mind at the time of the day you’re posting? What does she talk about with her friends? Where is she when she buys from you? What are her dreams? What are her problems and how does your product solve them? When you write the captions of your photos, keep her in mind. Write directly to her. You’ll find that your engagement will grow authentically with people who are excited about what you’re putting out into the world.
4. Understand that your numbers are less important than engagement.
Don’t get me wrong, the number of followers you have is definitely important. Followers act like little votes of confidence and give your brand credibility. And because people do what they see other people do, the more followers you have, the more followers you will get.
But, what good is a bunch of followers who don’t ever book your services? (I’ll give you a hint: NO GOOD AT ALL.) Numbers aren’t everything. Authentic engagement is what matters most. You build engagement by building relationships. By putting some key strategies into place (like the ones listed above), you can make sure that you are building trust and turning the followers you do have into raving fans and eventual customers.
Melissa Camilleri is the Founder + Creative Director of Compliment– a gift brand she launched in 2011 while she was a full-time high school English and AVID teacher. She credits Instagram for helping her grow her business from a production line on her dining room table to the socially-responsible corporation it is now. At the urging of her business-owner friends who wanted to replicate her marketing success. Tens of thousands have attended her virtual courses, participated in her workshops, and studied under her guidance. She believes we rise by lifting others. She lives and loves in Northern California.
Say hello to Melissa on Instagram @shopcompliment.
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