Instagram is a must for creative businesses.
The ability to connect with followers using images and videos works so well for those in the creative industries – so if you’re not part of Instagram you’re not only missing out on potential customers – but also a lot of marketing fun too!
Once you’ve got your account set up in Instagram, then the next thing that you’ll want to know is how to get more followers.
More followers means more people seeing your posts, finding out about your business, and potentially purchasing your products or services.
Here are our top 5 ways to build your creative business on Instagram:
1. Pimp your Bio
Getting people to your Instagram account is the first step.
Of course, when they do come to your account it’s important that they understand what you do immediately.
Writing your bio in Instagram is what you do when you first sign up. However, you may have noticed that other accounts have a bio that has been formatted with line breaks.
To keep up with the pros on Instagram you should write your bio in the Notes app* and copy and paste it into Instagram. Use emojis to add more flair but remember that you’ve only got 150 characters to play with.
(*Required for iPhone only. Android phones have formatting available when writing within Instagram.)
Here’s a great example of a bio:
And this one is not so great:
2. Sync with all your marketing materials
If you’re on Instagram, then you need to tell everyone that you’re there!
Cross-promote your Instagram account across all your marketing platforms by adding in an Instagram feed plugin on your website, a custom tab on Facebook, and links from your other social media profiles.
Include a link to Instagram in your email signature and at the end of your e-newsletters.
You can even embed Instagram posts onto your website or blog by using Instagram on your desktop computer to get the embed code.
If you sell a physical product, include a postcard or flyer telling people that you’re on Instagram and ask them to join you there.
For printed materials, don’t rely just on an Instagram icon; you need to include your actual Instagram username.
3. Use relevant hashtags
Hastags gather together similar posts in a collective group.
By adding hashtags to your posts they have the ability to be seen by more than just your followers.
Hashtags serve to connect your account with people that are interested in your creative business. Therefore the hashtags that you use should relate to your business and what you do.
The questions below are a quick way to start thinking about which hashtags you should use on your Instagram posts.
Which tribe does your product connect with?
For example: entrepreneurs, hipsters, fashionistas, mums, makers, artists, creatives
Give your business a broad brush stroke, in one word describe what you do…
For example: craft, macramé, jewellery, print, design, cross stitch
Which category does your product or service come under?
For example: Handmade, fabric, homewares, interior design
Where are you located?
Tip: For a lot of businesses starting out on Instagram connecting with the local community is a great way to build your following. This can also be good to use if you’re selling at a local market or event.
Now… Write down the variations!
By only using one hashtag to describe what you do you are missing out on marketing to a broader reach of customers. Once you’ve written down your answers above, take a moment to come up with variations on the same theme. For inspiration, check out websta.me (http://websta.me) to search by which hashtags you want to use.
Remember people still need to be able to read your comments, so make sure that hashtags don’t take over!
Here’s how to play the hashtag game right:
And here’s an example of less effective hashtagging:
4. Post interesting content
Interesting photos and videos are what make Instagram such a great social media platform!
While you may sell only one product, it’s important to show this off in a variety of ways so that people are continually interested in your posts. This also serves you when people come to your account so that they’ll choose to follow you as well.
It’s easy to create compelling content by placing products on interesting backgrounds, using off-centre points of interest and perspectives.
Add yourself or other people into the photos for even more engagement.
In contrast to Pinterest (where users prefer images without people) photos with faces receive more interaction on Instagram. Put yourself in the picture and see the results!
5. Collaborate with other accounts
Collaborations involve working with other Instagrammers or businesses to build your following.
Collaborate with other accounts for competitions and photo shoots to cross-promote each other.
Collaborations can also involve tagging locations and other users so that they receive a notification and will potentially repost your image as well.
Instagram is a great platform to work with other businesses that you know and ones that you don’t.
Use Instagram as a research tool to find other collaborators and reach out to them. If you’re contacting another account to collaborate with, work out exactly how you want to work with them beforehand and know what you can offer them in return.
So get your creative self out there and go share your unique story with the Instagrammers of the world!
P.S. Jess here. Are you a member of the Thriver Circle – my online community for makers? I have a 45 minute video workshop about Instagram where I teach you a range of strategies to grow your following, your community, and give you advice on how to make your feed look superb. If you’re not a member, you can join right now for just $15.