These six tips will help your small business grow in audience and sales on Instagram.
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Instagram has been a major player in the social media world for some time now. More than 65 million monthly active users, 10 billion photos and one of the most iconic logos out there make it an essential marketing platform for small businesses — if they know how to use it.
As the photo-sharing platform continues to grow, so does its influence on its users buying habits. With that in mind, you can use Instagram not just as a place for sharing photos, but also for getting new customers.
To help you succeed on Instagram as a small business owner, we’ve gathered the best tactics and advice from successful SMBs. Here are seven tried and true ways to use the social network as a marketing tool.
1. Create engaging emoji captions
Capitalizing on emojis is an effective way to engage your followers. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and hashtags are funny and slightly different. Try using them together for extra creativity.
Emojis are especially effective on Instagram, as they can be used to add personality to your messages. You can use the same emoji for different occasions, or mix up the colors and style of the message every time you post something new.
Related: 15 Ways to Optimize Your Instagram
2. Be original
No one can resist the lure of original content when they view your captions on Instagram. There are thousands of similar posts to yours, which means that you need to stand out from the rest.
Make sure you have a unique angle or perspective that your followers will appreciate. You do not want to be seen as a person who simply shares what’s going on in their lives without adding value or makes any effort whatsoever. With unlimited Instagram followers, it’s easy for people to find a particular user they like. But if you want your post to be noticed, step out of the crowd and create something memorable for them.
3. Use hashtags wisely
When you use hashtags on Instagram, be sure to see how they perform before doing so. It’s a good idea to do a search for your own specific hashtag and see what happens when you include it in your posts.
While there is no guarantee that your hashtag will get noticed, there are a number of factors that go into how well it performs. There are certain hashtags that people use all of the time, while others tend to perform better when they are used occasionally.
The best performing hashtags are around eight to ten characters in length, and you should make sure your hashtags are easy for people to read. You should also use a combination of hashtags, and not focus on just one or two.
4. Go beyond Instagram
If you want to get more Instagram followers, be sure that you take advantage of the other opportunities available to you. For example, you can try promoting your account through Facebook ads or on Twitter. These sites allow their users to advertise their pages or products, so consider taking advantage of this feature if it fits in with your goals for growth.
5. Post regularly
It’s always good to post regularly, but you want to make sure what you post is engaging. This is an opportunity to showcase your brand personality and connect with followers on a more personal level, so don’t waste it by posting bad content! Many brands are using Instagram stories as another way of keeping their content fresh. They do this by creating short clips that are easy for viewers to consume, and act as an extension of the account in a way that matches their brand image. This is definitely something worth trying out!
6. Attractive Instagram feed
If you have a well-designed Instagram feed, then it makes sense for the profiles to match too. These will be the first images new followers see, so make sure they are interesting and enticing enough to make people want to continue to explore your feed. If you’re using a mobile device, then this is particularly important, as you only have a small area in which to catch their attention.
While many people already know this, there are still some businesses out there that don’t: Instagram is now an algorithm-based feed. That means that it doesn’t follow the chronological order of posts. This is a huge change for those who used it primarily as a content curation tool and suddenly found they had zero visibility when their posts were not directly engaging or being actively liked.
Take advantage of the algorithm by adjusting your posting times and finding out which time slots are best for you. While there’s no magic formula for this, you can base it on the following:
- What kind of content do you post? Usually lighter, more digestible content is best early, while images that are bolder or more graphic-heavy are better later in the day.
- How much time do you spend on your account? If you spend less than an hour a day on it, then consider the early hours of the morning. The reason for this is that more people are online during those hours, so posts from this time are among the first they see.
- Where do you live? Some markets are very different when it comes to the amount of time people use their smartphones in those locations.
Time your posts accordingly to avoid any disappointment and to ensure that your content is getting the visibility it deserves.
LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August
Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?
This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.
As per LinkedIn:
“As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.”
LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.
Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:
- Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
- Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
- Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
- Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
- Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
- Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
- Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
- Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
- Learning Python with Joe Marini
- Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
- Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
- Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
- Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
- Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
- SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
- Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
- Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
- Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
- Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
- Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.
Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.
The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.
Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …
Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.
Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.
Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.
Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.
Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.
Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.
— Yash Joshi (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021
5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android
Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.
You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).
You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.
While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.
We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.
Credit: buffer / app store
Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.
Credit: preview / app store
Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.
Credit: content office / app store
An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.
Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.
Credit: plann / apple store
You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…
Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.
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