In this blog Instagram Mentor and Expert Emily Osmond lets us in on her secrets on how to best use Instagram to grow your business.
Brought to you by Vikki Dickinson Social Media Coach
Loves a good GIF, has a love for all things Instagram and runs The Elevatory social media (when she is not running after her boys).
With 1 billion active users per month, 200 million Instagram users visiting at least one business profile daily and users spending an average of 28 minutes per day on the platform and growing, there is no doubt that Instagram is a powerful tool when it comes to socials.
Emily loves the impact small businesses can make when they use Instagram to its full potential. She specialises on this platform because âwe just know that Instagram is very impactful and powerful, it's where a lot of attention is, and we can get a lot of engagement for our business on there. And, it's the one that a lot of people are craving some guidance around how to use it.â
AVOID THESE COMMON MISTAKES
Emily was drawn to the power of social media when she first started helping a local business owner. She grew her own business to the point where she launched a membership program called The Modern Marketing Collective. In her time living and breathing all things Instagram sheâs seen business owners make the same mistakes. She wants you to avoid them!
- Focusing on the wrong metrics: ditch the follower frenzy mentality. Thereâs no point having 10,000 followers if youâre not converting them into sales. Followers doesnât equal business growth. You are far better off having a lower, more engaged audience and putting your effort into growing your business with these followers.
- Posting without purpose: this is about quality over quantity. Think about whether your time would be better spent on other areas of your business and post 2-3 top quality posts rather than average posts every day. The more engagement you get on one post, Instagram is going to show more of your posts to your followers. And that's going to do a lot more for your business.
- Sticking to the feed: Instagram Stories is a growing part of Instagram and you need to be present there as well. Make sure that youâre showing up at least once a week. People buy from people so the more that you can show your face, the easier it is for you to be remembered.
PEOPLE BUY FROM PEOPLE
Humans are hard wired for connection. So, Emily believes that becoming more visible on Instagram Stories is a sure-fire way to start connecting with your audience. It also allows the conversation to move from the public to the private domain as people are responding to Stories. Emily believes that itâs âa good place to build relationships.â With this in mind, here are her top tips to filming Instagram Stories:
- Keep going: youâre likely to feel anxious the first time you do an Instagram Story. This is totally normal. Do another one. And another. You will begin to feel more natural and comfortable the more times you do it.
- Look up: make sure youâre looking into the camera lens, rather than the screen. This may feel a little weird, like youâre not talking to anyone but itâs important not to look like youâre looking down. Smile, even more than what you usually would, and bring a great energy to the Story.
- Structure: whilst Emily encourages you to just talk the first few times, eventually youâll need to bring some structure to it. What do you want a viewer to do as a result of watching this Story? Have an introduction, one or two key messages then a call to action at the end.
INSTAGRAM AS PART OF YOUR OVERALL MARKETING STRATEGY
Instagram is just one piece of your marketing strategy puzzle and when used strategically, it can be a powerful way to grow your business. Emily shares her 5-step system to incorporating Instagram into your overall marketing strategy.
- Start with strategy
Start with your vision, SMART goals and objectives. Then think about the types of content that you can share to help you achieve these goals. This means you will post with purpose. There are four types of content you can post:
Understand your audience
- Connection: this is about you showing up, educating, positioning yourself as the expert and demonstrating how you can help them overcome their challenges
- Value: this doesnât always mean just sharing tips. Think of other ways to provide value, such as a photographer sharing beautiful photos or images of what goes into your products behind the scenes.
- Credibility: how can you can get your audience to trust you and prove that you are an expert? Think photos of you on stage, getting awards, new podcast episode, testimonials and case studies.
- Promotion: weave this through all your posts with a call to action. Think about what you want the next step to be. Be specific!
Emily believes that most businesses have some idea who their target audience is at a high level but she urges you to dig a little deeper. Spend some time researching, survey past customers and use their words in your messaging.
Everyone has a story to tell. Even washing the dishes can become a great story! Emily encourages you to look at the purpose of the post as âit's all about getting engagement. You always need like a little hook at the start to grab attention. So instead of saying I did this today, start with youâll never guess what happened today!â
Have a system
As much as Emily loves Instagram, she actively encourages her clients to get their audience off the platform and onto their email list. You need to ditch your visibility blocks around emailing your list as âemail is still the number one way that you can make sales online.â
Instagram isnât necessarily your sales platform. Itâs great at building your brand, connecting and driving sign ups. By getting your audience onto your email list you are increasing the chance that they actually see and hear from you, as not all posts are shown to all of your followers.â
Choose a couple of great products or services and really hone in on them with your messaging. Make sure that they are front and centre in your automated email sequences and are an irresistible offer to purchase straight away. Continuing to nurture your email list will provide you with leads that will be ready to buy from you.
MAXIMISING YOUR VISIBILITY AND ENGAGEMENT
Increasing engagement on your Instagram posts will lead to Instagram showing your post as well as future posts to more of your followers. So, the idea is to focus in on how you can encourage this engagement.
Emily finds that her longer posts do well for higher engagement. She suggests instead of saying âhey, new blog post is up. Link in bioâ, think of how you can provide that same value on Instagram. Instead you could summarise the key learnings or messages and then encourage them to go and read it by asking them which idea resonated with them the most.
Instagram Stories are also driving engagement, but on a more personal level. Users react to your Story which sends you a DM. Your inbox may get full quickly but responding to them and building relationships will only further increase your visibility and engagement.
In terms of visibility, once you have mastered showing up in Instagram Stories on a regular basis, you can then move onto Instagram Lives and IGTV.
Instagram Lives are another way of getting your face in front of your audience to build rapport and expertise. Like Stories, Emily suggests getting in and do it often so you can become more comfortable. It almost doesnât matter what you say at first, itâs more about giving yourself the opportunity to practice. The beauty of an Instagram Live is that your followers will get a notification of when youâre going live which further increases your visibility.
Emily suggests that if you do start using IGTV as part of your marketing strategy that you post your IGTV to your feed, as Instagram user behaviour means that channels arenât actively followed unless there is a prompt to watch an IGTV episode in the feed.
Emily advises that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to Instagram. You need to test things and donât get âcaught up and try to make everything perfect. And, it's totally OK then to go right, that didn't work. Let's try something else.â
But most of all, remember that Instagram is a social media platform. Itâs a place to connect and start conversations. It works best when youâre actively building relationships and are present. Itâs about the quality, not the quantity.â
What is your biggest challenge with your Instagram feed? Any questions? Just ask in the comments below!
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