According to the Small Business Administration, in 2018, there were over 30 million small businesses registered in the US. And that makes over 99% of all US businesses. The vast majority of these are small operations where the owner does pretty much everything on their own without any employees. Others are large operations that have up to 500 employees.
The one thing all you business owners have in common is that you are all looking for that next sale.
You've most likely figured out by now that Instagram is an essential tool for your content marketing campaigns.
As of 2018, there were more than 800 million users on Instagram with over 500 million logging in every day! 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business account. In terms of social media, Instagram is the most effective way when it comes to engagement rates.
By investing in an effective Instagram marketing campaign that is seamlessly integrated into your broader outreach and marketing strategy, you can and will increase revenues. In this article, we'll share with you 10 ideas for your Instagram campaigns that will boost sales, no matter the size of your business.
First, we'll discuss making sure your account, profile and posting habits are in top shape. Next, we'll give you some ideas on how to tailor your content in a way that results in increased sales.
Starting with Your Profile and Posting Habits
1. Update your business profile with contact information, location, and website. First things first -- your Instagram profile needs to be a business profile.
When you switch to a business profile you get access to valuable insights by Instagram. These allow you to track who your audience is and what times they are active.
Most importantly, it allows you to give potential clients an easy way to engage with you off of Instagram. When you update your profile with your email address, phone number, and location, Instagram will automatically create corresponding options on your profile for people to call you, get directions or to send you an email.
Be sure to include your website in your bio so that curious Instagrammers can check it out.
Blue Star Donuts had filled all the lines in their bio. Source
Once you've made the switch to a business account, it is time to make your posts shoppable.
This is, undoubtedly, one of the most effective steps you can take to increase engagement with your audience and funnel potential customers to your website. You have to request approval from Instagram to be able to use shoppable tags.
When you're approved, follow the steps to import your catalog to Instagram. Then start tagging your products in your posts.
An example of a shoppable tag. Source
With shoppable tags, customers can click on a product they see in your pictures. They can then get all the details about a product and head straight to your checkout page to place their order.
This feature also creates a 'Shop' feed on your profile. You are essentially creating a catalog for all the products you feature on your feed.
Your products will also show up in Instagram's Explore feature. This will expose your products to new, unexplored, corners of the market you may not have reached on your own.
According to Facebook, 130 million accounts tap on a shoppable post every month. Some shops report nearly doubling traffic to their website!
At least 500 million accounts interact with the Stories feature on Instagram every single day.
This is a great place to be informal and spontaneous in your interaction with the Instagram audience.
It is also the place to feature new products, offer exclusive sales, and behind the scenes exclusives, just like OAK + FORT shop does.
Oakandfort makes it easy for customers to monitor new arrival through Instagram stories. Source
The best part is that your published Stories can also be tagged as shoppable!
Of all the content you will find on Instagram, video generates the most engagement. On average, videos have nearly three times the comments a single picture will receive. They receive almost double the comments of a carousel post.
Post engaging videos on your feed and you will increase the number of followers on your account.
Working with social media influencers is an effective way to grow your following and create brand awareness.
These folks use their Instagram platform to spread the word about distinct products. They will provide a positive review of your product in a subtle, informal format.
There are big-time influencers and there are micro-influencers. It all depends on how many followers they have.
You can connect with and reach out to these folks individually. Another option is to use a service to help find and work with influencers who are well-known in your particular niche of the market.
Nearly 20% of businesses will dedicate more than half of their marketing budget on influencer collaborations. It's that effective.
What is the trick to having a successful influencer campaign? Do your research. Invest in a relationship with someone who genuinely represents and is well connected to your target audience.
When it comes to writing the perfect caption, most experts agree that it is best to lay off on the "hard sell".
Your company most likely has a core mission statement. As a business owner, you can describe the inspiration behind what you produce and sell.
In your Instagram posts, you should share this and expand on it for your followers so they can understand what your company is really about.
While some people might believe two babies are not the best company to go hiking with, REI sees a proud mom warrior. Source
Design your content and write your captions so it resonates with potential followers and their core beliefs.
When writing content, consider your target audience's social and physical needs, and how your product can help fulfill them.
Try offering a gift certificate or give away a particular item. You can also create a give-away combo as a collaboration between various businesses.
The goal? To increase the number of followers of your account (and potential future clients).
All you have to do is announce the giveaway and give clear details on how to enter. This normally includes following the account (or all the accounts participating in the offer), commenting, and tagging other users.
Make sure your giveaway is easy to enter. The fewer steps required, the more followers will sign up.
Fabletics is running a contest to increase its brand awareness. Source
Sales and offers that last for a few days, or even a few hours, create a sense of urgency that people just can't ignore.
Nobody wants to miss out on an incredible deal. It's how people work!
To create hype, post content that "builds up" anticipation in your followers. Give them clues about the amazing offer you are about to announce, without revealing it.
Once you launch the offer, consider using a countdown clock on future posts. This underscores the urgency of taking advantage of the deal. You can also use your posts to highlight reducing inventory, sharing with your audience that there is "only 1 left!".
"Combining tactics that create a sense of time sensitivity is a great Instagram campaign idea that can be stretched over multiple posts that will ultimately boost sales." -- Social Media Marketing specialist at Top Writers Review.
Nearly 80% of consumers in the US say that free shipping is an important motivator in whether they make an online purchase or not.
The extra cost of shipping at the end of the checkout process is often enough for customers to back out of a sale.
Offering free shipping can be a limited time offer or it can be the standard deal for your business.
You can also use the temptation of a free shipping offer by encouraging people to follow your Instagram account. This will increase your followers and boost your sales.
To create trust in your brand and expand your following, re-publish content created by followers. You can also look for content published by other users that align with your company's values.
Nearly 70% of users say that content generated by other 'normal' users about a product or a company is more "trustworthy and authentic".
This creates a positive, organic "word of mouth" facet to your Instagram campaign. Be sure to ask permission to republish other people's photos. Most folks are thrilled when a business reaches out to them and wants to republish their content!
Lush cosmetics likes to use their customers' photos in their posts and always mentions the author making it a win-win for both parties. Source
These ideas and strategies are universally applicable if you run a one-man show, have a handful of employees, or a couple of hundred.
Remember, Instagram is only one aspect of what should be a diversified presence across the internet and social media.
If you have a small operation, it may seem overwhelming to dedicate so much energy to your Instagram account.
If you find the challenge of juggling your website, email outreach, social media campaignsand publicity efforts to be overwhelming, you may want to consider enlisting professionals to help you expand, implement and manage your campaign ideas.
Instagram should be a keystone in your broader marketing strategy that focuses on building a sense of community around your brand, your vision, and the products you offer to the market.
This guest article was written by Daniela McVicker, a blogger with experience in writing about UX design, content planning, and digital marketing. Currently, she contributes to many sources where she helps individuals and organizations improve their web content writing, design, and planning skills. Here recent articles can be found on Grabmyessay.