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On this episode, we talked about businesses that can market themselves using Instagram alone, the advantages (hint: less $$$) and how it's changed how people shop.
- Businesses that spend more time marketing themselves on Instagram rather than Facebook
- The effectiveness of Instagram advertising
- How to track leads and sales
- Why Instagram is easier to consume content rather than Facebook
- The missing link between Instagram and Facebook
- Can businesses market on Instagram alone?
You can listen to or watch the episode or you can check out the extended full post below.
Full show notes
It’s becoming increasingly popular for brands and businesses to exist only on Instagram, raising brand awareness and making sales, without the help of a detailed Facebook profile, a website or even running paid campaigns.
If you don't have a lot of time or manpower, but you know that you've got a business that will do great on Instagram (think food, interior design, jewellry, clothing, travel... the list goes on!) then you may be able to do a majority of your marketing on Instagram alone, using other platforms to complement your strategy.
Some businesses don’t even have a website, making sales through their Instagram Direct Messages (DMs) alone.
So what is it about Instagram that makes it a powerful marketing tool?
Can you use Instagram to market your business without using any other platform?
Getting started with Instagram business
If you’re just getting started on Instagram, we recommend setting up both a Facebook and Instagram account because:
You can then set up your Instagram account as a business account which gets you valuable photo insights
You can set up paid advertising campaigns from Facebook to Instagram
If you want to take things slow and focus more on Instagram, make sure your Facebook profile is at least filled out, as there is a large audience on Facebook. It could potentially increase your reach, too.
Make sure that both your Instagram and facebook page has:
The same username, profile photo and biography
All contact details filled out
The URL to your website
Do I even need a website?
All the way back in episode 1, we talked about the explosion of social media, and whether or not it killed the website.
In a lot of cases, we find that a single landing page with an overview of your business and contact details can be enough to get you started. It acts as a conversion tracking point and an official “online home” for your brand, allowing your audience to find out more about you.
If you have a restaurant, cafe, salon or any business that takes bookings, you may want to have your online booking form linked in your Instagram profile.
Generally, it adds another way to encourage leads.
It is not absolutely necessary, but it can add another element of authenticity to your brand.
Getting attention with your feed
To get people in the door, you need to grab their attention first.
How can you do this, and without spending a lot of money?
Study your target audience and understand what they want.
You can do this by searching for businesses that are similar to yours. If you do business locally, you want to look at similar businesses in your area, which will help you paint a better picture of who your local target audience is and create content specifically for them.
You can use the search bar or hashtags to find photos.
Well, then comes the hard part.
You need to actually open every photo, check out their likes, make note of their hashtags as their may be a few in there that you can use, and check out their comments.
Don’t forget that tapping on hashtags can also reveal relevant hashtags. Go down the rabbithole to find some that you may not have considered.
You might need to spend a few hours doing this, to get an understanding for creating attention-grabbing content, but it’s all worth it.
We talked about some ideas in episode 5: Instagram Marketing Tips, for how to create attention-grabbing content.
Here's a few quick tips:
Avoid text in photos, because it makes them look like ads. People don’t like to be disrupted/sold to on Instagram
Take the time to create professional and creative photos rather than blurry, unplanned shots
Add a location tag and at least 10 hashtags to increase your reach
The photo is where it’s at, but don’t forget the caption. Make sure the main point is in the first 115 characters, so your audience doesn’t have to tap more to get the rest of the message
Creating content for your business
Hair salon, florist, interior decorator, clothing store, baker, cafe, shoe designer…
The list goes on.
If your business produces visual products or services, there is almost no limit to the types of content that you can create.
- If you’re a gym or a personal trainer, body transformation shots also do really well because they show the end result straight away, even though a lot of hard work goes into it
- Hair salons have the great advantage of showing a makeover that took hours, in mere seconds thanks to multiple photo posts
- Interior designers can do the same, and also tag designers or makers of furniture, instantly increasing the reach of an image
- Clothing or shoe stores can set up a link so people can shop their Instagram feed, publishing posts with products (think modeling, flat lays or outfit ideas). This bridges the gap between Instagram and eCommerce
Generally, before and after shots do well because they’re a great piece of social proof: showing that your product actually works and having the results speak for themselves.
It also makes it easier for your audience to picture how your product or service will work for them, and take out any possible guess work that they may not have considered.
Not all business should be on Instagram
This is a tough one, because any business can be on Instagram, depending on the type of service or product that you offer.
For example, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend a pest control company start an Instagram account, because we’re not sure how many people like close-up shots of redback spiders from a recent job. If they really wanted to start an account to grow brand awareness, we might recommend behind-the-scenes shots of their office culture and on-the-road antics. This helps to give people an insight to the business and may be hired on their profile and personality alone.
We don't want to name and shame, because we're sure everyone can think of a creative way to market their business! Some platforms are better suited to some more than others.
Our general guide is: if you can produce aesthetically pleasing content that tells your story, connects with your audience and grows leads, then go for it.
Instagram vs Facebook
Facebook has a much wider audience than Instagram, so it would seem natural to spend a lot more time creating content and engaging with your audience on Facebook rather than Instagram.
We have a few clients that get a lot more traction on Instagram instead, and it’s because a lot of their target audience also spends more time on Instagram and uses it differently to Facebook.
The two platforms are inherently different, with Facebook presenting a wide range of ways to stay in touch with friends, family, companies, bands, actors and reality TV stars. Instagram focuses solely on images, video and stories from a community completely of your choosing.
The investment to consume content on Instagram is a lot less time consuming than Facebook, which allows for fast scrolling and a casual slow-down-and-browse at a photo or two.
You can also easily message people directly on Instagram. In fact, the importance of Instagram direct messages seems to be ramping a lot lately with users bartering experience for exposure and more. This kind of culture doesn’t seem to be widely touted on Facebook, because it’s a lot more difficult to see or receive messages from people who are outside of your community.
You can definitely market your business with Instagram alone! If you've got the right kind of business, not a lot of cash but a keen eye for creating aesthetically-pleasing content, we say to go for it.
You'll never know until you give it a try.
If you have questions you have about Instagram marketing, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on (08) 9228 2233.