Instagram Marketing for Any Business in 2018 [Ultimate Guide]

Instagram Marketing for Business Instagrammer

Instagram marketing enhances every part of your business from the palm of your hand.

This post will show why you should use Instagram for your business, how to use it to grow your following, and how to monetize it. I honestly could write an entire book about why every business needs to be on ‘Insta’ 8 hours a day. It’s the best and easiest social platform to expand your business and make more money. It’s so powerful that 71% of US businesses today use Instagram.

Since Q3 of 2016, businesses can create a profile made to help you get more customers and make more money. Instagram knows that every business is different, so they made it extremely customizable and frequently update it with businesses in mind.

  • 800 Million+ worldwide Instagram accounts are active every month
  • 500 Million+ worldwide Instagram accounts are active every day
  • 300 Million+ users use Instagram Stories every day
  • 80 Percent of accounts follow at least one business

Make Your First Post

Despite the all the statistics proving that Instagram is a keeper for business, many companies are afraid to express themselves on Instagram. Instagram marketing taps into the human mind like no other social network on the platform, because it’s visual first.

When you make a post the picture or video comes first. It’s a lot like a headline for an email. You have to make sure your image is high-quality and consistent with your brand or it won’t do what it’s supposed to do, which is start a conversation.

What Should You Post?

Avoid blatant advertisements at all costs. Instagram is a place to build a community first and foremost. If you use it like eBay, then people will only come to you when they need something. Right now, you have the ability to make a cool place for people to come and be themselves. If you provide that first and foremost you can build trust and then your customers will start rolling in.

Think about it like a party. People come to parties, but not everybody eats the food and drinks the drinks. If you force people to drink and eat, then people will start leaving. The key is to keep the party going with every post you make because without people you’ll never have another party again.

Create a Posting Schedule and Strategy

Every great Instagram profile has consistency.

They are consistent in two ways: in the frequency and the quality of the content they produce.

Use these 5 tips to make sure you do both.

Number 1: Research the Popular Hashtags in your Niche

It’s easy to find the popular hashtags on Instagram. When you type in the search bar what you’re company or industry is all about, it tells you how many posts are in there. If you’re familiar with Twitter, hashtags are a great way to navigate the app and disseminate your information.

When you do your research write down all the hashtags that you want to target (e.g. the popular ones).

If you still need help, then check out this list of 158 Most Popular Hashtags on Instagram.

Number 2: Create your Theme

You don’t want to be too rigid about what you choose to talk about, but all the posts should stay within a framework. If you generally focus on digital marketing, you probably shouldn’t talk about fitness unless it’s about marketing a fitness business. Make sense?

Number 3: Post on a Schedule

Every great Instagrammer or social media icon posts on a schedule or posts so much that they live on their phones. No one is asking you to live on your phone, but you should follow a repetitive schedule for posting content.

Your followers need to be reminded of who you are frequently. If you don’t give them fresh content enough, they’ll migrate to someone that does.

Every business should invest in a social media management tool, like eClincher to ensure their followers receive quality content when they are expecting it. If your content is good enough, they will start asking you for more.

Number 4: Make every post conversational

The goal of every post is to inspire the interaction with your viewers. You want your followers to feel like they are part of the party you create with each image.

Answer every comment with a thoughtful response. Showing them you genuinely care that they took the time to reach out to you is the best currency there is. Personal interaction grows businesses like wildfire.

How many times have you heard of an ‘ordinary person’ meeting a celebrity or public figure randomly? If that celebrity ignored them or responded arrogantly, the ‘ordinary person’ will remember it for the rest of his or her life. Contrarily, if the same celebrity acknowledges and goes above and beyond for this person (like an autograph or paying for a drink at a restaurant) then the experience is much different.

Most of the time, the positive experience is mildly talked about, but the negative one will spread quickly because people love to gossip. A bad experience with someone everyone knows will always be brought up in conversation.

In-App Editing for Perfect Posts

To truly make your Instagram what it needs to be, you should either hire a photographer or learn to edit them. Luckily, Instagram has fantastic editing tools to make every image visually stunning.

Learning to take photos is not as simple as pushing the white button on your iPhone. Here are some tips, but best the tip is obvious but so true: practice makes perfect.

The best Instagrammers take a lot of photos. Making sure you’re putting the most high-quality photos on your profile will separate you from your peers.

Great photos are not a must, but bad photos are a no, no.

Lighting

Lighting is the most important part of taking your photos.

Many Instagrammers don’t have high-quality cameras or editing software. They use the in-app editing software and apply the effects.

Natural light is what you should use to start. It takes some getting used to, but once you learn how to position the sun in your photos the better they’ll be.

Experiment and find your ‘inner photographer.’ Your channel will thank you.

Focus

I know this seems obvious, but making sure your photos are in focus will make or break your image. If you don’t start off right, then all the editing in the world won’t matter.

Rule of 3rds

This is a rule of photography in general, which means the subject of the photo needs to only take up a 3rd of the image. Your goal is to create a scene, not to highlight the subject, unless it’s a product shot. By moving the subject to a corner or one side you allow for the subject to be part of a whole.

 

Instagram Marketing for Business Rule of 3rds

 

For more information, please check out Wikipedia on the rule of thirds.

Transparency

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the video platforms on Instagram, I want to tell you about the number factor that will either make or break your success on Instagram.

That is transparency.

Using transparency to your advantage:

  • Builds trust
  • Can instantly change public perspective
  • Repairs image
  • Increases customer base
  • Solidifies repeat viewing
  • Get’s you a second chance

Transparency doesn’t mean your filming poor-quality videos on your phone. That is one way of doing it and many businesses are successful doing it, but other companies make professional videos that are edited, and the content is nothing but transparent.

Transparency is not about the quality of the video or image. It’s about the emotional connection you establish with you audience. Establishing that ‘real’ feel is the best way to get viewers to connect with you. Without the connection, there is no party, and no one will eat your food. :-(.

Creative Instagram Videos and Live-Streaming

The internet, in general, is moving to video more every day. It’s not to say that written work is going away, but more and more people every year are using video to consume information.

If you’re not using video then you’re selling your business short every day, especially on Instagram.

In the last section, I expressed the value of being transparent, i.e. builds trust, repairs poor PR, etc. Video and Live Streaming are the best ways to be transparent because people believe what they see.

Writing is great and extremely powerful, but with attention-spans declining rapidly every Instagrammer should start creating the high-quality videos they can.

I’m a huge fan of giving your viewers the option of reading and watching.

 

Instagram Marketing for Business Human Brain

 

If you have a video that talks about your product, the description should have a detailed summary of what was talked about in the video and expand upon it. Each part of the post is an opportunity to inspire conversation.

Instagram Marketing: Growth Strategies

Basic Growth Principles

Use Instagram and all social platforms to build a community. When that community trusts what you say, they will buy from you. Engaging with your followers and potential followers is the best way build that community.

Yes, at first if you’re not running ads you will have to “get your hands dirty” and talk to the people that like and comment on your posts. If that’s a problem for you then hire a social media manager.

If you’re looking for other customers, look at your competitors and the #hashtags that pertain to your company’s industry.

In the next section, we’ll use an online organic doggy treat business as an example of how to find your target audience.

Use Instagram Search and Do This With All Your Posts.

1. Type in the #hashtag related to your business. #dogtreats

 

Instagram Marketing for Business dogtreats

 

Notice the number of posts associated with each hashtag. You should write down the ones with a high amount of and keep them for each post you make. The top posts are a great place to start…

If you’re using Instagram on a desktop, you can hold the mouse over each image and video to see how many likes and comments there are.

 

Instagram Marketing for Business White Dog

 

2. Click on the posts and see who’s been commenting.

Instagram Marketing for Business White Dog 2

 

Then get into the conversation. If you type @{insert name of commenter} you can write directly to another person and they will know it if they’ve set up notifications on their phone. It’s an instant connection builder.

From here you can point them in the direction of your profile. If you stay involved in the conversations that go on in your niche you’ll make connections and build your following. Many companies will give out their products to influencers and regular users to make a friend and a potential customer. I do this with people that ‘like’ my own photos too. I’ll send them a direct message or a message within the post. Next, I’ll check out their profile and try to strike up a conversation.

If you think of it as a party, you’ll make lots of friends and business connections.

 

Promote

Whether you’re starting out or scaling up you should always consider promoting your posts. Why limit your posts to only your followers, when you can pay a few dollars and get your post in front of 1000s over the next week.

Anytime you see this button, consider expanding the reach of your posts. It’s a cheap way to build your business. Customize the promotion and select based on your criteria of age demographics, location, gender, etc for targeted exposure.

Influencer Marketing

Allowing your business to flourish usually entails more people than just yourself. Using influencers to market your product is a fantastic way to get easy exposure from your brand.

Many times all you need to do is send an influencer your product for free. They’ll, in turn, share their experience with their followers and encourage them to buy your product. That’s simple enough, right?

Well, sometimes it is that simple and sometimes influencers will demand more than just a free gift. Influencer marketing is a huge market.

Technically, it’s always been a huge market. When was the last time you saw a Sprite commercial without Lebron James?

Companies have always tapped celebrities and athletes (i.e. influencers) to sell their products to the masses. The only difference today is there are more influencers, especially in smaller niches.

Every product you can think of these days has someone that is looked at like a celebrity. In marketing and leadership, it’s Gary Vaynerchuk or Tai Lopez. In sales or real estate, it’s Grant Cardone, and I’m sure some of you don’t even know who they are.

They all have followings of let’s call it 10 million people. Yes, their not Lebron James status yet, but their working on it.

Just because they’re not at that level doesn’t mean they can’t get their followers to purchase many different products.

If you’re on Instagram already, you know it’s a haven for models, e-commerce stores, videographers, and just Instagrammers with massive followings. Check out Girlwithnojob.

Instagram Marketing for Business girlwithnojob

 

She started her channel a few years ago. She posts 5 times a day about stuff that interests her. Mainly partying and hanging out with her friends. There are thousands of people on Instagram just like her.

You might think, “if she posts about partying and hanging out with her friends, how does she make any money?”

Great question. I once asked the same question, and here’s what I got for an answer:

  1. Sponsorships
  2. Shoutouts

Her following and the engagement she gets with her followers make her channel worth millions.

Sponsorships

Sponsorships are not as hard as you might think to get on Instagram. If you post what interests you, companies can’t help but notice and start making offers. Girlwithnojob got her first sponsorship from McDonald’s because she enjoyed eating Chicken McNuggets.

She would post a picture about it, put in a nice description, and use a hashtag that made McDonald’s aware of what she was doing. Then kept the conversation going on each of her posts. McDonald’s recognized the size of her following and the conversation she started. Sponsorship granted.

Posting a picture of Chicken McNuggets or yourself driving in your new car and talking about how great it is, will get the company’s attention. The company will look at your profile and start following you. If you continue to do this and become a representative for their benefit, they’ll offer you the ability to contribute more by offering money, gifts, and more exposure.

If they have more followers than you do and they put your post on their profile, more people will find their way to your profile and follow you back. It’s a win, win!

Shoutouts

The last section easily leads to the next and extremely important topics, shoutouts. These are one of the best ways to get your products out in front of a massive audience.

A shoutout works like this…

  1. Find similar profile to yours that has more followers than you.
  2. Reach out to this profile and ask them if they would like to do a ‘shout for shout.’ This means they post pictures of your profile on their profile and you do the same. This mixes your following and expands each of your reaches.

This is the way it is still done; however, shoutouts have become a big business for many profiles.

Influencers or people with large followings know the value of shoutouts. The right shoutout can make some people millions.

Think about it like this, if you sell custom basketball jerseys and Lebron James liked them. He could take a picture of him wearing it and tell all of his followers where to get one. You’re now an instant millionaire!

The cool part now is there are a ton of mini-Lebron’s out there in each niche. If you sell bamboo cookware, you could send a cooking icon like Rachel Ray some of your products for free. If she likes it she might endorse your products and get you some more followers and customers.

It’s really that simple, but if you’re not interested in all the cold-outreach try this. It does cost money, but you control how much you’re willing to spend.

Go to Shoutcart.com and check out some prices.

Here are some tips for buying shoutouts…

  • Look for shoutouts that are in your niche (as close as possible). You already know their followers are interested in what you have.
  • Every shoutout profile needs to be properly researched.
  • Avoid shoutouts with images that have a lot of spammy comments. Look for a lot of real engagement. If they have 3 million followers, but only 1,000 likes per post then you know it’s not really worth it.
  • Look for profiles that have the same quality of images and videos you have. Like attracts like.

Summary

Instagram is a 24/7 business development tool. It will help you build a community, promote a product, raise funding, or engage with your competitor’s customers.

It’s image and video based to allow greater transparency and creativity in every message you send. Remember, the images must be high-quality to be relevant. Add a description worthy of your audience, add your hashtags, and engage with your commenters daily.

Use this guide to help you create your posts, find new customers, and build your profile.

For more information on social media marketing, visit the eClicher.com/blog.