These days everyone wants to be an entrepreneur of some kind to either earn money on the side or actually make a living out of it and a lot of people use Instagram to promote their businesses.
However, not everyone who uses Instagram to promote their business is successful in doing that.
Promoting your business does not simply mean that you just have to post your products and that is it, there is more to it than that. You need a marketing strategy on Instagram too for your business to be successful.
Here are 10 ways for you to use Instagram to promote your business more effectively.
1. Set up a business account
For your business to be taken seriously, you cannot mix your personal account with your business one as it is unprofessional because your personal followers and your business followers are two different groups of people.
Your business followers most likely do not care about your personal lives, they followed your business account only for your products or work.
Aside from that, having a business account can really step up your promoting game as the features it has are meant to do just that for businesses.
By making a business account, you will get features like insights and promotions which are both very useful in keeping up with your followers’ engagement with your posts.
Some of these features are free but they are very generic. To get more accurate and specific results, you are going to have to use advertisements.
It would also help for your username to be simple but still good and your business profile bio must be:
- Clear and good
- No useless information for potential customers
- Have a website for your business so you can put the link in bio as well
2. Use Ads To Promote Your Posts
Advertisements are an important part of business as you need to use this to promote your products to the public.
There are three different ways for you to run your advertisements and all of these require you to connect your business Instagram account to your Facebook page as Instagram is owned by Facebook and of course, as all of these are good, quality ways in running your ads, it is going to cost you some money because nothing good in quality is ever free in this world.
Here are the three different ways for you to run your ads on Instagram:
- Ad Manager
- Instagram Partners
In-App literally means features that are already in the app, it will make it easier for people to discover your profile, gain more traffic for your website and can easily have potential customers to directly message you on your business profile for any enquiries. Here are the steps on how to use these features.
Ad Manager is set on Facebook so you are going to have to use Facebook for this to work on Instagram as well. Here is where you can find steps on how to create Instagram ads using Ad Manager.
Instagram Partners is like a group of marketing specialists, they exist to help you with the marketing for your business. The Partners are all experts and credible people as they are reviewed by Instagram and they help you by giving resources, buying ads and more! Here is where you can find your Instagram Partner that would suit what your business needs.
3. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are very important for business accounts to use and to take advantage of. Instagram users often follow hashtags so even if they are not following your account, they will still see your post on their feed if you used the hashtag that they are following.
Same goes to posting hashtag(s) on your story, they will appear in the hashtag’s page. This is a very easy way to get your account discovered and get more known.
You should also come up with your own hashtags that are meant for your business, through this you can build a community online.
This can get your potential customers to look through the hashtags to discover more of your posts and get more engagement to your account. Make sure to only use relevant hashtags!
Although hashtags are good for marketing, it does not mean you should overdo it.
Posts with more than 10 hashtags usually drive people off and some can be seen as irrelevant to the post, so do some testing first and see what amount of hashtags would suit your posts, for most it’s 1 to 5 hashtags would do. Some business accounts post only 1 to 3 hashtags in their caption but put about 10 or more hashtags in the comment section so the audience will not notice them.
Instagram has broken down the hashtags into 9 types and they are:
- Product/Service Hashtags – #coffeeshop #hoodie
- Niche Hashtags – #weddingphotographer #travelphotographer
- Industry Instagram Hashtags – #bakersofinstagram #foodiesofinstagram
- Special events/occasions Hashtags – #mothersday #valentinesday
- Location Hashtags – #serembanfood #klfooddelivery
- Daily Hashtags – #mondaymotivation #tuesdaythoughts
- Acronym Hashtags – #wcw #ootd #tgif
- Relevant Hashtags – #art #filming
- Emoji Hashtags – #😊 #😍
It is very recommended for you to use various kinds of hashtags in your posts to make sure it will reach to different communities on Instagram, more about on how to use hashtags to boost your posts here.
4. Influencer Marketing
Social media influencers are one of the most powerful and influential (duh, it’s literally in the name) people in the world right now and these days there are a lot of influencers in Malaysia and they usually have hundreds- even thousands and sometimes even millions of followers and whenever they promote a product or a brand, their followers are more likely to actually check them out and sometimes even get the products just to have the same things as their favourite influencers do. (These are exactly why they are called influencers because they influence people).
Now, how do we exactly get influencers to promote our brands?
For now, there are 2 options:
- Reach out to them personally
- Through an influencer marketing agency
Yes, there is an agency specifically for influencer marketing. Amazing right?
Influencers do not only mean big celebrities, they also include Youtubers, bloggers, TikTokers- basically, anyone with more than 10 000 followings on any kind of social media platform.
Here are the 3 types of influencers:
- Mega – influencers – This spectrum consists of big actors, musicians, artists and athletes with more than 500 000 followers.
- Macro – influencers – This one is mostly professional bloggers and YouTubers who have platforms that can reach 50 000 people up until 500 000 people.
- Micro-influencers – These are everyday consumers that have 1 000 followers to 100 000 followers.
Of course, in order to get influencers to do any kind of promotion for your product or brand, they must get something in return that is just as valuable.
- Cash – This is usually what the mega – influencers would ask for.
- VIP Treatment – This works for macro-influencers if they really like your product and examples of VIP treatments are like limited product giveaway, a discount, a gift card and such.
- Recognition – Micro-influencers usually do not mind only getting recognition in return as it would help get their name out there by letting your brand feature them on your site.
Read and learn more about Influencer Marketing in Malaysia and to find the top influencers in the country here.
5. Always optimise your account
Always, always, ALWAYS optimise your account from time to time. People get bored easily these days so it is good to sometimes change things up a bit but for the most part, make your account consistent with your brand.
How? Here are some tips!
As we have previously mentioned, your bio must be filled with only useful information for consumers and a motto would be okay to put in too.
You should also put your website link or any link that is related to your business in your bio, it would make it easier for people to navigate their way to your site and find what they are looking for or simply just attract more people to discover your website and gain more traffic.
It is also very recommended for you to add in your contact information to make it easier for potential customers or any brands that might want to collaborate with you to contact you.
Remember to always make sure all of these are always up to date!
- Own your brand!
Your brand is what attracts people so stay true to your brand and don’t try to rip off of another company’s brand. Not only is that very wrong and unethical, but it is also very not unique and it would not attract people as much as well.
People nowadays like originality and that is what your business should focus on! Make yourself your own brand and stay true to it, own it!
- Consistent posting
This is not to say you should post every hour, that is not a great idea because that would be spamming your followers’ feeds and no one likes a spammer.
You should experiment with posting 2 or at most 3 times throughout the day and see which post gets more engagement through Insights and after that, you can make a schedule on when is the right time to post things on specific days.
- Use your story and IGTV
People often find videos more engaging than pictures so you should use the story feature and the IGTV feature to promote your products and get people more interested in your brand. However, do not spam! Keep them moderate.
- Use Instagram Shopping Feature
To use this feature you have to set up your Instagram shop.
The shopping feature makes it easier for consumers to discover businesses and products so make sure whenever you post your product to tag the product too so the potentially interested customers can see what it is and how much it costs.
This can get your posts on the explore page specifically for shopping and get more customers that were simply browsing their explore shopping page to be interested in your products.
Check out this site for more tips on how to optimise your Instagram business account to the fullest.
6. Interact with your followers
To get authentic followers, your Instagram business account must be authentic too. This means that you always have to interact and engage with your followers to make your business account look more approachable and consumer-friendly.
- Reply to comments
This does not necessarily mean you should reply to every single comment you get, just the ones with questions about your post or the ones who are simply just complimenting your product or your brand.
Show your appreciation by interacting with your followers!
- Reply to Direct Messages
DO always reply to direct messages from your followers that are about any enquiries about your product or your brand, but professionally of course or if there are too much, you could put a highlight on your account about all of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to make it easier for you and for the consumers to get answers to their questions.
It is also good for business to sometimes do giveaways for the customers by making up competitions or just simply picking them out based on the rules that you have set for the giveaway, this can pull more people to your account if they are interested in getting the products.
Not to mention, no one in the world would ever want to miss out on getting free things.
- Ask for opinions
To grow your business, who better to ask about what you could do better or what you could do next than your regular consumers. This can be done easily on your story as Instagram has a sticker for it that lets your audience click on it and type what they want.
Ask for their opinions about the product you have coming up or what they would like to see for your brand to come up with next, this way you can see what works and what does not.
- Ask for suggestions
This can be seen as a collaboration between you and your business’ followers which would be great for business as people love seeing businesses and consumers collaborate to create something wonderful together.
Again, this can be done using the sticker feature on Instagram story.
However, if you do get inspiration for your products from your customers’ suggestions, do remember to give them credit so they can feel like they are apart of something that is great.
7. Follow other business accounts
There is almost nothing that you can achieve in this world without some help. If you are a small business starting out, please do find other business accounts- no matter if they are a big account or a small account and follow them.
This can help inspire your business too and create networks and it is a great opportunity to get your business more known by the industry you are in as well.
Here are the types of accounts you are recommended to follow:
- Local businesses in your area
- Your company’s owner/founder
- Businesses that are in the same type of industry as yours
You can work with other brands easier too if you are following each other. You can promote their products and they can promote yours, this can attract new customers as well.
Here is where you can read more about how following other brands will help grow your business more effectively.
It is good practice to repost posts that are related to your business especially if the posts are made by known businesses or well – known people. It is also a must for you to tag them if you do repost because it was not your original content and you should give credit to the account that made the post first.
- Tag people
Tag people that are relevant to your posts only, do not just tag anyone who is well-known because that can come off as annoying to the people and the general public when they just want to know who is actually in the post.
- Tag locations
If your business is not only an online store and does have establishments in various places, tagging locations on your posts will make it easier for people to find your stores. They can also check out the location tag and see what has been posted on it and this can trigger their interest in actually visiting your store.
- Tag brands
Tag brands in the posts that are relevant to them. If you are posting a collaboration creation you made with the other brand, tag them.
If you are simply posting their content or anything that is related to them, tag them because that would make them more likely to repost.
When they repost on their accounts, you will get visitors from them if the other brand’s followers do not know about your business yet.
- Encourage other accounts to tag you!
Do always encourage your customers to tag you whenever they post something of your product or anything related to your product. This too helps people discover your business on Instagram.
9. Keep up with trends and be aware
There is a new trend every single day so as a progressive and modern business owner, you must keep up with what is happening in the world and what people are talking about the most in the recent days.
It is good for businesses to keep up with trends because when something is trending that means that is what people are most interested in at the time.
Trends are fun. However, you also have to be aware at all times since the whole world right now is not really in a good place so be mindful of when you post and what you are posting about to make sure nothing could be seen as offensive to certain groups of people.
It is also encouraged for you to express your support for a cause you believe in so people can really see the authenticity of your business and that your brand does care about the general people.
10. Post reviews
We have come to the end of the list and it is, post reviews about your brand! They do not necessarily have to come from Instagram. You should scour all social media platforms for positive reviews from your customers.
They can come from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok even, you can screenshot the posts and edit them to make them fit your business profile’s feed or your story and then post them.
Remember to credit whoever made the original post either on Instagram or credit them from whatever account they posted from using the platform you found them on.
Same goes for videos you found online that are about reviews for your products.
It also would be great if you let them know you are going to post their content beforehand. It is better that way if you do want to be seen as a consumer-friendly business.
This way you can also avoid the possibility of getting sued because of copyright issues as you are reposting somebody else’s content.
This is a great way to promote your business as it shows the credibility of your products and that your customers are satisfied with your business’ products.
Potential customers will be more likely to go through your Instagram business account or simply click on your website link in your bio if they are interested in some of your products that they saw and heard about in the reviews people have posted online.
Instagram is a pretty straightforward application and it has a lot of features that would benefit entrepreneurs with their businesses and Instagram is still planning on adding even more features in the future to make it even easier for businesses to flourish on their platform, so take advantage of that and use them to the best you can to make sure your business will turn out a success.
If you are someone who owns a small business, make an Instagram business account because it will help immensely as a lot of Malaysian users do actually use Instagram to find things that they would be interested in buying. However, if you are someone who is still thinking about starting a business but do not exactly know how and what type of business yet, read our other article here on steps to start a successful e-business, it may be useful in helping you figure things out.
Looking for a digital agency to handle your advertising campaigns? Reach out to us and let us help you grow your business!