Alright, so you are on Instagram because you know you need to be there. But why exactly?
Chances are, this is where your future customers are! How do we know, well, there are over 120 million Instagram users in the United States alone! The majority identify as female. Also, in the past, Instagram was where the “kids” hung out, but now, according to Sprout Social 75% of 18–24-year-olds, 57% of 25–30-year-olds, 47% of 30–49-year-olds and 23% of 50–64-year-olds use Instagram. 68% of Instagram users log in EVERY DAY! So this is an AMAZING platform for you to capture your ideal customer! But how?
HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM
It may seem super simple, but you need to use the platform as it was intended to be used. You need to be social in order for a social media platform to spread your brand, service or product. What does this mean?
Engage with your followers! If someone comments on your post, messages you or likes your stories, interact with them as if they are in your store! Thank them! Ask them questions. Like their photos! Ask how their dog is.
Post REAL content! This means that everything you share does not need to be prim and proper. People prefer when you show up authentically. It is better to show up “messy” than to never show up at all. So, show them your messy storeroom, or what the process looks like of creating their favorite products. Give your followers behind the scenes tour and let them feel like they have an honest glimpse into your life.
Play along! When Instagram launches a new feature like IGTV and Reels, jump in! Play along with these new features, even if it is messy and you have no idea what you are doing. Guess what, neither do your followers but they are going to notice you being bold and having fun!
So how exactly do you know if you are “succeeding” on Instagram? It is not just about how many followers you have. We promise. What matters is:
Are people engaging with your content?
Are new people discovering your profile?
Are you clearly articulating your brand and message?
Are you getting more confident in creating content your followers are interested in?
How do we track this? Many ways! First of all, we like to do a monthly evaluation of our top-performing posts and stories using Instagram’s Insights tool. We don’t use it in the way you might imagine, but instead, use it to show ourselves what our followers enjoy and what they didn’t really jive with. This allows us to work on creating more content they love! Which posts did they like the most, comment on? Which posts got them to visit your profile or click on your link? This stuff is marketing research gold! So dig it and get to know this tool well.
You can also look at the Insights on any given post to see how many people that aren’t following you discovered that particular post! We find this fun because we then like to play a game of guessing why some posts have tons of new discoveries so we can do more like that! Sometimes it's the use of a hashtag or posting at a really optimal time. Sometimes posts really strike an emotion. Guess what it was and do it again.
What really matters is, if a new profile found your Instagram feed today, would they be able to understand your business in a matter of seconds? According to Microsoft, the average attention span right now is 8 SECONDS! Will they get your message in 8 seconds? We know this sounds daunting but if you post relevant, authentic and engaging content, the right follower will be interested in 8 seconds!
So, we invite you to ditch the idea that you don’t have enough followers to be on Instagram. Instead, show up for the ones that are there and make them your super fans! If no one is there, show up for yourself!