Posted: Tue 28th Apr 2020
Over 500 people signed up for our webinar on Instagram with marketing expert Lucy Hall, so we wanted to share her top tips and a recording of the session.
She shares advice on what to do if you're new to Instagram and want to get better at using it to promote your business.
How do you start building your following on Instagram?
The first thing Lucy stressed is that having more followers isn't the most important thing. The most important thing is having the right followers.
To get more of the right people to follow you, she suggests:
Add a good profile image and make sure you have thought about the value proposition of your profile, so people know why they should follow you.
Follow people you like within your industry to see what they're posting and what's engaging.
Post content that's valuable and helpful that's going to attract people, and share content consistently.
Follow your customers so you can understand what they want and always reply to people in the comments and acknowledge them.
"It's important to follow your peers and competitors. Follow complementary businesses that you can collaborate with too," Lucy added.
Facebook for Business has lots of free online courses, including content about getting started on Instagram. Lucy is also involved with Enterprise Nation's She Means Business campaign and you can access resources by searching the site for "She Means Business".
How can I improve my reach with Instagram hashtags?
Lucy said it's important to test and learn.
"Try different hashtags with the right photos and content and you'll start to see what works. Have a content calendar and make a note of what's working and then do more of that," she said.
It's helpful to keep a note of the hashtags you use by themes, she explained. Using a few relevant hashtags is better than adding lots.
How can I add other people's posts to my grid?
Apps can help you "regram" other people's posts. It's good etiquette to ask the original poster's permission and tag them.
How can you add text to your photos?
Word Swag and other apps allow you to do it easily. When you're putting photos on your Instagram grid, you want the focus on the image, Lucy said.
How often should we post?
It depends on what works for your business and you.
"If I post 20 times a day, is it going to annoy people? When you think about consistency, it's about making sure you post regularly enough. It could be once every two weeks. If you have a business account, you can look at Instagram's Insights and see what times work best," said Lucy.
See Instagram's information on how to create a business account.
What tools can help me use Instagram and schedule posts?
Lucy recommended a number of tools, many of which have free options.
Facebook's Creator Studio for scheduling and insights on Facebook and Instagram
ContentCal for scheduling to social platforms including Facebook and Instagram
Later for Instagram scheduling
Word Swag app for text over images
Canva for adding text to images
Instagram Insights is important for testing and measuring
Is selling through Instagram an option?
Instagram has added shopping tags, which means users can purchase products in the app.
"We sell social media planners. They're physical planners that we send through the post. When they click on the product they can buy it directly, which works really well for people that want to stay on the platform," said Lucy.
You can add a link to your product in your profile too.
How likely is Instagram to work for B2B companies?
Lucy said that you need to try it and see if it works for your business. However, she added that LinkedIn might be a better option.
Her company uses Instagram to talk about company culture.
I'm running a language school that's going online, do you have any tips?
Lucy thought Instagram is a great platform to use to promote the listener's new offering.
"Go out and find people that are interested in languages, look at different hashtags, connect with people and learn about the content that's working," she said.
One suggestion was to give little bits of knowledge away that will make people curious and they may realise they want to learn more.
Do videos or images work better?
Videos get more reactions as they are more visually stimulating, said Lucy. However, she added that you need to use the right medium for the message and doing a mix of videos and images works well.
How do you get people to comment?
Creating posts that ask people questions, rather than talking about yourself, will help encourage them to comment. You need to add relatable content too and make sure people know what value they're getting from interacting with your account, said Lucy.
Can you develop a very localised audience?
Hashtags are a great way to find people with certain interests and in certain locations.
"Connect with companies local to you. Reply to local companies and customers. Keep the content really focused on your area. Put a little bit of money aside for an advertising campaign and create an ad just for people in the area. Share people's content," she advises.