I hated Instagram for a while. I didn’t understand the purpose of it! I would post pictures of my life randomly. There would be sunsets, cute pictures of me and my husband, my family, my garden, etc. It was just another social media platform that my friends and family can use to see glimpses of my everyday life. I didn’t have a huge following on Instagram either, so my pictures only had 20+ likes. I also didn’t understand hashtags. I thought that it was an excellent way to keep track of my pictures?! I was on and off with Instagram for a while, (but more OFF than ON) and this went on for about four years! Four years of terrible filters and a hodgepodge of stuff! Look at this!
That is until I started to use it for my calligraphy business. The more I posted about my calligraphy, showcasing it in various ways, the more followers I gained and the more I sold. After a lot of trial and error, I’ve learned a lot about how to use Instagram to get more sales. Here are some tips:
POST RELEVANT AND COMPELLING PICTURES
I do love Instagram now. It’s a wonderful platform that can show you a unique perspective of your business strictly through pictures. When you land on someone’s page, you get about 9 pictures right away. This is a lot like having someone land on your website homepage. You have a few seconds to capture their attention or they’ll move on. That’s why it’s so important that you consistently post only relevant and compelling pictures. You want to make sure that your pictures all relate in color, style, or product. Pick a theme that you like (maybe it’s bluish tones or black and white tones) and stick to it. Consistency is key! And so is posting regularly! Nobody wants to look at an Instagram account that looks like it’s 4 months behind. I will be the first to admit, I am still working on theme consistancy! You can see what my newer pictures look like now:
Here are a few tips on pictures:
- Use natural lighting (especially when it’s cloudy). I feel that my best pictures are the ones that I take near a window or outside on an overcast day. The lighting is usually perfect and it creates a consistent color in my pictures on Instagram
- Don’t over edit. Sometimes it’s easy to put 3-4 filters on a picture. Try to stick to brightly contrasted pictures that highlight your product or service. Pictures that are overly filtered can be distracting and can blend your product away instead of highlighting it.
- Take lots of pictures! And then pick the best one out of the bunch!
- Play with angles to see how it changes the look and mood of your products!
- Use some editing apps to help you! I love VSCO and Snapseed
SWITCH TO A BUSINESS ACCOUNT
You get some additional tools help you reach more people when you switch to a business account.
- You’ll get access to analytics to help you see how many people you’re reaching
- Instagram allows you to have a “contact” button so people can immediately contact you about your business
- You can promote a specific post or create an Instagram ad with your business account
- If you have more than 10,000 followers, you can add links to your Instagram stories!
Later is a great program to schedule and visualize your pictures. They created a fun and useful flowchart to help you decide whether or not you should switch to a business account.
COMPLETE YOUR BIO
Your Instagram bio gives you 150 characters and is one of the only ways to let people know who you are, what you can do for them and let them in on a bit of your personality. Not to mention, it’s the only place to put your website! So what sets you apart? Don’t be afraid to embrace the emojis 😁🙌🏻 I like these profiles:
You’ll notice that these profiles are fun, engaging, introduces the creator and gives a call to action! I want to know how to dress! I want a free creative prompt! These people look like they’re fun and engaging! That’s how you want to capture your audience.
WHAT’S UP WITH HASHTAGS?
What are they? Why use them? Is it just a fun way to say something? For those who are technical, hashtags are like meta tags. For those who are not, hashtags are just a way to categorize the billions of pictures on Instagram and a great way for people to find you who you don’t typically have access to. With 60 million photos being uploaded every day, you want to make sure there is a way that you’re found in the vastness of the world wide web.
See, unless you’re a hugely popular brand like KitKat, it’s difficult to get your brand and company in front of the right people. But even KitKat asks their users to use specific hashtags to create a community of people all sharing their fun KitKat adventures. Check it out:
There are 2 ways that I try to find what hashtags to use.
- I look at my favorite users (who are relevant to my side hustle) and see what hashtags they’re using. Let’s say I am browsing Instagram and I see a user that has GREAT content, LOTS of followers and she posts with 15-20 hashtags, I comb through her hashtags to see what she is using. I’ll write down a few that I think are great potentials and start using them on my photos. I usually also click on the hashtags to see how many pictures there are and if people are using the hashtag correctly.
- Looking at the KitKat example again, you’ll see that one of their hashtags they’re asking people to use is #HaveABreak, but when you click on it, most of the pictures are people on vacation! I probably wouldn’t use that hashtag then.
- My side hustle involves calligraphy, small business, weddings, and moms. I usually spend a bit of time every few months searching for various hashtags that include those particular groups and see what people are using. Research has shown that if you post using a hashtag that already has 2+ million pictures, your picture will most likely get lost. But if you post using a hashtag that has about 60,000-1 million photos, then you will have a better chance at getting your content in front of the right people.
A few ways to find good hashtags to use:
- Hashtags.org – You can find various trends that are currently happening for hashtags
- Statigram – You can search for hashtags and then find alternative ones you may want to use
- Trendsmap – If your business connects well with the community, you can use this to find what are trendy hashtags in your surrounding area
Check out these articles that may help you further:
How To Recover From An Unhappy Client
What are some of your favorite ways to use Instagram?