How to use Instagram to market your business online.

There should be no excuse why you don't have time to "Instagram" for your business! 

As a wannabe, newbie, or established Entrepreneur, we get that you have A LOT going on especially when you're doing it all by yourself. Your things to do list is never-ending, but it's still no excuse to neglect something that can really help your business grow. Whether you like it or not, you need to be active online cultivating your brand because the internet is a market place and that means using social media too! 

Here are 6 ACTIONABLE STEPS to help you get a head start on what you need to do to build and market your business online:

Don't have time to post consistently on Instagram? There are plenty of free apps that you can use to create a beautiful feed and schedule for your business account. Apps like Trello and Later help you plan your grids ahead of time and even allow you to preview the look before posting it. You can even invest in your business by signing up for a premium plan that offers features like automatic posting to your feed and stories. Take a few hours once a month to plan ahead so you can have more time to focus on your craft.

Taking better pictures isn't just about hiring a professional photographer. It's also about taking picture that your audience want to see. People anticipate a certain type of content when they follow you, so make sure you are providing that need. Instagram provides "insights" which is information about the engagement you are getting on each of your post. Create content with this information in mind. Don't forget that photo aesthetics are still important. You can't go wrong with a good camera or smartphone, natural light, and capturing different angles! Yes, they are a big deal too.

Switching up your hashtags allows you to expand and reach more of your audience online. Every picture has a different topic, so make sure your hashtags match the content. Product hashtags shouldn't be used for service photos or behind the scenes shot unless its related.

Also, if you want to organically reach the people your business exist to serve, avoid using tags that have over 250-500K reach. Instagram has gone through so many changes and the algorithms require more work to show up on the top feed of your hashtags, unless you are the original creator. I'll tell you now...if you are starting from scratch, don't compete with the established influencers. Stay in your lane until you get to where you want to be.

Build your following and connect with your audience on a topic they want to speak on or hear about. Can they relate to what you have to say? Are you dropping facts and tips to help them with a problem? Instagram is where you can connect with people by sharing pictures AND information. Your photo should capture your audiences attention and your caption should hold it. This is how you engage and if you want people to do the same, what you're talking about plays a part in that too. Do not treat your caption like small talk.

Sounds a bit stalker-ish... but it works! The best way to find your customers online, is to know who they are and what they like. There are several ways to find them like using the hashtags, but a more guaranteed way is to to access them through who they are already following...your competitors. People in your industry have your customers, so go to their page and follow them! This will give your competitors followers an opportunity to expand their interest and learn more about your business and how you can serve them too. Don't be shy! Find them over at "whatchamacallit" and hit that FOLLOW button.

Building relationships require work on both sides. To continue to build your online presence and grow your following, you'll have to connect and acknowledge your followers efforts and feedback, comment on their posts every now and then, show support by liking pictures, and sharing content you relate to. Isn't this the same thing you want from them? This is where you really begin cultivating your relationship to secure brand loyalty for your business.

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