5 tips to improve your Instagram

You are a busy business owner with way too much on your plate. I get it, trust me. Maybe you keep hearing things out there on Instgram like “want to gain 50k real followers??” and then in fine print “for only $300” and it’s tempting, oh so tempting.

Because having a high follower count is the gold standard in having a successful Instagram, right? WRONG. Having an engaged following is the gold standard and what you should be striving for. Why? Because engaged audiences are interested in what you’re offering, they want to get to know your business, and they help with the algorithm. They are also more likely to share about you with their own followers!

My approach when I work with clients, and in my own social media, is to build a community that is engaged, active and listening because they want to hear what YOU have to say.

But sometimes, you just want to sell your products and call it a day, am I right? Either way, crafting a successful Instagram that creates VALUE for your business can be boiled down to a few key things. And, don’t get me wrong, growth is important. Having a hashtag strategy is important. But unless you get the basics right, the layers on top of that just won’t work effectively.

Here are my 5 tips to improve your Instagram for your business right now.

CREATE VALUE

Content is King. You may have heard this before, but what does it actually mean? Content is the reason people follow you. Are you providing value to your community through your feed?

Value will look different based on the type of business you are, but it’s important to post about what your audience WANTS and NEEDS to hear. How do you know this? You can look at your Instagram insights to see what type of content performs the best. You can also ask your audience! Try creating a poll in your IG Stories to see what they want to hear from you, or even create a post, and then deliver that to them.

Some examples of value-add might be providing tips on how to use your products, recipes, how-tos, behind the scenes to let them get to know you and your business, etc. A clothing store owner I met with recently shared how she will post stories of her trying on the clothes in her store, and show them on different body types to give customers a chance to see what the clothes actually look like. She also gives detailed product overviews so customers know what they are getting, especially for online purchases.

The key point is, give your audience a reason to follow you. This will look different for everyone, but it’s important to listen and share.

CONNECT & BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

I say this a lot on my Instagram, but on social media the key is…drumroll please…to be SOCIAL. I know, it seems crazy 😉 But here’s the point…Instagram gives you all the tools you need to be successful at creating genuine relationships with your community, use them!

Connection looks like responding to comments in your posts, having genuine conversations in DM, responding to IG Stories’ polls and creating your own. I like to think of this as networking, just in a slightly different way than we might be used to. Choose the way you respond to your community as how you would respond in real-life. Would you flash a smiley emoji to someone who paid your business a compliment if you met them in a coffee shop? Probably not, so don’t do it in your comments either!

But it’s not enough to do it on your own feed. Cultivate relationships with accounts you follow. Provide valuable insight, compliments or suggestions in other’s feeds too. This will help build connections, and will also help your own engagement on your feed.

[I spy my friends Christin & Amber, and co-hosts of our podcast Inspire the Vibe Podcast up there. If you don’t know these ladies, check them out @inspirethevibe. They are part of my network and a great example of building a connected community!]

BE YOURSELF & SHOW YOURSELF

People buy from people they trust. Heard this before? If you have, it’ for good reason. Showing ourselves is such a pivotal part of the way we show up on social media for our business.

Selling is an important part of marketing, but the way you do it is critical to the success of your strategy. You have to give your community a reason to want to buy from you. Show them your proof, your successes and value – but also, show them YOU or your team. People want to buy from someone they trust, and if you don’t show yourself – they don’t know who to trust.

Customers also want to get a view of what your business looks like behind the scenes. Show them an informal look via your stories of a day in the life, your to do list, your morning rituals, team meetings, etc. This is another chance for your community to get to know your business, build trust but also build brand loyalty

BUILD A CONSISTENT BRAND ACROSS ONLINE PLATFORMS

Branding is critical to any marketing strategy, but it isn’t just a simiple logo. Branding is part of what captures peoples’ attention and makes them pause. While a logo is definitely important, you also want to align the following to build brand recognition and help your customers instantly recognize you online:

Color Palette

Typography

Story

Imagery

Voice

Keep in mind that Instagram is highly visual, so you’ll want to style your content with a mix of images and graphics that are aligned with your branding. But your brand isn’t just visual. Part of your brand is YOU. So build your brand loyalty by tapping into your community through connection and sharing images of the faces behind the brand (see above points.)

USE TOOLS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER

Take a minute to Google “social media tools” and you will find approximately 3.25 million tools out there at your disposal (ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration). I feel like at this point I’ve tried almost that many, so I’ll save you a little time. Here are my all time favorite and most-used tools for Instagram to simplify my life AND make a great feed.

  1. Creator Studio or Planoly for scheduling. Creator Studio is a Facebook app, so no risk of problems with 3rd party applications. Both let you schedule & pull insights, but while I prefer Planoly overall for the many tools – I typically use Creator Studio because it’s not a 3rd party.
  2. VSCO or LightRoom for editing images. Super easy to save your favorite filters or edits for a consistent look across your feed.
  3. VideoLab – I LOVE this video editing tool. It has a ton of options, is reasonably priced and gives me great videos that I can use in a variety of places. Plus it’s all on my phone!
  4. Repost app. I use this when I want to repost (with permission!) any User Generated Content (UGC) for my clients. It simplifies the process.
  5. Canva. It’s my most-used app to create graphics for just about anything, and it’s super easy to use. I create Instagram/Facebook images, highlight covers, stories, Pinterest Pins, headers for emails and blogs and SO MUCH MORE! You won’t regret spending some time learning this one.

And there you have it. Just a quick download of some of my biggest recommendations when it comes to Instagram, plus some tools I use to simplify my life AND create a beautiful feed.

Want more tips & tricks? Follow me on Instagram @ktsocialmedia

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