At The 2018 NAMM Show, the Idea Center hosted Jenn Herman, leading Instagram blogger and author of “Instagram for Business for Dummies.” During her session, Herman shared expert tips on how to make Instagram work for your business.
Create a business profile on Instagram.
A business profile is key to your success, according to Herman, and there’s no downside to upgrading to a business profile. To do so, you’ll first need a Facebook business page, as Facebook links the two accounts. Once you have a Facebook business page, upgrade to a business profile on Instagram.
Here’s what you get:
• Contact button(s). You get the option for Call, Email and Directions buttons. If you’re a local business, you’ll want to have Directions enabled so people know how to get to your location. The Email button lets someone send you an email with one click. Set up the Call button! You can close sales immediately because you will have direct connection with potential buyers once you answer your phone.
• Industry listing. The same listing on your Facebook page will automatically appear on your Instagram business profile (e.g., music business or music store).
• In-app analytics. These analytics tell you what’s working and what’s not, where your audience is located, what time your audience is active and other valuable information to help you market your business.
• Boost posts. If you have a post that’s doing well on your Instagram, you can click “promote” on your business page, and Instagram creates an ad for you. You choose how much you want to spend.
• No negative impact on the algorithm. Upgrading to a business profile currently has no negative impact on Instagram’s algorithmic feed.
Include 5 key factors in your Instagram business profile.
Your business profile is your first-impression selling point and should include these five elements, according to Herman:
1. Name and Username. The only searchable criteria on Instagram are your Name and Username. If someone’s looking for a specific keyword, include it in your Name and Username, such as “trombones in Anaheim.” Think strategically about what you want your Name and Username to be. Your Username is how you’re known on Instagram when you post a photo, like a photo or engage with anybody. Your Name can be anything you want.
2. Profile photo. Put a person in it or use a group photo. People are more likely to connect with a person than a logo.
3. Bio description. This is your 30-second elevator pitch. It’s your one chance to get a complete stranger to trust you, like you and want to follow you on Instagram. If you’re new to Instagram, literally say that on your bio and welcome followers of your Instagram journey. Your bio description is like having a conversation with your audience. You can change the description whenever you want, but make sure to update it at least once every six months.
4. URL. This is the only clickable link on Instagram! You should be using it to your advantage. It can go wherever you want it to go: your website, blog, videos, registration for an event, opt-in for a program and so forth. Make sure it’s a clickable, trackable link, so you know where your traffic is coming from.
5. Contact info. You want to set up your Call, Email and Directions buttons accurately and with the right information.
Use a call to action.
Instagram is not just about posting nice photos. You want to use it to get your audience to do something specific besides connecting with you, according to Herman.
• Use captions effectively. Put your call to action in a photo caption.
• Use text overlays. Put it right in the photo.
• Tell people what you want them to do, and be clear. Don’t give them numerous calls to action in a post. Make your call to action simple (no more than one sentence), easy to do and valuable (a free product, the opportunity to do something before anyone else and so forth). Examples can be to click on the link in your bio, click on the contact button in your bio, use a hashtag, tag themselves or whatever action you want them to take.
Herman showed one of her most successful posts with a text overlay stating, “I need your help,” as a call to action. Users wanting to help clicked on her post and left comments. Try creative ways to use calls to action that increase engagement to your account and interaction with your audience, get people to tag others (new followers that may not have seen your posts before), and get sales!
Create your hashtag strategy.
• Use 10–20 hashtags per post. It’s not spammy. If you’re not a huge consumer brand, do it.
• Use your own custom-branded hashtags. Use it for your company name or branded content.
• Use trendy or themed hashtags. For example, use the NAMM hashtag when you’re at The NAMM Show.
• Use content-related hashtags. Anything related to your photo.
• Use industry-related hashtags. These include anything related to your industry, niche or business.
Follow Jenn Herman’s secret sauce for using hashtags.
Combine the following hashtags:
• Four to five popular hashtags. These get you an initial burst of activity (about 30 seconds) and engagement from people who don’t follow your account.
• Five to six moderately popular hashtags. These get you a couple of hours or maybe two days of longevity in the hashtag search. They will keep you active for slightly longer period of time.
• Two to five niche-specific hashtags (or more). These are your gold mine because they’re the actual keywords your audience is using if they want to find you. Narrow down your hashtags as much as possible for your business and industry.
• One to three branded hashtags (or more).
This recipe works because you get the initial burst of activity, the longevity through the moderately popular hashtags and even greater longevity through niche-specific and branded hashtags. Your audience ends up liking you, and Instagram notes that you’re creating good content and ranks you higher.
Remember: Top posts are how your audience finds you! If you’re ranked in the Top 9 most popular posts, Instagram features your post in a search. It’s not chronological, so your post could be months old and still appear in the Top 9. People see your post, click and it takes them to your profile That’s how you get found using hashtags strategically.
Know and manage your Instagram Business Profile analytics.
• Know what works and doesn't work. You’re going to have to try different things, such as posting at different times of the day and mixing it up. Don’t just post at your strongest times and ignore the rest of the week.
• Use A/B testing. If you have a promotion, run a photo with text (A) and run the same photo with different text (B). Evaluate your results. Look at different ways you can test one thing against another to see what’s working for your audience.
• Know your audience demographic and behaviors. When are your followers on Instagram, why are they on Instagram, who are they following, what do they care about and so forth? You need to know who they are, so you can create relevant content for them.
• Know what’s driving website traffic. Know why people are going to your website: to use a coupon code, to read a blog post or for information on a new product. Also, know where they’re navigating once they get to your website.
• Track weekly, monthly, quarterly and and/or annually. Look for trends, how you progress over time (not just a few days) and how people are interacting with your content. You want to note the conversations and comments and work toward building a better community.
Instagram is a fun platform, so be creative. Go live, do something unique, and be authentic and true to your brand voice.