10 Ways Instagram Can Help Your Business Find New Customers

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My wife has been using Instagram for about a year, helping home school moms (and dads) better home school their children. She started out with zero follows but by being consistent and frequent, relevant to her audience, engaged and watching what works and doesn’t work she’s done a great job in building her following and having a VERY engaged fan base. She’s even able to make money from it with consulting and speaking (that’s coming).

Kati McGee HeadshotOverall, the power of social media is so important for all businesses to understand and do more of. I’ve asked Kati McGee, SMB Brand Development for Instagram to share her tips on how to get the most out of Instagram.

Small businesses around the world turn to Instagram to capture and share the moments, products, and services that matter most to their business. The community on Instagram is over 500 million strong, more than 300 million of whom use Instagram every single day. Small businesses have always been an important part of this community, using Instagram to turn their passions into livelihoods. Take Janine, a woodworker that turned her hobby into a well-run business of selling custom-made art and furniture creations, or Stance Socks, which breathed new life into a traditionally unremarkable category by dedicating its brand to art and self-expression, posting playful imagery to its Instagram account.

With nearly 50 percent of people following businesses on Instagram and 60 percent of people learning about a product or service on the platform, Instagram is a natural place to introduce people to your business, connect with your community and acquire new customers. It’s never been easier to get started — Just recently Instagram announced a new set of business tools that will help you develop more meaningful relationships with your followers, better understand how content performs and find new customers on mobile

As we introduce these new tools in the coming months, we want to share 10 tips for how to use Instagram to help your business be successful. From creative content to community mentors, we encourage you to experiment and learn in order to identify strategies that work for you and your business.

  1. Showcase your passion — Think of Instagram as your virtual shop window where you can demonstrate what makes your business unique. A picture, after all, is worth a thousand words. It’s the perfect place to showcase your passion and inspire existing and future customers.
  2. Engage your community — Play an active role with your community. Engage with comments and questions on your own posts and use hashtags, location tags and view content your business is tagged in to discover and join the conversation on other community members’ posts. A lot of great small business accounts feature content posted by followers, which helps strengthen the relationship between a business and its most enthusiastic customers.
  3. Establish your voice — Instagram is where people connect around their passions so be authentic and create a visual voice that reflects that of your business or band.
  4. Take your customers behind-the-scenes — People come to Instagram to get a behind-the-scenes look. Use Instagram to tell the world how your business operates, the team that makes it all happen and the effort that it takes to bring your product or service to market.
  5. Get creative with video —The total time people spent watching video on Instagram has increased 150% over the last six months.  That said, lots of people aren’t able to consume sound when on mobile so ensure your video will be engaging with or without sound.  And don’t forget to try out our new video tools like Hyperlapse and Boomerang to create simple and engaging videos.
  6. Choose quality over quantity — Instagram is where people go to connect around their passions and interests. Developing content that is authentic and well crafted will help businesses stand out by fitting in.
  7. Experiment with advertising — To find new customers, consider experimenting with advertising on the platform. Instagram introduced ads to businesses of all sizes in September, and offers all of the same targeting capabilities as Facebook while utilizing the same simple ad buying interfaces. We also offer many ad formats – landscape, up to sixty-second video and multi-image or videos for example. When our new business tools roll out soon, you’ll also be able to promote a post directly from the Instagram app.
  8. Search for inspiration — Businesses have been a part of the Instagram community from the beginning. Follow your business partners, advocates, and influencers in the community whose content may relate to your business or inspire you. What do they do well that you can learn from?
  9. Seek advice and feedback Your community of fellow entrepreneurs on Instagram domestic and abroad is one of the best resources you can go to for advice.
  10. Keep your eyes peeled for Instagram Business Tools — These tools will give small businesses like yours the support they need to grow. Profiles with a contact button, insights on your posts and audience, and the ability to promote a post from your account on Instagram will make it easier than ever for your business to find new customers.

With these 10 tips in mind, you’ll be able to continue to build your business on Instagram, which is a place to turn your passion into livelihood.

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Ramon Ray, founder and editor Smart Hustle Magazine. Entrepreneur, best selling author and global keynote speaker.