All You Need To Know About Instagram For Small Business
Without a doubt, your existing and potential customers are using Instagram. They’re spending a significant amount of time looking at photos and videos, as well as sharing the mundane moments of their lives.
Because your customers are on Instagram, you should be too.
In addition to more traditional marketing methods such as direct mail, Instagram gives you yet one more way of connecting with your audience.
And the more you can connect with your audience, the greater the potential for retaining existing customers and gaining new customers.
Why You Need Instagram for Your Small Business
The biggest reason you need Instagram for your small business is simple: 1 billion people use it every month. Every day, 200 million of those users visit at least one business profile. It could be yours. Here are even more reasons to start using Instagram today.
Connect With a Younger Demographic
The primary users of Instagram are under the age of 35. Simply put, if you want to connect with a younger demographic, it’s hard to beat Instagram. Contrast this with Facebook, where the average of users is 40.
Don’t let myths about millennials fool you: 37% of those under age 35 own homes. This demographic is just starting to become homeowners and likely don’t have a go-to home services professional. Connecting with them on Instagram will set you apart from the competition.
Make It Easy for Customers to See Your Work
The days of the Yellow Pages phone book are over. And while many potential customers are going to start with a Google search (which is why you also need a good website), they’re also going to check if you have an Instagram or Facebook account. It’s an easy way for them to see your work and get an idea of who you are.
That’s why it’s important to show off your work—and this is where Instagram excels. For example, let’s say you’re installing a new air conditioner. With Instagram, you can take before and after photos of the old and new units, as well as show off the smart thermostat that you installed. By highlighting your work, you build a sense of trust with potential customers. They see that you do quality work and, in turn, are more likely to buy from you.
Increase Customer Engagement
Ninety percent of Instagram users follow at least one business, and engagement with brands is 10 times higher on Instagram than Facebook. Your Instagram followers are more likely to share a post, go to your website or take advantage of a promotion or contest.
Instagram also allows you to directly engage with your audience. For example, you can do “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) sessions, answering questions submitted by your followers. You can also have conversations with customers in the comment section of your posts. Finally, you can directly message individual customers to have more in-depth conversations. This helps create rapport with your audience and is invaluable.
Grow Your Following
Instagram isn’t just useful for current customers. You can use it as an advertising platform to grow your following and reach new customers. Hashtags, location tags and other user handles allow users to find you who weren’t necessarily looking for you or your service. In fact, 60% of users say they’ve discovered a new product on Instagram. That’s free, low-effort advertising.
How to Set Up an Instagram Business Account
Not sure how to get started? We’ll walk you through it.
Download the app and tap to open it. Click on “Sign Up,” fill in your email address and pick a username. For a business account, your username should be straightforward and related to your business: GregSmithPlumbing or MariasHVAC make it easy for users to know they’ve found the right account.
Go to your profile and tap Settings > Account. You’ll see an option to Switch to Professional Account. Click that, and then click Business.
Choose your Business Category (most likely Product/Service). You’ll then see a prompt to connect to your Facebook Business Page. Connecting to a Facebook Page will automatically fill in your business information. It also allows you to manage your messages and posts from one place, across both platforms.
If you don’t have a Facebook Business Page and don’t want to make one, you can also fill out the details separately in the Instagram app. Add your business category, phone number, website and a short bio. You’re done!
With an Instagram Business Account, you get tools like analytics, so you can see your impressions, reach and follower information, and a contact button, where customers can instantly choose to call or email you. If you connect to a Facebook Business Page, you’ll be able to promote posts, run ads and more, but be careful – these features will cost you.
Instagram Strategy for Small Business
You’re all set up and ready to build your following and earn some new customers! Here are the top 8 strategies for small businesses on Instagram.
1. Know Your Target Audience
Before you dive headlong into using Instagram, consider what type of content will be most valuable to your target audience. What sorts of posts will add the most value to them? What posts will generate the most engagement (likes, comments, etc.)?
Take some time to strategize about and map out the kinds of content that will resonate most with your audience. The more value you provide to your audience, the more likely it is that they’ll purchase from you.
Check out the account ToolHoarder above. It’s an electrician’s page, but they’ve found a niche posting quality pictures, reviews and deals on tools.
2. Get Involved
The comments your customers leave on your posts are incredibly valuable. Why? Because they let you talk to your customers and prospects one-on-one. They let you answer customer questions, address any customer complaints, and develop authentic, trust-based relationships with customers and prospects.
So dive into the comments on your posts. Don’t leave any comment unaddressed. Use the comment section to build deeper relationships with your audience.
It’s also smart to tag your location on a job and share posts from other businesses, like Clean Habits LLC does above. That makes other businesses more likely to share your posts, and also gives customers another way to discover you. In this example, if someone was looking up Snider Bros. Meats, they could see this post also.
3. Create a Brand
Creating a brand simply means having a consistent voice across your posts and stories – whether that’s funny, educational, friendly or aspirational. You don’t need a marketing degree or fancy equipment to have a good brand. The account for Flowmasters Plumbing posts simple, clean, on-the-job photos of finished work, showing in-depth knowledge.
While you don’t need a fancy camera, do make sure you’re posting high-quality, consistent content. Test a combination of videos and photos to see what gets the most engagement, and try out Instagram Stories, too. Your Story is a great place to share customer testimonials, tutorials, Q&A sessions and behind-the-scenes looks.
4. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are words with the “#” symbol in front of them. They are used to organize posts according to categories. For example, posts with the hashtag #foodie are almost always about food in some way. Pretty simple, right?
People can “follow” hashtags they’re interested in to see photos related to a specific topic. For example, you can follow the hashtag #foodie to see everything food related.
By strategically using hashtags on your posts, you can get your photos in front of potential customers. What sorts of hashtags should you use on your posts? Consider using hashtags that are tied to your location to expand your audience.
The account hvac.wayz has only 865 followers, but the video above got nearly 6,000 views thanks to hashtags like #houston and #hvachouston.
5. Host Instagram Contests and Giveaways
Contests are a great way to get your followers more engaged with your Instagram profile. A simple idea is to give away some sort of service, like a free A/C tuneup, to a few lucky winners. In order to enter the contest, your followers need to comment on a particular post as well as tag one of their friends.
When friends get tagged in posts, it notifies them, which then causes them to view your post. This causes it to get even more exposure. In the end, it can create a huge amount of exposure for your Instagram account. The post above is the perfect example—Con the Builder asks followers to like the post, subscribe to his YouTube channel and tag two friends.
6. Work With Influencers
An influencer is someone on social media who endorses your product or service to their followers. They usually have a lot of followers, meaning they have a large “reach” for each of their posts. If you have the budget, you can pay influencers to promote your posts or account.
You can also start by looking among your own followers for “micro-influencers”: people with 1,000 to 15,000 followers. Establish relationships with them by sharing, liking and commenting on their posts. This makes it more likely they will share your posts in return. The Sanding Blonde account above has 15,000 followers—a perfect example of a micro-influencer.
7. Consider Paid Instagram Features
Before you say you don’t have the budget for Instagram ads, consider this: 75% of users will perform an action when they see an Instagram ad, whether that’s going to a website, clicking the ad to see more or buying the product.
Instagram ads are integrated with Facebook Ads Manager, meaning you get access to Facebook’s massive audience database. You can directly target your ads to the people most likely to click on them. The cost depends on a number of factors, but Instagram ads will cost you on average 70 to 80 cents per click.
8. Measure Your Success
With any business account, you automatically get access to several different types of Instagram analytics. For your overall account, these are just a few things analytics will show you:
Impressions: The number of times your posts have been seen.
Reach: The number of unique accounts that have seen your posts.
Contacts: The number of times visitors have tapped your call/email button or gone to your website from your profile.
Profile views: The total number of times your profile has been viewed in a given week.
You can also see information on specific posts, like:
Impressions: The total number of times your post was viewed.
Reach: How many unique accounts saw the post.
Actions taken: The total number of profile visits, website visits, or call/email button clicks generated by this post.
Follows: How many followers you gained from a post.
Instagram analytics can also help you define your target audience by showing you:
The age and gender of your followers
Where most of your followers are located
The days of the week, and hours of the day, when most of your followers are on Instagram (this helps you know when to post).
Will it require some work to effectively use Instagram in your home services business? Of course. But it’s well worth it. Instagram will enable you to reach a younger demographic of potential customers. It will allow you to develop authentic relationships with your customers. You’ll be able to take people behind the scenes of your business. And you can highlight your work in a unique way.
Don’t ignore Instagram. It’s a powerful tool when used properly. Start using it in your business today.
Housecall Pro is rated the #1 software to run your HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Carpet Cleaning and other home service businesses. Our features allow you to schedule and dispatch jobs, get booked online, send invoice and receive payment within minutes whether if you are in the office or out in the field. This comprehensive software can help you grow revenue by 30% in one year and save up to 500 hours a year. Join all the other successful home service businesses who have already started and try Housecall Pro for 14 days free today.