With over 800 million users, Instagram is rapidly becoming the hub for social selling. In 2016 alone Instagram was used by 48.8% of brands and is expected to hit 70.7% by the end of 2017, outstripping Twitter which is currently estimated to hit 67%.
With stats like these, it’s no wonder so many companies and individuals are ramping up their Instagram profiles and social selling strategies. In Part 1 of this series, we walked through the keys to setting up an Instagram profile geared towards social selling. In Part 2 we are laying out the key tips and tricks for using Instagram to achieve social selling success.
Linking your Social Media Platforms
Once you have created your Instagram profile, it’s important that you link it back to your personal or company website. This gives new followers an anchor point to look towards when their interest in your social selling activity peaks. It also increases trust and solidifies your personal brand.
While hyperlinks cannot be placed within captions and comments, linking is available within your Instagram profile bio. Use this to link to your websites, specific products, promotions, or anything else you’ve mentioned in recent posts. You can also attach links within Instagram stories, another secret to mastering social selling on Instagram that we’ll mention later.
In addition to linking your profile with a legitimate website, you should also remember to link your other social media platforms together. This way if you wish to publish a post on Instagram, you’ll be able to share it automatically to your other platforms (Facebook, Twitter…), and provide easy access to your Instagram account for followers you may have acquired on other platforms.
Stories are one of Instagram’s latest updates and have proven to be a huge success. Even the unfathomable has happened; Instagram stories have taken over Snapchat. Whipster, in one of their latest articles, explains that more than half (200 million) of Instagram’s 375 million monthly user base are daily users of Instagrams Stories which is greater than the number of Snapchat users.
What does this mean for you? Simply that there’s no need for you to create a Snapchat account when you can easily use your already created Instagram account as a prime tool for Social Selling.
For social selling, Instagram Stories can be used in many different ways to help you inform, market, and sell. Also, as mentioned before, you can add links to your stories and people can easily “swipe up” and automatically be taken to a specific website page.
Take as an example using of Polls within Stories. Polls can be used to ask questions to your followers in relation to your product or to their opinions towards your personal brand, company, or their general mood. You can additionally post exclusive behind the scenes content for your audience to see. This is great for engagement and brand promotion.
Influencers are a huge part of Instagram success. Connecting with influencers will help you boost your engagement, and reach while increasing your number of followers. A popular method for connecting with influencers is through Post for Posts (P4P) or Shout out for Shout outs (S4S). An S4S, for example, asks an influencer to post a picture and tag your company in the post, and in return, you will do the same.
To maximise your chances of a successful P4P or S4S contact influencers that have the same number of followers and the same realm of interest. You wouldn’t ask a food page to post to do a P4P if you’re a software company for example.
According to Instapage “photo ads are slowly going extinct on Instagram”. Additionally, Animoto claims that 71% of advertisers intend to spend more on social video ads (with 27% of them specifically targeting Instagram).
Instagram Videos shouldn’t be too long, the longer your video the less chance you’ll get positive reactions from your followers.Remember that Instagram users have a shorter attention span than other networks. Even the name hints at instant access. Make your videos concise, targeted, with a precise message.
Hashtags and Location
Using hashtags can help you expose your personal brand to large, targeted audiences. The hashtags you use increase the chances of people seeing your picture. To give you an idea, posts with at least 1 hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag. The same goes for location, as it will pull in people around the same location as your picture in their feed. Just make sure you spend time researching the popular and relevant hashtags for your brand and products.
Instagram now allows you to promote pictures of your choice for limited campaigns. This is a strong tool for social selling as you’ll be able to personalize your Instagram Ad to your own specifications. For example, Instagram allows you to choose the audience type (age, country…), duration, destination and much more. An easy and great feature to use for social selling.
Engage Your Audience
The last step to be a social selling wizard on Instagram is to engage your audience. Easy you say? You may be surprised at how many professionals and companies fail to don’t engage with their followers. Engaging a follower demands dedication: You can’t start and stop, and you need a strategy (how, when, what?). Here are a few ideas to get you going:
1. When creating a post, engage your followers by asking them what they think.
ex: What do you think? Is employee advocacy an important marketing strategy?
2. When posting a photo, ask your followers to tag someone.
ex: Tag your favourite employee advocacy platform.
3. In your stories, you can now add Polls, these can range from Yes-No questions to closed questions.
Instagram is one of the best social media platforms to use today for social selling. Follow these simple steps and in no time you’ll become an Instagram Social Selling master.
We hope these tips will improve your channel’s performance and attract new customers. You can find Part 1 of this series here.