Instagram for business: learn from experts
An event series in partnership with The Purposeful Project
Earlier this year, we partnered with The Purposeful Project to create a series of live events to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses through social media. This guest blog post by The Purposeful Project includes the speakers’ main takeaways and the webinar recording of the first episode of our series.
Instagram for business: learn from experts
Social media is no longer just a trend with feeds filled with selfies and sunsets, it’s now one of the most useful, and arguably successful, ways to connect with your target audience, raise brand awareness and translate followers into customers.
Now widely used as a business and marketing tool, it’s important to understand how you can use it to grow your business.
In this webinar, we talk to four successful entrepreneurs who give us an insight into how business owners can use Instagram to grow their communities, customer base and overall business.
From this roundup blog, you will learn about:
📲Creating an effective Instagram profile
📲Creating inclusive content
📲Collaborating with Instagram influencers
📲Growing and engaging your audience
Here is what our guest speakers had to say on how to scroll to success!
Drew Clarke is the founder of DW Cosmetics and recently launched Un/Altered. Both brands empower women and aim to make people feel good in their own bodies.
After having her baby girl, Drew’s body changed, inspiring her to set up businesses to make women feel heard and help them celebrate the body they have.
In our webinar, Drew teaches you:
🤳 The key to being relatable online
🤳 How to know what your audience wants from you
🤳 Which tools you should use to engage your existing audience
Be interactive and use the features that work well for your business
Drew started off as a makeup artist, using her platform to post tutorials online. Once the Instagram ‘stories’ feature became available, Drew used them to show her life behind the scenes with snippets and daily doses of what she was up to.
She says that through posting regularly, with at least one story a day on either accounts, the audience was much more engaged. Making use of the more interactive features on stories like polls and Q&As also made a huge difference when trying to connect with her audience.
Try this yourself and see how much interaction you get from your followers!
Be as transparent as possible.
Instagram can simply be a highlight reel, but Drew says people don’t want that anymore.
Drew found that her followers wanted to see the more realistic side of her life. She tells us that “connecting with a community who understood both the highs and lows” of her life helped people relate to her content and therefore stay interested.
Things don’t have to be 100% perfect to make people hit the follow button, they know you are human and enjoy seeing that.
Listen to your audience
Even though you need to share what you think is most valuable, your target audience will have opinions on this too! Take time to talk and interact with them about this.
Figure out what your audience wants as well as the projects you are really passionate about. Using features that Drew mentioned such as polls and the Q&A box is a great way to achieve this.
Don’t underestimate the power of influencers
Collaborations are a brilliant way of spreading brand awareness and can actually be more cost-effective than having expensive Google ads or paying to get your posts boosted.
A micro-influencer with a really tight community will sometimes make more of an impact than higher-profile celebrities or public figures because people who are more well known often promote multiple products to earn an income and don’t come across as sincere.
Micro-influencers who believe in your brand and enjoy your products are likely to make more of a statement, and if you approach the right people who have a following containing your target audience, you may be onto a winning marketing strategy.
Marvyn Harrison is the founder of Dope Black Dads. He says that it was originally set up as “an abyss” for him to yell into as male parenting “eluded” him for the first two years. It very quickly became a place where other men could change and come to have a conversation”.
As well as a podcast that has won a Webby award, plus a community of 3,500 dads in their Dope Black Dads Facebook group, Marvyn has grown his Instagram to 20,000 followers.
He tells us how he has created an effective Instagram profile that is focused on impact rather than following.
In our webinar, Marvyn explains:
🤳 How to make an impact on your followers
🤳 Why you should focus on engagement over follower figures
🤳 How Marvyn changed the way he posted and how it worked for Dope Black Dads
Re-evaluate what you are posting
When looking at your Instagram, evaluate what is best to post for your audience.
Originally Marvyn was posting and repurposing user-generated content, but he wanted it to be more useful than a feed of dads doing fun family activities – he wanted to provide value.
Marvyn switched to focus on more educational-based content for people to “read, learn and understand”.
He admitted that ultimately this got less engagement but “hitting people’s hearts” with impact and integrity, and helping people was more important than having a larger following.
Numbers or small blue ticks mean nothing if your audience is not fully invested.
When you re-evaluate, look at what your purpose is. This will help you set goals and help plan out your content. If your activity has your purpose at its core and achieves your goals, you are succeeding, no matter what the numbers say.
Quality not quantity
Even though frequency is important, it’s not always possible to post 2-3 times a day and give sound and high-quality content.
This comes back down to engagement within your audience and community – people will engage less if the quality of your content drops.
For example, Dope Black Dads have a framework of “celebrate, educate, inspire and heal”, Marvyn explains that their aim is to “celebrate fathers, inspire fathers to do better and educate them on some of the biggest issues around parenting”. By posting useful, high-quality and relatable content, their Instagram achieves these points and keeps their followers engaged.
Kaelin Anne is a Social Media Coach and founder of The Girl Talk Agency who works with faith-based businesses.
In our webinar, Kaelin shares:
🤳 Tips to boost engagements
🤳 Her strategy to get leads
🤳 The answers to why authenticity is key
Simple steps with big results
Kaelin gives out some tips on how to boost your Instagram audience interest and surprisingly, they aren’t extravagant steps, the first one is to just “keep it simple”.
She says that even the smallest things like commenting back to followers who engage with your content are an excellent way to keep your profile hot.
To reach more people, create videos as much as possible. This is aligned with the Instagram algorithm that currently favours video content such as reels over static feed posts.
Engage at the right time
It seems like common sense, but make sure you post when your audience is online. If your community is not active when you post, it’s likely that your content will be lost as new content gets posted before they log in again.
Time zones are another thing to consider – if half of your audience is in a different time zone, make sure you have content for everyone. This might mean posting multiple pieces of content or posting stories reminding people you have posted.
If you post at the same time every day or at a certain time on different days – let people know. A countdown feature on your stories is a fantastic idea to keep people aware of a special post you want everyone to see and interact with.
Leading the way to growth
Kaelin says a mix of organic and paid content is how you can successfully get leads on Instagram. Blending the rules of marketing in your social media is key – but so is connecting with your audience.
If the audience doesn’t know you, they won’t buy into you and your business, so be “present and consistent”, Kaelin suggests, “people want to see authentic”.
“Be yourself, “ she advises, “Do you”.
Our final speaker is Paul Otote, the co-founder of Herby Box, a business set on creating a world that utilises powerful plants for daily personalised needs, such as improving performance and tackling period pain, unlocking “nature’s true power”.
After successfully launching in Selfridges a year ago, Paul shares his secrets
In our webinar, Paul gives you:
🤳 Questions to ask yourself to help your content strategy
🤳 The reason why insights are like gold dust
🤳 A secret to using insights to your advantage
Ask yourself, ‘what do I already know?’
Paul underlines that, for him, Instagram has “always been about giving value consistently to people”.
If you are unsure of what to post, take a step back and think about the information you already have.
“When you’re speaking about your brand, what kind of questions do people ask you offline?” Paul challenges. He says that from asking yourself this, you can translate the questions into valuable content that has the answer for your community to benefit from.
Use insights to your advantage
Insights are there for a reason! Use them to see which posts have the best reach, the most likes, saves and shares.
With this information you can find out what works well for that platform so you can continue to create content that is successful with your audience, making it easier to grow and attract more people to join your community.
By knowing which tools work and what performs well, it will make it easier to plan ahead, plus keep you more organised and efficient with your time.
Here are the key takeaways from this session:
😊 Be transparent and authentic
🤝 Build a community, not a following
💬 Ask your audience what they want to see
📹 Share useful and educational content, create videos that tell a story
📱 Use the native Instagram tools (stickers, polls, question box, editing tool…)
⌨️ Engage with the comments from your audience regularly and consistently
👍 A mix of organic and paid content can be a great way to get more leads
💅 Partnerships with micro-influencers can be key
💡 Don’t overcomplicate things, try not to overthink your posts
📊 Review your analytics and plan ahead
You can play the video below if you want to watch the whole session!
Top tip: If this post has given you the inspiration to start promoting your business on Instagram, then why not also check out our other articles around marketing on social media, including the optimum time to post on Instagram and 10 tips to get more likes when posting on Instagram.