Ok… I’m really sorry for the clickbait-y title – it wasn’t my intention to write such a title but it’s kind of what I was feeling when I initially produced the video.
Similar to the early days of Twitter, I have a kind of love-hate relationship with Instagram.
At the moment, it’s more hate than love but I’m sure that will change over time.
As it’s the ‘newest’ social media platform around, there’s obviously quite a lot of buzz around it. It’s a social network with so many eyeballs going onto the platform every day, you really can’t ignore this for your side hustle or small business… I’m certainly not.
So, without further ado let’s dive into this:
Table Of Contents
Unless you looking to advertise on the Instagram platform, there’s really no point in having a business account. Granted, it gives you access to statistics concerning your account and shows you which posts got the most engagement, etc.
This is great for all you statisticians out there, however, if you’re not bothered by the stats, I recommend just going for a bog-standard Instagram account.
Here’s why: Like Facebook, Instagram makes its money by showing you ads. It can only show you these ads if people pay to advertise. This is partially achieved by throttling back on the organic reach of each post. This means if you have a business account, Instagram make it their mission not to show it to as many people.
Don’t think this is something new, in fact, it’s something that ALL social networks do, including its older brother, Facebook.
For this reason, I recommend going for a standard Instagram account.
Now, don’t worry if you already have a business account. You have the option in the Instagram settings to switch it back to a normal account. You can also still switch it back later on if you choose to advertise.
If you go onto your account regularly, you’ll probably notice the sheer amount of people following you on a daily basis? You may also notice that these people are not related to anything you do and probably don’t share the same passions.
That’s because a lot of these accounts use a piece of software that follows and unfollows accounts. In essence, it’s a way of building their following really quickly.
Some of you may know but I adopt the exact same strategy on the Twitter platform; the only difference is I actually keep following people that follow me and unfollow people who don’t follow me. (I explain this strategy in my course here).
The accounts that do this on Instagram simply unfollow you no matter whether you follow them or not. I can see how this can become pretty annoying over time.
My recommendation would be, only follow those people who are related to your niche. That way, there’s a higher chance that they’re actually people who want to follow your posts and engage with you in the future.
As a small business owner and a side hustler, you probably know the importance of posting consistently on social media.
Where possible, it’s actually good to post every day – not only is this great for the people following you because they see your posts on a daily basis, it’s also really good for the Instagram algorithm.
There are many pieces of software you can use for this but I haven’t found any as good as Planoly.
Planoly is a social media scheduling tool that has been designed from the ground up, specifically for Instagram.
What separates it from most of its competitors is the fact that it’s visual and it shows your Instagram post exactly how they are on the platform.
Like most scheduling software, there is a free option to get you started leading onto a premium version.
My advice would be, try out the free version and see if it’s something that you can use and find helpful.
Compared to the other social media platforms, getting traffic back to your website using Instagram is extremely hard.
The reason it’s so hard is that you can’t post a hyperlink (a clickable link) within the description of your Instagram post and the main workaround is ensuring that you place a link in your profile.
The only other place I can see where you can place a link (particularly organically and not by paying for it) is by using Instagram stories where you simply place the link and people can swipe up to access it.
In 2018, Instagram has gone ‘all-in’ on hashtags. It’s one of the main indicators of knowing what your content is about and it will also allow people to search for your content using that hashtag.
The only problem is the vast majority of them have been hijacked by unscrupulous marketers. Many of them place hashtags in content that isn’t relevant.
Here’s what I’m advising you to do: Don’t go too mad with hashtags – my recommendation would be to use 4 or 5 of your main relevant hashtags for that content and then include a hashtag of your own.
This way, if somebody was to find your content, all they simply need to do is include that hashtag in the search bar.
Don’t get me wrong – not everybody is going to do this and, if I’m being honest, very few people will use this in the search bar. It’s just… I can’t think of another way of trying to get around this problem.
I don’t use Instagram anywhere near the amount I use twitter – I pretty much know the Twitter algorithm and the way they do things inside out. Yeah… OK, so it keeps changing, but the fundamentals are generally the same.
On Instagram, however, it seems like they use machine learning a lot more and it’s a lot harder to figure out.
Try just a few of the strategies that I’ve laid out in this article and on the video and see how you get on.
Do you use Instagram and do you use it for business?
How have you found the platform?
Let me know in the comments down below.
Des is a full-time online marketer who sells information products and a membership program. He tests and studies what does and doesn't work and then shares his findings on this website. He takes you behind the scenes of how he runs his business to help you market yours.
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