Instagram is a platform that has demonstrated tremendous growth. In fact, the Instagram community expanded to over 400 million users this past year.
Despite its impressive reach, many business owners are still overlooking its marketing potential. As a result, they’re leaving high levels of engagement, brand awareness, and even profit on the table.
In just 12 months, Foundr used Instagram to gain 400,000 followers — which translated to over 70,000 email subscribers. At the end of that period, they were averaging 30,000 call-to-action clicks per month from Instagram, and converting 30% of the users who landed on their website from their Instagram page into email subscribers.
Now it’s time for you to get in on the action. Here are four ways to use Instagram marketing to build your business and brand.
4 Surprising and Easy Ideas You Can Use Instagram to Build Your Business & Brand
1) Grow your Instagram following with strategic partnerships.
One of the biggest frustrations for most Instagram marketers is that they don’t know how to build a massive following. After all, without a huge number of followers, how can it possibly be an effective marketing channel?
There’s one tactic in particular that we used to quickly grow our Instagram following to 10,000 in just a couple of weeks: partnering with other Instagram accounts.
To start, create a list of popular Instagram accounts that reach the same audience to yours. When you’ve found them, you can then be their partner for what they call “shout-outs,” which can be either paid or unpaid. Here’s how the two differ …
Unpaid shout-outs are usually called “share for share.” You share one another’s content, and you encourage your audience to follow the other account as well. You approach to their audience, and they approach to yours.
To start with free shout-outs, focus on accounts that have similar targeted followers as yours. The owners of those accounts will be more receptive to a share for share partnership, since both sides will benefit about the same.
But if you want to broaden your reach to accounts with bigger pools of followers, you may want to try paying for shout-outs. Here is an example of an unpaid shout-out partnership we did with Rich20Something, an Instagram account with a similar reach to Foundr’s:
We each shared an image from the other account and encouraged our followers to follow them, too.
If you don’t have a budget for social media, you may want to skip over this portion, but paid shout-outs can be a great way to gain thousands of followers — and gain them fast.
With paid shout-outs, you’re aiming for accounts that have much higher numbers and a strong level of engagement (accounts where 2-3% of their followers “like” their content).
Foundr spent about $100 on shout-outs in the first two weeks of our Instagram account, and it was $100 well spent. This became instrumental in getting us to our first 10,000 followers.
Remember to ask them for a call-to-action in the shout-out, in which the account owner is actually asking their followers to take action on something. We’ve found the best strategy is to ask for their followers to follow your Instagram account.
As you begin to gain your first few thousand followers, you can begin to drive those followers to your website, engage with your brand, and subscribe to your email list.
2) Converting your followers into subscribers then build your email list
As you know, email marketing is crucial to a thriving business. Your email list is made up of your customers. These are your fans — the people who will purchase your products and services.
Instagram has been an important driver of email subscribers for Foundr, converting around 15,000–30,000 followers into subscribers each month, depending on their promotions.
If you’re familiar with Instagram’s limitations, you may be wondering how this is possible. After all, Instagram doesn’t allow links in photo descriptions.
That’s where a well-crafted bio comes into play.
Many businesses find it difficult to get followers to click the links in their bios because the tendency is to overload bios with … well, junk. Break that pattern by writing your bio like you’d write a Tweet: short, useful, and packed with intention.
Here’s what Foundr has chosen as their bio:
There’s a very simple secret: Within your bio, use a very specific call-to-action with a memorable URL that takes users to a unique page on your website.
Then convert those visitors by ensuring the page they land on is packed with value. They go out of our way to ensure they deliver a ton of value to each visitor who clicks our bio link. The URL in their bio brings users to a page that both enrolls them in a free course and offers them two PDFs packed with actionable content.
Once you’ve put the systems into place to not only entice your followers to click on the link in your bio, but also to lead them to insanely useful content, start driving followers to your bio by including calls-to-action in your image descriptions. Your photo caption leads to your bio, your bio leads to your link, your link leads to a huge offer of value.