I’d say it’s safe to say 80% of my sales come from Instagram referrals.
Don’t have an Instagram account for your small business? STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND GO DO THAT NOW. You have an entire marketing realm that you’re not tapping into!
Don’t worry, I’ll wait here.
Got it set up? Good. I want to show you how amazingly wonderful Instagram can be for your small business, and the 5 big mistakes I see so frequently on Instagram that are hurting small business accounts.
(1) Not separating your personal and business accounts. You are amazingly talented with a creative side that’s dying to see itself in the spotlight. People will want to follow you to see your newest product releases or behind-the-scenes shots of your work, not your personal life (even if that dinner was SO delicious and #ohmygoshyoucanthelpit your kids are adorable). If you want to throw in a personal post here and there, great! But limit this to one every few weeks and make sure it’s business related. Example: how about a photo of your breakfast sitting alongside your to-do list for the shop or a stack of incoming orders? Or maybe your son/daughter is helping you carry packages to the post office? See how you are showing a little bit of your personal life but it’s still relevant to your business?
(2) Not posting quality photos. This goes beyond making sure that your photos are crisp, clean and clutter free. Step away from the filters! Filters distort your photos so not only are you now not posting true-to-color photos of your product, but it takes the quality down several notches by adding what I like to call “filter side-effects”: blurriness and graininess.
(3) Not looking at your profile as a whole. The benefit of Instagram being photos only is that your account is going to be your personal portfolio. Take care of how it looks and how the photos line up in your feed. This is the perfect time to develop your company’s branding style. The photos below are my personal experience with this (don’t judge me too harshly here, I was learning just like you!). On the right we have some of the first photos I ever posted. Notice how they seem completely random, the photos are dark, and it’s kind of just a big mess? Now look at my more recent photos on the left. Each line has been carefully placed so that when people come and look at my profile, it spills out before them like a professional portfolio. It looks polished. The photos are well styled. The photos all have the same theme. See how much better that looks? Now remember: when people come to your profile from their phone, they’re only going to see the top 6 photos. MAKE THAT STAND OUT TO THEM. Because if they don’t like those top six, they aren’t going to scroll through your feed to see what else you have. You have literally seconds to make a great first impression on your potential customers.
(4) Not using hashtags. Repeat after me: “Hashtags are my friend”. I’m serious here. What are hashtags? Any word with a pound sign “#”, which is now called “hashtag”, is used to index photos to be easily found by others. For instance: if I had the photo below, I could use #turquoise or #blue and anyone on Instagram can look up photos with this hashtag to find new accounts to follow (and my photo would pop up!). Instagram allows you to use a total of thirty hashtags per photo.
This might seem like a lot, but use them all! This is how new people will find you! To avoid clutter on my posts, I like to post my photo with a description and then go back in and leave a comment with my thirty hashtags.
(5) Not staying active and interactive. Make sure that you’re using Instagram to not only interact with your followers, but that you’re posting at least once a day. People will completely forget about you unless you continue to pop up in their feed as a reminder that “Hey, I have this awesome shop and you didn’t even know you wanted this until you saw it.” I like to take several photos on the weekend and then edit them Sunday night so I have photos ready to post throughout the week without going into panic mode each morning.
Well, are you ready to take over Instagram? Leave your Instagram name below, I’d love to check out your shop! What other questions do you have for Instagram? I’ll be working on more tips and trucks for starting your small business in the next few weeks. Make sure to subscribe so you never miss a post!