Social media is huge today. With so many different platforms, marketing your business on social media seems like a no-brainer. But how do you actually get clients through social media? Let’s focus on one platform: Instagram. How do you gain visibility—and ultimately customers—through Instagram? Here are three tips to get your Instagram profile in front of the clients you want.
Photo by Eric Lucatero on Unsplash.
TIP #1: USE INSTAGRAM AS A PORTFOLIO
Think of Instagram as your digital portfolio. Since Instagram is focused mostly on the images, create a feed that showcases what you can do. You’ll want to make your feed look good and reflect the personality of your company or brand. But how do you do this? There’s a couple of ways.
OPTIMIZE YOUR BIO
Your bio—the information people see when they visit your Instagram profile—is important. There isn’t much space there, so you have to be simple and clear. Why should people check out your business?
Here are four things your Instagram bio should have:
- Who you help and how you help. If you run your own clothing brand, say it! Call out your location in this line as well.
- What makes you unique. Do you hand-pull all your designs? Do you tie-dye and screen print? Have you won any awards? Your Instagram bio is a great place to mention anything that sets you apart from other print shops.
- Call to action and benefit. Why should people follow you? What do you want people to check out once they leave your bio? This line is pretty flexible. You can announce sales, new product drops, offer discounts to followers, or anything else you offer that will attract audience attention.
- Relevant links. Add a link that showcases your shop, business, or work. If you have a website, make sure to include it. If you’ve been featured in a blog, magazine, show, or anything else, link that in your bio. You’ll only be able to add one clickable link to your bio, so choose one that shows your business off like your website. If you want to be able to send people to multiple places, you can use a service like LinkTree to incorporate several links in one spot.
Now, let’s talk profile pictures. Your profile image may be small, but it’s a great way to bring a visual element of your business to Instagram. Because your profile image shows up everywhere you engage on Instagram, you can leverage it to bring more awareness to your business. For screen print shops, the most common profile image is the logo of their business. Using your logo will keep your business in front of people’s eyes, even if they’re just scrolling through a comment section.
EXAMPLE ACCOUNT: SALT & PINE CO.
Need inspiration for your Instagram bio? Check out Salt & Pine Co. Amanda’s bio includes her location, a unique factor about her business, calls to action, and a link. Her profile image is also the logo of her business.
RELATED: HOW TO SET UP YOUR ONLINE STORE AND ESTABLISH A PRESENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOR YOUR AT HOME BUSINESS
Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash.
TIP #2: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Think about the clients you’re wanting to reach. Are they sports teams? Bands? Small businesses? Once you figure that out, hone in your posts to reach them. Try putting yourself in their shoes, and post what you think that viewer would want to see. If you’re looking to do more (and you should), here are some other ways to reach your audience on top of choosing a content theme to fit.
Hashtags are a popular and easy way to reach clients outside your usual follower base. Many people follow hashtags on top of individual accounts. It’s a great way to get topics of interest onto someone’s feed.
So how do you use this when posting to Instagram? It’s all about using the right hashtags for the audience you’re trying to reach. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes: what would your target client search for on Instagram? If your target audience is small business owners, try using hashtags like #supportsmallbusiness to attract the right viewers.
You don’t need to go overboard with hashtags, though. “The more the merrier” only applies if you’re using hashtags that will attract the viewers you want. While using a bunch of hashtags can come in handy, it’s not always the case. Start with generic hashtags—a common hashtag for screen printers is #screenprinting, for example—and then narrow down your hashtags to the group you want to target. It’s all about using hashtags that will resonate with your audience.
Pro Tip: Don’t want to bog your post down with hashtags? Add them in a separate comment. This way, viewers can still find your posts through hashtags, but your caption can focus on content.
EXAMPLE ACCOUNT: PRESS OR DYE
Check out some of Press or Dye’s posts. The shop doesn’t use a ton of hashtags, but they curate a small selection of hashtags like #tiedye to attract customers looking for hand-made, hand-dyed garments.
Another great example of a targeted hashtag is a location hashtag. Press or Dye uses hashtags like #nashvilletn to attract viewers who are searching for content coming out of the Nashville area. Search for your town’s hashtag. You might be surprised at what comes up. It’s another way to add visibility to your shop, especially if you’re trying to attract local customers.
If you’re not sure what hashtags to use, do some of your own research. Look up hashtags, both vague and specific, and see what’s out there. You can also check out what other print shops are using for hashtags to gain inspiration.
Instagram is focused on the visuals, but when it comes to getting quality engagement, it’s all about getting personal. What’s the best way to get personal? Ask people about themselves. How many times have you been asked about your business? How much did you have to say about it? Chances are, you can talk for hours about the ins and outs of your business. Your clients are no different. By asking questions in your Instagram posts, you’ll get people to talk about their experiences.
Once you’ve got people talking, you need to respond. It’s a good practice to respond to as many comments on your posts as possible. This shows that you’re a real person, and you’ll get to know your viewers better based on what they comment on. Additionally, the more comments your post gets, the more it’s boosted through Instagram’s algorithm.
Direct messaging can also be a great tool to use when gaining clients. If someone follows your account, send them a message thanking them for the follow. You might not get a reply, but chances are that if someone followed you, they're interested. They took the time to check out your post and profile. Sending them a personal message—without sounding spammy—is a great way to increase engagement one-to-one with your followers and potential clients.
Engaging posts are great, but how do you keep that engagement flowing? It’s all about consistency.
Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash.
TIP #3: POST REGULARLY
Some accounts post on Instagram every day. Others post a few times a week, and some only post monthly. All of these options are fine, as long as you remember to post. Posting on Instagram on a regular basis keeps your account and your shop at the front of people’s minds, even if it isn’t at the top of their feed. If you find you have the most extra time on Wednesdays and Fridays, try to post then.
No matter how often you post, using quality content on Instagram once a week is better than posting whatever you have in your camera roll every day. Remember, social media audiences are usually only minorly engaged. Think about how you use Instagram: you scroll through posts, sometimes skimming captions and only stopping when a post captures your attention. When you’re posting to your feed, keep this in mind. The image you post has to stop these unengaged viewers in their tracks.
BEST TIMES TO POST ON INSTAGRAM
Instagram’s algorithm has evolved over the years. Instead of posts showing up on a feed chronologically, they’re organized by engagement. This means that someone could see an image you posted four days ago before the one you posted several hours ago. If you’re posting to Instagram every day, the posts might not have enough time to garner interest and start trending before you upload another one.
No matter how often you decide to post, make sure it’s a schedule you can stick to. Typically, weekends have the lowest Instagram engagement, while posts uploaded in the middle of the week gain the most attention. According to Status Brew, the best day to post on Instagram is Tuesday, while the worst is Sunday.
But what time should you post on Instagram? Well, studies show that the best time of day to post on Instagram is right around lunchtime (noon) or in the evening (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.). Since most viewers on Instagram work during the day, catching them during their lunch break and while they’re scrolling before bed is best. When you post, take note on the days and times you upload imagery and keep track when posts seem to perform better.
This chart shows the highest and lowest engagement on Instagram by day and hour. Photo by Sprout Social.
DIVERSIFY YOUR CONTENT
There’s plenty of different ways to post on Instagram. You can upload a regular 4x5 image, post multiple photos in a carousel, record a video and post it as a reel, go live on Instagram, and more. If you’re struggling to think of engaging content, try something new. You may find that one type of post gets more attention than the others.
Stories are also a great way to promote your shop without making a permanent post. You can add links and locations, start polls, answer questions, and so much more with stories. Because they’re only available for 24 hours, you can experiment with stories to capture the biggest audience.
BONUS TIP: OFFER INCENTIVES
You want your followers to end up on your website, mailing list, email list, etc. right? One great way to get viewers to jump from your IG to your website is to offer incentives. These can be giveaways, promo codes, exclusive offers for subscribers, or whatever you think up. Get creative, and learn more about your audience so you can offer the best incentives for your viewers.
EXAMPLE ACCOUNT: LOVE YOURSELF CLOTHING
Love Yourself Clothing is a great example of how to offer incentive to viewers in order to get them to jump from Instagram to a website. The account announces flash sales, giveaways, and promos through posts, reels, and stories. By covering all the bases, they’re able to turn people from viewers to customers, adding them to that all-important email list.
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash.
There’s a million and one ways to market yourself these days. Use the tools you can get for free and leverage them toward your business. You might be surprised at what catches on. Soon enough, you’ll be an Instagram pro.