How to Create an Instagram Account for a ‘Non Visual’ Business Model
The appeal of Instagram for many, is that it is a visual medium. If you have a fitness business, if you blog about food, or if you are a travel writer, then this is an ideal way to share what you get up to in a way that is immediately eye-catching and engaging. People will see what you share and be instantly moved by it, making it the perfect way to grow your following further.
But for some businesses, this same visual emphasis is precisely what they see as a turn off. That’s because some businesses aren’t obviously visual in nature. A good example of this might be law, or perhaps insurance. If you run a life insurance company for example, then how can you express this in a visual way that will be interesting and engaging for your readers?
Do you post facts and figures? Bar charts? Statistics?
Likewise, if you are a corporate consultant, or an investment firm… how can you encourage people to get involved?
The answer is to find what it is that your business is really about and what it is that you are really selling: how does your service or product make people feel? What are the pain points or fears that drive them to buy from you? Understanding this is what will allow you to communicate the purpose of your business through images.
So to use the example of life insurance, this is a business that ultimately sells peace of mind to people who love their families. Therefore, the best way to promote yourself through Instagram might be to share posts of families that are doing things together. You could share ideas for activities and days out, or tips on how to provide for your family. Did you know that the most popular hashtag on Instagram is love?
Likewise, if you are a business consulting firm, then you might want to promote the idea of successful business and exciting startup opportunities. That might mean posting images of attractive looking offices, successful business men, or tips for business.
The danger as some companies will see it, is that you stray too far from the product or service, or that you in some way make your business appear glib.
But this is the mistake. Embrace being interesting and attractive – that isn’t unprofessional! Remember that you need to provide value in order for people to follow your brand. If you can’t do that, then people won’t have any motivation to keep consuming your content.
5 Tips for Better Photos on a Camera Phone
Succeeding on Instagram usually means posting lots of beautiful images that you took on a smartphone. It doesn’t have to mean that of course. Some people will have successful Instagram accounts not made up of images at all. Others will use images that they have acquired, or will use a high quality professional camera.
But in MOST cases, it means taking better smartphone photos. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
1 Think About Composition
The composition of your shot means thinking about where the subject is in relation to the other elements. It means thinking about how you’re going to line up the shot, and how you will convey a sense of scale and depth. Don’t just shoot things head on!
2 Add Depth
Speaking of depth, how do you create this? One option is to ensure that you feature something in the foreground, middle ground, and background. These three elements will create that sense of layers. Another tip is to try and ‘lead’ the viewers eye from the foreground into the background, which you can achieve by looking for something like a path or a road.
3 Tell a Story
Telling a story means not necessarily just taking a photo of the thing you want to ‘say’. Leave something for the viewer to figure out. An empty glass speaks to the presence of a person at some point in town. A party, or maybe a sad lonely drink? Think of the Mona Lisa – which has captivated people for generations by being a mystery!
4 Good Lighting
The phone you choose will have a big impact on the quality of the photos that come out, but so too will the lighting. In fact, it’s arguably better to take a well-lit shot on a cheap camera phone, than it is to take a poorly lit shot on a great phone!
Think about the position of the window and where it is in relation to the subject. Think about the time of day. And if possible: invest in lighting equipment.
5 The Right Phone
Finally, do take the time to choose a good camera phone. Know what you’re looking for: while high megapixel counts sound good on paper, they are far less important these days than other features, such as the quality of the lens being used to capture those pixels, the size of the aperture, and image processing.
6 Types of Instagram Post That AREN’T Photos
If you want to be a smash hit on Instagram, then you have to know how to take a good photo right? Instagram is a visual medium, and the nature of these images is photographic. If you don’t know how to take great photos, then you’re not going to be able to run a successful Instagram account. All sound about right?
There are actually a number of ways to get great images for Instagram without being an amazing photographer. But more than that, you can also make a successful Instagram account using different mediums entirely. Here are some examples.
Instagram lends itself well to text. That could mean inspiring quotes, it could mean short stories, or it could mean funny memes. These could be added on top of stock imagery, or they could literally just be text on white backgrounds. If people respond to the quote you’re sharing, then you might get a follow!
While cartoons are struggling to thrive online right now, especially on sites like YouTube, Instagram represents something of a safe haven for them. Many different cartoonists are thriving on Instagram, so if you are a dab hand at digital art, then why not give it a go?
Video actually enjoys greater engagement than photos on Instagram! So there you go: this really isn’t a purely image-based platform. You can make short videos with a smartphone, or with any other camera. You can even use screen capture for things like tutorials.
A boomerang is a very short video that lasts just a couple of seconds and that bounces back and forth repeatedly. They’re very trendy right now, and there’s an app that makes it easy for you to make them.
If you have musical skills, then you can share snippets of that music on Instagram. Post an image with the title and have it play in the background for up to a minute.
Stories and Live
While these aren’t really examples of the regular type of post, you can actually run a successful Instagram account that is primarily a place for stories and live feeds. This might mean bringing people along on your adventures, or perhaps showing behind the scenes of your business. If it’s interesting and engaging enough, then your channel will grow by word of mouth. You could even have a go at IGTV!
4 Top Tips for Better Instagram Tagging
No one thing makes a successful Instagram account. Success on Instagram is the result of a smart strategy that incorporates a wide range of different factors.
But with that said, one of the single most important aspects is to consider the role of your hashtags. Hashtags are some of the most crucial elements when it comes to gaining new views, gaining more likes, and generally helping your page to grow exponentially. Here are four tips that will help you use them better.
You have the option to use up to thirty hashtags, and the most important tip to take away from this? Use ALL thirty. It’s like being able to play the lottery for free. Why would you play just once, when you could enter 30 times and improve your chances of success by x30?
Find the Sweet Spot
When you start typing out your hashtags, you’ll find that you see a little preview with suggestions that have numbers by them. Those numbers tell you how many other people have used that hashtag, and this in turn can be a brilliant clue as to which are the best to use. The mistake? Assuming that the most popular hashtag is automatically going to be the smartest option.
This is a mistake, because you’ll find a hashtag that is too popular gets drowned out by other identical posts and therefore doesn’t stay visible too long. Likewise, you don’t want a hashtag that no one is interested in… so find that sweet spot with around 30,000 posts.
Use a Range
That said, there’s always the smallest chance that if you go for the biggest niche, your image will get picked up by someone influential and go gangbusters. Likewise, if you use an obscure hashtag, it can mean that your image hangs around in search for months and months on end. So use a variety and cover the full range!
News jacking means that you are going to use hashtags that are currently prominent or in the news. This is a great way to get attention and to find people searching for your images. Better yet, is to choose topics that are trending right now in your niche, or that are just becoming big topics but have yet to be inundated with competition.
Follow these tips, post regularly, and you will be on your way to #success!
The Benefits of Becoming a Verified Account on Instagram
If you want to start marketing on Instagram, then all you really need is an account. With an account, you’ll be able to start posting images and linking back to your page and your services.
But while this is true, it’s also true that it’s worth going the extra mile in order to set up the best kind of account possible – if you want to maximize your sales potential and your success. That means many different things, but it particularly means getting your account verified. Here’s why and what that means.
What is a Verified Account?
On Instagram, you can choose any name and profile image you like for your account. That means that you could very easily create a profile pretending to be a famous celebrity, or to represent a big brand. Of course, this can then create a number of issues as users struggle to know who is the real deal. By getting your account verified, you essentially tell Instagram that you are the one true YOU and that way you get a small badge to denote that fact by your name in the search results. This reassures users that yours is the official account for that brand or name.
Why Get Verified?
So that’s what a verified account is. The next question is why you need to go about getting it verified.
On the one hand a verified account gives you the authority that comes from being the genuine article. This means that anyone looking for your brand will know to click on your account, and it of course helps you to avoid copycats and fakers!
At the same time though, verification also acts as a stamp of authority for those that don’t know your brand. This suggests a certain level of notoriety, and therefore that you must be a serious player in your niche.
Then there’s the fact that being verified will give you access to additional features. One of the most important of these is the ability to link to external sites from a story. Users just have to swipe up on your story, and they’ll be taken to the page you’ve chosen. This makes it possible to sell directly from a story, which is huge.
Another big advantage of this, is that having a verified account allows you to create IGTV videos running for several hours.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get verified – it takes five minutes!
How to Sell the ‘Value Proposition’ on Instagram
The old saying goes that you ‘don’t sell hats, you sell warm heads’. This is one of the most useful sayings in business and one that everyone should always keep in mind.
What does it mean? It means that you are not selling the materials themselves, but rather the way those materials make your customers feel and the way they improve their lives.
This is what makes any business tick. And the most successful companies are the ones that truly understand this.
And the great news is that there is no platform better suited to this kind of marketing than Instagram.
How it Works
The reason for this is that it’s much easier to communicate a value proposition – or to ‘sell the dream’ as it were – when using images.
And to use an example of Instagram, we can turn to fitness brands. Fitness brands make money from selling products like clothing, supplements, or training tools. And the way they work, is by using images of people with six packs running on the beach with attractive members of the opposite sex.
The viewer will then see those images and they will feel a sense of longing – they will wish that they could be that healthy, attractive, and happy. And in doing so, they will be moved to a) follow the brand for more inspiration and b) buy the product.
This is a simplification, but it’s exactly what makes Instagram work.
How to Use This Strategy
So how do you use this strategy yourself? The key is to understand first and foremost what your value proposition is. What are you selling? How do you want to make people feel? Even if your business is a relatively straightforward and corporate one, there is still that value proposition. For instance, if you sell life insurance, then you are really selling peace of mind for family men and women.
If you sell EPOS systems, then you are selling the dream of having a restaurant, hotel, or similar.
The next step is to identify your target audience – your buyer persona – and to understand what they want and who they are. Speak to their deepest desires and you will be able to sell them anything!
Finally, make sure that your posts all work within that context and framework. That means that you should be taking photos that perfectly illustrate the point you’re trying to make.
5 Tips That Will Make Your Instagram Account Grow More Quickly
If you’re posting regularly to an Instagram account with beautiful images and you still aren’t seeing growth, then you might understandably find yourself feeling very frustrated. Perhaps Instagram just isn’t right for your business, you may think. Perhaps you’re doing something wrong?
Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that organic growth on Instagram takes time. With that said though, here are five tips that can make a big difference and ensure you grow that bit more quickly.
1 Use Portrait Orientation
Taking photos with a portrait orientation is generally considered the best practice in Instagram marketing. If not, then you should at least choose square images. This way, your image will stay on the page longer while the users are vertically scrolling, meaning more engagement and hopefully more likes.
2 Post at the Right Time
Posting at the right time of day has been shown to be hugely important when it comes to your Instagram success. This way, you maximize the number of people who are awake and who are using the app. Research suggests that posting some time between 10am and 3pm on a weekday will net you the best results. BUT this doesn’t account for global time differences. If you’re aiming for a global audience, then posting at 6pm GMT might just be the smarter strategy.
3 Post Frequently
How frequently? Ideally you should be posting 2-3 times per day. This will ensure that there is a steady flow of content on your site, and that it doesn’t seem as though the page has been abandoned. What’s more though, is that posting this regularly will mean almost all of your viewers will see at least one image from you per day.
4 Use Hashtags
Hashtags make a big difference on Instagram, so make sure you use them often and use them well. One of the most important tips is to use as many as possible (30) in order to maximize your chances of a big hit. Find the sweet spot in terms of popularity too – 30,000 is a good number of posts to see.
5 Choose a Look
Many accounts are all over the place, with every image they post looking completely different and the end result being a page that has no consistency. Making sure the majority of your images have a consistent look – even picking the same filter for every photo – can prevent this issue and help people to better understand what you’re about and whether they should follow.
How to Sell From Instagram
Instagram is an incredibly popular and potentially hugely powerful marketing tool. Did you know that Instagram has 1 billion active users? That’s 1/7th of the population!
Moreover, Instagram is extremely effective when it comes to promoting products and brands that have any kind of visual appeal. This will allow you to create an account filled with pictures of people using your products or services, or living the lifestyle that you are promoting. That can be highly motivating and encouraging for your followers, and thereby ultimately encourage them to make a purchase.
But how do you go about turning those views into sales?
This is where things can get a little trickier, and the problem here primarily lies with the fact that Instagram doesn’t let you place live links in your descriptions. You can include the URL sure, but your users won’t be able to simply click that link in order to be taken to the store page. And what this means, is that they likely won’t make the effort to go there – and you can’t elegantly convert those views into sales.
So what can you do? What some marketers will do, is to add the buy link in their bios. The text that is used as the image description can then point to that link (link in bio!) and this way, interested viewers can follow it.
This still isn’t perfect however, and what many creators will end up doing, is changing that link practically every day as they update their page with new offers. A better option then would be to link to a storefront, and then to simply move the hottest items to a more prominent position in the store as they are promoted on Instagram.
Better yet though, would be to link directly to the product. Thankfully there are a few ways to do this now. One is by using an Instagram story, which is an image that appears for a short duration of time. If you have 10,000 followers OR a verified account, then you can use this in order to link directly to any items you like – the user just has to swipe upward.
Otherwise, you might be able to use ‘Shopping on Instagram’. This relatively new tool allows images to directly link to buy pages through tags. It’s not available for everyone, and you will need your business to be approved first. But if you can manage it, this has huge potential for sales.
How to Succeed On Instagram Without Taking a Single Photograph
Instagram is extremely popular among internet marketers for a large number of reasons. This is a marketing platform with a great ROI, as well as a huge reach (1 billion active users). It’s also extremely trendy and popular right now, and showing no signs of slowing down or losing momentum (unlike Facebook).
But there are several things that might be holding you back from fully exploiting the potential of Instagram. One of those things, is the fact that Instagram – at least on the face of it – appears to require you to have some skill when it comes to photography. This is a visual medium and it trades in photos that have been taken on smartphones.
If you don’t have a high quality camera phone, if your business doesn’t have a particularly visual aspect to it, OR if you have zero confidence in your own ability to take artistic looking photos… then you might find yourself avoiding this particular social platform.
But here’s the good news: you can actually be highly successful on Instagram without taking a single photograph. Here’s how…
One way to accomplish this is by using stock photography. Stock photography is photography taken from the web: websites that share photos for creatives to use, either for a fee or in some cases for free!
Most of these sites let you simply search for a term and then download the images you want to use. It’s a great way to find a large resource of images that you can share.
Another option is to use photography and then edit it. This can likely work in tandem with the stock option. In this case, you might search for photos of people standing on mountains, or making other accomplishments, and then simply add artistic filters and quotes about success and the like. It’s a simple and easy method that has worked for countless people!
The Work of Others
Many Instagram accounts are highly successful simply as a result of sharing photos that other users have taken. Alternatively, this could mean sharing art from others, or video.
The only thing to keep in mind is copyright and fair play. Make sure you get permission from the creators. The good news is that in most cases they will be flattered you asked and excited to get the free exposure. Everyone wins!