Everyone has a side project, most people have a major project, and every once in a while, you meet one of those people with that project that has completely taken over their life. You know who I’m talking about… Unfortunately, approximately 92.7% of all people don’t know how to get the word out about their projects, and sadly they flop and burn :(
I’ve found that one of the most powerful ways of letting people know about a project is Instagram. Below I am going to show you how I leverage Instagram to market and show off pretty much EVERY project I work on.
I created a hotel page a couple week ago, so it’s going to be my main example for this article. I know people are going to say “Oh sure, hotels must work great, people love travel on Instagram. Mine won’t work because its *insert random business/idea* and no one is interested in that on Instagram”.
Let me say, this literally works with everything. I’ve done it with food trucks, tour operators, boats, marketing companies and African charities. 800 million people are active on the platform-because of the sheer numbers I am convinced that this works with anything.
Step 1: Create an Account… obviously
With this you have two options/approaches: become a “Content Curator” and simply repost other peoples related content, or become a “Content Creator” and take your own photos. Both work, the latter usually takes more time. Below is an example of my hotel page where I curate and repost other peoples photos.
2: Your Bio is an Ad. Use it.
Your Instagram bio is what is going to tell your followers what to do. Want them to buy your towel, house or boat? Say it! If you need ideas for writing a good bio,either look at similar accounts on Instagram or google your idea and copy the ads that show up.
3: Post 9 High-Quality Photos
The first thing you want to do is make sure you have 9 great photos posted so that when people visit your page it doesn’t look new or empty. If you don’t have your own pics, I recommend checking out Unsplash.com. You can get thousands of copyright-free pictures for free.
4: Engage With Your Target Audience
Find people who are interested in whatever you sell or do by finding associated hashtags, locations or users and interact with them (aka like their post and follow or comment on their stuff).
How to Target Your Future Customers
For example, when I wanted to get the word out about my hotel account, I targeted:
- Users who followed other hotel curating accounts.
- Users who used hotel related hashtags (#hotels, #luxuryhotels, #nicehotels ect.) on their photos.
- Users who posted pictures from hotel locations (Hilton, Miami Florida, ect).
*PRO TIP: Use some Instagram automation software*
This is definitely frowned upon by a lot of people, but unless you are willing to pay for ads or spend hundreds of hours manually interacting with people, its pretty hard to gain traction on Instagram without an automated boost.
Essentially you set these programs up to “like” and “follow” people from your account, and when those people see you have followed them they check you out. I have used Instaswell and NinjaGram in the past and liked both of them. I find the the sweet spot is liking someone’s last 3 posts and then following them. Usually this much engagement gets peoples attention.
I recommend following around 1,000 people a day and liking their last 3 posts.
5. Post a Picture a Day
Once your account is created, in order to keep your engagement high, add one new photo per day. While this is a pain, you can use software like Later.com or Buffer.com to schedule out a month of (soon to be 100%) automatically posted photos.
Make sure to add the maximum of 30 hash tags per post. These help people find your pictures organically. I recommend adding them as your first comment rather then adding them into the photo caption as it looks less tacky. See the first comment in the post below for an example:
6. Watch Your Referral Traffic
Once you have the system set up its time to track your analytics. If you have a website you are forwarding people to, install Google Analytics and track the number of users who visit due to Instagram. If you are forwarding people to a Facebook Page or other platform (such as Medium.com), it can be a bit harder, but most places offer some sort of site-stats or analytics.
Above, you can see what my Instagram experiment did to my brand new website in 1 week. 281 website visits all from Instagram . The high bounce rate was due to a crappy website design for the first half of the week. I fixed it and things stated to regulate themselves.
7: If You Nail it… Scale it!
If you nail the process I talked about above, consider scaling it and adding more Instagram accounts. Do the math and see how many accounts you need to hit your sales or reach your goals. If 1 Instagram account gets 1,000 website visitors and 100 sales a month, 10 accounts would get you 10,000 visitors and 1,000 sales.
Want More Details?
If you are really serious about building your Instagram and you understood the content in this article, I have a more in-depth, free Instagram Guide I would love to send you with how-to-videos and a several more automation hacks.