Using Instagram for Marketing as Early Solo Founders

Things early solo founders wish to know before using Instagram for marketing.

Hi everyone, my name is Kenneth Poon, the founder of RandomGrowth. In this post, I am going to share some of things I found during my first few weeks of Instagram marketing as a solo founder. When I started out, using Instagram for marketing was very daunting. Why should I use Instagram? What images should I be posting? How do I drive traffic to my site from Instagram? How can I drive sales from Instagram? Is Instagram marketing worth it or is it a waste of time? These are questions I seek to solve.

Why should I care about Instagram marketing?

As of mid 2016, Instagram has over 500 million active users, over 200 million more than Twitter.

The usage of online adults has doubled since 2012. It is the #2 most used social network for teens between 13 to 17. 55% of young adults used Instagram in 2015. Over 75% live outside of US.

In my opinion, Instagram is the easiest network for you to showcase and market your new product/service. This getting started guide is mainly for entreprenuers in the B2C space.

What should I post on Instagram?

Posting on Instagram is like showing off the bright side of your life stories. People like to share what they do, what they eat, and the happy life they have. Here are some of stuffs you can consider posting when you try to brand your company and show off your work/service/product.

  • workspace photos
  • client projects
  • how you relax
  • lunch and work snack
  • social life
  • quick tips
  • inspiring story
  • favorite tool
  • behind the scenes
  • follow me on Pinterest/Facebook
  • ask a question
  • thank your fans
  • promote your offer
  • fun personal fact
  • insightful comments
  • tag a resource and tell why

What do I need to do to engage users?

The first step to gain awareness in social is to engage other users. Engaging can be as simple as a user liking, commenting, mentioning, and following you. Here are some of the stuffs you can do to start engaging users.

  • Post consistently
  • Study quality hashtags and post 30 hashtags in the comment of a post (do not post in the post caption. Posting in the comment has the same effect).
  • Follow and like similar accounts
  • Ask users to tag a friend
  • Use filters with high exposure and warm temperature
  • Host a photo contest
  • Add some emojis
  • Cross promote
  • Post Instagram videos
  • Like and comment often

How do I make a "market ready" Instagram account?

You can increase engagement by making your account personal and educational. Everything matters but let's start simple. You can begin by tweaking your profile, photos, hashtags and contents to increase engagement.

Profile:

  • Use company name or tell people what you do in the display name (Not the username).
  • Use URL in bio to link to your call to action or site.
  • Use keywords in bio

Photos:

  • Use a photo editor
  • Use filters
  • Share work in progress and product images
  • Share motivational images
  • Feature happy customers

Hashtags:

  • Create a brand (your own) hashtag
  • Use trending hashtag
  • use hashtags for events
  • Tag your own posts
  • Help others find your contents

Content Types:

  • Ask questions and create discussion
  • Start a poll using hashtags for opinions
  • Hold contests and challenges
  • Create themed posts
  • Offer sales and giveaways
  • Ask customers to tag & mention you
  • Have employees follow and mention you

Mentions:

  • Say thank you by doing mentions
  • Mention your customers
  • Use mentions in caption and comments

Videos:

  • 3 to 15 secs
  • Apply filters to videos
  • Ask followers to take action

Can I get Instagram subscribers outside of Instagram?

Yes. I highly suggest you to integrate and mention your Instagram account everywhere. Try the following:

  • Add the follow button in your websites
  • Post feed to blog, Facebook and Twitter
  • Add Instagram name to market materials
  • Repurpose Instagram images
  • Include buttons in email marketing
  • Connect Instagram account to other networks

How do I get traffic to my site from Instagram?

Change your bio URL to your site. Ask people to click the bio URL in comments or photos (Put a text in the photo).

Can I make sales on Instagram?

Yes. The most effective way is to offer an exclusive discount for Instagram users. Create a unique page for the discount. Link the discount in the bio. Tell users about it in caption of the images.

What is the best time to post on Instagram.

Hard to say. It is industry depenedent. You need to test it out. Usually off hours or lunch time is good. For me, Sat 5PM - 6PM works the best.

What are some popular Instagram hashtags I can use?

#love #instagood #follow #followme #tagforlikes #like #fun #instalike #igers #like4like #picoftheday #shoutout #followforfollow #comment #goodmorning #awesome

What are some pro tips?

  • Posts with multiple hashtags and a location tag average higher comments and likes
  • Post daily to build a residual base of engagement
  • Know what times the majority of your followers are active
  • Use comments and mentions to inspire even more people to interact
  • Keep up with trending hashtags
  • Take screenshots of awesome things on the web and post with a mention
  • Offer instagram exclusives
  • Team up with other users for shout out. Most paid shoutouts are useless.
  • Share pictures of people with your product every chance you can get
  • Use emojis to catch people's attention. Try using 3 downward pointing fingers above your url in your bio to increase click through rate.
  • Look for hashtags with 50,000 posts
  • Monitor location tags when you are at events to connect with people

What are some successful Instagram accounts I can learn from?

  • nike
  • adidas
  • michael kors
  • louis vuition
  • prada
  • dior
  • gucci
  • founder magazine

That's so much information. Can you just tell me the minimum I need to know to get started?

  • Post your best photos
  • Test how photos perform
  • Engage with community frequently
  • Test different hashtags

Anymore tips?

Checkout the pins below. Bookmark this page or follow the Instagram marketing board below. If that's still not enough, check out the Growth Hacks Generator.