Promoting Your Business On Instagram Without Spending Money & Why You Need To Now…
Last year I added a segment to my Niche 60 course showing my members how to get on Instagram. I also show them how to get traffic and sales to their website from Instagram. Oddly enough I never get many questions from the students about it. This is a trend that happens with all “new” places on the Internet. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying Instagram is new, but, it has largely been ignored by many marketers.
The fact, that it is now picking up steam only means that we’re about to completely ruin it within the next couple of years. However, I think we can do some non spammy things that our audiences will like. Instagram is an extremely active place. In fact, for my niche markets the level of activity blows Facebook away.
I am going to show you what I’ve been doing recently, with great results.
My Experimenting With Instagram
First, I’ll be honest here. I have not been on Instagram very long and in fact, in some of my niche markets; barely at all. That’s all going to change quickly.
Like I normally do, I experiment with something before I’m ready to march and advocate for it heavily.
So about 5 months ago I set up an Instagram account in a niche market. The market was a new eCommerce store I setup about 1 year ago. This market also was new to me, I had no experience in it and it also had nothing to do with the eCommerce niche or affiliate marketing.
For the first 2 months I barely used the account. I simply added a few pictures here or there and followed a few other people in that same industry. I really didn’t see much movement or actually even “get it” for a little while.
It wasn’t until I really started looking at the platform that it clicked how people are using it and I was able to do some cool stuff.
Here is an example of what I have been doing, by showing you how Taco Bell is doing it.
I do spend a little more time entering longer messages to accompany each picture/video than they do.
But, large companies like Taco Bell have the benefit of brand awareness working in their favor that you and I do not have. I’ll cover more about my methods below.
Growth From Within Instagram
I began placing a picture on the account every 2-3 days. The pictures I decided to use were simply pictures of products that I sell inside of the eCommerce site. Keep in mind this can be done with affiliate marketing as used in Niche 60 as well and these products do not need to be your own.
Keep in mind for your own pictures you can also use clever memes and sayings. I’ve been doing it in some of my niche markets that I am involved in and it works but it’s not my favorite way. I simply prefer showcasing good products and including a little write up with it.
NOTE: Some people place pictures on several times per day, but I don’t think that it’s 100% necessary. Once per day or once every other day is probably enough. However, there is nothing wrong with putting up 5-10 pictures per day if you can keep up with it.
I noticed each time I placed a picture up people would “heart it” (hearting is basically saying you like it or love it) or commenting on it. Over the course of a few weeks I noticed a small spike in my website traffic coming from Instagram (I’ll show you how to track this in a future post as Google Analytics does not track it very well, yet).
Where I really saw a spike in traffic and even a ton of sales is by doing 3 things while also posting my own images up.
- Hearting other pictures/videos in my niche. I’d simply do a search for the hashtags that made sense in my niche and then when I found cool pictures that I liked, I’d heart them. If you really want to get the picture creators attention heart 5-6 of their images and you’ll get out on their radar the easy way. The reason this works so well is because Instagram notifies you anytime someone follows you, hearts you or comments on one of your pictures.
- Commenting on other peoples pictures/videos. Interacting is one of the best ways to gain new followers. When I comment on a pictures/videos I get a reply about 70% of the time. This starts a dialogue. I never try to sell anything during this but it gets the person curious as to what your account does. They may investigate you, which can easily lead to a new follower or sale.
- Following people who are in my niche. When you follow someone it basically shows you like what they are posting. By doing this they are likely to check you out as well. This leads to traffic and, again, potential sales on your website.
Is Instagram Time Consuming For Promoting Your Business?
Look, I won’t sugar coat this, it’s going to take a little bit of time to use it. This is especially true if you’re in several niche markets because you’ll need to constantly switch between accounts. Since Instagram only works on your phone (right now) there is no trick to get around this.
But, because everything is so easy to navigate and use you can build up your followers and interactions while you watch TV, listen to a podcast, walk on the treadmill or while you’re at the doctors office waiting to be seen it only makes sense to just do it. Most days I spend less than 15 minutes in total on Instagram but I have some great results here.
My Results In 60 Days
So with one little niche market I was able to drive around 55 sales from Instagram with less than 1000 followers and with very little work. Over time I suspect this number will climb exponentially as I increase my followers and interactions. I also think if I would have focused more time and energy on Instagram I would have pushed more sales in that time frame.
It wasn’t all just about getting the short term sales though. There is something much bigger and much more important that Instagram helps you build.
One of the best things you can get is recognition for your brand; brand awareness.
This can be critical because as people learn about you, they may not be ready to buy something from you.
However, if you’re positioned as a great brand in your industry and someone is following you on social media, like Instagram, when it comes time to buy they are going to remember you.
Let’s say you had a website that sells aquaponic garden equipment and you followed the advice I mention above.
As time goes by and you gain followers and interact with those followers, release new pictures and videos on a regular basis and answer any questions when asked, you’re going to build up people that view you as an authority in your niche. This leads to sales, even if it’s in the future.
Go for the long term over the short term and don’t worry so much about immediate sales. If you have a good products and you’re doing these things the sales will come.
If You Can’t Put A Link In A Post On Instagram Then How Will People Find You?
One of the early things I foolishly avoided Instagram for was the lack of ability to put a link in a single post. The only place you can put a link is in your profile. This means for people to find your site they need to click your profile and then go visit you.
However, you can mention your profile when you post a picture or video when you leave text. So you could say something like “If this looks great, come see the product in all of it’s glory. Link is in profile.”
I rarely do this, but, it’s good to bring up every now and then when you gain followers.
I usually just include things like this with each post: “We’ve added this new product to our store. We think it looks amazing. Come visit us and see what you think.”
This is a way of promoting yourself without it looking like you’re promoting yourself. You’re simply stating your opinion about a product in your store and asking for opinions. This works on all forms of social media, not just Instagram and it works in virtually any niche market. It also doesn’t matter if you’re running an affiliate site or running an eCommerce store.
Promoting Your Business On Instagram This Way Won’t Cost You A Dime!
It’s free. It’s easy to create images and even videos with your cell phone.
In fact, you won’t need to spend anything to do this. The only thing you’d ever need to spend any amount of money on is having someone creating the images for you. I’ve tried it and personally I like my images more because I understand my niche market more so than a graphic artist does.
A Little Homework And A Little Action
Getting started with Instagram is as easy as “just doing it” and then staying with it. Like anything, you’re not going to get an avalanche of traffic and sales from the start. It takes time and effort to grow it.
I HIGHLY suggest looking at what other companies are doing with Instagram to get some great ideas. By looking at what other companies are doing you can then gather ideas that might work for you. This will allow you to determine the best course of action for your company on Instagram.
Here are a couple accounts to check out:
Next, I suggest then looking at what other companies in your niche are doing. Often you’ll find many companies are not using it. It’s shocking and it reminds me of when businesses first ignored Facebook. Now it would seem insane to not have your business on Facebook. I feel like the same is soon to come for Instagram too.
Now, if you do see someone in your niche using it effectively or you notice they have thousands of followers and you are just starting, don’t get discouraged. In fact, you should have the opposite feeling in your stomach. They are there building up an audience for a reason!
You must realize that it’s working and that you need to be there too. From this point you can grow your account and start reaping the benefits.
What are your thoughts? Are you using Instagram yet? Tried it but not having any luck?