For the equestrian industry, Facebook and Instagram are the two social media platforms which are most used.
Today, I’m going to take a deeper dive into how to effectively promote your business on Instagram.
1. SHOW UP EVERY DAY
It seems so simple, but it’s also one of the hardest things most businesses grapple with: consistency.
Don’t get bogged down on having the perfect picture & perfect caption each time. That will only end up either paralyzing you, or driving you insane.
Just make a post – no matter how simple.
Instagram’s algorithm rewards those who regularly engage with their audience.
2. BE AUTHENTIC
This follows perfectly with showing up every day…. authenticity wins over perfection every time.
While you do want to make sure you have posts with high quality photos which feature your products/services, don’t be afraid to also sprinkle in posts which are more "rough & ready". This could be behind-the-scenes, a humourous shot, or showing your/your staff’s personality with candid pics.
It’s been proven time and again that people buy from those they know, like & trust. So being authentic on Instagram will help you continue to build these key pillars.
3. DON'T ALWAYS BE IN SALES MODE
The favourite analogy to use is picturing yourself at a party filled with your perfect audience. If your conversation was limited to you only saying things like "We have a sale going on. All our helmets are 30% off", "We are the best at xyz", "This is our latest product. I’m going to tell you how awesome it is", "Don’t forget about our sale", how long do you think it would take for that person to be desperately searching the room for someone else so they can bail on you asap?
People don’t like to be sold to constantly, so make sure that you don’t have every post in "sales mode", and keep your language conversational & informal.
4. USE STORIES
This takes almost no time to do, but it amazes me how many people don’t use this great feature.
Stories have higher visibility because they appear at the very top of the Instagram app. So when someone is checking Instagram on their phone, they are likely clicking through the Stories at the top.
Since your story only lasts for 24 hours, you can leverage things that are in "real time" without having to worry about cluttering up your feed. A good example of this would be if you’re at a horse show, or industry event, and want to share some personal day-to-day content. This also goes perfectly with being authentic, and allowing your audience to connect with you at a deeper level.
You can also use emojis, text and effects to your Story posts to really add more fun & personalization.
Make it a habit that with each post you do, you also add it to your Stories.
5. USE HIGHLIGHTS
Highlights are a great way to put a special focus on certain things, as they live front & center on your Instagram profile.
Creative ways to use this feature include:
Highlight products or collections
Highlight special events
Highlight reviews & testimonials
Highlight key information about you/your business
Remember, you can only add up to 100 photos or videos per Highlight, but there’s no limit to how many Highlights you can create.
6. USE VIDEO
Video will always get more attention & engagement than a static picture. And more engagement means you’re looking more attractive to Instagram’s algorithm.
But more than this, videos give you the ability to share more complex and in-depth stories.
So make sure you look for opportunities where you can use video as your post.
Before you plan out and upload your video to Instagram, make sure that it’s the correct length:
Feed video length = 3 seconds to 1 minute
Story video length = 15 seconds max per Story entry (if you upload longer, it will just add in the necessary Story entries to accommodate)
IGTV video length = 15 seconds to 10 minutes (up to 1 hour for some accounts)
7. DON'T FORGET THE SOCIAL PART!
Instagram is social…. make sure you are too. Take 10-20 mins/day to:
Reply to comments people have made to your posts
Look for industry-related Instagram accounts to follow
"Like" the posts of others in your industry/audience
Post a comment in the posts of others in your industry/audience
Instagram’s algorithms will notice and give you credit for this, which in returns helps to make your posts more visible and grow your Instagram followers.
8. BORROWED PLAYGROUND
And finally, don’t lose sight of the fact that Instagram – just like Facebook – is a borrowed playground. You don’t own your followers, have no email addresses for them, and are at the mercy of the ever-changing algorithms and "rules of play".
Be sure to regularly encourage people to sign up to your email list. You can offer enticements to do this such as contests, download a freebie, or to visit your website.
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