Instagram has recently released new features that can be used to promote and enhance your business online.  In June of 2018, it was reported that Instagram had over 1 billion monthly active Instagram users, and almost 25 million business profiles on Instagram. The number of active advertisers on Instagram is 2 million. With these kinds of numbers, it’s clear that using Instagram is a powerful platform to promote your local business.

Recently, Instagram introduced a raft of new features which can help you to promote your business. New features include Instagram Stories, Instagram Live, IGTV, and Instagram Shopping.  This article goes over a few ways to help you promote and boost your local business.

Instagram Stories

Although this feature has been around for a while, it’s still worth mentioning. The Instagram Stories feature allows you to share time-limited images and videos with your followers with stickers and text overlaid. Local businesses can leverage this Instagram feature to promote their business in a creative way that highlights personality in a way other formats struggle to. After all, as of June 2018, more than 400 million daily active Instagram users using Instagram Stories.

28 minutes is the average time that Instagram users spend on Instagram Stories. With the introduction of this new feature, Instagram opened up new opportunities for businesses. But how can a local business use Instagram Stories effectively?  You can use Instagram Stories to create buzz around your newly developed product or service just before the launch. This kind of a teaser will surely catch the attention of your loyal followers, and they will start spreading the word for you.

You can also use Instagram Stories to demonstrate your products, showcasing how they work under different circumstances. Short, yet helpful guides on how to use your product will help you promote it more effectively.

Instagram Live

Instagram Live allows businesses to broadcast video in real time. Instagram Live offers a huge opportunity for local businesses to boost their engagement and win the trust of their followers and customers.  A couple of innovative ways you can use Instagram Live are to showcase how your services or products work and showcase live tutorials.  Instagram Live videos can be up to one hour long, which means you can make engaging and lengthy videos to talk about your services and products. You can also host an interview or an interactive Q&A session with a live audience. Why not take questions from a live audience and answer them? It will increase the engagement rate! When you’re organizing a live Q&A session, make sure you inform your followers in advance that it’s coming up so that they can get their questions ready.

Once you are live on Instagram, ask your audience to send their questions via the comment section present at the bottom of the mobile screen. This will make your Live session much more interactive and engaging. Your followers can also react to your Live videos by clicking on ‘like’ or ‘love’.

IGTV (Instagram TV)

Instagram launched IGTV, which is a long-form video that can last anywhere between 15 seconds to 60 minutes. Bear in mind that only verified accounts can make videos up to 60 minutes long. For unverified Instagram accounts, the maximum video length is 10 minutes.  You can use IGTV from within the main Instagram app or download the standalone app for free. The app is available for both iOS and Android.

You can leverage IGTV to share some funny and engaging behind-the-scenes videos from an event, or you can simply give a tour of your workplace and introduce your hard-working team to your followers.

Because verified accounts can record videos up to 60 minutes, you could also share a pre-recorded webinar or product demonstration with your followers. Or you could use the feature to record an event you’re holding or attending. You can also leverage this feature to create and share your brand’s story to build a connection with your followers and promote your business.

IGTV is still a new feature, and as they’re testing the waters a little, advertising isn’t yet available, but it has a lot of potential for advertising and marketing, so it’s very possible that one-day businesses will be able to increase their reach and traffic through this channel.  Similarly to YouTube, IGTV videos actually have their own URLs, which is a first for Instagram. This means that sharing and promoting videos after the broadcast is much easier and more effective.

Instagram Shopping

This new Instagram feature is a real game-changer for local businesses, as it allows businesses to tag products in their standard Instagram posts. Once prospects click on the tagged item, they are then directed to the product detail page, which can provide more information about the product and push prospects to make a purchase.  You can use this feature to promote and sell more of your services and products.

Here are some simple ways you can use this new Instagram feature to promote your business and increase your sales.

  • Make your content/product easy to discover for your followers. After all, you can’t increase your sales if no-one knows your product exists! To improve your presence on Instagram and make your products discoverable, use as many relevant hashtags as possible.  Using the right hashtag can boost your engagement rate and increase your product visibility. So invest time in researching the best and most relevant trending hashtags to use for your products.
  • Make sure to provide a seamless shopping and browsing experience to your prospects after they’ve clicked through to your website. Ideally, you want your potential customers to leave the app to complete the purchase (but there’s also no problem if they browse your site within the Instagram browser, as a sale is a sale).  A clever way of making the transition from Instagram post to website seamless is to create a similar look for your Instagram account and your website’s landing page. If your landing page is very different, then there are high chances that your prospects will leave your website assuming that they have visited the wrong website.

If you are considering Instagram or adding Social Media to your marketing mix contact us for a Free Consultation.