It's hard when you start from ground zero. But you still gotta start from somewhere, yeah?
Starting on Instagram is no different than any other beginning. You just have to know what tools to utilize in order to make it work.
Here are some suggestions for you:
1. Start with engagement
That sounds easier than it is. You may think: "Eh, it's not that hard to go and comment on some 20-30 accounts per day." It's not. But that is not my point. You gotta find the right account accounts for that. You have to think strategically about that.
Do you want every single person on Instagram to follow you or people who are interested of your products and services? I am sure it's the second one...
So, what you need you to do is, find the top 10-20 accounts of the influencers in your industry. Go to their recent posts. Scroll down to the comments of the posts. These are the people you should engage with. You can even comment on their comments on the influencer post. There are so many influencers that don't even bother to respond to their comments. And that is a perfect opportunity for you to shine. Click on the link bellow to get more ideas about who to connect with and how to do it the right way:
With a little bit of research you can find some pods that are particularly created for Likes and comments. There are some that are created only for Power Likes.
So, I suggest you, join few of these and start bringing engagement to your posts. That will show to new accounts that come, that it's worth following you.
Just be aware that there are lots of people who join these pods for the sole purpose of gaining few more followers on their Instagram account and after that they leave the pod.
3. Create captivating and engaging Instagram Stories
You know I am a sucker for good Instagram Stories. That function on it's own is worth spending 1-2 hours a day. Some people take it really to the next level when it comes to creating their Stories.
In few words, you should create Stories that have a beginning, a middle and an end. Each of the components can be made of images, videos or a mix of both. There are plenty of apps that can help you to bring your Stories to the next level.
And if you want to learn how to create Stories like a pro, I have a solution for you. Take a look at the course I created that is specifically designed to teach you everything about Instagram Stories:
4. Use tag tools
Here are several tools that can help you find the right hashtags that you can use in the captions of your posts:
- Rite Tag
- Seek Metrics
Or you can just Google the top hashtags used in your industry.
Also check and see what hashtags your competitors are using in their posts. That should give you a pretty good idea of what hashtags you can start using.
Just keep in mind that it's in your best interest to change the hashtags you are using on a daily basis. Instagram is not a fan of accounts that use the same hashtags on every posts they publish.
5. Consider paying for influencers
There is nothing free in this world. And if you think that if you don't pay for ads or any type of marketing campaigns, you are all set, you are very wrong. The time you spent to research, figure out everything on your own and apply it by yourself, cost you even more than if you hired somebody who do this for a living.
There are many website and companies that offer influencers services depending on the industry you are in.
Here is one that was recommended to me:
Check it out and see if it works for you. For a small amount of money you can find somebody who will promote your account on their Instagram, either with posts and/ or Instagram Stories.
6. Use effectively the link in your bio
In best cases this link should lead to a landing page on your website. There you can offer them a freebie in the of e-book, Checklist, Cheat sheet, Blueprint, etc. You freebie needs to be something your audience will be interested of. So interested that are willing to give you their name and email address.
To accurately track clicks, I also recommend you use a custom link (from bit.ly or other services). You need to direct people to this link in your bio in order to really drive traffic – use calls-to-action in your post captions inviting people to click on the link in your bio to get them where you want them to go.
And don't forget that one of the newest options in Instagram is that now you can add hashtags and add another account in your bio. Use this opportunity the smart way. Create your own brand hashtags. They will come in use later. I promise :-)
So, yes, you can successfully drive traffic with Instagram. It takes a little more work than other sites, but I promise it’s worth it! I’ve seen my business grow and love using Instagram to create a truly engaged audience.
I cannot stress this enough when we talk about utilizing every single tool that Instagram is giving us to shine on our brands.
Add hashtags to your Instagram Stories.
Creating meaningful Instagram Story that will give value to your audience and will also be entertaining takes time and effort. And spending all this time crafting the story while forgetting to include hashtags in it, is like effort thrown away. When Instagram gives you the opportunity to expose your stories to at least 3 times more accounts than your actual posts, you better take full advantage and do it the right way. Hashtags get you the views you deserve. Especially when you think of the fact that Instagram Stories has 300 million daily users. What does this mean for your business?
But before I go in details about how to actually use hashtags, I want to go over how hashtags function on Instagram:
How to actually add a hashtag to a Story?
You can do that in two ways: as a sticker or as text.
2. Add a hashtag as a text:
Here is how to do it:
Once you’ve uploaded a Story with a hashtag sticker, anyone viewing your Story can tap the hashtag sticker to view the Instagram search for that hashtag.
If there are Stories related to a hashtag you’re searching, the round icon with the Instagram-colored ring will appear at the top of the search results page, allowing you to view those public stories.
Here are 6 strategic ways to use hashtags for your Instagram Stories:
1. Create your own brand hashtags
Adding a branded linked hashtag to all your brand Stories will increase engagement and awareness of your campaigns within your current audience. For example, you can use branded hashtags for User-generated-content Stories.
Using a branded hashtag for your business or encouraging customers to use your hashtag in their stories, this feature allows other Instagram users to view your business content on the search page and learn more about you, potentially converting new customers.
For example, one of my own hashtags is #askboryana. Several days ago I created an Instagram Story asking my audience to use that hashtag to connect with me when they have any question related to Instagram. In less than few hours I started to get DMs with question. Which I eagerly responded to. This allowed me to meet new people. Turn them into followers and build meaningful relationships while I am engaging and having fun with helping entrepreneurs. And I increase my chances doing so when I respond with a 15-sec video.
A simple Story with a great CTA (call-to-action) can bring you the customers you want to work with.
2. Use geo location tag
Well, first of all, let me show you how to use the location sticker and then we can talk strategies. Right?
You may not know but a lot of people are using hashtags to search for local businesses in Instagram.
And here are few examples:
Lots of times I will use local hashtags such as #buffaloentrepreneurs and #buffalobusiness in my Stories (as well as in my posts). Because of that, my Stories and my posts show up on the 9-grid of the Explore page when searching for these particular hashtags.
If you have a brick and mortar store, the smartest thing to do with your Instagram posts and stories is to research what are the best local hashtags in connection with your brand and use them.
While there aren’t any definitive statistics about the number of searches on Instagram, there are countless success stories about businesses being found by Instagram users, leading to sales.
Adding location stickers to your Instagram stories will help you show up in more searches and make it easier for potential customers to find you. Depending on how popular that location is or how many other people have current stories for it, you may be one of only a few stories featured, allowing you to stand out from the crowd and get the audience’s undivided attention.
However, with Instagram Stories, some location searches will also populate with a story icon, allowing users to view recent stories using that location sticker. The story icon is the circle with the Instagram-colored ring around it at the top of the search. If you tap the Story icon, you will see Stories form public accounts associated with that location sticker.
This tactic is best for those businesses that have a physical location. But you don’t just have to use your own business location a s sticker in your Stories. Instead, you can include local landmarks or popular public locations near you so you show up in those more popular search results.
Using a location sticker for your business or location, or encouraging customers to tag your location in their stories will encourage Instagram users to view your business on the search page and learn more about you, potentially converting those users to new customers.
3. Use hashtags that your audience uses
Take time to research accounts who are already engaging with your brand. Figure out what hashtags they are using in their posts and Stories? Then use those hashtags.
For example, a chocolate company discovers that the #treatyoself hashtag is trending within their audience. When searching the #treatyoself Story, the brand discovers that many of the aggregated photos and videos perfectly match imagery with which the brand wants to position itself. The company started posting Stories using the #treatyoself hashtag. When the brand’s images appear in the #treatyoself Story, the chocolate brand sees more traffic to their e-commerce website through the link in their Instagram bio.
4. Use hashtags excessively
Instagram allows you to use up to 10 hashtags per clip (a segment of your Story). You can expose some and you can hide some of the hashtags on your screen so your image or video doesn't look too cluttered. If vanity fits your brand personality, roll with it. It's up to you. However...
5. Use hashtags sparingly
Be aware of how you use hashtags. If you blast 10 hashtag on one Instagram story, that may not have the best aesthetic look. What do I mean? It removes that thin border between content marketing and blatant advertising. A brand that overuses hashtags can appear to be too focused on likes to give time to more authentic forms of engagement.
Your Stories can still be relevant, timely, valuable and inspiring even without a drop of hashtag in a story. What do you think? Achievable? Definitely.
6. Tell a story with hashtags
Be creative. You can do that, right? It takes a bit training and a research of what is already done and than I am sure you will be unstoppable. Set your mood. Embrace trends. Be personable.
Choose hashtags that are relevant to your Story. For example, use hashtags to describe the mood in your Story or to describe your product/ business, or use hashtags that your audience uses.
In a way, hashtags are emojis. They have a literal meaning and a societal meaning. For example, #OOTD literally means “outfit of the day.” Now, that was a new one for my foreign brain :-) But hey, it's never too late to learn something new. #sorrynotsorry Hehehe, you can sense, I am having fund with funky hashtags today.
7. Be aware of shadowbanned hashtags
Do your research before using a hashtag. It's not worth the effort you will spend crafting your Story, just to find out that you used hashtags that are banned.
Here are some things to be aware while strategically using hashtags in your Instagram Stories:
That said, adding hashtags to your Stories is worth the effort. With hashtags, you have the potential to be found from thousands of Instagrammers in your region, within your industry, of a similar mindset, or across the globe. The question is not if you should use hashtags in your Instagram Story, but how to use them.
If you’re using stories as a part of your Instagram marketing, the clickable hashtags and location stickers will allow you to expand your reach to more potential customers. Using these tools strategically can help drive traffic and followers for both B2C and B2B businesses.
There are so many features you can use in your Instagram Stories. If you want to learn how to create Instagram Stories like a pro, check out the 8-Module course I've designed for it. It covers any level of experience, from a beginner to a medium level knowledge about Stories.
I would love to hear your success stories with hashtags you used in Instagram Stories.
Share in the comments.