Here are a couple of crazy things:
- You may or may not know that Facebook owns Instagram (they bought it for $1 billion and it’s now worth $100 billion)
- People spend nearly as much time on Instagram as they do on Facebook
- That is over one sixth of the entire value of Facebook
It wasn’t that long ago that some were questioning the future of Instagram. You could share video on other networks. Then Snapchat came along and changed things and threatened Instagram.
But now Instagram is bigger than ever.
I heard something interesting from a smart, trusted friend. He said that if he had to give up social media that he thinks he’d have no issue other than Instagram.
And the reason was that Instagram seems to be very positive. There are definitely trolls, but compared to other networks it’s very positive.
Anyway, lots of people are hooked on Instagram and that’s good for local businesses.
Here are some ways to reach your customers using the channel.
#1. Hire Someone
If you’re not already doing Instagram the odds are greatly against you jumping in and doing enough on your own to make it worthwhile.
Sure, you can give it a shot and see if you like it. You can experiment with a few things, but 99.9% of the business owners and managers that do that will fail. You’ll read about the successful ones and get frustrated.
You have to enjoy doing Instagram and not enjoy the idea of being successful at it.
Just hire someone to do it for you. Part-time is probably enough, but full-time would be great.
#2. Post Very Often
The number one reason to hire someone is because you want to post often. Multiple times a day.
You see, people are spending as much time on Instagram as they are on Facebook. They’re on it for hours every day. They can’t get enough. The brands and people that provide the most are usually the most in demand.
Will all of it be great content?
But you and your person will learn everyday what works and over time the quality will become great.
#3. Post Platform Relevant Content
What I’ve learned over the years is that it’s really difficult to reuse content across platforms. It’s even really difficult to repurpose content across platforms.
It can certainly be done. You can save a lot of time. And it can work well in some cases, but to really make an impact it’s worthwhile to really figure out the type of content people want on each platform. They’re all a little different.
For example, you can post angry rants on YouTube, but that won’t be as accepted on Instagram.
It’s another reason to just hire someone to do this. Find someone that loves Instagram. They’ll know what they like. They can experiment and figure out more, but let them have control to post what they know the audience will like.
#4. Use Gary V’s $1.80 Strategy
It’s brilliant and it works.
It’s a task you can give your new hire. Have them make it a regular part of their day. You’ll connect with tons of people and over time you’ll grow your audience.
For your local business it’s basically jumping into 90 local conversations everyday and adding your two cents. (90 x $0.02 = $1.80)
#5. Use Every Hashtag Related To Your Area
You can go overboard with the hashtags on Instagram. People are used to it. They’re okay with it.
Identify every hashtag you can for your local area as well as for travelers and for your industry. Just start trying some out. Dive down the rat hole. Keep writing down everything you see.
Then visit Instagram on the web and it’ll tell you the numbers following and using the hashtags.
Use the biggest ones.
#6. Direct Message Local Influencers
If you see that a mom in your city has a huge number of followers on Instagram it means she’s a local influence and you need to figure out a way to connect.
You could offer freebies, but do it in a way that you don’t expect anything to happen. That’s difficult to do, but do it ten times, 20 times, a hundred times and you will get a few that come to your business and then talk about the experience for their followers.
It pays off, but the moment you start expecting something you’ll turn people off and nothing will happen.
#7. Embrace & Promote Your City
You’re a local business. It’s all about your city. Become one with your city. Promote other businesses. Promote all the events. Go to the events and spend time with them, document them on Instagram. Talk about new construction projects or how the local teams are doing.
Embrace your city to the point where your followers follow you to see what’s going on in the city.
These tips really aren’t all that difficult to do. But they are a challenge because they all take up time. That’s why #1 on the list is probably the most important. If you can’t hire someone to do it full-time for you then you may as well just stay off the platform.
But if you can…and if you can empower them to take control without your micromanagement then you can win big.