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How to Use Instagram to Grow Your Business

Use Instagram to Grow Your Business

HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS INTRODUCTION

It’s about time you learn  how to use Instagram to grow your business!

Why’s Instagram (IG) so important? It’s one of our favorite platforms for countless reasons, but just to name a few –

Brand Awareness 

Good IG feeds lead to better brand awareness which translates to more purchases online and in retail stores. People likely won’t seek out your product unless they already know about it – this way, you make the first move.

Word-of-Mouth

Your business should work for you while you sleep (passive growth), but chances are it hasn’t up until this point. As you build your fan base on Instagram, you’ll have others spreading the word about your business for you through IG Stories, IGTV, and main feed posts.

Competitive Edge 

When you show up on Instagram, you connect with different audiences while keeping your existing fans engaged. You immediately have that special edge against other brands in your niche that aren’t nurturing their online presence.

We’ll Break Down How to Use Instagram to Grow Your Business Into Five Small Steps

This step-by-step post is not only easy to follow, but jam-packed with tips we’ve refined over the years. Both seasoned social media gurus and brand-new influencers will have something to gain from this post. Read on for all the juicy Umai growth tips.

SECTION 1: USE INSTAGRAM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS THROUGH PROPER ACCOUNT SETUP

You can’t use Instagram to grow your business if you don’t have an account yet! Create an Instagram account on your phone via the Instagram app or a desktop computer – we’ve included instructions for both. Already have an account? Skip ahead to the next step in this section: Choosing a Personal, Business, or Creator Account.
 

Create an Instagram Account on Your Phone App

  1. Download the Instagram app from the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play Store (Android).
  2. Once it’s installed, tap the app to open it.
  3. Tap Sign Up With Email or Phone Number (Android) or Create New Account (iPhone), then enter your email address or phone number (which will require a confirmation code) and tap Next. You can also tap Log in with Facebook to sign up with your Facebook account.
  4. If you register with your email or phone number, create a username and password, fill out your profile info and then tap Next. If you register with Facebook, you’ll be prompted to log into your Facebook account if you’re currently logged out. 

Create an Instagram Account on Your Computer

  1. Visit instagram.com
  2. Click Sign up, enter your email address, create a username and password or click Log in with Facebook to sign up with your Facebook account.
  3. If you register with an email, click Sign up. If you register with Facebook, you’ll be prompted to log into your Facebook account if you’re currently logged out.

Now, let’s refine your account preferences and user experience by discovering which is the right Instagram account type for you.

Choosing a Personal, Business, or Creator Account

There are three kinds of Instagram accounts: Personal, Business, and Creator. Instagram began with Personal accounts, and it’s what you’ll have set up by default. It leaves much to be desired, so it wasn’t long before creatives + brands desired analytics and deeper insights to measure their performance.

The Business account option – while sufficient – has served as a catch-all for brands, influencers and every kind of artist under the sun. Now there’s a more specific option you can also try out: the Creator account.

 

The Creator account was added at the end of 2018. 

It’s a Professional Instagram profile that allows users to access more features to control one’s online presence, understand growth and manage messages. Meaning, you’ll gain access to in-depth performance insights and Direct Messaging organizational tools.

It’s also important to note that we’ve seen no negative impact from Instagram’s algorithm or an account’s reach when switching over to the creator profile –  unlike some who have seen a negative impact from  switching to a business account.

The names for these accounts speak for themselves! Are you using Instagram for personal, business, or creative reasons? Here are some more questions you should ask yourself… 

The Personal account is right for you if you –

– Use Instagram to stay in touch with friends, family, or specific communities.
– Are not going to earn an income from day-to-day activities on IG.
– Get or expect to get some Direct Messages (DMs) but have no need to sort them.

The Business account is right for you if you –

– Operate a more traditional business by selling a product or service.
– Are getting or expecting to get a lot of DMs but mostly just the same FAQs.

The Creator account is right for you if you –

– Use Instagram to run a business or plan to, but you or your specialty craft is your business. In some cases, your face or influence drives profit.
– Are getting or expecting to get a lot of DMs that vary a ton because you offer multiple services or handle a high volume of unique commissions.

At the moment, there are no special requirements you must meet to switch over to the Instagram Creator account. If you’re a creative on the hunt for 1) insights on your IG growth + performance or 2) managing a ton of varied DMs, then this account type is likely for you!

Also, there’s Creator Shopping! 

With this feature, you can create shoppable posts to support the brands you love + those you’re partnering with. Users can directly purchase through a link displayed on your photo. Just another way to measure ROI and convey your value as a content creator!

Finally, you’ll also gain access to the Instagram Creator Studio, “an easy-to-use dashboard management tool that allows you to see all your Facebook and Instagram analytics (that you’d otherwise access in the app) – on your desktop,” (Keyhole).

How to Switch to a Creator Instagram Account

Here’s your step-by-step instructions –

  1. Go to your account and tap the menu icon in the top right-hand corner.
  2. Select Settings by tapping the gear icon.
  3. Select Account.
    – If you currently have a personal account, choose Switch to Professional Account and tap Creator.
    – If you currently have a Business profile, choose Switch to Creator Account.
  4.  Choose a category that best describes what you do – so many options!
  5. Option to connect to your Facebook Page
    – If you have a Facebook Page you would like to link to your account, select it from the list that appears.
    – You’re also able to skip this step.
  6. Review contact information. At least one contact is needed to proceed. You will have the option to display or hide this on your profile.
  7. Choose your profile display options. You can decide whether to hide or display your category and contact details on your profile.

Note: “If your personal account is private, completing these steps will make it public. All pending follow requests will be automatically accepted when you go public,” (Instagram).

How to Switch to a Business Instagram Account

  1. Go to your account and tap the menu icon in the top right-hand corner.
  2. Select Settings by tapping the gear icon.
  3. Select Account.
    – If you currently have a personal account, choose Switch to Professional Account and tap Business.
    – If you currently have a Creator profile, choose Switch to Business Account.
  4. Option to connect to your Facebook Page
    – If you have a Facebook Page you would like to link to your account, select it from the list that appears.
    – You’re also able to skip this step.
  5. Review contact information. At least one contact is needed to proceed. You will have the option to display or hide this on your profile.

Of course, you may change your mind once you make the switch so here’s…

How to Switch Back to a Personal Instagram Account 

  1. Go to your profile and tap the menu icon in the top right-hand corner. 
  2. Select Settings by tapping the gear icon.
  3. Select Account.
  4. Select Switch to Personal Account and tap Switch Back to confirm.

All in all, it’s exciting to have more options on this oftentimes influencer-driven platform! Now, it’s time to discuss the content you’ll be thinking up, creating, and sharing on Instagram to grow your business.

SECTION 2: USE INSTAGRAM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH CONTENT CREATION

We could go on about branded content creation forever – it’s a beast! So, we’ll keep this short. These are the most important strategies to keep in mind while creating content to use Instagram to grow your business. 

Create Messaging Buckets

Maybe you haven’t heard of messaging buckets before! They’re basically different categories you can sort future content into, ensuring you touch on all aspects of your business or brand.

As a jumping off point, we recommend the following buckets –

From there, you can create subcategories that fit inside each bucket. Here’s what that would look like for a brand like Purely Pecans, a clean label pecan butter company + what kind of visuals they might use –
Product (or Client) Highlights

  • A photo of a jar of their Pecan Butter

Recipes (DIYs + Tutorials)

  • This one’s self explanatory! Take a product and incorporate it into a recipe or DIY
  • Let’s say you’re offering a service – you’re a realtor. In this case, you’d record a video or snap a series of photos related to home financing or shopping

Education

  • Share the why behind your product or service
  • Spotlight an ingredient or your products nutritional benefits

Community

  • An ingredient photo of salt and sugar that asks users to answer the question: “Are you feeling sweet or salty today?”
  • A caption with a call-to-action in the caption: “Drop an emoji in the comments that perfectly summarizes your weekend plans!”
  • A photo from your day volunteering at your local food bank

Fun, Quotes, and Events

  • A shareable meme video that’ll make your audience laugh
  • You may use your caption to tie this content back to your product or service – or, leave it open-ended to let the moment just be

Assign the buckets different colors and use a highlighter tool to mark them on your calendar along with a short description of the content. Example –

Write Varied Captions

Once you’ve got a visual picked out, it’s time to write a caption.

Consider what you’ve seen other brands in your space doing. In most cases, a blend of short and long captions is a win.

Sometimes you need the space to really get in-depth, especially in an educational or recipe post. Other times, you can let the graphic mostly speak for itself – the caption could be as short as a single emoji that plays up the theme.

Captioning a photo is an artform, and you’ll learn what works best for your audience from trial and error. It’s also a medium to speak to your audience on a deeper level, beyond a simple graphic. Your visual drew them in – now, what do you really have to say?

Do note that you can preface a long caption with a couple of words that summarize what you’re about to jump into, enticing users to hit “read more” to see your full caption.

Choose Legit Hashtags

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it! You should be using hashtags.

Why? Some users follow hashtags, so your content will find its way to their feeds automatically and it’s a great way to aggregate your content.

Also, it’s an easy way to be discovered. It connects your content with new or existing communities that people tap into on a daily basis.

Hashtags are also important as a tool for you to use when engaging with others. We’ll touch on this more in Section 3: Daily Strategy.

You can use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram. We’ll use anywhere from 10-25 for our clients. 

This is because quality outranks quantity once again. Find hashtags that an everyday person uses – not a bunch of bots!

Start with a key hashtag. For a brand like NutriSuits (a prebiotic-probiotic supplement), that could be #guthealth. Paste your key hashtag into Instagram’s search bar. The results not only show you posts, but related hashtags as well.

Browse through the recent tab to get a sense of how often people are posting, what they’re posting about, and if it’s a match for your brand (keeping your ideal consumer in mind).

 

SECTION 3: USE INSTAGRAM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH YOUR DAILY STRATEGY

You may be wondering what the value of engaging on Instagram really looks like. We’ve seen firsthand how it can make waves, so we’re excited to provide you with a breakdown that we personally apply on the daily!

And while it may seem a little crazy to share so much of our strategy, we’ve done just that with our Engaging with Social Content guide which we’ve made COMPLETELY FREE just for you. 🙂 Go ahead – download right this minute!

Engaging with users shows people that you’re a real brand: You care about your customers and want their business. You wouldn’t let a customer service email go unanswered – right?! Same thing here – if someone tags your brand or floats a question via DM, it’s essential that you step in and field those mentions. 

People you’re engaging with will start to perceive your brand as friendly, reliable, and trustworthy.

This translates to an increase in followers, substantial brand loyalty, and lifetime customers.

Plus, it’s a compounding strategy to gain more clients or sales as social channels favor posts that have more likes, comments, saves, and shares – that’s the social media algorithm at work! When you consistently show up, more people end up seeing your brand and how well you interact with others.So, play nice!

Through years of trial and error, we’ve boiled down our tried-and-true strategy to three points that fuel impactful Instagram engagement: Listening, Engaging, and Interacting.

Listening

To be a good listener, you have to remain present. This means getting on the choice platforms for your brand Monday through Friday, even popping in over the weekend, to see what your audience is talking about + how they’re engaging with your recent posts. 

You may choose to set up various notifications via Google, Instagram, and Facebook, so you’ll receive an alert relevant to hashtags, other brand accounts, or influencers that are in line with your brand.

We include a short activity to get you thinking more about who you should be listening to here: Engaging with Social Content.

Engaging on Instagram

Engaging

Take note of positive and negative comments.

If the comment is positive, find a natural way to respond that feels genuine. Record especially good testimonials to utilize in future marketing materials.

As is the way of the internet, negative commenters are inevitable.

You’ll have to decide if the comment is customer service related and needs real attention or just a troll trying to get the best of you – in which case, we’d suggest deleting it or blocking the user if future harassment seems likely.

If it’s a true customer service complaint, take care to reply on the platform the user commented on, letting them know you have DM’d them so you can move the conversation off your public channel into a private channel.

Interacting

Create a few hashtags related to your brand. If you’ve got a long brand name, consider abbreviating it. You could also employ an adjective related to what the brand’s experience is or the mission behind it.

For example, the brand @hailmerrysnacks created their branded hashtag #sinkyourteeth, because it’s more relatable and more likely to be used by fans.

  • Include branded hashtags in every post, encouraging users to tag their own content with said hashtag.
  • Comment and like those using your hashtags – thank them for being a fan!
  • Interact with other hashtags that relate to what your brand does. For a gluten-free snack brand, this could be #healthyeats or #whole30.

Users that click in to your custom hashtag will view a plethora of posts with your product front and center.

One of the most challenging aspects of engaging is knowing how much time to pour into the different relationships you’re building. We like to focus on these three core relationships:

  • Influencers – an individual who has the power to impact purchase decisions of others because of their established following. This could be at a micro (less than 5k followers) or macro (more than 5k followers) level.
  • Like-Minded Brands – brands with similar qualities to your own, oftentimes prospecting the same audience. Careful not to interact with a direct competitor (example: you both sell matcha-based energy bars).
  • Potential Customers – your ideal demographic in age and interests.

Start to schedule time in your day for engagement, dividing how you engage based on which relationships matter most to your brand. 

Experiment with different ratios, like half an hour for influencer + like-minded brand relationship building versus an hour sifting through relevant hashtags. It can get pretty complicated, so we created this timetable that breaks down how + where to invest your time.

And, remember we’ve got our free Engaging with Social Content guide available here!

Once you’ve got this daily strategy down, there are a couple special monthly events you can use to increase your following + engagement on a grander scale. Namely, giveaways.

 

SECTION 4: USE INSTAGRAM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH GIVEAWAYS

Content creation and daily engagement will ensure you use Instagram to grow your business properly. But, we truly can’t recommend this final step enough: host an Instagram giveaway! 
 

Surely, you’ve seen Instagram giveaways on your feed. Aside from a product or influencer shot, they include a call to action in the caption that ultimately forwards a brand or influencer’s growth –

  • “Follow our page, like this photo, and tag as many friends as you’d like in the comments! One comment = one entry!”
  • “Like this photo and follow the link in our bio to sign up for our newsletter!”

We’ve earned hundreds, even thousands of followers and email subscribers for brands by implementing monthly giveaways.

 So, what kind of Instagram giveaway rules should you set? How do you connect with other brands? Let’s dive right into it with these six easy steps.

1. Pick A Goal

Do you want to grow your follower count, email list, or something else entirely? 

Free advice: If you’re starting at follower count zero, building out your follower pool is the way to go. 

Then, you’ll have a greater network to interact with if you’d like to collect emails in the future (product familiarity alone often sways users to forfeit their email in the hopes of a potential discount).

2. Find Brand Partners
If you spend anytime at all on Instagram, you’ve likely got a handful of potential brands you’d love to partner with. Start there and see what happens. There are SO many ways to build out a list of brands – this is just a jumping off point, but we’ve got a few more suggestions within our guide as well.
3. Make Contact

Start with a simple DM. Show a little love for the brand you’d like to team up with and share important details regarding the kind of giveaway you intend on hosting as well as when you plan to launch it. If you’ve hosted a giveaway before, take care to hint at past areas of success.

4. Take Photo + Create Copy

Whether you buy participating brand’s products on your own, have free product shipped over, or design some sort of graphic that represents those brands, now is the time to snap a photo or pop into Photoshop.

Situate all the subject matter so it fits inside of a square to look good in the feed, use natural lighting, or invest in some photography lighting to ensure products are adequately lit. Use bright color backdrops when you can to make the image shine!

Then, get to typing up a killer caption. The main thing here is that you state instructions for participants in a very clear manner with a call to action while including a gentle disclaimer that protects the brand you represent from legal allegations.

You can borrow our Instagram Giveaway Legal Disclaimer Template:

We’ll randomly pick a winner next week. Open to US residents only. Must be 18+ with a public profile to win. By entering you acknowledge that this giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by Instagram and release Instagram of all responsibility. Good luck!

5. Set Dates + Amplify Reach

Nail down a date. We bet you’re wondering: “How long should I run an Instagram giveaway?”

The optimal length of time may vary, but three to five days is pretty standard. We share more info like this in our guide.

After you launch your giveaway, it’s time to promote it accordingly. Share it via Stories – add it to a highlight. Then, budget for the dollar amount you’d like to put behind boosting your post. Note: boosting often makes a HUGE difference!

Take care to optimize your post by sending people to “Your Profile” and select Target Audience to “Automatic” – we’ve tested this and got the highest amount of new followers this way!

6. Choose a Winner

Contact the winner(s) and obtain their address, ensuring they receive their prize.

Take time to appreciate your newly acquired followers – follow up with a discount code or email to solidify a connection.

Don’t forget to share the giveaway results with the brands you’ve partnered with! They’ll be eager to learn about the results + you may want to work together again in the future.

SECTION 5: USE INSTAGRAM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH INFLUENCERS

Instagram influencer programs are a beast to manage. That’s why we’re sharing our cheat sheet with you to simplify the set-up process! This includes our method + completely free messaging templates.

We’ve had great success with these in the past. For example, we established a tiered influencer program that garnered tremendous brand awareness and increased online sales, and also provided excellent UGC to share across social for an all-natural pest control brand.

We were able to increase their monthly reach tenfold with an influencer budget of  only $1K/month. 

This resulted in a team of 25 influencers,  a 900K reach, and an increased social engagement rate from .8% to 4.63% over 4 months. 

Now, those numbers really speak to the power of influencers. And, it also resulted in their highest monthly sales to-date!

Now, let’s make that happen for your brand…

Let’s first define the difference between macro and micro influencer – 
 
Macro-influencers = more than 10K followers
Micro-influencers = 5K-10K followers
 
Of course, this is just how our team defines it. Your own interpretation may vary! And, engagement rates play an equally important role in deciding who is or isn’t fit for your influencer program.
 
Next, you’ll have to decide what goods, services, or money will be exchanged through your influencer program.
 
If you’re working with macro-influencers, it’s common to exchange free products as well as money for a series of branded posts or Stories.
 
If you’re working with micro-influencers, you may exchange free product for a series of branded posts or Stories. 
 
You may offer both of these types of influencers a greater slice of the pie by including them in an affiliate program where they make a cut of each sale whenever users purchase product associated with their affiliate link or a custom discount code.
 
We don’t recommend finding influencers and outright proposing a collaboration (sliding into the DMs when your lead is as cold as ice). 
 
We do recommend engaging with influencers for 1-2 weeks through periodic “nudges” – following, liking, commenting, and DMing their account to develop a history with the user.
 
Remember that you represent one of many brands out there. And, one-off DMs often gather dust as they sit in the requested messages section of a user’s DMs never to be opened (probably ever). 
 
Set yourself apart from the crowd. Actively listen and learn about your contacts before sending offers.
 
To get these conversations going, you’re going to need to build out a list of contacts that align with your brand. 
 
1. Build a List
How big of a list are we talking about?? That’ll depend on your brand. 
 
Most recently, we worked with a brand that wanted to share their product (for free) with 40 micro-influencers. So, we got to work building a list.
 
The total number of influencers included on a list that we recently built (goal: build affiliate program) was about 200. 20% of the influencers we connected with said yes to the free product.
 
Try applying this equation to the brand you’re working with – 
 
Your Goal / 0.20 = the Number of Influencers on Your List
 
Or, start with a list of 100 users as a jumping off point.
 

So, how do you connect with the right people?

2. Three methods for growing your list
  • Software
  • Suggested
  • Instagram re-share accounts
Software
You don’t need software to run an influencer campaign, but it sure does make the process easier! 
 

Check out these apps – 

Suggested
You don’t need software to run an influencer campaign, but it sure does make the process easier! 
 
  • Browse hashtags and the explore page to find your starting place: a user in your demographic with beautiful content that’s well engaged with
  • Go through their “suggested” tab on Instagram
  • Vet accounts. Do they share objectively good content? Are they in your desired demographic? Are they not spammy (collabs with every brand that comes along)? Do they have good engagement rates?
  • Keep track of influencers on a Google spreadsheet – here’s an example of all of the information we keep track of:

Instagram Re-Share Accounts

There are plenty of Instagram accounts out there that build community by re-sharing posts related to a specific topic or place.
 
Let’s say you just opened a restaurant in Dallas, and you want to up the buzz about it on Instagram. You’ll want to engage with foodies in Central Texas.
 
You can find those foodies by tapping into an account like @bestfooddallas. Just scroll their page, check who is credited + tagged in photos, and voila! Dallas-specific foodie photographers.
 
Let’s say you’re a gluten-free flour brand. You may want to connect with healthy foodies – how about the vegan cooking community? 
 
Drop into @vegangirlglow and do the same – check those tags for a whole pool of talented content creators.
 
Okay, now it’s time to pull a Katy Perry on ‘em and turn those cold leads hot!
 Warm Up Leads
 
Let’s talk more about those nudges – liking, commenting, and DMing influencers on a repeat basis.
 
You don’t want to be sales-y. You want to compliment them over the course of 1-2 weeks! Think: “This workout looks like fun! :)” or “Wow, you’re really pulling off those teal colored shoes!”
 
Here’s a timeline to follow or share with your team…
 
 Influencer Nudge Schedule
 
  • Nudge 1, Week 1 – Monday:
  1. Like 8-10 photos, semi-recently posted and randomly
  2. Comment on 1-2 photos
  3. Send a DM
  • Nudge 2, Week 1 – Wednesday:
  1. Like their most recent photo(s)
  2. Comment on 1 photo
  3. Send a DM
  • Nudge 3, Week 1 – Friday: 
  1. Like their most recent photo(s)
  2. Comment on 1 photo
  3. Send a DM
  • Nudge 4, Week 2 – Monday:
  1. Like their most recent photo(s)
  2. Comment on 1 photo
  3. Send a DM
  • Nudge 5, Week 2 – Wednesday:
  1. Like their most recent photo(s)
  2. Comment on 1 photo
  3. Send a DM
  • Nudge 6, Week 2 – Thursday: 
  1. Like their most recent photo(s)
  2. Comment on 1 photo
  3. Send your juicy offer!!
 Free Product Offer Template
 
Hi! You’ve probably gathered by now that we love what you’re doing with your feed and just had to reach out for a quick chat.  
 
We’re [YOUR BRAND NAME] – [YOUR MISSION STATEMENT IN 1-2 SENTENCES].
 
We’re looking to share our [PRODUCT OFFER] with as many people as possible. Would you be interested in trying [PRODUCT OFFER]? At no charge, of course. We’ve been getting feedback from folks seeing [PRODUCT BENEFITS].
 
We’d love to share them with you to get your feedback! What do you think?
 
 Finish Out The Weekend & Beyond
 
We’d love to share them with you to get your feedback! What do you think?
 
Follow-Up, Week 2 – Friday: 
  • Your offer has been sent, so it’s time to check your DMs for any replies!
  • For those that say yes, request and record shipping addresses on your spreadsheet
  • Follow up with any ignored messages (“Hey, just making sure you saw this!!”)
  • Share acquired addresses with your team on a weekly basis to promptly send out product 

That following Monday…

  • Have you met your goal? Whether you’re just trying to send out free products or offering influencers payment, it’s better to keep at this process than just waiting around for a reply!
  • Go back to your list and build it out again accordingly

Repeat nudge process with new contacts until desired number of leads is acquired 

  • For the brand that we referenced working with above, the goal was 10 leads a week = 40 leads over the course of 4 weeks
 Turn Influencers Into Advocates
 
We’re sharing the messaging templates we’ve used with the goal of exchanging free products for an affiliate deal.
 
Hot lead: Let’s say one of your influencers receives the product, loves it, and organically shares their thoughts! 
 
 Hot Lead, Affiliate Offer Message
 
  • Hi ___! It sounds like you’re enjoying [PRODUCT OFFER], so we’d LOVE to offer you a [DISCOUNT]% off coupon code and affiliate link!! You’ll make [COMMISSION]% commission from whoever uses your code or purchases through your custom link on their first order. Let us know if you’re in, and we’ll send you a link to sign up. 😀
Warm lead: If an influencer that you sent free products to does not mention receiving it or plug the brand on Stories/their feed by the end of that 1-2 week period, that is when you’ll need to be direct and ask for feedback + share an affiliate code!
 
Warm Lead, Affiliate Offer Message
 
  • Hi there! Hope you’re enjoying your [PRODUCT OFFER]. Would you be interested in a [DISCOUNT]% discount code and affiliate link to share with your followers? You’ll make [COMMISSION]% commission from whoever uses your code or purchases through your custom link on their first order. Let us know if you’re in, and we’ll send you a link to sign up.
Wrap it Up
 
Not done yet! Keep a close eye on those DMs to follow-up with sign-up links and custom coupon codes.
 
We are currently using an app within Shopify called Secomapp to manage our affiliate program and commission organization and payments.
 
Remember that these programs do take a great deal of time to manage as well as see results from. Nudges may easily be outsourced to a stellar freelancer (we love Fiverr!).
 
 

SECTION 6: HOW DO INSTAGRAM REELS WORK?

Instagram Reels is a feature that allows you to share entertaining and/or informative short videos! Here’s how Instagram Reels work:

Pick a video (or series of videos + photos)
  • This could be one you already have in your gallery, or you can shoot a new one on the fly. Ideally, we suggest that you keep an album of 5-15 second video clips in an album on your phone to be able to piece together for future Reels!
    • *Pro tip: When snapping pics, also take a short video to build up your video bank!
  • Make it short (15-30 seconds). It’s best to keep your reel short so that when people are scrolling through their feed, they notice yours and want to watch it all the way through—and then maybe follow your account!
  • Edit it down to only highlight the best parts (this will also help make it shorter).
Edit your clip(s)

When editing your Reels, you have two options:

  1. Edit within the Instagram app or
  2. Edit within a third party software (we love Splice)

When editing your Reels within the Instagram app:

  • Upload all of your videos and/or photos that you want to use for the Reel 
  • Add filters if you’d like 
  • Add audio using Instagram’s in-app music selection or add your own sound! (see more below)
  • You can also add captions, stickers, GIFs, text, or draw on your clips.
    • We recommend you add a “hook” to the beginning of your video to catch the viewer’s attention (ex. “The best 5 minute summer appetizer”) as well as a CTA (call to action) at the end of the video to encourage engagement (ex. “Follow for more recipes!”)
  • The “Edit clips” button lets you switch between clips when you’re editing so that you can reorder, add more clips, or trim.
  •  
Adding music to your Instagram reel is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
  1. Choose a song that matches your video and/or is trending on Instagram
Adding music to your Instagram reel is as easy as 1, 2, 3:

  2. If importing your own song, make sure it is available for use on       Instagram and that you have the rights to use it.

  3. There are a few ways to add music to reels:

    • Search on the “Search music” bar and add any music you like; or you can select “Saved” from your saved folder.
      • Tip: While you’re scrolling Reels for fun – save trending audio as well as music you love so that you have a good bank of audio in your saved folder for future use. 
  • Add your own audio by clicking “Import” or add a “Voiceover”
  • And finally, use Instagram’s suggestions like “For you,” “New releases” and “Original Audio.”
  • Use the trimming tool (possible again!) to cut your clips down to the preferred length based on the beat of the song.
    • Tip: This is where a third party editing app comes in handy – as you can extract the audio to be able to see where the audio “spikes” occur, making it easier to edit the clip to the beat of the song.
Share your Reels
  • Share to your Feed: ​​ Once you are done creating your video, it’s time to click the “Share” button so that you can view it on your home feed.
    • You can add a custom cover by uploading it at this time – or you can choose a still from the video to be your Reel cover.
    • You can also choose “Crop profile image” to better adjust what is featured on the Feed.
  • Optional: Share to your Story
    • Once posted to your feed, tap the paper airplane icon (share button) underneath a post and select “Add Post to Your Story.” Edit the post in your Instagram Story — you can move, rotate, scale, and add text or different stickers. Here’s a breakdown on how to do this: Share an Instagram Post to Your Story

Reels are a fun way to express yourself on Instagram, so feel free to get creative! They can be used to share your passions, hobbies, interests, and everyday life.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to create and post Reels, you can start exploring one of the most innovative new features on Instagram. They are a great way to share what you’re passionate about with both friends and strangers, so don’t feel shy about making your own. And remember: just like TikTok, the possibilities for what you can do with them are endless!

SECTION 7: HOW TO SWITCH TO AN INSTAGRAM BUSINESS ACCOUNT

Introduction

Instagram is a great way to grow your business and connect with customers. Switching to a Business/Professional account is beneficial because it allows you to access insights about the performance of your content, which is something we recommend you check in on often.

If you’re already on Instagram as an individual user and want to switch to a Business/Professional account, you’ll need to go through a few steps first.

Here’s what you need to know about switching from a personal profile to an Instagram Business/Professional profile:

Anyone with an Instagram personal profile can switch to a Business/Professional account.

You’ll need to have a verified email address and a verified phone number. Once you’re set up on your business account, it will appear in the “About” section of your Instagram bio—along with any other business pages that may belong to you (if any).

The Process

  • Go to your profile in the Instagram application.
  • Tap the three dashes in the top right corner of the screen (the menu will appear).
  • Tap “Settings,” go to “Account,” scroll down until you see “Switch to professional account.”

Switching to Professional Account

To switch to a business/professional profile, follow these steps:

  • Tap “Switch to professional account.”
  • Instagram will provide you with a quick summary about switching to an Instagram Business Account and what it entails. Click “Continue.”
  • Choose the category that best describes you (e.g. Artist, Blogger, Digital Creator, etc.).
  • A reminder will pop up that your account will be switching to a professional account and it will be public. Click “OK”

Important notes

  • Link your business account to an existing Facebook Page that you have permission to manage, or create a new one.
  • Link your business account to an existing Instagram Business profile that you have permission to manage.
  • Fill out your contact information and verify that it’s up-to-date.
  • Be sure to also add a profile photo and a cover photo along with a profile bio.

More on Making the Switch!

To create a Professional account, you’ll need to link your Instagram Business profile to an existing Facebook Page or create a new one. This is an important step because Instagram uses the same login process as Facebook to manage profiles – so if there’s any confusion about how to connect them, it will stop working.

You can also switch between personal and business accounts on your phone without having any additional steps added by going through the steps above again (And don’t worry! Switching your profile won’t make you lose any of your content!). 

We hope this guide helped answer all of your questions!

HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS CONCLUSION
And that’s it – our six-section guide to ensure you use Instagram to grow your business starting today!

Maybe you’re jumping in from the beginning and setting up your first-ever Instagram account. Or, revamping your long-standing strategical process. In both cases and anything in between, these tips will come in handy as you refine your online presence to develop brand loyalty and earn lifelong sales.

Running a giveaway is one of the most effective ways to quickly grow your following.

That’s why we put together this guide, where we dive into the details – little nuggets of giveaway planning gold – AND provide you with our EXACT system and essential resources: checklist, organizational spreadsheet, and messaging templates.

We’ve spent YEARS and TENS of THOUSANDS of DOLLARS perfecting our giveaway strategies. And before you ask, we’ve used these strategies across multiple verticals (from building egg empires to selling supplements)  – and it proves effective every time!

We put in the work to save you time and money – snag our guide to grow your brand today:   Create a Winning Instagram Giveaway: And Get Tons of High Quality Followers

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Become a Facebook Advertising Pro in 3 Easy Steps

INTRODUCTION TO FACEBOOK ADVERTISING

Yes, today is the day! You, yes you, are going to learn about Facebook advertising!!

Why now? Well, we’ve seen entrepreneurs put off Facebook advertising for far too long.

We get it, Facebook can make it intimidating to get started, and spending money on marketing, albeit necessary, can be scary

But, it’s our job to change all that by demystifying the Facebook advertising process.

Look familiar? It’s not  Déjà vu, but another one of our step-by-step blog posts.  That means, it’s a culmination of info and real from-the-field insights we’ve gathered in the past. 
 
But, this post is routinely updated to ensure you’ll always get the latest advice to kill Facebook advertising efforts for your brand or client! 
 
If you missed our last one, here it is: How to Use Instagram to Grow Your Business.
 
Okay, let’s get right into it so you don’t waste another minute without Facebook advertising $ coming in.

STEP 1: FACEBOOK ADVERTISING INDUSTRY TRENDS

Honestly, launching ad campaigns can be scary. Of course, you don’t want to waste a bunch of money on Facebook advertising campaigns that don’t convert. 

Our first piece of advice? Simply, don’t reinvent the wheel.

Really, the smartest marketer in the room knows what their competition is up to. Start here, by pulling existing inspiration from your industry’s trends to educate yourself on what’s already working.

 Yep, we’re suggesting you spy on your competitors before getting started!

Find the Competition

Now, if you don’t already know who your competitors are, here is a simple way you can find them!

Go to your Instagram profile, then click the arrow next to “Contact”. Up next, Instagram should populate with various accounts that are similar to yours.

Sift through the results,  finding some direct competitors. Go on, repeating this process on more like-minded profiles to discover additional competitors.

Make a List

For this purpose, make a list of 3-5 top Facebook advertising competitors you admire in your space.

On our team, we like to add ours to a spreadsheet that lists the competitor’s assets like Instagram, their following, and website. That way, we can quickly check up on these accounts.

Spy on Their Facebook Advertising Library 

Onto the next step, see what type of ads your competition is running. Above all, never copy and paste their work. In any case, that’s not only plagiarism – your audience will see right through it.
 
To start, go to  The Facebook Ad Library and type in your first competitor’s name. Soo effortlessly, Facebook will populate all the ads this page has run!
 

Once you’re there, ask yourself the following questions about Facebook advertising…

1. How long has the ad been running:

  • Usually, longevity means it’s a winner.

2.  What creative is being used:

  • Alright so, do they have lots of videos? 
  • If so, are they educational videos, testimonials, slideshows? 
  • Do they run carousel ads? Catalog campaigns?

3.  What copy works:

  • Alright, is their copy short or long? 
  • Are they offering discounts or coupon codes? 
  • Or, are they educating in the copy or going straight to the offer?

4. See where people are being sent:

  • Now, where does their Facebook advertising lead? 
  • Click their CTA buttons to view their landing page. 
  • Once you’re in, find out where they send customers – straight to a product page on their website or to a longer sales page (to warm up leads).

5. See who’s being targeted:

  • Go ahead, click on the CTA button. And, pay careful attention to their UTMs to learn more about who they’re targeting.

6. Get on the list:

  • Sign up for their email list, gaining a peek into their opt-in flow.
  • Do they send educational content? Or, do they run promos?
  • Finally, what type of ads do they serve you after you’re on their list?

7. Abandon checkout:

  • Go to your competitor’s site, moving through their checkout flow.
  • Next, enter all your information then abandon your cart.
  • Notice, what type of abandoned cart email sequence and ad campaign you get.
  • Do they offer a coupon code? Or, do they push any type of scarcity (Ex. “This offer is ending soon!”)

So, that’s how you can easily spy on your competition and launch better Facebook ads!

Remember, stay tuned in to what your industry leaders are up to via Facebook advertising. And, ask yourself what you could be doing to spice these ideas up. Inevitably, that’ll set you apart.

Now, you’ve got an understanding of what’s already out there. Okay, let’s jump into making enticing visual creatives and copy that actually sells!

STEP 2: FACEBOOK ADVERTISING CREATION

Take note, great ads are more than just pretty pictures! So, let’s zoom in on what makes a truly eye-catching creative. And, one that sells at that.

Though, you don’t have to be a designer-photographer-stylist extraordinaire to get a positive return on your ad creatives. In reality, you just need to know the guidelines while sprinkling in a few of the tips below to produce something your potential customers will love!

Through this series of tips, we’ll show you how to stop the endless social media scroll and awe your audience.

Think about when you’re checking in on the goings-on, scrolling through your Instagram like a madwoman, when something flashy catches your eye. We actually made a Facebook just group for this, called CORE 3. Join here!

This is what you, as an advertiser, need to be aware of and emulate to create a great ad.

Keeping your customers in mind, ask thyself when creating ads, “What stops thee in scrolling, and therefore, what will stop thy in scrolling?”

1. Interactive

Movement may appear in the form of a Facebook carousel or catalog ad as well as a poll add-on. Or, you may create movement with slideshows and video creatives.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a videographer! You can use Facebook’s ad creation tool to simply upload photos to make a slideshow or a video with text overlay.

2. Colorful

Eye-catching, bright colors stop users from scrolling but so does negative space. Play around with both, but don’t stray too far away from your existing brand’s attributes.

Over time, we’ve found that high-contrast and slightly over-saturated photos tend to out-compete others. So, turn up the contrast and saturation ever so slightly to make your ad POP!

3. Readable

We all know copy is important, but the size matters too! For example, when you see text while scrolling that your brain wants to process – it can be more efficiently understood depending on the text’s size.
 
So, we recommend highlighting triggering words that you’d like to get across to your audience quickly by increasing their size. Be highly selective when you do so, adding emphasis to one word rather than every bit of text on an ad.
 
And just in case you weren’t in the loop, Facebook removed the 20% text rule on ads (the rule stated that less than 20% of your ad could be text). We still find keeping text to around 20% works best in most creatives, as it looks more native to be “image heavy.” However, we find the best results with text heavy graphics when running promos and sales.
Pro tip: Create folders in Instagram to save any ads or imagery that stopped you in your tracks (scroll).
 
Then, join our CORE 3 Facebook Group – we post new ad, email, or social posts inspiration there every dang day!

4. Dimensions

We’ve all heard it, and we’re here to tell you – it’s true. When creating an ad, you must keep the platform(s) you’ll be running it on top of mind.

This way, you can size and resize your creatives to take up maximum space, and therefore exposure, in the feed!

Here you go, the most popular ad types and platforms and preferred sizing:

  • Facebook Feed Desktop/Mobile: 1200px by 628px OR 1080px by 1080px
  • Carousel Ad: 1080px by 1080px
  • Instagram Feed: 1080px by 1080px
  • Facebook or Instagram Story: 1080px by 1920px
  • Video Ratio: 16:9 to 9:16
Now, save or pin this graphic for ongoing reference:
Facebook will let you upload different creatives onto different platforms. This way, you can customize each ad to perform its best.
Simply, click “Select a placement to customize” to upload different creative sizes for different platforms.

5. Tooling

Here, have some of our favorite tools:

  • Canva, free and user-friendly
  • Pexels or Unsplash, free stock images
  • Adobe Spark, a tool in Adobe Suite, so it’ll cost you
  • Instagram Story, create an Instagram Story full of stickers + other fun movement, then download for free (easiest video ad editing app + super duper native)
  • Pull UGC, user-generated content generally outperforms any creative you design up! People love other people and UGC provides the social proof your brand needs! Be sure and ask before using the creative as an ad though. We simply shoot over a DM asking for permission.

Get creative and seek feedback from your teammates or influencers in your field.

You’ve got a good idea of what kind of visuals you’ll create, but which ad type should you work with first? Through this next step, we’ll spotlight our favorites…

STEP 3: WINNING EXAMPLES OF FACEBOOK ADVERTISING

‘Cause, not all ad types are created equal! In fact, the first ad type that we recommend to our clients is the Facebook Catalog.

Often called a Dynamic Product Ad (DPA), it’s basically a database of your products ready to advertise and sell.

Ad features clothing brand Lou & Grey, a fave among our team for standout fashion pieces.

 It connects directly to your site to collect information on your inventory, like whether a product is stocked and if a price or description changes.

What’s more, your catalog can pull information from your store on a daily basis so your catalog ad campaigns stay up to date.

The Facebook advertising catalog allows you to dynamically retarget users 

It’s based on the product they viewed, and it deep links them directly back to that product page. When you connect your catalog to your Instagram account and Facebook page, those users can shop your profiles directly.

Also, you can even create multiple product sets in your catalog to create specific upsells and cross-sells based on what a user did or didn’t do on your site. 

The Facebook advertising catalog is so great because it’s an adaptable tool

 

A solid jumping off point, it’s generally the first ad campaign we recommend launching as it can retarget users that are the lowest hanging fruit.

Meaning, you can send people who’ve viewed a product or abandoned their cart directly back to the product pages they first viewed.

In this way, these ads tend to yield the highest returns for one’s business. 

 Since this is our absolute favorite type of ad, we’ll dig in a little deeper on how to create a successful one!

 

4 Facebook Advertising Catalog Best Practices

1. Stand out with a frame

Find above, a video ad we made for Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi – illustrates this product’s probiotic pop with a super simple frame-by-frame animation! 
You already know this, color helps catch the attention of a scrolling user! So, adding a colorful frame to your product catalog to show off that mouthwatering deal will almost certainly seal the sale.

2. Be relevant

If you want a recipe for Chocolate Banana Pancakes with Bone Broth Protein, you gotta check out Ancient Nutrition. 
In your Facebook advertising catalog, you can dynamically retarget people that abandoned their cart and be super relevant when you speak to them through ad copy.

3. Make a slideshow

You must, MUST, have multiple photos in your Shopify product page for this one to work – it’s a great way to showcase lifestyle product photos along with your run-of-the-mill product photos!  
If you’ve got several product photos for each product, create a product catalog – each frame is its own slideshow and catches the attention even more from the scroller!

4. Get creative

Playful catalog ad for Serenity Kids – can’t resist a cute little veggie garden. 

Challenge yourself, getting creative and interactive by making a wide motif with copy that they’ll want to read until the end.

With this ad there is a clear subject that highlights what sets the brand apart to naturally entice the reader to continue a story or idea by clicking through the entire carousel.

Try testing the same creative with different subject lines and copy to see which performs better with your audience.

If you’re not constantly looking for ways to entertain your audience… 

…you’re not doing it right!

For added customer entertainment inspo, browse Facebook’s Ad Library or join our Facebook Group – CORE 3!

Alright, so you’re all set when it comes to the Facebook Catalog, let’s push forward with other ad types.

Creating interesting, educational and eye-catching ads is one thing. But, adding an interactive element will take your ads to the next level.

Let’s talk Facebook advertising polls…

If you haven’t heard of or seen this feature, here’s what it looks like:

Emmy’s Organics is using a Facebook poll to ask their audience which flavor they’d choose!

Timeline-wise, Facebook implemented the ability to add polls to video ads at the end of 2019.

There’s no stressing this enough, it’s so important to connect and engage with your audience. And, polls help you do just that.

Facebook ran a study testing their new poll feature for video ads, with promising  results. They said, “[in] 5 out of 9 brand lift studies, we observed poll ads increased brand awareness compared to video ads.”

Of course, we ran an experiment of our own testing a poll video ad versus a regular video. And, our poll video converted completely cold audiences at a ROAS of 6.30 and had double the engagement. In this client’s ad portfolio, that well outperformed other non-poll video ads.

We’re here to tell you, video ads have always been queen. 👑 So now, just think what you can do with video plus a poll! 👑👑👑

The poll possibilities are endless, so try using polls to:

  • Ask your audience, “which variation of a product they would like best?”, then send them directly to that product page!
  • Learn more about your audience, asking them a question about themselves or their interests
  • Find out if your audience found the information you provided in the video helpful!
  • Discover your customers’ biggest pain point by asking them even more questions
  • Learn which new flavors to launch by polling your audience!

Enough chatter, let’s walk through how to launch your first poll ad:

  1.  First, hop inside your Facebook Ads Manager to create a new campaign
  2.  Poll Ads are only supported with the following objectives, so be to sure to choose: Brand Awareness, Reach, Traffic, App Installs or Conversions in your ad set
  3.  After you’ve uploaded your Video, click “Add Poll” 

          4.  Now, enter your Poll Question and your 2 Choices 

5.  Pro-tip, add specific URLs for each choice that the user can visit after they’ve made their selection!

P.S., Facebook only shows your polls on your video ads in the Facebook feed. But, it will play your video without the poll in other placements.

You’ll quickly start to collect valuable poll data, here’s how to view your poll results:

  1.  First, go to your Facebook Ads Manager
  2.  Then, select your ad with the poll on it
  3.  Next, click on “See Charts”
  4.  Finally, scroll to the bottom of the page to see Interactivity Results

We’re curious, are you testing video poll ads? Let us know, how they’re working for you!

If the process seems a bit much, we’re here to help! If you’d like us to run profitable campaigns for you, learn more by scheduling a free strategy call with our team.

BONUS: How Much Does Advertising Cost?

So now let’s get into the nitty gritty, how much is this gonna cost ya?

Well, it depends!

We generally recommend brand’s to spend 20% of their monthly revenue on advertising.

So, for example, if you’re pulling in $3,000 a month, then you could start advertising with $600 a month. This will allow you to at least set up some retargeting campaigns to make an efficient, non-leaky, marketing system because you’re retargeting those web visitors and social engagers that need that extra attention to come back to your site and purchase.

Of course, you can start with a larger or smaller budget as well.

If the 20% rule was shocking and you’d like to start advertising at a smaller scale, then we recommend targeting your lowest hanging fruit. What does this mean?

Think about who your hottest leads are currently, they’re going to people that have added a product to their cart, or even initiated a checkout, but dropped off right before buying.

You’re (hopefully) already sending these people abandoned cart emails, but people need multiple touch points before making a purchase, and that’s where your lowest hanging fruit ads come in. We call this type of campaign a Bottom of Funnel (BOFU) retargeting campaign, because we are retargeting those hot leads who are at the bottom of the funnel. 

For our BOFU campaign, we are generally retargeting people who have viewed a product or added to their cart within 7-30 days (the range will depend on how large your retargeting audience is – you’ll need to skew toward the longer day range if you’re a smaller company with less website traffic – because Facebook will need enough data to optimize your campaign and exit the learning phase).

We also use this catalog to retarget our previous purchasers from 30-60 day range (generally you want to give them time to consume the product before reminding them it’s time to restock!), as we all know that it is much cheaper to convert an existing customer than a brand new one, so use some of that small budget to ensure you’re increasing your life-time value (LTV) with this retargeting ad group.

But enough with the set up, let’s get back to the main reason we’re all here, the advertising cost!

So, for those of you who need to start with an extra small budget, you’re going to run this one campaign only, and set your daily budget to $5-10 to start.

This may be enough, you may need to up it slighting to exit the Facebook Learning phase, but this means you’re only spending $150-300 month to massively reduce your abandoned cart rate and increase your overall conversion rate!

Pay close attention to your ROAS with this campaign, you want this campaign to at least break even, but we generally see the highest return on ad spend (ROAS) on this campaign overall.

Be sure and check out our notes above on how to make these catalog campaigns higher converting using eye-catching frames and imagery!

Say you got some investment or money bags ready to go hard on your social ads. Well, in this case, the skies your limit! We still recommend starting with less than half of your target monthly budget so that you have the ability to scale the right ad sets and campaigns and trim the fat, rather than having unproductive ad sets spending budget.

With a budget over $2K a month, you’re generally able to create a full marketing funnel, meaning you can set up retargeting campaigns and prospecting campaigns – where you’re targeting and bringing in new leads into your facebook marketing funnel.

Though, it’s dependent on your niche, we find any less than this makes it too difficult to optimize your prospecting campaigns as there’s not enough budget to gain enough conversion event data that Facebook needs. Also, it’s difficult to do proper audience and creative testing under this mark.

With a budget over $2K we recommend spending 70% of your budget on prospecting for new customers and 30% of your budget is spent on retargeting.

You generally want to set your prospecting campaigns daily budget at least 3-4 times your target cost per acquisition (CPA) as well.

Once you’re hitting break even or better, it’s time to start scaling your campaigns. We recommend scaling your Facebook ads budget by 20% every 3 days or so, just as long as your ROAS and cost per purchase (CPP) stay steady, but no more than 50% in a 3-day period or you could cause the algorithm to go out of whack.

So, there you go. How much does Facebook advertising cost?

Well, it depends.

You can spend as little as $150 on solely BOFU retargeting, or really as much as you want!

Remember, we recommend 20% of your monthly revenue as your ad budget, and at least $2,000 a month if you want to set up a full Facebook funnel system – meaning, retargeting existing audiences as well as prospecting new audiences.

OUTRO TO FACEBOOK ADVERTISING

Yas, you did it! Now, Facebook advertising isn’t so intimidating. Right??

Especially, knowing there are many other food, bev, and wellness (CPG) brands out there like you. Now, you’ll know HOW to look to them for inspiration. And, UTILIZE these tips to refine your ad campaigns + make them your own.

And of course, there’s a balance to strike. But, we believe more is more when it comes to inspiration. 

That’s why we created this Facebook Group: CORE 3

This way, we’ve all got an outlet to share killer ads, posts, and emails that we see on the world wild web.

So, we’d LOVE for you to join up and share what you’re working on.

But, wanna get to know us first? Shoot us a message at hello@umaimarketing.com or follow us on Instagram!

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