Does any of this sound familiar?
You know Instagram is important but you can’t figure out what you should be posting, how often, which hashtags to use, etc...
You are waaayyy too busy to post consistently!
Your staff doesn’t produce enough good content for you to share on the business page
You’ve got tons of ideas but not sure where to focus your attention
You’re not that comfortable with technology and feel like you are overwhelmed
Whatever your situation, you’re reading this article because you know Instagram is important for your business, so that’s a great first step! There are some fundamental steps you can take to get started in the right direction towards an Instagram page that helps you grow your business results.
Here’s our quick guide to creating a solid Instagram strategy for your business:
1. Determine Your Objective
It can be easy to lose track of your goals on Instagram and feel like you should be doing it all. But what did you set out to do initially? And is this still your priority?
It might sound overwhelming, but having clear goals will actually make your Instagram life simpler because you’ll have a clear focus. Figure out what is important to your business, and then put your energy into that rather than spreading yourself too thin!
Once you determine your main objective, you need to determine how you will measure your success. This is known as establishing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). You want to know if you’re actually achieving your goals or not!
So for example, if you want to drive traffic to your website or blog, tailor your strategy to driving traffic and keep a close eye on metrics such as reach and link clicks. If your priority is boosting engagement, you want to be tracking the number of likes and comments. If your objective is increasing awareness, then your key indicator might simply be your total number of followers.
Your objective/goals can and should change over time, so it’s a good idea to check in every 3 months: What are the results? Are we reaching our goals? Are the activities (posts, ads, boosts, etc...) consistent with our goals? Is it time to re-establish a new goal?
2. Develop a Unique, Consistent Visual Style for Your Brand
Instagram is all about high quality, relevant visual content. You want your content to stand out and represent your brand image, and therefore you need to establish some visual guidelines for your posts. Understand your company’s brand identity as well as the kind of visuals that resonate with your target audience. Remember, it’s not what you like, it’s what you want your followers to think of your company. Here are some ideas:
Create a custom template or frame with your brand colors for all your posts
Use a consistent background (that fits with your image) for all posts
Determine a visual style that fits your image: high contrast + bold colors? Or soft images with contours?
Add a signature, image, or hashtag to every post
But you’re not a designer you say? Most people aren’t! So don’t let that stop you. There are tons of tools out there to help you create better Instagram content.
Try apps like Canva, Unfold and Easil. They have templates that you can choose from which can save you loads of time, although you can also edit them to personalize your own which can help you stand out even more and reinforce your brand identity. For Instagram Stories, there are special apps such as Fastory and Quik that will give you some simple tools beyond the basics to help bring your content to life.
Not sure what your audience will like? Test it! You can try 1 style for about 2 weeks and measure the amount of likes and comments, then try a different style for another 2 weeks and compare the reaction. You can even put 2 images side by side and ask your followers which one they prefer. Do this a few times and you’ll quickly get a sense of what your followers react to best.
3. Engage With Your Audience
How do you know what kind of content your community wants to see most? Just ask them! Of course you can also get a sense by looking at which posts have the most likes, comments, etc...but engaging with your audience is faster and more social anyways! Ask questions in your captions, reply to comments with more questions that allow you to dig a bit deeper, and use the polls feature in Stories.
For example, a Stories Poll could be a simple yes/no choice as to whether a post on, say, shoppable Instagram content would be helpful for your audience.
For more ways to make your social media posts more engaging check out this article. The more you learn about what your followers like and what they want to see and hear more about, the better you can become with your content and the more focused you can be with how you spend your time and energy. It’s a win-win!
Even if your main objective isn’t to boost engagement or increase followers, one simple tip that will help you be more successful with your Instagram account is to have real conversations with your community. Don’t be too formal and ‘big business’. This is social media and people want to connect and interact. So don’t underestimate the value of talking one-on-one with your community!
4. Use The Right Hashtags
There’s more of an art to using hashtags than there first appears. When used correctly, they can be a great tool to help increase the visibility of your content. When used incorrectly, they can result in a post that looks like spam or even a bit desperate. Poorly researched hashtags (ex: really generic or really obscure) won’t improve the visibility of your content because, either a) there are just too many posts tagged with the same hashtag or b) no one is actually using that hashtag.
For example, #love has been used 1.3 billion times, so it’s more likely that you win the lottery 3 times in a row than someone seeing your post when they search #love!
So what’s the secret formula? Unfortunately, there is no 1 right answer, but here are some guidelines that can help:
Use the search function in Instagram to find hashtags that are popular but not too popular.
Use hashtags that are relevant to your industry and your post
Use a variety of hashtags in each post. If you copy and paste the same hashtags in every post, the Instagram algorithm will identify it as spam and the visibility of your content will be reduced
To find out more about how to pick the right hashtags, check out our hashtag guide for salons and spas here.
5. Collaborate With Influencers
You’ve probably heard that collaborating with influencers is a great way to reach new people, boost your brand awareness, and promote trust in your products or services. But how do you find a good influencer? Just because someone has tons of followers doesn’t mean they are an influencer. If you are a community-based business, then micro-influencers with around 10,000 followers who are well respected in the community can be a great choice for brands with smaller budgets. You can also look for influencers within your industry, just make sure they are an influencer for the type of audience you are looking for, not an influencer for yourself and your staff.
A great way to start looking is to search relevant hashtags (yep, hashtags again!) to find relevant content that will appeal to your target audience. You can look at some of the other people that your target audience follows on Instagram to identify some potential influencers. Then, just reach out via direct message or send them an email (most influencers who are open to collaborations will include their email address in their bio). You’ve got nothing to lose by asking! Make sure you present a win-win solution and some stimulating ideas around fun content to get them interested.
Set a goal, revisit it regularly
Create quality content that is consistent with your brand
Engage with your audience
Use strategic hashtags and influencers to help get your content seen by a broader audience
Do these things and you will be on the path towards success with your Instagram strategy! Remember that success is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You might not feel after the first few months that you are successful, but stick to these fundamentals and you will get there.
Looking for more Instagram and social media tips for salons and spas? Check out the rest of our Resource Library for valuable content to help grow your salon or spa business!