Mixing business social media isn’t new – but gaining a larger customer base using platforms like Instagram could transform the way you do business.
As of February 2017, Instagram had over 600 million monthly active users. Why is that important? This is the number of potential customers available to you if you use the social media platform correctly. Instagram offers 10x the engagements found on Facebook, reports a Forrester study. Its users are more interested and willing to spend when redirected to ecommerce websites compared to other social platforms.
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75% of Instagram users take action after viewing a post, the app’s advertising statistics show. This includes visiting another website, conducting an online search, shopping or telling a friend about what they’ve just seen/read.
How can you harness the power of photo-sharing to attract and keep customers? These dynamic women are using Instagram as a tool to achieve more sales and build a customer base.
1. Who needs a website anyway?
As a young female-run start-up, you want to succeed quicker than your capital runs out. The sooner you breakeven, and eventually make a profit, the more you can focus on growing and not just keeping your business afloat.
The first question to consider when looking to keep costs low is: “What can I do without?”. For Rina Chunga, founder of fashion house Rich Factory, it was a website – thanks to her Instagram account. “Instagram is a free marketing platform. My clients are able to see my pieces, who is wearing what and how, and the prices, all without me having a website,” she says.
The only expense in this regard may be a few gigabytes of data, because your customers can help you with your free marketing efforts. “I ask clients to post pictures of their garments, this way they market the brand to their followers as well as get featured on our page alongside other Rich Factory brand lovers,” adds Chunga.
2. Sell through your followers
Getting your clients on board sometimes involves more than a few posed photos of them using your product, but actually telling people about it. “Instagram has played a major role in how we’ve grown. As our following on Instagram grew, so did our clientele,” says Sonto Pooe, founder of hair and body care brand NativeChild, who started her business in 2015. She boasts 13 000 followers.
Instagram not only enables constant interaction between the business and its customers, but markets a brand using an intensified version of word of mouth.
“The more our clients share their success with our products on their pages and ours, the more enquiries and customers we get,” says Pooe. Customers who use your products and have a good experience become brand ambassadors by sharing their experience on social media.
Related: Make your limited marketing budget work for you
3. Humanise your brand
Kate Marie Grinold Sigfusson’s luxury baby brand Babies4Babies gets more customer conversions through Instagram than any other channel, social media or otherwise, she says. She gets it right by sharing her story with her followers, to whom she refers to as her ‘community’.
“By sharing the Babies4Babies story, specifically my journey as a new mother and entrepreneur, we have humanised the brand,” Sigfusson explains. “It makes the company more of a family rather than a product.” Human interaction in an age of smart technology helps current and potential customers discover and connect with the human side of your business.
Instead of just posting images of products, add more faces and images that tell your story to your followers.
4. The ideal target market
58% of Instagram users are women compared to 42% men, according, to research by eMarketer. This puts women-centred industries such as fashion, beauty and jewellery in the lead as they can reach more women through the platform. “Instagram’s high percentage of female users works in our favour,” says Karin Rae Matthee, founder of jewellery store Dear Rae.
“Ladies love to swoon over new jewels and share that excitement with their friends and partners. And being a creative business, having a platform that is visually focused makes the most sense for our marketing,” she says.
While men still make up a sizable amount of Instagram users, knowing your market and where they are helps you use this tool more effectively to turn your page followers into paying customers.
Don’t stop at Instagram. Use it as a means to draw customers, but not as the only way to get their attention. Put your website link in your bio, use Twitter and LinkedIn, and other platforms in conjunction with your Instagram strategy.