How to Use Instagram to Grow Your Online Business
instagram growth

Instagram is a hugely powerful tool right now when it comes to growing your online business. There's no denying it - here are just a few reasons why:

Around 1 billion active monthly users

Over 500 million active daily users

400 million users are watching Instagram Stories daily

Instagram images receive on average 23% more engagement than images on Facebook

So if you're struggling to grow your business and you're not currently using Instagram, then you may have just found yourself a huge, un-tapped opportunity!

Before you drop everything and head over to start posting - STOP! I need you to read this first because, while Instagram IS a powerful tool, you need to know how to actually use it if you're going to get the results you want.

Posting random quotes and pictures of what you ate for lunch probably isn't going to cut it.

Neither is trawling the internet for all the 'like for like' and 'follow for follow' threads you can find..

In this post I'm going to share a number of strategies that you can use to make sure that your time spent on Instagram isn't wasted and helps you to grow your business (and your income) a whole lot faster than you have been...

Ready? Let's get started!

⚠️Pssst! Don't miss your invite to my free masterclass later this month! I'll be sharing the framework I use in my own business that helped me to go from working ALL THE HOURS and getting nowhere to earning consistent income by working LESS! (Just scroll to the bottom to find it).

Set Instagram Goals

First things first, before you even publish one post, you should know WHY you're doing it. What do you actually want Instagram to do for your business? WHAT are you trying to grow?

In my own business and when I work with clients, I focus on 3 key areas of growth:

REACH: the number of people who actually know that your business exists

RELATIONSHIPS: the number of people who choose to take their relationship with you 'to the next level' and so become leads

REVENUE: number of sales!

Now, the beauty of Instagram is that it can help you with each of these 3 areas - woohoo!

BUT, your strategy will differ depending which of the 3 you are focusing on. Let's take a look at each one in turn...

How to Reach New Ideal Clients with Instagram

With a billion active monthly users, chances are there are a fair few of your ideal clients on Instagram - but how to find and attract them? Here are my 3 top tips:

Your Content

Well, duh! 

I know you know this - but do you REALLY put it into practice? If you want to attract your ideal clients, then you need to create content that's going to speak to them directly. 

Answer the questions they're asking

Share stories that they'll relate to

Let them know you understand them

Your Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to reach new audiences of people who aren't yet following you so don't miss the opportunity and make sure you spend some time researching the best hashtags to use in your niche.

Check out the posts of other influencers and leaders in your industry and see which hashtags they tend to use on a regular basis.

You can also take a look at what hashtags your ideal clients are using and try some of these.

Lastly, take a look at Instagram's own suggestions. Whenever you enter a hashtag into their search, you'll see tons of other suggestions popping up, along with their usage volumes. Pretty handy, eh?

There's more than one way to skin a hashtag..

Everyone knows they should add hashtags to their Instagram posts in order to reach more people - BUT have you have thought about searching those same hashtags and then using them to go check out other people's accounts and engage with them?

Because if you haven't, let me tell you my friend, THAT'S where the real power of hashtags lies. 

One of the most common questions I'm asked by new online business owners is 'how can I find my ideal clients?' and THAT right there, is one of the easiest and most effective answers. Here's what to do:

  • 1
    Search one of the hashtags from your niche
  • 2
    Head to the 'Top Posts' section and choose 5 posts.
  • 3
    For EACH post, go check out the person's account and if they look like a potential ideal client, take the time to like 2-3 of their posts and leave at least 2 meaningful comments.
  • 4
    If you have time, then you can repeat the same process for posts in the 'Recent Posts' section!

IGTV

Content Marketing is the number one strategy to grow your audience.  If you're not sure what it is, then basically, it's creating free, valuable content for your ideal clients. There are 3 key channels in play when it comes to content marketing:

Blogging 

Video

Podcasting

IGTV is Instagram's newest feature and their answer to other video giants such as YouTube. 

By creating regular videos on IGTV, with content that will attract your ideal clients you can start to build your audience - and your credibility while you're at it!

If you're interested in learning more about Content Marketing then check out my post: What is Content Marketing & Why Should You Bother?

If you want to know about how you can get started with IGTV then take a look at my Ultimate Beginners' Guide to IGTV.

How to Use Instagram to Grow Your Email List

Once someone knows you exist, you need to give them a next step - a way to connect with you on a deeper level. There are 2 key ways that you can build relationships:

Community

Email

Here I'll be talking specifically about growing your email list, because in my opinion, email is still the easiest and most effective way to build a relationship with your audience. That being said, it would be remiss of me not to mention the fact that community building on Instagram will be a natural outcome of creating great content and pro-actively engaging with others. If you nurture that community, then you will be in a great position to both grow your list OR sell directly through Instagram itself.

(For more on why email is so powerful and how to get started with it, check out my Complete Beginners' Guide to Email Marketing)

Instagram can be a fantastic channel when it comes to list building so let's take a look at few simple strategies that you can try:

Your Bio Link

When you create your Instagram bio, you can include a clickable link. Rather than just sending people to your website, why not send people to a landing page where they can sign up for your lead magnet (not sure what a lead magnet is? Check out this post).

Your Feed

Once you've got your bio hooked up to your lead magnet registration page, you want to let people know that it's there! The first place to do that is your main feed...

Create a post which highlights the problem that your lead magnet is solving for people - and then tell them where to go to find your solution. Simple!

Your post could be a personal story which shares a time when YOU had the same problem and then explains what you did to solve it.

Or it could be some quick tips which help people with the problem and then tell them about your lead magnet for a more comprehensive solution...

Experiment with different types of content to promote your lead magnet and see what your audience responds to best... (and don't forget some well researched hashtags to help your post reach as many ideal clients as possible!) 

Your Stories

I LOVE Instagram Stories! I mean to the point of addiction... Anytime I get a spare moment, I pick up my phone to see who's been doing what and once I start watching, I CAN'T STOP.

And I'm not the only one! Stories are gaining popularity (and with 500 million daily users, they're already pretty darn popular!) so if you're not showing up there too then you're missing a trick.

Your Instagram Stories are a great opportunity to show the real you and really connect with your ideal clients. What do you think is more powerful? An image and post talking about your lead magnet or YOU, all singing and dancing YOU talking passionately about it?  (Don't worry, I don't mean you have to literally sing and dance on your stories... although who knows? Could be worth a try!)

IGTV

Other than your bio, IGTV is the only place on Instagram where you can actually use clickable links so it's definitely a great place to be promoting your lead magnet and leading people to your registration page.

You know that valuable free content we talked about earlier when we were discussing how to grow your audience with IGTV? Well, you can use that same content to move people to the next step and invite them to sign up for your email list too! GENIUS!

Let's say you're life coach and you help busy career women to practice self-care. You could create a value-packed video where you share the perfect morning routine for busy women and then invite your viewers to get their hands on your lead magnet (a free meditation guide) and link to the sign up page in the video description. 

Simple.

Learn more about Strategies for IGTV.

How to Sell with Instagram

Ok, people are discovering you through your great content, they're getting to know you better through your emails and now they're ready to buy. Woo!

What part can Instagram play now, in this final stage of the buying journey?

Well, unsurprisingly for this super-flexible channel, there are a few options!

Direct Messages

You've probably heard it said that business is all about relationships. Well, relationships are all about conversations - and trust.

If someone has discovered you on Instagram, started to engage with your content and your business and is now considering whether to work with you or buy from you, then it may well be that a simple conversation could make all the difference.

If you want to sell on Instagram then think about how you build direct messages into your strategy and how you can start as many conversations as possible.

Learn my 4 Part Framework to Replace Your 9-5 Income!

Join me for my FREE live workshop on Monday 22nd October at 6.30PM (BST), where I'll share my strategy for working less and replacing your 9-5 income with ease!

Colette Broomhead

Helping you to leave your 9-5 behind for good and create a business and life you love.