This is Episode 19 of This Old New Business weekly business podcast with Jeff Korhan.
If you have been wondering why Instagram has become one of the top social media channels the last couple of years — but more important — how you can use it to market your business, then you will want to listen to this episode.
Sue B. Zimmerman kicks everything off by explaining why a strategic approach to Instagram is absolutely essential. Then we dive into the specific steps you can follow for putting that into practice, with all of it anchored to Sue’s proven and memorable CLEEP formula.
Our Featured Guest: Sue B. Zimmerman
Sue B. Zimmerman, otherwise known as the #InstagramGal and #TheInstagramExpert is a master at Instagram for Business. She teaches entrepreneurs, business executives, and marketing professionals how to leverage the power of Instagram for business marketing. Sue B. is the author of Instagram Basics for Your Business, a speaker, business coach, and the founder of Sue B. Do and a number of other businesses.
Permanently Profile Your Best Content
Sue B., as she likes to be known, naturally embraced Instagram for business marketing when she recognized its capabilities for personalizing any business. Having enjoyed success with a scrapbook business, she realized Instagram is ideal for visual storytelling
There are other social media platforms for business stortelling, such as LinkedIn Publisher. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels, the LinkedIn and Instagram platforms offer the unique advantage of permanently profiling your best content, to the extent the platforms do not substantially change.
Use CLEEP to Get More Peeps
In addition to providing valuable tips and tools for creating attention grabbing photos, Sue B. shared her CLEEP formula for attracting and engaging more Instagram followers to your business.
Instagram is searchable, with hashtags being vitally important for categorizing your images so that they can be found. Use Tagboard.com to research hashtags and create your own unique hashtags for building your Instagram community.
Categories – Sue suggests starting with broad categories and then niching down. In an earlier espisode of This Old New Business Mike Rorie discussed how the most successful landscape companies build repeatable income by focusing on a landscape business niche. For example, commercial landscaping is a niche, but within it are shopping centers and other even narrower niches.
Important Tip: Your hashtags are most valuable in the comments of your posts, so make it a habit of commenting on your posts and adding hashtags there.
Locations – Location is a powerful category for virtually every small business. The trick is to combine location with your brand or product and service names.
The idea with all of these hashtags is building a community around your brand by attracting a portion of the community that is interested in and supportive of the value your business provides.
Emotions – The power of social media in general, but especially visual storytelling, is triggering excitement and other emotions that encourage favorable buying behaviors.
As with any other form of content marketing, being strategic with your Instagram posting is vital. Remember, more is not a content marketing strategy. Start by asking what you want your customer to feel about your business.
Events – Events are excellent opportunities for creating visual content that is then curated on Instagram with appropriate hastags. If those events are recurring, then your business is progressively creating greater alignment with like-minded people.
Naturally, there are major events such as Social Media Marketing Worlds 2015. (Come join us!) It’s the world’s largest social media event. However, an event of any size is relevant, and worthy of it’s own unique hashtag that honors everyone involved. It’s all about community.
Products – It should go without saying that you ideally want to build communities of people that are fans of your products. When you create unique hashtags for your products you create an online community hub for that product for sharing ideas, solving problems, and growing your business.
All of this probably sounds like a lot of work, and it is. However, once you develop your strategy and learn the practices and tools for implementing it, you’ll soon discover how powerful Instagram is for building communities of fans that want more of what your business offers.
Check out the Key Take-Aways below for more tools and training options for taking your Instagram marketing to the next level.
How is your business marketing with Instagram?
Lighting Round Tips and Advice
Sue’s Top Sales or Marketing Advice – Offer free 15 minute consultations or use some other means to offer value that allows for sampling of your expertise. Then monetize that relationship.
Her Favorite Productivity Tip – Use Trello for managing your notes and workflow. Also, if you have been challenged with learning Evernote, subscribe to Steve Dotto’s YouTube channel. Here’s his video Introduction to Evernote.
A Quote that has Inspired Sue’s Success – Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up.
- Check out WordSwag – a cool 3rd party app for creating graphics for Instagram.
- If you are an active Instagram user or manage multiple accounts ScheduGram is a paid tool for scheduling your Instagram images.
- Follow Sue B on YouTube and get free access to lots of Instagram tutorials, including The 3 Things You Should Do When You Take an Instagram Photo.
- Consider joining Sue B’s InstaResults Facebook Group.
- If you would like to take your Instgram to the next level, check out Sue’s Insta-Results Course.
- Use Tagboard.com to research hashtags and create your own unique hashtag to build your Instagram community.
- Use the free Iconosquare site to analyze your Instagram metrics.
- Grab your free copy of 7 Things Not to Do on Instagram at SueBZimmerman.com
- Take Sue’s challenge: Take a screenshot from any graphic on this page, post it to Instagram and tag Sue B Zimmerman or The Instagram Expert and Jeff Korhan (me!) and we’ll both respond and engage with you!
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About the Author: Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.