Do you use Instagram to market your training business? If not, you could be missing out on a busy, highly engaged marketing avenue that’s growing at an incredible rate. In researching this article, I found the following recent stats about Instagram (Source: DMR – June 2017):
- Instagram has 400 million daily active users and 700 million monthly active users
- In fact, 20% of Internet users are active on Instagram
- 07% of the posts are photos
- There are eight million businesses on Instagram and one million monthly advertisers
- The typical Instagram user will see their following grow by 16% per month
I also found some more stats from Instagram for Business:
- 80% of Instagram users follow a business on the platform
- 75% of Instagrammers take action after being inspired by a post
- 60% of people say they have discovered new products on Instagram
Having used Instagram to promote The Trainers Training Company for some time now, I have seen first-hand that the platform offers massive marketing potential for training businesses because engagement/interaction is so high.
Setting up your Instagram for Business profile
If you are new to Instagram, your first step should be to set up your Instagram for Business profile.
To do this, simply download the Instagram app from:
- The App Store for iOS devices
- Google Play for Android devices
- The Windows Phone Store for Windows devices
Once the app is installed on your mobile phone or tablet, tap the Instagram icon to open the app.
You will then need to create your account. Tap Sign Up and enter your email address then tap Next. Alternatively, you can tap Log in with Facebook to sign up with your Facebook account (Instagram is owned by Facebook).
Once you’re signed into the app, go to your Profile page (indicated by a ‘Person’ icon in the bottom right of the screen) and then click on the three vertical dots to the top left of the screen. This will take you to the ‘Settings’ page. If you scroll down the Settings, you should see an option saying, Switch to Business Profile.
Your account will need to be Public rather than Private to be able to switch to a business profile (this is the setting below Switch to Business Profile).
Once you have made the switch to a business account, you will be able to add business information to your profile such as your opening hours, business address and phone number.
I’d also recommend adding a clear profile picture or your logo as the profile picture, a short bio that tells people what you offer, and a link to your website.
Tip: When creating the username for your business profile, try to use your business name. If that’s already been taken, choose a username that people would immediately connect with your business.
Using your Instagram for Business account
Now that your Instagram for Business account is up and running, you will need to post content your feed that will appeal to your target clients. If you go to my Instagram profile for The Trainers Training Company, you’ll see that I post:
- Hints and tips aimed at trainers
- Inspirational quotes and memes
- Photographs from Trainer Talk Live events
- Links to my blog articles
The key is to show your audience how your brand sees the world, as well as the key messages and activities for your brand.
Tip: You could feature ‘Day in the life of a trainer’-style photos or even post an Instagram ‘story’ about a training day (see more about Instagram Stories below).
Hints and tips for building up Instagram followers
I’ve found that the following actions have helped me to build up my Instagram following:
Like on Twitter, you should use hashtags to signpost what a new post on Instagram is about. Unlike on Twitter, you’re not limited to 140 characters per post.
People can find new content by searching for hashtags that appeal to them or meet their needs. In the screenshot below, for example, you will see that I’ve used hashtags such as #trainers, #trainertalk, #trainingbusiness, and #marketing in the image caption/description.
Instagram currently allows a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, although I personally think this can feel spammy. According to a recent infographic on Entrepreneur.com, Instagram posts with 11 hashtags attract the most engagement.
You should try to create brand-specific hashtags where possible, especially if you’re running a time-limited campaign. Check out this blog on Later to see how brands are using hashtags on Instagram.
That being said, general hashtags such as #training and #marketing are important too because they help people find posts within broad areas of interest.
In addition, it’s worth using a website like Top-Hashtags.com to keep an eye on which hashtags are currently trending. Is there a way that you’re able to use them to promote your own posts?
Before we move on from the subject of hashtags, you could think about running a #hashtag photo competition where you ask your fans to upload their photos alongside the competition-specific hashtag. You could then offer a prize to the picture with the most likes by a certain date.
As you can also see from the screenshot above, I make sure that all my Instagram posts are branded with The Trainers Training Company colours and logo. This ensures consistency across all platforms and helps to make followers familiar with my brand, so they can spot it in a crowd.
Engaging with followers
Because Instagram is such an interactive platform, I always try to make time to look at what my fans are posting and commenting on or liking their posts. If someone posts about your brand – for example, a picture from a training day you’re running – you could ask their permission to share the picture on Facebook or Twitter, or even to embed it in a page on your website.
Also, if someone takes the time to comment on one of your Instagram posts, always try to take a moment to reply. You can mention your followers by using @inserttheirusername to tag someone in the same way as you would on Twitter or Facebook.
As with all social media platforms, it’s important to post consistently so that your followers begin to know when to expect new content from you. For some businesses, this might mean posting multiple times a day, whereas other businesses may only manage once a week. Try to set a realistic schedule and stick to it.
Other ideas for Instagram engagement
I feel like I have only just scratched the surface of what’s possible using Instagram for Business with The Trainers Training Company page. Other ideas for engagement include:
- Linking Instagram and Facebook: You can add an Instagram tab to your Facebook page to enable you to instantly share your Instagram photos to your Facebook fans. This is an effective way of bringing your audience from one platform to another and/or providing visual content on Facebook.
- Instagram videos: You can post up to 15 seconds of video on Instagram – this can be a fantastic way to stand out in picture feeds and bring your brand to life.
- Ask questions: Instagram is a surprisingly effective platform to ask potential clients questions about their lifestyle, business needs, favourite services or brands. You could also ask ‘Fill in the blank’-style questions such as, “If I could change one thing in my business today, it would be __________” or “The best training to grow my business would be _____________”. You would need to accompany this with a relevant picture but it could deliver some eye-opening answers.
What are Instagram Stories?
Back in August 2016, Instagram launched the ‘Instagram Stories’ feature as the platform’s answer to Snapchat.
You can start a new Instagram Story at any time. This lets you add a collection of photos and videos to Instagram that disappears after 24 hours and can’t be found on your permanent Instagram timeline. You can add extra elements such as text and graphics to your Story posts to build engagement.
As a trainer, you could run a Story about a training event, showing the prep you put in, the venue, refreshments, attendees, materials, feedback and so on as the event unfolds. This enables you to interact with followers in real-time.
Instagram Stories act like a time-limited, exclusive highlight reel that can only be seen by your Instagram followers for a short time. More than 150 million people watch at least one Story every day and a third of Instagram Stories come from businesses. Unlike on Facebook where people tend to watch videos without the sound on, 70% of Instagram users watch a Story with the sound turned up.
If you want to know more about using Instagram Stories, check out this helpful blog from Hootsuite.
See you on Instagram
I really would recommend giving Instagram a try as a marketing avenue. As I’ve mentioned above, it’s visual, engaging, great for branding, and a lot of fun to use.
Why not give me a follow at @thetrainerstrainingcompany? Also, feel free to pop your Instagram username in the Comments below so that I can follow your page too.
Looking for more ideas to help your training business stand out from the crowd? Download your free copy of my popular report – 20 ways to re-energise your training business.