How to use Instagram to build business

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By Megan Salzano As the most visual—and arguably most beautiful—social media platform, Instagram (IG) can play a major role in successfully selling flooring. Not only that, but IG’s user base has grown exponentially over the past few years. As a result, more than half of all businesses (60%) say they are planning to increase their IG budgets in 2021, according to Hootsuite’s annual social media report. Like all good marketers should, they’re following the user growth. IG’s advertising reach grew by 7.1% in the most recent quarter—more than three times Facebook at 2.2%, the report found.

IG is a powerhouse selling tool and can be used in myriad ways to help grow brand awareness, interact with your customer base and even make sales—if used correctly. Following are a few new features to drive sales—beware: they’re not all for the faint of heart.


LO-FI VIDEO

Lo-fi style video—video with a DIY look and feel—is trending among businesses and brands looking to engage customers on an authentic level. Whether it’s Reels, behind-the-scenes Stories, or first-person IGTV videos, the style used by most Instagrammers is popping up in everything from organic DIY videos to Super Bowl ads. The takeaway? Customers enjoy content that feels approachable and unpolished.

Instagram

REELS

Instagram Reels is a relatively recent type of content that the platform introduced to compete with TikTok. It’s advisable to incorporate Reels into a posting strategy, not only because the algorithm favors the use of new content types but because people really enjoy and have fun with them. Reels—as well as Posts and Stories—perform better if they include hashtags that are relevant to capture the attention of target audiences. Use targeted hashtags that your actual customers care about and follow. It’s better to get 50 people who actually need what a business is providing than 500 people who are just “scrolling by.”

—Irene Williams, Msg2Mkt

INSTAGRAM SHOPPING

Instagram Shopping is a feature that allows brands to create a digital, shareable catalog of their products right on Instagram—it’s a brand’s customizable digital storefront. Think of it as a landing page where users can discover or browse all your products. Users can learn more about products right in the app, and either purchase directly on Instagram (with Checkout) or click through to finish the transaction on the brand’s e-commerce site. You can also use a Shopping Tag to tag products from your catalog in your Stories or Posts, so your audience can click through to learn more or buy.

—Stacey McLachlan, Hootsuite

INSTAGRAM LIVE ROOMS

With Live Rooms, brands can reach new audiences, drive sales and engage

with their community—all in real-time.

Here are three ways to use it to your advantage:

#1: Product demos: Visual content is key to promoting and selling products.

Combined with Instagram Live Shopping, viewers can purchase products featured during a broadcast.

#2: Chats and Q&As: Host panels, Q&As, webinars or even an

FAQ series as part of your customer service strategy.

#3: Interactive classes: Live Rooms provides a way to meet with a small

group—whether it be RSAs or product reps—to share valuable insights or education.

—Monique Thomas, Later

PROFESSIONAL DASHBOARD

Instagram’s Professional Dashboard takes some of its existing business tools and consolidates them into one easy-to-use dashboard to help users streamline administrative tasks. The “Grow Your Business” section brings together the tools you need to focus on revenue-generating tactics. And at the bottom of the Professional Dashboard is the “Stay Informed” section. Here, IG provides helpful articles and carousels designed to help you start using other features on Instagram, as well as best practices for each of them.

—Naomi Nakashima, Social Media Examiner

Be sure to check out this story in FCNews‘ March 29/April 5 print edition.

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March 29/April 5, 2021

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