Having an Instagram page for your business is a crucial way to project your business’s existence online. It's the most direct way to create customer engagement, reach new audiences, and generate sales.
In this article, we are sharing with you insights from Gretta Van Riel, an online entrepreneur who has built and managed multiple e-commerce brands over the last 10 years. She has grown to over 20 000 000 followers combined across the Instagram accounts for her e-commerce stores.
Read along as she shares with us the exact strategies she uses to train her team on how to explode Instagram accounts for e-commerce businesses. Her insights can work in managing Instagram accounts for any business and growing the accounts to reach more audiences and increasing the followers in the process.
The Overall Goals
Before starting out with an Instagram page for your business, Gretta advises everyone to have their overall goals well laid out. For the case of most online businesses like e-commerce or a SaaS, the overall goals can be around:
The main ideology behind each goal should be to turn your followers into your customers.
According to Gretta, Instagram account management is separated into two main activities, which are:
Starting Out Activities
It's better to move fast as you can always change a caption or remove a post if you need to. Don't get so overwhelmed with the overall feed aesthetic that you don't keep moving forward and posting consistently because consistency is really key here.
The Instagram Algorithm
Instagram is a business. And as a business, they want to keep their users on the platform for as long as possible because that optimizes their revenue through the number of ads they're able to serve. Basically, that’s Instagram's main goal and to achieve it, they adjust their algorithm to ensure that it’s able to keep people on the platform for long.
According to Gretta, there are 7 key factors that affect the Instagram algorithm, including:
While setting up your account at the start, you need to optimize it for conversions from the get-go. At this stage, you have to set up the initial feed content, bio and add a link to the bio.
The feed should look aesthetic to the audience. It should also have a similar feel to make them much less likely to follow through and buy from your brand because it is just less consistent and it may not feel as authentic to the follower.
The bio must aim at addressing the user value proposition of your product, social proof, and a call to action which is mainly the link.
Story highlights help to add as much value to your audience as possible. You might show tutorials on how your product works, social proof showing reviews and previous customers’ results and testimonials All these help you to gain more trust from your audience.
To come up with some potential ideas for story highlights, it's always a good idea just to check out other brands within your niche that have good Instagram management practices. Then you can save and mimic the best ones for your highlights
You’ll also want to add icons to the story covers for each highlight with a consistent sort of theme so that your profile looks consistent with your branding.
Story highlight ideas can include:
Don't reshare stories that feature influencer discount codes because if you re-share those stories, you won't be getting an effective idea of how many times that code was used on that influencer's behalf.
Now that we've gone through the profile setup, we now can move on to what Gretta referred to earlier as content territories. These are basically categories of content that will help you never run short of post ideas.
There are five types of content territories according to Gretta:
With community posts, you make posts related to your community, ranging from user-generated content and influencer-generated content to those that bring an emotional connection, and inclusivity.
Also, storytelling types of posts, team posts, and everything kind of like people-related fall into this category.
This includes what you offer, things like product unique selling points or unique value propositions, your brand values, storytelling on your brand's behalf, and other types of promotional content.
It could also be marketing campaigns. It might be the fact that your Black Friday campaign has just launched, your Valentine's Day sale is launched, or another seasonal sort of marketing activity or campaign is launching as well. Not forgetting things like giveaways.
This is where we can really add value for our followers or potential followers, by educating them not only about your product but also about the niche that your product is in as a whole.
If your brand is like a part of a larger movement from a sustainability sort of perspective, or if you have a social cause or society empowering aspects, then all that content falls under this category.
This one is for building customer relatability with the brand. So it includes the use of funny memes and quotes. No brand should take itself too seriously all of the time. So this is where you can have a bit more fun with your audience.
As you can see, across those five territories, you can come up with lots of different ideas for content so that you're never stuck because of running out of ideas. You can alternate through those categories to make the right balance of each.
Product posts are the most important ones here. You can always use them as the primary posts and the others alternated as secondary posts for engagement.
Managing a Live Instagram Account
While managing an Instagram business account, you should always aim at adding value, building trust, and inspiring action. That action can either be an engagement-based action or a conversion-based action. There are a few important steps that are involved in the daily management of Instagram accounts and they include:
Finding content to post on Instagram should never be a pain as it's not always a must to come up with your own original content all the time. You can definitely just re-share or tweak content from Instagram as long as you always credit the original creator. Some places to find content include:
Once you have found the content that you are interested in, you can send it to your team members' group or save it to collections under Instagram-saved posts.
Once you've found the content you like, you can save it to a relevant collection to help you plan your feed. You can name the collections after each content territory.
The best possible content for your feed is always going to be your very own top-performing content. The goal here is to identify your top-performing content by looking at the types of posts that have historically performed best on your account so that you post them.
This sounds really obvious but a lot of people don't do it. When you lean into this, you're able to get more reach and engagement on your post hence your brand gets more exposure.
How to Find Your Top Content
The process here is to head into your insights and then, under the content tab, go to posts and hit see all. You can then sort by, for example, six months, and you can even sort by relevant metrics like reach, engagement, saved shares, etc. website clicks.
Website clicks are a great way to sort because they will show you all of your top posts that have brought the most traffic to your website. And because your goal is to drive as many of your followers across to your website to become customers of your brand, what you have to do is to identify commonalities between top-performing content and certain responses. Once you see those commonalities, you can make more informed choices about what to post more of.
Reposting viral content is another way to get your account a higher reach. You can easily tap into a trend and or re-upload the same viral post on your account and get a lot of exposure.
To find viral content, simply go to your explore page and if you notice an account that averages 800 likes for example on each post but one of their posts happened to get 2 000 likes, then you've identified content that their audience particularly loves.
So you can go ahead and re-post that to your own account obviously with crediting the source. This works because Instagram actually uses visual recognition software to give momentum to viral content.
So Instagram can tell if a post has gone viral in the past and they're more likely to give that post more reach when you re-share it.
Apart from the image/ video content on Instagram, captions are 50% of the equation as well. So the visual or post might stop your follower you know from scrolling and then your caption will hold them there or convert them more likely.
Captions are often really forgotten about. We definitely need to understand that an Instagram caption is another chance to connect with your audience, add value, and provide a call to action.
Majority of the caption ideas you should try fall under the following categories:
It's very important to include a call to action whenever you can in your captions. So you can include statements like "Click the link in the bio", "Tag a friend", or any kind of action you want your audience to perform.
"A lot of people don't think hashtags are always that relevant or they're not going to do much but honestly some of the reach on my top posts has been attributed to hashtags. Sometimes, your post can kind of go hashtag-viral.", Gretta says.
You can generally put up to 30 hashtags and they will work really well. You can simply add the hashtags as a comment to the post in order to keep the main caption clean.
You can find top-performing hashtags related to your niche on websites like displaypurposes.com. It's also important to use different keyword-related hashtags like you might be selling a homewares product, and you can include interior design style hashtags to get a broader reach.
This is the exact training that Gretta uses to teach her social media team on how to manage Instagram accounts at scale. Her team runs over 20 Instagram business accounts with millions of followers altogether, both hers and for her clients. Some of these include 7 and 8 - figures e-commerce stores like Calming blankets, The Oodie, and so many more
So we hope you found it helpful and very replicable.