Using Instagram to grow your business can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s great for self-promotion and inspiration, but on the other, it can be really distracting. How many times have you meant to “just post one thing” and gotten caught in the vortex of mindless scrolling and hashtag hunting?
Here, we will take look at a few tips and tricks for developing an effective and efficient Instagram practice for your beauty business. Specifically, we want to look at how to reach your desired audience and what you’ll want to post, to get the right message across.
When to Post
How many posts you publish in a day and when you post them are two often overlooked parts of an Instagram strategy. Most people tend to think that the more you post, the higher your chances are for reaching more people. This is NOT the case. Two things work against you here:
- Follower fatigue
- The almighty algorithm.
Firstly, social media has become the digital equivalent of fast fashion. Content is constantly being churned out, and very little of it is actually useful or meaningful. Chances are by the time your followers are seeing your content, they’ve already been barraged by lots of other accounts.
It may sound counter intuitive, but posting less, is often more. This allows you to focus on creating quality content and gives your followers a chance to anticipate what you will post next. While generally the best times to post are around 11am, try testing out a few different posting times to see when your audience is most active.
Main takeaway: The sweet spot for Instagram posts is generally 1 post per day, definitely not more than 2. Plan your posts around your audiences most active times.
What to Post
A mix of content types is best but keep it simple and focused your message. Regardless of if you are posting videos, photos of your work or retail products, or graphics meant to inspire or start a conversation, keep it centered on what your business is all about.
What do we mean by this? Experimenting with different content formats is great, jumping on every latest social media trend is not. It’s important to keep in mind why your followers are with you and what they are looking for. Chances are it’s mostly beauty advice and product recommendations, so don’t be afraid to stick to that message.
If your salon is also has a secondary focus—say on sustainability, overall wellness and/or community involvement, it is more than ok to include content that speaks to those aspects of your brand as well. Just remember to keep quality at the forefront.
Main takeaway: before creating a post, ask yourself “How does this benefit my audience? How does it contribute to my business?” If you have an easy answer to those questions, proceed. If not, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 ;) Head on back to the drawing board.
Love them or hate them, hashtags are key to any effective Instagram strategy. Knowing how many hashtags and which ones to use is one of the best ways to get your name out there. There are two key things to keep in mind when working with hashtags:
Starting with research, keeping a log of hashtags that you use will make your life 1000x easier. While you can/should include broad-reaching tags like “#haircare” or “#haircolor” , etc. you will be completing with thousand or even millions of other posts to be seen. This is why a mix of broad and specific tags is the best approach.
If you’re unsure of where to begin looking for more pointed hashtags to use, a great place to start is with other accounts that you follow for inspiration. Even if they are a direct competitor, you will get some good intel on how to reach your desired audience.
When it comes to hashtag placement, no one, and we mean no one wants to see a bunch of hashtags cluttering up your caption. The more polite approach is to create a comment after posting, with all of the relevant hashtags included.
Main takeaway: Aim for a mix of popular and highly targeted hashtags on your Instagram posts. The magic number is 10-12, and please, please please, don’t put them in your main caption.
When starting out with social media, try to be patient. It takes time and tinkering to find the right audience, and no one gets it right off the bat. Instagram is an ever-changing landscape and a bit of a wild west show, so take a few deep breaths before diving it. It is possible to use this platform effectively, helping you to build your business, one post at a time.