What if there was a place you could go to interact with your ideal customers and subconsciously remind them what you can do for them?

What if you could feature your products in fun, creative ways that would make people want to run out and buy them immediately. And even take the next step and share them with their friends?

Welcome to Instagram, the social media platform exclusively dedicated to gorgeous photos and video.

If you aren’t using Instagram, you’re missing out on ways to touch your target market and remind them to come visit you.

Instagram has millions of users on it, and you can drive them back to your products by using these 10 steps.

Create a profile using your recognizable brand mark

This goes back to your branding. If you have one icon that is consistently on all of your products, you ideal customer will easily recognize it online and that will lead them back to your site.

If you are a service based business and don’t have a logo – your smiling face should be your recognizable brand mark.

Since I have a lifestyle business and write novels, my brand mark on Instagram is my headshot.

Write a compelling bio

While it’s easy to say, ‘write a compelling bio’, how do you actually know if it’s compelling?

The key here is to focus on what you do for your customers and include a call to action. It might sound something like this: “Helping creative entrepreneurs with websites, marketing, and social media. Join the community of inspiring entrepreneurs focused on improving marketing.”

Link back to your site

Next, you’ll add a link back to your site, but this shouldn’t just be a link to your home page. It needs to be a powerful page that inspires action.

I recommend linking to a landing page with a freebie. Why? The key is to get the information of a potential client and move them through your marketing funnel.

Currently, my business Instagram is linking to my Facebook Group – The Indie Marketer Hub. This is a no pressure community for entrepreneurs and they don’t have to enter their email address anywhere!

On the other hand, my bookish Instagram account is linking to a landing page where readers can download a free chapter. Yes, an email address is required for that one!

Choose a tone and focus

Your business has a personality, and you can use a few adjectives to describe it. The pictures you post should convey your brand personality, further reinforcing and attracting your ideal customers.

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of buzz going around about themed accounts. For example, all pictures should have a white background with a pop of color and use the same filter. I don’t think that’s true. Your pictures CAN vary – as long as they convey your marketing message to your potential clients and customers.

One of my favorite accounts with a dedicated tone and focus is Curiouser Editing.

Curiouser Editing provides a service for a product. This account has a compelling headline and fun photos that make you want to, honestly, read all day.

Select your photos wisely

If you are a product-based business, use Instagram to display your products in real-life situations. While there’s nothing wrong with posting a picture of inventory, or 99 bottles on a shelf, what’s even more appealing is posting images of your product as you expect your ideal customer to use it.

An excellent example of a product-based company using their product well on Instagram is Califia Farms.

Another one would be my book account (yes, can’t help the shameless plug) – Angela J. Ford.

Instagram Domination

Post consistently

Once you’ve created your business profile, your next step is to establish consistency and post every single day.

Great times to post include early mornings, early afternoons and late evenings. You’ll need to tweak this based on your ideal customer, posting at times when they are online.

You’ll establish the peak time to post images by testing. Just look at how many likes you have during a certain amount of time. Personally, late evenings are when I get the most likes.

Engage your ideal customer

A successful post will not only look fantastic, but it should include an engagement tactic on it.

Remember, social media isn’t about having a one-way conversation, you’ll have more success converting your ideal customer if you are likable first.

Ask a question at the end of your post, ask them to double-tap if they agree or tag a friend.

Leave in depth comments on other posts. I think we’ve all gotten the posts with a thumbs up or other emoticon. While reacting to a post is fine, that doesn’t give the person enough information to be curious about your account.

Use hashtags

You should use hashtags to automatically boost your profile and pictures. If don’t already have one, create a memorable hashtag for your brand and encourage your customers to use it when they talk about your brand online.

Conduct some research and take a look at your competitors to see what hashtags they are using to connect. If you are just beginning, use at least 11 and no more than 30 hashtags in your posts.

If you already have a following it’s okay to use fewer hashtags and add them to the comments section of your post. If you have over 10,000 thousand followers use your brand hashtags.

My brand hashtag for my business is #indiemarketer while the brand hashtag for my book series is #thefourworldseries.

But, each of my books  will have their own hashtag so I can find photos others are posting online. My current one is #thefivewarriors

Focus on Growth

One of the benefits of Instagram is that it is simple to scale up your account if you apply the rules of engagement.

Follow other accounts, comment on them, and show people who are talking about you that you care. You can do this by liking, commenting, or even re-posting their posts. Some people have different feelings about re-posting so if you’re in doubt, always ask.

(If it’s my account, go ahead and repost, I love it!)

Reward your Followers

To take your engagement to the next level use a contest to encourage new followers and reward your customers for sharing.

Put together a package of your most popular products or partner with another local business for a massive giveaway. Just search the hashtag #giveaway for some ideas.

Now, the most important part of these tips is to take action on them. Select a few actions you’re going to take today and actually do them.

Then let me know, what tactics are you using to improve your brand message on Instagram?

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