Guest Blog - Instagram by Danielle Holmes

Instagram in our opinion is one of the fastest growing social platforms, with an endless amount of features, updates and uses it really can help any business with awareness and sales.

Here at Black Nova Designs our Instagram account started with only a few followers, not really knowing how to use the platform to its best ability we didn’t see any increase in followers or benefits to the platform until we started watching learning and engaging with MIBA and Estelle.
I am not saying we saw overnight success, far from it, once you learn new skills they need to be implemented and kept consistent.
Let me start by introducing what we do, we are a service based company, in fact we are a techy based company, which made finding success on an image based platform all that more interesting.

We design, host and create websites, we optimise wifi and build custom design PC’s along with a number of other ‘geeky’ services – how were we ever going to make what we do interesting enough to grow our business with images.
Facebook pages and groups along with word of mouth referrals have always been a huge part of our work, but being the type of person to enjoy a challenge and seeing so many other succeed on Instagram we decided to really give it a go.
The other major hurdle to face was actually putting my face on camera! I know, it’s crazy to think a few years ago I honestly would do anything to avoid the camera, now I do at least one video a day on our stories, walking/talking and discussing things with our audience, daily activities or projects we are working on.

For years I had been networking and preaching that ‘people buy from people’ so it seemed logical that to be able to see any success from any platform you need to become a person, and relatable.

So we became a MIBA VIP member and purchased the hashtag directory, we even achieved putting some website material into the VIP area as well (hopefully you all find that useful)

We started to learn that we could put up to 30 hashtags on each post, that you could schedule the posts in advance (we use Later but there are many other scheduling app’s) and that the images we used made a difference to our engagement.
We started to watch and look at our audience statistics and take note of the type of content people preferred. The other major change we made was that we started to take part in Instagram challenges – sounds scary but it is truly just posting something each day on a topic that is decided by the challenge and then tagging and putting the correct hashtag on the post – as simple as that!
Posting daily seems like hard work until you work out that it can be done in advance, meaning you look incredibly active and organised even if that isn’t always the case.

I usually spend 30 minutes a day on our stories, stories are available for 24 hours at a time so doing them daily for us is important.
So let’s tell you a little more about our Instagram success.

Through following the weekly Live’s from Estelle and implementing her FEAST acronym strategy, we started to see results pretty quickly.
We started posting snippets from previous blog posts, examples of clients work, FAQ’s and so many other content ideas that we never thought of.
We genuinely get 2-5 enquiries genuine per day via DM on Instagram, of course we also get a number of junk messages, ‘pay me to increase your followers’ type messages, we always block and delete those.

We invested in a local photographer (Jasmine Punter Photography) and asked her to get images of us having fun in the office, hopefully from our feed you agree she really did achieve making our office look like the type of people and place you would like to send your business too.
We use as many of the Instagram features as we can on each post, location tag, hashtags, tagging other companies, clients and connections on any relevant posts.

Sometimes our reach varies, it goes up/down and I think Christmas 2018 week saw our lowest stats ever! But I would say that was due to users enjoying family time rather than those posts being not as relevant as before. So keep in mind if you are not seeing great results it might be due to things outside of your control.

The success of Instagram really did start to shine recently when we released our first ever website hosting sale via our stories. Just via Instagram stories alone we sold more hosting packages in a day than ever before!
How incredible is that! By implementing just a few tips and being consistent in posting about our sale every day in a multiple of ways – videos, screenshots and hosting testimonials via our stories.

I am not sure what puts people off Instagram, often hearing people say ‘Instagram does work for me, I get nothing from it’ – I do agree some industries may not have a target audience on Instagram, but for us it has been a real game changer!
To see success you have to be consistent, that is true of anything in business, I see Instagram as no different.
Show up every day, be you, show everyone your passion, what you do and why – be authentic and use the platform to its best.
IT’S FREE! So what does it matter if you get one sale or 150 sales? If you only spend 30 minutes a day on a post and some stories then that is time well spent.

We have a large number of clients who call us and say, oh I’ve been following you for months and love what you do – they have never liked or interacted on any one post! But they were watching, so no matter what you may or may not think there is always someone watching who could be that sale you are looking for.

Instagram really is useful for us and does convert into actual sales, we implement new tips and ideas as often as we can learn them, and following Estelle and her tips have been something we would recommend to anyone who is unsure about Instagram.
To find out more about us and what we offer do feel free to follow our Instagram account www.instagram.com/blacknovadesigns