Whether you are completely new to Instagram, or have been using it for awhile and feel stuck at your current number of followers, this blog post is for you.
And keep in mind that although the title of this post references your online nutrition business, this blog post is relevant to anyone wanting to use Instagram to grow their business - no matter what your niche is :)
Do any of these sound like you?
You have an online business you’re trying to expand, but have no idea where to even start.
You are feeling intimidated by Instagram because of all the new features you don’t understand, the algorithms, hashtags, stories, etc.
You’re feeling discouraged because you feel like there are already too many people on Instagram, or too many people in your niche, and you don’t know why anyone would ever listen to what YOU have to say.
...if any of these sound familiar, you're in the right place.
Here are My top 8 Tips for Using Instagram to Grow Your Online Nutrition Business: (or any online business)
1. Optimize your photos
Duh, right? Instagram is a visual platform, so in order to set yourself apart from the crowd, you must have high quality photos. But, this doesn’t mean you need to have a fancy camera or hire a photographer. You can take amazing photos with your iPhone!
How to do this:
- Pay attention to lighting: the best lighting is generally at sunrise and sunset when the light is softer. This is especially important for self portrait or lifestyle photos.
- You can also google how to make a DIY light box, which is an incredible tool for food photos and usually only costs around 15 bucks. or look this up on Pinterest!
- Once you have the lighting down, make sure to edit your photos! And you can do this super easily with different iPhone apps. Some of my favorite photo editing apps are: Snapseed, Facetune, VSCO , and Lightroom mobile. Most have free versions and paid versions but they are all really easy to use.
Optimizing and editing your photos creates a similar look and feel for each of your photos so that your Instagram feed starts to look more cohesive. But, I wouldn’t worry about perfection here…as long as each photo is high quality and related to your business, that's perfect.
Also, Make sure each one of your photos relates back to your online nutrition business, in some way. Even if its a photo of you in Paris, you can use the caption to talk about your mindset around food while traveling, etc.
Another thing to remember with your Instagram photos is to keep them "on-brand", especially if you choose to create graphics with text overlays, etc. to put on your feed. I love using Canva for these, and recommend sticking with 2-3 fonts and 2-3 colors on all graphic images. The goal here is for your audience to start recognizing your content, before they even see your Instagram handle.
2. Write good Captions
I know I just said Instagram is a visual platform, but your captions are almost as important as your photos. Why? Eliciting some sort of response, asking a question, or prompting your audience to “tag a friend” are all great ways to grow engagement and start the conversation with your audience, which will ultimately lead to trust.
Also, the more engagement (i.e comments & likes) you get on your photo within an hour after it is posted tells the Instagram algorithm that your post is high quality, and thus it will show up higher in more people's feeds and potentially even get you on the discover page!
If you need ideas for what to say in your captions, you can always tell a story about what was happening behind the scenes of that photo, share an inspiring quote, ask your audience a question, or talk about a new blog post or promotion you're running for your online business and send them to the link in your profile to sign up.
Want to learn how to optimize your Instagram bio for optimal growth in your online nutrition business?
3. dominate with Hashtags
Hashtags are SUPER important because they are one of the best ways for your ideal client to find you. Start researching hashtags by searching keywords that your ideal audience might be looking for.
For example, if you’re a Nutritionist who specializes in hormone balancing, your ideal client might actually be searching things like #weightloss or #cleaneating. They’re not going to be searching things like HPA-axis dis regulation.
Make sure to search for hashtags using language that your ideal client would actually be using, not the language that YOU use. For example, as a nutritionist, using hashtags like “leaky gut” or SIBO or metabolic syndrome will probably only attract OTHER nutritionists because those terms are not ones that your ideal client would use
- You’re allowed 30 hashtags in your caption - so use all 30 to make sure you get as much exposure as possible - remember using ONLY language that your ideal audience would use or what they would be searching for.
- I also don’t recommend using hashtags that have been used more than 500,000 times because unless you already have a massive following, your post is just going to get lost among the other posts
- On the other hand you also don’t want to use any hashtags that are too unique, even if you think you’re being clever or funny, because if no one is searching for that exact tag, it’s a waste. Pick hashtags that have been used at least 5,000 times.
4.Send people to a second location
You ALWAYS want to give the people that are following you on Instagram a next step; for example, you can send them to the link in your profile or use “swipe up” feature on Instagram stories (if you have over 10k followers). You always want to be sending people to your website, your freebies, your Facebook group, your e-books, etc. This is because if your audience likes what you’re putting out there on Instagram, chances are they’re going to LOVE what you talk about on your website, in your emails, on Facebook, etc and you want to be communicating with them as many different ways and as often as possible.
This is also important because we don’t own any social media platforms. Whomp, whomp. Sad, right? You always want to be thinking- if Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat shut down, or vastly modified their algorithm tomorrow, would you still have a business? This is why it’s important to not just get people onto your email list, but on as many different social platforms as possible.
5. Collaborations with other accounts
This is an AWESOME tip primarily for expanding your reach on Instagram. Options for collaborating with other accounts in a similar niche include - reposting, tagging, guest posting or Instagram takeovers. These are great ways to build relationships in your niche and expose your message to like minded audiences that might not be following you yet. Use this as a way to build community and grow your audience, prior to selling any sort of product or service- so that way you are not in any way competing with the person you’re collaborating with.
If you DO want to promote your services or digital products, I recommend collaborating with someone who serves your same audience but has a different niche. For example, maybe you’re a fitness instructor and you want to collaborate with a nutritionist. You probably have similar audiences, but are offering different products/services.
6. Share Behind the scenes
Share behind the scenes of what you’re working on in your online nutrition business! I think the best place to do this is on Instagram stories, because it’s totally ok to be raw and real, and not have everything be perfectly curated. Sharing BTS on Instagram is a great way to subtly share new programs you’re working on, if you’re taking new clients, etc. But it’s also a great way to let your personality show.
Letting people in to the BTS part of your life is truly what will set you apart from other people in your niche. For example, there are hundreds of thousands of nutritionists on Instagram - so having pretty food pictures isn’t enough to cut it anymore. People aren’t going to hire you because your food looks good or you have a degree, they’re going to hire you, or enroll in your program because of YOU. Your personality, your quirks, the way you teach, the struggles you’ve been through, etc. That is why the BTS is so important. And if you’re not ready to jump into Instagram stories yet, the caption of your photo is a great place to do this.
7. Be consistent
A question I get a lot is “how often should I be posting on Instagram?” and I know there are some accounts that post multiple times a day, so I wanted to address this. Consistency is KEY on Instagram, just like every other area of your online business and every other social media platform.
Specifics: I would say posting 1x a day is ideal, but at the same time, don’t post just to post. Make sure you have a high quality image that can be related back to your online nutrition business or niche in some way. I’d rather you post 2-3 times a week and provide a ton of value, than 10x a week with shitty photos that don’t tell any sort of story.
When it comes to Instagram stories, though? 5-20 daily is perfect.
8. Make freebies!!
This one kind of goes back to the part about sending people to a second location, but one of the best and quickest ways to build an engaged and loyal audience THROUGH Instagram is to give give give, and keep on giving. What do I mean by this?
Once you know exactly who your audience is, you should know exactly what would help them and make their life easier. Maybe this is a cheatsheet or checklist or meal planning guide, or maybe if you like live video it can be a masterclass or workshop where you teach them something. You can use Instagram to promote whatever freebie it is you’re giving away - and in return, your audience will either give you their email address, or join your fb group, or follow you on Pinterest or whatever it is you ask for in exchange. This allows you to continue to engage with them in multiple places and continuously provide value to them so that in the future, when you have a paid product or service, they are much more primed to buy because they already know and like you.
What’s the ONE thing you need to start doing today to build your business quickly?
Instagram stories!!!!!!!!!!! Read my post on using Instagram stories to grow your online nutrition business here!