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How to use sponsored posts on Instagram to build your business

Here’s how entrepreneurs can use Instagram’s sponsored posts feature to reach a fresh, new audience to help build their business.

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Instagram lead generation is not simple and requires planning, strategy, creativity, and repetition.

While traditional methods to build your business on Instagram work magic, they don’t tend to reach nearly as many users as a solid sponsored post.

When Facebook started, organic reach was simple. With low competition and emerging technologies looking for more and more users, it was actually quite easy to post something to Facebook. If configured properly you’d reach new users not familiar with your business.

Then once it had a large enough user base the organic reach was throttled and eventually it became almost mandatory to pay to boost a post in order to reach new users.

Instagram hasn’t quite gone into a pay-to-play model yet, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some serious value in paying to push a post to new users (called “Promoting” on Instagram).

So what is involved in promoting a post and how can you do it right so it reaches the right people for your business? Here’s 3 strategies to follow:

1. Create a business profile

business profile

Note that if you haven’t already, it’s important to be added as an admin to the associated Facebook page. © Susan Friesen

The first step is to convert your profile into a Business Profile.

Simply tap the sun symbol (iOS) or three dots (Android) depending on your device.

Now tap “Switch to Business Profile”. You’ll need to make sure your account is set to Public as well.

Enter the required info and tap “Done”. It’s that easy!

2. Strategize

A strategy is a key when making the most of promoting posts. It’s worthwhile having the post you’re going to be promoting ready before you start.

The reason is, you can make choices not just on what you post and who you’ll promote it to, but also where they’ll see it.

With Instagram, your posts will appear in both the stories and feed sections of a user’s account. If you’d like to choose not to have your post appear in stories, then you’ll need to use Facebook’s ad manager.

Both are viable options, but the manager interface has a lot more options than Instagram natively offers so if you have admin privileges on the associated Facebook account and it’s connected already, then it’s advisable to make use of the more robust system.

If you want any help with this at all please get in touch and one of our social media experts will be happy to help.

Now think of the end user and how they’ll be seeing your post. If you’ve already defined your ideal client, you should be able to see competing brands. Scour the more popular ones and look at what has performed better for them.

This can give you a real insight into what will be more effective for your own posts.

Once you’ve settled on your creative and you know who it’s designed for, it’s time to promote it.

3. Post promotion

Depending on your choice of promoting through Instagram or through Facebook Ads Manager, you’ll have a lot of options here.

First, post your creative. Now go back to your post and look at the bottom right and where it says “Promote” you simply tap.

instagram for business

© Susan Friesen

Once you’ve tapped it, you’ll see several options for who you want to reach, how long you’ll be running your promoted post, and how much you are willing to pay to reach them.

The options may be limited for who you can reach so make note of who you’ve tried to reach with the post and next time you can try different parameters to see if they’ll be more effective.

It’s never as straightforward as typing in what you want and tapping Done. Look for associated interests that your ideal client will have or broad categories they fall into.

If you’re promoting through Facebook Ads, you’ll need to go to log into your Facebook profile associated with the business and select “Ads Manager.”

You’ll need to navigate through to the Ad level for this.

The process through Ads Manager is much more complicated but has a lot more options. You’ll select the creative by clicking “Use Existing Post.” You’ll then be able to select the associated Instagram account and choose your post from there.

Your options here for targeting are much better.

This method is an intermediate level exercise so if you’re new to using social media for your business or you’re just not finding the interface intuitive enough, give us a call. This process shouldn’t take a long time so if you’re struggling at all have us do the heavy lifting for you.

If you’ve managed to find your way through the settings and you have it set up right, you’ll just choose budget and duration and you’re all set.

We fully understand the complexities of getting this all done right. Taking a stab at it with a test post and a small budget is very advisable if you’re planning on tackling this yourself.

Instagram has over 10 million active monthly users and it’s still growing. The interface can change without warning and it’s always being refined to provide even better reach for promoted posts, so don’t treat this lightly.

Think of it as though you were putting up a traditional ad.

With an ad in a magazine, you might get your creative seen by thousands of people and this is the same as with your IG profile. This is the outward representation of your business, so treat this part of it like any aspect of your business: like a professional.

DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation for writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence. As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

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