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Social Media Marketing for Business

Sue B Zimmerman


July 9, 2014

10 Ways to Attract Your Ideal Customer on Instagram

I just organically grew an explosive interactive community on Instagram full of my ideal followers in 3 days. Instagram is more than just another place to keep your followers in the loop. It is platform that can really turbo-charge your brand whether you’ve been in business for years or are just starting out.

The key to success on Instagram is building a community. Engagement is everything; but it doesn’t happen right away. You need to have conversation and build rapport first before your start monetizing. There are proven techniques and behaviors that are common among brands growing their businesses on Instagram.

Here are ten.

1. Create a custom hashtag and tell people to use it.

My recent success has derived from my custom hashtag #InstaGalLive. Every time I participate in a Google Hangout, Podcast, Webinar, Conference, or any live event, I use this hashtag. By telling people to use this hashtag it allows them to communicate with me all in one place. The benefit of using the hashtag on Instagram specifically is that I get an instant snapshot into the lives of my followers, just as they are able to see into mine. The key is to TELL people not only what the custom hashtag is, but also what you want them to do with it. For example at the end of my YouTube videos I tell people to take a screen shot and share it to Instagram. If they have clear directions, they will do it. When they use my custom hashtag their audience is now exposed to my content.



2. Give value in every post.

It’s not good enough to tell people about your products or services because frankly they don’t really care unless they’ve been specifically searching for you. Instead, provide value 99% of the time. Your content needs to be educational, entertaining, inspiring, informational, motivating, or funny. The kind of value you deliver is based on your industry and who you are trying to attract. Not only will you attract your ideal follower, but you will keep them returning to your account for more.

instagram hashtags

3. Include a call to action (CTA). You need to tell people what you want them to do.

What do you want someone to do once they’ve discovered your Instagram account? There are 2 opportunities to direct people. In your bio, it’s important to utilize your URL. This is the one place on Instagram where there is a live link. Many choose to bring people to their website but I choose to change the link depending on what is going on in my business at the time. Other valuable places you can lead people to are other social media platforms, an event registration page, or your opt-in page. I suggest writing in your bio “Click the link below for X.” Remember people need a reminder to do what you want them to do. You can also include a CTA in the description of each post. Write something like “tag a friend who needs to see this” or “like this pic if you agree.” This helps promote your account to other highly targeted people.

instagram bio

4. Tag people or brands.

When you upload a post, it is important to tag the individuals or brands that are in the picture. This shows your followers who you align yourself with and gives them easy access to finding their accounts. You are making things EASY for them and therefore providing even more value.

instagram tags5. Have a hashtag strategy.

Hashtags are simple. They are words or phrases that make your content easy for your target customer to find you. Broad hashtags are better for looking at what a large group of people are doing. Specific industry targeted hashtags are better for attracting your ideal follower for a few reasons. First, popular hashtags like “love” and “fitness” are used so often that images move quickly down the feed and are rarely seen. Secondly, a specific hashtag is more likely to be searched by a specific person, your ideal customer. I suggest putting together a group of hashtags that are specific to your industry and the persona of your ideal customer.

instagram hashtags

6. Geo-tag your posts.

If your business has a physical location you absolutely need to geo-tag your Instagram posts. When you geo-tag a post it is curated with all the other images in the same location. Therefore when anyone clicks into that location they will see your images. Your followers can then continue to the map of your location right in Instagram and get directions to your physical location.

instagram location

7. Share your posts to Facebook and then tag people there.

Within the Instagram app you have the option to share your posts to other social media platforms. For my business the most beneficial place for me to share my content is to Facebook. When my post is shared there I can then tag anyone in the picture on Facebook. My post then shows up on their Facebook page for all of their friends to see. There are other significant benefits to sharing to Facebook that I share in my CreativeLive course.

tag instagram facebook

8. Selectively tweet your posts.

The audience on Twitter is massive. Most people have not yet migrated over to Instagram yet. Sharing your Instagram posts to Twitter allows you to grab attention in a noisy space by taking up some visual real estate. There are a few things to remember when you share over to Twitter. You will likely need to shorten the description to fit the 140 character limit. You also need to be aware that some people or brands may not have the same username so you will need to adjust it to mention the correct account. Sharing to other platforms is important but be sure not to share everything you post. You want to keep some sense of exclusivity to your Instagram followers.

tweet instagram posts

9. Create a username that is easily searchable and matches your Twitter handle.

With the previous tip in mind, it is important for YOU to choose the optimal username. The most important thing is to match your Twitter handle so that you are always being correctly identified if someone else chooses to mention you. Also keep in mind that your username should be easily searchable. Do not include numbers and try not to use abbreviations. Your full name or the name of your business is typically the best choice. Use an underscore or period between words if your ideal username has already been taken.instagram usernames

10. Send direct messages.

One of the latest features on Instagram is the ability to send direct messages. You can send a photo message to any individual or a group (up to 15 people at once). A few ideas that have been incredibly successful are offering an exclusive coupon or discount, sending a text responder with a free download that will lead people to give you their email address, or a simple thank you for following. I cover a lot more on this topic in my CreativeLive course as well.instagram direct messages

Remember that it’s not all about attracting the masses. It’s about providing value so that the RIGHT people find you and stick with you. These techniques have allowed me grow my business by attracting the people that need what I offer. It is absolutely possible to have success for any business on Instagram as long as you lead with the right mindset.

Sue B Zimmerman


Sue B. Zimmerman, aka the #InstagramGal and #TheInstagramExpert, is a master at Instagram for business. She teaches entrepreneurs, business execs, and marketing professionals how powerful Instagram can be for business. Sue B. is the founder of the online Instagram course Insta-Results, the author of the #1 eBook Instagram Basics for your Business, and her CreativeLive course holds the #1 spot for Money and Life.