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Book review: Tips and tricks on how to market with Instagram

Kim Walsh Phillips' The Ultimate Guide to Instagram For Business a practical guide on how the social media platform can boost your business.
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business by Kim Walsh Phillips is available from Amazon.com for US$14.63.
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business by Kim Walsh Phillips is available from Amazon.com for US$14.63.

When your early decision is what social media platform to use for your marketing, Kim Walsh Phillips makes a strong case for Instagram in The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business.

Instagram’s engagement with brands is 10 times higher than on Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest and 84 times higher than Twitter, according to Hootsuite, she points out, while its mobile ad revenue is expected to reach US$3 billion this year – a tenth of the colossus Facebook, even though it is six years younger.

Ms Walsh Phillips, who is based close to New York City, knows her onions. She runs three businesses – Elite Digital Group, a direct response social media marketing agency launched in 2001; Elite Capital Advisers, a marketing agency for financial advisers; and the Powerful Professionals community. She works with brands including Harley-Davidson and Hilton Hotels and has already co-authored one book, The No BS Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing.

This book acts as a step-by-step guide, with lots of explanatory screenshots on how to set up an Instagram account, write your bio, use filters (“the best thing about Instagram”) and hashtags. There are interviews with leading Instagrammers, case studies of clients’ return on investment and detailed lists of useful apps for editing images, scheduling posts, creating videos and analysing your statistics. Ms Walsh Phillips is also frank about the merits of buying followers. Additional toolkits are available on her site when you buy the book.

Ms Walsh Phillips’ favourite app is Word Swag, which she used to transform her own Instagram account. Originally, she posted quotes from different people; she now uses the same template and font each time, with Word Swag, and adds a watermarked logo. And she only uses her own quotes as posts. “There should be consistency,” she says. “So if someone picked 10 random posts, they could tell they are all yours.”

Some good tips? Use a unique URL and landing page in your bio so you can track traffic from Instagram, use relevant hashtags and one unique to your account each time and get professional headshots and logos. And don’t “spam-tag” other accounts or you’ll become an “annoying gnat”.

More than just an Instagram guide, this book is really worth a skim-read for anyone working with social media.

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business by Kim Walsh Phillips is available from Amazon.com for US$14.63.

Q&A: Kim Walsh Phillips offers Suzanne Locke more insights into her book The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business.

Why was Instagram your social media of choice?

Instagram is one of the last platforms that allow you to reach your target market organically (for free), using hashtags. While I love Facebook Ads, Instagram crushes it.

How likely is Instagram to stay in the game?

As Facebook owns it, it’s likely to be around for a long time – plus it is focused on pictures, the most shared medium on Facebook.

Instagram Stories and Instagram Live are new – any tips?

Just get started: the more you do it, the more comfortable you will be. Lead with a question addressing your target market (“Want more blog traffic?”), tease a solution (“There is a free way to get people to your blog”), give content by offering two to three tips and end with a call to action – where to go for more information.

What difference did creating a uniform look and theme make to your Instagram?

I made the shift when I started writing the book and researching successful accounts. Creating a brand board (of brands whose Instagram accounts I liked) helped me to attract new followers and get more opt-ins on my page. I am no longer embarrassed to have people visit it.

You have about 6,000 followers, which seems modest when compared to celebrities’ 100 million plus. Is it enough?

By growing slowly, we have been able to get quality followers. For everyone who joins the list, we are making on average US$43. I am not planning on being an Instagram celebrity, so this method works well.

business@thenational.ae

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Updated: June 13, 2017 04:00 AM

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