Beth Kirk helps small/medium sized businesses and charities to successfully grow through the strategic use of social media marketing.

We were extra excited to welcome Beth as our #GoWithThePro Twitter chat guest. She is one of our founder members and it’s been such fun working with Beth and seeing her grow her social media business Socially Oxford.

Here Beth tells us in her own words how to achieve Instagram growth #LikeAPro.

Q1. Why should social media managers use Instagram Stories to promote their business?

Stories are a great way to promote yourself as an alternative to the main Instagram grid.

They are also hugely in growth, as some Instagram users simply just watch Stories now and don’t scroll – Instagram reports that Stories have 300 million daily users.

They can also help you to be more fun and engaging and help show your personality for service based businesses!

Q2. What are your top tips for optimising our Instagram profiles and grids on a budget?

Use a scheduling tool with a free option such as Planoly – you can post 30 times in a month and it allows you to optimise your grid layout.

Ensure your profile is fully optimised with a great bio which clearly targets your ideal customer, describes what you offer and is consistent with your other social media platforms.

Use free apps such as Wordswag to create engaging visuals.

Use the free version of Canva to create Instagram templates with your branded colours (you can use 3 personal branded colours on the free version).

Q3. What are your favourite Instagram tools and time-saving hacks?

Schedule your posts and your Instagram Stories! Planoly allows you to do both.

Create your content in one go – challenge yourself to create 5 to 7 pieces of your own content and then upload it all to your scheduling tool.

Save your hashtags! Planoly allows you to group and save them, or save them in groups on your phone to copy and paste into Instagram when you post natively.

Q4. How can we grow our Instagram presence?

I have found daily regular engagement and consistent posting works best for Instagram.

Post daily and engage 2 to 3 times daily with the aim to leave 10 interesting and relevant comments on 10 posts. I have found doing this works really well.

Regularly update your hashtags and seek out new ones both wide (over 1m) and more niche (around 10 to 20k).

Ensure your hashtags are relevant to your post!

Q5. What are your top tips for using Instagram Stories?

Stories can be so much fun! Images don’t have to be Insta-perfect. Use them for the following:

  • Highlight your daily activities such as meeting locations, what you are working on, who you are with and what you are doing.
  • Video what you’re up to or working on
  • Ask your audience questions using the questions sticker
  • Use hashtags and location stickers to maximise the reach of your Stories
  • If you are mentioned in someone else’s Story, add it to your own

Q6. Why do people struggle with creating engaging Stories?

Be yourself! Share your personality and key insights about you and don’t worry about creating less than perfect content.

Get to know the functionalities of Stories and play with different formats.

Go to TYPE and type updates, or why not upload visuals from your camera roll in your brand colours created in Canva?

Q7. What learnings can you share from running and growing your own social media business?

Be patient. Work won’t arrive overnight, but it will come.

Network online and in person. Join local networking groups and local Facebook groups.

Join supportive online communities such as Go With The Pro where you can ask questions about how to network, and learn how to market, brand and price yourself correctly.

What’s next?

Why not join Beth’s growing Instagram community?

For more content like this and discussions about social media and marketing in general, come join us in our free Facebook group.

For more tips how to market your business with Instagram, read this blog.