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How to grow your business on Instagram in 2024, even when you are starting from 0

by Michaela fong

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How to grow your business on Instagram in 2024, even when you are starting from 0

3 THINGS I DID TO GROW OVER 150K FOLLOWERS ORGANICALLY
WHY YOU NEED INTENTIONAL BRANDING FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
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I'm MICHAELA!

I am a small European town gal with big dreams who immigrated to Canada and built a multi-six-figure business from my living room floor and kitchen counter! I accidentally grew it into a small business community and became a small business educator along the way.

Now am here to empower, teach & inspire you to grow your business and create the life of your dreams with strategy, confidence & without burnout.

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Ready to grow your business on Instagram this year but have no idea where to start? You’re in the right place!

As business owners on the platform, we are not only looking at likes and follower numbers but also want to attract potential customers AND generate revenue for our business.


In this blog post, I’m sharing essential strategies and features you’ll need to attract more clients and customers on the platform, even if you’re starting from 0. Ready? Let’s get into it! 

01: Focus on attracting the right followers

If you’re on Instagram to grow your business…

The number one thing you have to nail down before creating content on Instagram is knowing your target follower. 

Who’s the ideal person you’re looking to attract to your account? Who can you help the most, or who’s the person most likely to purchase your product or service? 

Growing your business on Instagram isn’t about collecting random followers. It’s about attracting the RIGHT followers, those who are more likely to become loyal customers and genuinely engage with your content. 

By clearly defining your target follower, you can tailor your Instagram profile to speak directly to their unique interests and how you can help them. This is important because when someone lands on your profile, you want your target follower to feel an instant connection and tap that “Follow” button. You want them to think, “This is for me. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.”

If you need help optimizing your Instagram profile by the way, I’ve got a whole blog post dedicated to walking you through an Instagram profile makeover step-by-step. It even comes with a handy Instagram Profile Makeover e-book you can follow — I’ll link here for you. 

Another reason why you want to get clear on your target follower is so you can create content that attracts them to your profile and keeps them hooked. This brings me to tip #2 of strategies for growing your business on Instagram in 2024, which is to…

02: Get and keep your audience’s attention

You probably know that Instagram is a highly competitive platform, right? We’re all competing for one very valuable thing: and that is attention.

Attention is the first step to getting someone to engage. The longer someone pays attention to your content, the more likely they are to engage with it. After all, we can’t expect anyone to buy our products or services if we can’t even grab the attention of our target followers.

So, how do we grab the attention of our target followers? By creating content THEY’RE interested in instead of content all about our products or services. 

Think about it — when you go on Instagram, you’re probably not there because you want someone to sell you something. You’re there to unwind, get inspired, be entertained, or maybe find solutions to your problems. 

If we want potential customers on Instagram to pay attention to us, we need to create content that serves them. We don’t want them to feel like they’re being pushed to buy something. Instead, they should feel like THEY’RE the ones making a buying decision. 

So rather than making content all about your product or service, you want to create content AROUND IT that keeps your audience engaged, but doesn’t directly promote your offer. 

I know it might sound counterintuitive, because obviously, you’re on Instagram to sell. But trust me, this is what makes all the difference between people ignoring your posts and people paying attention and taking the next step. 

You can achieve this by sharing, for example:

  • Educational Content through how-to’s and quick tutorials that answer questions and positions you as an expert in your niche  
  • Storytelling content by sharing stories about your brand, products, or customer experiences that engage your audience
  • Curiosity-driven content that keeps your audience intrigued and wanting to know more about your product 

The point is, when sharing posts to your feed, you don’t want to make it so obvious that you’re trying to sell your product or service. Of course, you can still share posts that are directly promotional, but they shouldn’t be the majority. Otherwise, you’ll quickly see your reach, engagement, and follower growth get stagnant or start to decline. Okay, moving on! 

Tip #3 for strategies to grow your business on Instagram in 2024…

03: Prioritize nurturing your community over audience growth

Here’s the thing: more followers doesn’t automatically mean more sales for your business. You’ve probably heard the saying, “if you can’t sell to 100 followers, you won’t be able to sell to 10,000 followers either.”

And you know what? It’s true! It’s not about the number of followers you have, but the QUALITY of those followers and how engaged they are with your content.

That’s because an engaged community is more likely to interact with your content, support your brand, and convert into customers. In fact, it’s better to have a smaller, engaged following than a large, passive audience.

When you take good care of your community, your account will naturally grow. They’ll engage more with your posts and Instagram will share your content with an even wider audience. Plus, if you keep your community entertained, they’re more likely to share your posts on their stories and with their friends. But most importantly, an engaged audience will generate more sales.

You can boost engagement by adding clear calls-to-action at the end of your posts, like asking them to like, comment, share, or save your content. Ask open ended questions that give your audience a chance to express themselves. 

And of course, reply to their comments too!  Engagement is a two-way street. If you only talk and don’t ask questions or listen, it feels like you’re having a one-sided chat. But when you respond, it transforms into a real conversation. People will be much more likely to interact with your posts if they feel heard and valued. 

Alright, moving right along with tip #4 for growing your business on Instagram in 2024…

04: Use Instagram stories

Instagram stories are a great way to take your audience behind the scenes. It’s your chance to get them more familiar with your products or services, and ask them questions, get to know them better, and use story features (like the swipe-up link) to promote specific products or offers.

For example: if you’re working on a special project or a new product, talk it up in your stories! Then you can use the link sticker or tell your followers to shoot you a DM if they have any questions about it. 

I won’t dive too deep into how to use Instagram stories for your business because I have an entire blog post dedicated to it. So if you’re interested in leveraging Instagram stories for your business in 2024, make sure to check out that post after reading this one!

Next up is tip #5 for strategies to grow your business on Instagram in 2024…

05: Use chat automation to drive engagement and leads to your business

Chat automation is my favourite secret weapon on Instagram. The easier we make it for people to take action from our posts, the more likely they are to actually do it!

Rather than making your audience hunt for your product or offer in the link in bio, where they might get distracted or bounce, you can set up an automation that’s triggered when they comment a specific keyword on your post. AAAAND check this out: once they leave a comment, they’ll get a personalized message in their DMs with a direct link to the product or offer they’re interested in. Isn’t that cool?!

Plus, this strategy boosts engagement to your posts because your followers will be commenting with the special trigger word. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve seen me do it in action, and you’ve probably noticed other business owners doing it too!

For example, I shared a post promoting my Lightroom photo editing preset, and in the caption I said, “if you need to level up your photos and like my photo editing style, comment the word ‘MAGIC’ and I will send you a message with a link to my presets.”

Then, everybody who commented the word ‘MAGIC’ received an automated message from me.

Check out example I am talking about here:

Here is how my automated message looked like:

It’s seriously amazing, but that’s not all. 

You can also use this strategy to grow your email list, share your affiliate links, send coupons, or simply share your latest promotions. 

And the best part? This automation sends your followers the exact links they’re looking for, even when you’re NOT on Instagram. I mean, who doesn’t like generating leads and sales from social media posts, while you’re enjoying quality time with family? Sign me up!

After setting up my first automation, I was hooked! I couldn’t believe how straightforward and simple it was to set up. And get this: most of my automated campaigns have an over 90% click rate! So if you’re a business owner on Instagram hoping to attract leads to your business, this is hands down the most efficient way to do it. I personally use a tool called ManyChat, if you’d like to give this strategy a try. 

Now, let’s talk about something that can truly set you up for success on Instagram — paying attention to your insights. 

06: Pay attention to your insights

By paying attention to your insights, you aren’t relying on guesswork. You can make informed decisions for future posts and tweak your strategy based on data so you can reach your goals on the platform. 

One little heads up — to access insights, you’ll need a business or creator account. If you don’t have one yet, I’d strongly recommend making that switch so you can access this valuable info for your business. If you already have a business or creator account, you can access your insights directly from your profile. 

Beneath your bio, you should see a button that says “Professional Dashboard”. If you can’t see it, no problem. You can also just tap those three lines in the top-right corner of your profile and look for the “Insights” option there.

Instead of just checking post performance in the past week, it’s a good idea to look at how they’ve done in the last month or even the last three months. For example, you can do this when you’re reviewing your overall business performance during a month-end review.

This approach lets you see the big picture, like what types of posts your audience loved during a certain time frame or which posts get the most reach. Essentially, it’s meant to help you see what’s working best and what kind of content you should create more of in the future.

Now, I get it — looking at all those numbers can be overwhelming. That’s why you should focus on the metrics aligned with your current business goals on the platform.

  • If your goal is to grow your audience, you’ll want to keep a close eye on metrics ike reach (specifically non-follower reach), follower growth over time, and watch time 
  • If your goal is to increase website clicks, pay attention to which posts deliver the most website taps
  • If your goal is to increase engagement, pay special attention to which posts get the most likes, shares, comments, and saves

By understanding your insights, you get a sneak peek into what your audience loves and how your content is performing. Think of these insights not just as numbers, but as your secret weapon to growing your business on Instagram.

Last but not least, the final tip I have for growing your business on Instagram in 2024 is to…

07: Take advantage of the features Instagram gives us business owners

Specifically, there are two features I want you to take special note of: 

  • Instagram buttons
  • And Instagram shopping 

Instagram buttons, also called “action buttons,” are a feature you can put on your profile to make it more interactive and prompt followers to take specific actions.

Instagram buttons make it incredibly easy for followers to connect with your business. By adding buttons like ‘Contact Us,’ ‘Book Now,’ or ‘Email,’ you’re removing barriers and friction from the customer journey. That way, when somebody wants to book a call with you, they don’t have to hunt for a link in your bio. Instead they can contact you directly from your profile. Talk about convenience! 

Now when it comes to Instagram shopping feature, this tool is meant to make shopping from your posts much easier. Especially if you’re a product-based business, it’s like having your own online store right within the Instagram platform. 

With Instagram Shopping, you can tag specific products in your posts. When you’re posting about a particular item from your shop, you can tag it with a price and link. And when your followers see it, they can simply tap on the product, check out more details, and even buy it, all without leaving Instagram. It makes the whole buying journey super easy! 

I can’t wait to see how your business grows on Instagram in 2024!

I really hope you’ve gained some valuable insights on how to grow your business on Instagram this year. I know this was a lot, but let’s wrap things up with a quick summary to make sure you don’t forget anything: 

  1. Define your target follower — Once you know your target follower, tailor your profile to speak directly to them and create content that attracts potential customers.
  2. Don’t make your content all about your products or services — Focus on creating content that educates, tells compelling stories around your products or services, and sparks curiosity.
  3. Care more about nurturing your community than follower count — Quality over quantity is the mantra. More followers doesn’t necessarily mean more sales. Engaged followers are the ones who become loyal customers.
  4. Use Instagram stories to pull back the curtain behind your business — Get your audience more familiar with your offerings and use interactive story features to start conversations with them. 
  5. Consider using chat automations on your posts instead of sending followers to your link in bio — It’ll boost engagement and send personalized messages with links about your products and offers, even when you’re not on the platform. My go-to tool for this ManyChat!
  6. Keep an eye on your Instagram Insights Track metrics aligned with your goals, whether it’s growing your audience, driving website traffic, or increasing engagement. These insights are your compass for crafting successful content.
  7. Use features like Instagram buttons and Instagram shopping — They invite followers to take action, like booking a call with you. And if you’re a product-based business, you can tag products in your posts and make it effortless for your followers to purchase items without leaving the platform.

Want more tips and strategies on how to grow your business on Instagram in 2024? Tune in to today’s podcast episode here 🎧

Talk soon,

Michaela

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DISCLAIMER: Some of the links you'll find in my blogs are affiliate links. If you happen to love something as much as I do and decide to give it a shot through one of these links, I might earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me keep creating my podcasts and blogs that I hope you enjoy and find valuable. I promise to only recommend products and services that I've personally tried and absolutely LOVE.

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