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How To Start an Online Business In Nigeria using Instagram

Many Nigerians today want to start and run an online business for a variety of reasons. If you want to start an online business in Nigeria with Instagram, the first step is to figure out what kind of profitable business you can start from home.

We all have unique perspectives on how to solve problems in other people’s lives. We can make a lot of money if we turn this into a business.

The question is, how can you transform your concept into a profitable online business and start earning money from the comfort of your own home?

Since it initially launched on the internet in 2010, Instagram has come a long way. People were still attempting to figure out how to sell on Instagram at the time.

Instagram has transformed into a social selling marketplace, with over one billion active users and counting, and every business needs a piece of the pie.

In only a few clicks, brands can sell, engage, or start conversations with their ideal customers using the app. Consumers who want to take advantage of special deals, connect with friends, and shop for their favorite brands may do so right from the app.

What’s even better? On Instagram, anyone can sell.

Whether you’re a solopreneur, a content marketer, a social media marketer, or an artisan jam maker, you may benefit from these resources.

With a few trade secrets under your sleeve, you’ll be well on your way to creating an impression on Instagram.

In this comprehensive post, we’ll show you how to start an online business in Nigeria using Instagram

Why Use Instagram For Online Business?

You might be wondering if Instagram is really as good for your online business as everyone claims. Is it really worth your effort to learn how to utilize Instagram tools? Is it true that acquiring more Instagram followers leads to more clients for your business? All of these questions have an affirmative response, but you don’t have to take our word for it.

Advertisers could reach 1.393 billion users on Instagram in October 2021, placing it 4th in the world’s most ‘active’ social media platforms.

Overview of Instagram’s Global Advertising Audience October 2021 DataReportal

Increase Visibility

Establishing your business on Instagram increases your brand’s visibility. Increasing your brand’s visibility, helps more people become familiar with who you are and what you do. Teens, millennials, and adults are all on Instagram, so no matter who you’re trying to reach, you can do it with this social platform. 

With over one billion monthly users, Instagram is arguably the most powerful marketing platform. By posting frequently about your brand, you can make your voice heard and target it towards people who may be interested in your business, bringing in more followers on Instagram. Creating a brand image online using Instagram tools will directly result in ROI. 

One of the key aspects of increasing visibility and ultimately more followers on Instagram is through posting unique and quality content. It may seem obvious but this is more crucial now than ever with the increased popularity of this platform.

Drive More Sales

To be competitive in your market, you should have a business account. A personal page is just that, for personal use. One of the biggest reasons businesses use Instagram tools is because it drives more sales and increases their overall revenue. 83 percent of people use Instagram to discover new products or services, and 81 percent of people also do their research on those products using Instagram.

Additionally, 30 percent of users have bought a product they discovered on Instagram. These numbers solidify the power Instagram for business can have for your brand.   

Utilizing an Instagram account for your business is an incredible way to promote your products. Lately, Instagram tools such as product tags make it even easier for brands to sell on Instagram.

Connect With Your Customers

Prior to social media, brands didn’t have as many opportunities to connect with their customers as easily as they do today. Now, simply getting more followers on Instagram can lead to in-depth conversations with customers around the world.

What does this look like on Instagram? Conversations via DM’s, comments on a post, and interactions through polls or quizzes on your Instagram Stories can help you get to know your customers a little more and help them get to know you.

It’s no secret connecting with customers is important, so why not utilize Instagram for business to help you get there? Listen to what your customers are saying so you can adjust your future ideas according to their wants and needs.

How To Use Instagram For Online Business

1. Decide why you are using Instagram for business

When using any marketing channel, it’s important to have goals you want to achieve. Instagram is no different. If you’re going to invest your time and money in Instagram, ask, “What do I want to achieve?

Common Instagram business goals include:

  • Increase brand awareness;
  • Build a community;
  • Showcase company culture and values; and
  • Sell products and services.

Write your goals down and continuously monitor them. Think of your written goals as a formalized gut check. It encourages you and your team to be more intentional with your Instagram content because you can always refer back and ensure everything you share serves those goals.

2. Optimize your profile

If you’re using Instagram for business, think of your profile as your homepage. You get 150 characters, one link, and a few action buttons to win over potential customers—so be sure your profile makes a good impression.

First, make sure you switch to an Instagram business profile. Business accounts offer extra features that allow you to expand your profile, track content performance, and sell on Instagram.

Next, write a killer Instagram bio. Your profile should include:

  • A quick description of what your company does;
  • Your category/industry (Shopping & Retail, Business Service, Restaurant, etc.);
  • A tone that shows off your brand’s personality;
  • Contact information (phone number, email, address, etc.); and
  • A link.

The only place on the Instagram app where you can share a clickable link is in your bio, so this is valuable. You can keep a static link to your homepage or frequently change the link to reflect current content.

Instagram business accounts also have access to Action Buttons—additional clickable buttons for specific calls to action such as Book Now, Contact, View Shop, etc. Action Buttons are a great way to get more links into your profile and make it easier for your fans to interact with you.

Use a recognizable profile image

When it comes to choosing a profile picture, it’s important for people to instantly recognize it when they visit your Instagram profile. For most businesses, this means choosing one of the following options:

  • Logo
  • Logomark (the logo, minus any words)
  • Mascot

There’s definitely no right or wrong here and don’t feel you must limit yourself to one of these options, but think about what will help people who visit your page to recognize your brand the quickest.

3. Discover your personal style

It’s all about the visuals on Instagram. However, what works for one company may not be appropriate for yours. Consider the look you want to display on your company page, then create branding rules to ensure consistency.

Pay attention to the color scheme you’ve chosen. Some of the most popular Instagram accounts employ a limited color palette in their images, which helps them to develop a distinct style.

If text plays a key role in your Instagram content, it’s important to also think about the font you’re using and how it relates to the fonts used on your website or other marketing materials.

Try to establish recurring themes of pillars that you can alternate. In some cases, the content will be obvious. A clothing line might showcase its clothes, and a restaurant might post photos of its food. If you offer services, try showcasing customer stories, or go behind the scenes to highlight office life and the people who make your company tick.

Use tools to help you edit your photos

No matter how great your photos are, it’s likely you’ll need to edit them at some point. Editing tools can help you maintain your aesthetic, add frames or logos, or even create infographics and other original content.

Fortunately, there are a lot of free resources available, including Instagram’s built-in editing tools. When those tools don’t cut it, experiment with other editing tools, many of which are either free or very affordable.

12 Instagram Tools That Will Help Grow Your Followers

Write compelling captions

Instagram may be a visual platform, but that doesn’t mean you can neglect your captions.

Captions allow you to tell the story that makes the photo meaningful. Good copy can build empathy, community, and trust. Or it can just be funny.

4. Consistently post

If you’re serious about running using Instagram for your online business, you need to show your followers that you’re serious too. It’s not enough to just post quality content every once in a while. You need to post it consistently, so your audience knows they can expect a steady stream of interesting and helpful content from you on a regular basis — making your brand worth a follow.

Maintaining a consistent posting schedule allows you to appear in the timelines of your target audience. Instagram aims to offer each user the content they’re most likely to love, thus it looks for current and relevant content to each user’s interests.

Instagram’s algorithm uses machine learning to analyze each user’s activities in real-time and customize their feed accordingly. People can’t like what they don’t see, so publishing on a frequent basis ensures that you appear in people’s feeds and gives them more opportunities to interact with you. They’ll see your stuff in their Instagram feed more frequently if they interact with it.

5. Use hashtags to reach new audiences.

Hashtags help make your Instagram content easier to find. Hashtags have become a uniform way to categorize content on many social media platforms. It allows Instagrammers to discover content and accounts to follow.

Captions on Instagram are not searchable, but hashtags are. When someone clicks on or searches for a hashtag, they see all the associated content. It’s a great way to get your content in front of people who don’t follow you — yet.

You might want to consider creating your own branded hashtag. A branded hashtag embodies your brand and encourages followers to share photos and videos that fit that image. It can be a great source of user-generated content and encourage community among your fans.

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags You’ll Ever Need In 2022

6. Engage with your community

Using Instagram for online business doesn’t mean turning your profile into a nonstop sales pitch. Instagram is a social media platform, so learn to socialize.

If someone takes the time to share their thoughts with you, it’s important to respond to them and show that you’re listening. Responding to comments is a great way to build a strong community on Instagram.

Engagement prompts are a great way to encourage interaction as well. Play around with interactive stickers in Instagram Stories such as polls, questions, or sliding scale rankings.

For posts, use your caption to ask questions and tell people to share their thoughts in the comments. It may feel cheesy but think of it as a real-life conversation. How weird would it be for you to talk to someone instead of with them?

7. Experiment with different content types

Instagram may have started as a simple photo-sharing app, but now the platform hosts everything from live broadcasts to Reels. Here’s a rundown of some of the content types on the platform that might be a good fit for your brand:

  • Instagram Carousels: Publish up to 10 photos in a single post
  • Instagram Reels: This TikTok-esque format now has its own tab on the platform.
  • IGTV: Instagram TV is a long-form video format, ideal for recurring content series.
  • Instagram Live: Now up to four people can broadcast live on Instagram.
  • Instagram Guides: Brands have found several ways to share products, company news, how-to’s and more with this format.

And if you want to increase your reach and engagement on the platform, it’s important to share a mix of content types.

Each type of content has advantages and everyone has their own preferences on Instagram — some people love Reels, whereas others don’t use the feed and only check Stories. So if you want to maximize your reach and engagement, the best strategy is to use a variety of content types.

8. Partner With Influencers

Influencer marketing is currently a billion dollars industry and not going away anytime soon. Although there are tons of influencers in the industry, it’s important to understand that you must choose them wisely to see a return on your investment.

Start by Identifying some influencers or micro-influencers in your niche. For smaller accounts, reach out to them, offering free products in exchange for a post or story on their account.

Take note, that many successful influencers with large followings will additionally expect monetary compensation to feature your brand on their page.

Not only is finding an influencer in your niche important but also ensures they’re reliable and have a loyal following to appropriately promote your brand. Think of influencers as an extension of your marketing team. With this being said, however, do not give them unexpected deliverables and crazy guidelines as if they worked for you in-house.

9. Use Stories

Engage with your audience by using Instagram Stories, utilizing features such as polls, quizzes, and questions to interact with your followers. This is also a great way to go behind the scenes and humanize your brand.

Content such as videos of your employees goofing off in the office, or photos that show how your brand is expanding, can go a long way toward helping you connect with your followers. And since so many people view Instagram Stories, Stories are a great place to share this kind of content.

10. Analyze your results

One of the best Instagram for business tips we can give you is to dig into your Instagram analytics regularly. If you want to gain more followers, keep your audience engaged, and promote your business on Instagram, you have to monitor how your content performs.

Instagram’s built-in analytics tool, Instagram Insights, is a solid start but can only be accessed via mobile. Plus, you’ll need to open up each individual post to check on key metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and saves.

Use A/B testing to learn what works

One of the best ways to improve your results is to test different types of content to see how they perform. As you learn what works best for your specific audience, you can refine your overall strategy.

Here’s how to run an A/B test on Instagram:

  1. Choose an element to test (image, caption, hashtags, etc.).
  2. Create two variations based on what your research tells you. Keep the two versions the same except for the one element you want to test (e.g. the same image with a different caption).
  3. Track and analyze the results of each post.
  4. Choose the winning variation.
  5. Test another small variation to see if you can improve your results.
  6. Share what you learn throughout your organization to build a library of best practices for your brand.
  7. Start the process over again.

11. Tap into the Power of Instagram Ads

It’s no secret that organic reach is in decline and has been for a while. Investing in Instagram ads ensures you can get your content in front of a wide yet targeted audience.

In addition to extending the reach of your content, Instagram ads include call-to-action buttons that allow users to take action straight from Instagram, reducing the number of steps required to get them to your website or store.

Instagram offers several ad formats, like:

  • Carousel ads
  • Photo ads
  • Stories ads
  • Ads in explore
  • Video ads
  • Collection ads

The ads you choose will depend on your goals. For example, if you’re interested in introducing first-time buyers to your products and services, a brand video ad is a great option.

Or, if you’re interested in closing a sale by offering a discount, a static image ad can work great.

Note that once an ad stops, you may see your engagement drop off and then re-calibrate. This is normal and nothing to be concerned about as long as you consistently focus on organic growth.

Run an Instagram-specific campaign

Instagram campaigns can help you achieve specific goals.

Campaigns often involve ads, but they’re not only about paid content. They put intense focus on a specific goal for a set period of time, in both your organic and paid posts.

You might create an Instagram campaign to:

  • Increase your overall visibility on Instagram.
  • Promote a sale using shoppable Instagram posts.
  • Drive engagement with an Instagram contest.
  • Collect user-generated content with a branded hashtag.

Make the most of Instagram for Online business

If you haven’t gotten started as a business on Instagram, don’t panic.

With an active, ever-growing user base, Instagram has proven itself as a staple of social marketing rather than a flash in the pan. For brands with a visual story to tell and a desire to grow a base of dedicated followers and customers, there’s still a place waiting for you on the platform.

Chibueze Okonmah

Chibueze is the team lead at Thinkdigiads which was founded back in 2016 with the aim of helping small businesses sell their goods and services with over 5 years of experience in digital marketing and a speciality in paid advertisement and business strategy. After dropping out of school and left with no choice but to be creative, he started the company which has helped thousands of businesses sell out online and today is a certified Digital Marketing Strategist.

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