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Using Instagram To Grow Your Training Business & Promote Events [With Examples]

Why spend time on Instagram as a training business? The use of Instagram for business interaction is a growing trend, with over 25 million business profiles on Instagram worldwide currently and 60% of people saying that they discover new products on Instagram. It is fast becoming THE place for businesses to showcase their company voice, brand and values, in a fun and different way to other social channels.

Training businesses that have traditionally relied on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for their lead generation are beginning to look at introducing Instagram into their social repertoire and here’s why…

Why use Instagram for your business?

Make real connections with your customer base - The desired outcome of any social media post, when it boils down to it, is making a connection with the human reading it; creating a relationship and ultimately an opportunity to sell your product or idea. That is in essence what Instagram is all about. Connecting on a human level, to other humans. With over 1 billion users on Instagram, that's 1 billion humans that you have the potential to interact with and educate. 

Stand out from your competitors - Showcasing the more personal side of your training business can be the missing link when it comes to a solid social marketing strategy in 2018, as followers are actively seeking meaningful messages, in a market saturated with generic marketing spam! This is perhaps why Instagram has surpassed Twitter and LinkedIn in 2018 to be the second-most-used social media platform, with 66% of marketers now using Instagram. 

Grow your business - If you're connecting with your customers and standing out from your competitors then the only direction you are heading is up! Instagram also has lots of features available to help move your followers along your sales pipeline such as story CTAs and product tagging.

So, what are you waiting for? Here's our 9 top tips for using Instagram as an effective marketing tool for your training business. 

9 tips for using Instagram for your training business

1. Make it different to your other channels

2. Make it personal 

3. Encourage interaction with your account

4. Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag!

5. Use video 

6. Run competitions 

7. Promote events and promotions

8. Always add value

9. Don't be that account!

For training professionals who are ready to take the next steps of integrating Instagram into their company’s marketing strategy, here are a few tips to maximise your Instagram account.

1. Make it different to your other channels

Instagram is whole different kettle of fish to other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s a chance to show people the human side of your business, so make your posts different from your other platforms. As Instagram is all about the visual, don’t make it too wordy - ‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ as they say.

Top tip: Instagram isn't just for marketing  your products and services, it's also a great tool for recruitment by showcasing your culture and what it's really like to work for your organisation!

2. Make it personal

Remember that Instagram is all about connecting with people, and the best way to do this is to show them that you are people too, so champion your customers and employees. We love this example from @fileeds who are showcasing their happy students!

First Intuition Leeds happy students Instagram post

Another way to do this is to show what goes on behind the scenes; team days out; the office cat, people want to work with other relatable people, not cold corporations. Encourage your team to share photos via a hashtag, this is a great way to generate endless content. This account example from @poultectraining gives an insight into the day to day and goings on at the organisation!

Personalising an Instagram account

Top tip: Don't be afraid to use emojis in your posts! Emojis are a really great way to show your brand's personality and get your message across. 

3. Encourage interaction

Ask your delegates and event attendees to tag you in images of their training day, so you can ReGram them to your page. ReGrammer is a useful, free app for sharing Instagram photos from other people’s accounts. Start conversations around shared images; ask questions about how their day went or what else you could include etc… Encouraging interaction shows your followers that you’re responsive and makes it more likely that others will see your post.

Top tip: Tag your learners and trainers in any posts that feature them to encourage interaction! 

4. Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag!

When using hashtags on Instagram, there’s no need to be reserved. People follow hashtags, so the more hashtags you use, the more visibility you’re creating. The standard practise is to push your grouping of hashtags to the bottom. So, snippet or comment at the top (a few emojis to help make it eye catching), then use dots or lines to create a few rows of space before adding your hashtags. Another good practice is to not always go for the most obvious hashtags - the aim is to widen the net, so throw in a few obscure (but related) hashtags for good measure.

Here's an example by @crisis_uk showing us how to leverage hashtags! 

Hashtags Instagram for training business

Top tip: As well as using hashtags to increase discoverability, add your location and tag relevant accounts which will help your post show up to users in those areas and with similar interests.

5. Video works! 

Video posts have the highest overall engagement rate on Instagram. (38 percent higher than image posts). And a reported “63% of marketers use video content in their social media marketing.” So, if you are able to include short videos (or even live videos) in your feed, it is a great tool for grabbing attention and followers. Boomerang is a fun way of creating instant looping videos straight from your Instagram app.

For training businesses where seminars, workshops and face-to-face sessions are par for the course, there's tons of material you have on tap to provide engaging video content to help you promote future courses. 

Top tip: Your videos don't need to be world-class productions! Users like to see real life so anything shot on your smartphone is a winner. 

6. Run competitions 

Another great way to encourage interaction from your followers is by running competitions. This technique encourages users to like, follow and comment on your posts to increase your reach to a wider network. You could even offer up a place on a course as your prize to give the winner a taster of the results you deliver which in turn could lead to a repeat booking. 

Top tip: Spread the word about your competition by using hashtags such as: 

#instacompetition 

#instagiveaway

#instawin

#instawinners

#instagoodluck

7. Promote events and offer promotions

As Instagram is such a visual platform, it is a dream to advertise events and promotions. Instagram Data shows that 72% of customers believe that seeing images of a product on Instagram increases their chances of buying it. Just be careful to add promo posts alongside your other great content so that your followers don't switch off and unfollow you. 

This example from @cityacademyuk has an eye-catching colour scheme, has made the keywords stand out and gives clear instructions on how to apply the discount. 

City Academy Black Friday promo Instagram

Top tip: Instagram now lets you add links to the page of your choice directly from videos so you can direct followers straight to your course booking page. 

8. Always add value 

Even though Instagram is about showing what your business is all about, its also key to not just make it all about you! By adding useful content and informative insights, you continue to provide value to your followers and encourage that all important interaction. 

This example from @yogateacherscollege shares a taster from a course that they provide.

Yoga Teachers College Instagram post adding value

9. Don’t be that account!

There are a lot of accounts on Instagram that intentionally follow people or business until they get followed back; then they unfollow. This is a sneaky way of building your ‘followers’ count while keeping your ‘following’ count low (there are even apps for it). It’s all perfectly legit, but not very well thought out. You should aim to grow an organic, healthy following that is relevant to you and steer clear of competing for follower numbers. 100 good-fit followers are better than 1000 uninterested, unaffiliated followers.

Instagram followers, Instagram for training business

New business tools on Instagram

In 2016, Instagram announced that they would be using an algorithm to ensure that people see the most relevant posts to them. This means that no matter how many people or hashtags you follow, Instagram will make sure you see the ones that it thinks you want to see most. Despite the initial fear by some marketers that this could limit their total views; it actually has the potential to create a much more relevant pool of followers and leads for B2B and niche businesses, as the number of business accounts on Instagram steadily grows year on year.

So, what else is new for businesses on Instagram?

Hashtags and profile links

Instagram introduced # and @ capabilities into the bio section this year. This means that as well as having a link to your website, you can also direct people to other profiles or hashtag pages. Using your own unique hashtag is a great way of starting conversations and sharing images with other people and businesses. @LimitlessLearningTT have used the hashtag #LearnforALifetime, where they can follow and connect with other aligned businesses and potential future clients. Encouraging your clients and employees to use your hashtag can build your brand reach beyond just your page.

Limitless Learning Instagram using hashtags in bioScheduling posts

Yes, you can finally schedule Instagram posts! Instagram have opened up post scheduling capabilities for business pages (only). This is an obvious win for any training company running a social campaign.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is now used by 400 million users every day.  A little like SnapChat, Instagram stories only last 24 hours before disappearing forever. You can also- and now this is the really good bit – you can also add links to your Instagram stories, meaning it is the perfect tool for a ‘call to action’ for your training event or seminar. Not only does the finite nature of an Insta-story create a sense of urgency, but you can now direct your leads right where you want them to go with the ‘see more’ button.

You can also 'pin' stories to your profile page by category meaning that you have even more content reach than ever before. This example by @northcoders displays content by Graduation (happy learners), Community (showcasing the organisation's values), NC Life (a great tool for recruitment) and Projects (to showcase their work to potential prospects). 

North Coders Instagram stories example

Instagram is no longer just for the big brands. In 2018, training companies have the same opportunities to join the network and reach a bigger audience. In fact, Instagram is fast becoming a leader in meaningful business communication. So, how will you include Instagram in your social strategy this year?

Download our content marketing guide made specifically for training businesses to discover how Instagram can fit in with your overall marketing strategy. 

Content marketing for training companies

Further reading:

9 Tips Training Professionals Need to Know About Social Media Marketing

Reputation, Referrals and Remarketing: How Training Companies Can Ensure Repeat Bookings

Training Companies: Is It Time To Automate Your Marketing?

 P.S. Follow Us On Instagram

Why not follow @accessplanit on Instagram to stay up to date with our training company tips and insights? 

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