Instagram isn’t just for sharing photos of your breakfast and arguing over celebrities new hairstyle. If you’re starting a new business or launching a side project,
this visual community storytelling platform can also spread the word about your work. But how do you stand out in the sea of information? Instagram offers a variety of tools and tricks to help you build brand awareness and drive sales.
And since Brands are seeing nearly four times as much user engagement on Instagram than they do on Facebook, (according to an analysis conducted by Socialbakers) it’s definitely the platform that, can move many small businesses from a teeny-weeny company to a gigantic one.
A study conducted by Simply Measured earlier in 2013 found 59 percent of the world’s top brands are now active on Instagram.
There are numerous solutions at hand brands can use to engage consumers. The best solution often includes leveraging two or three of these tools to engage your audience with the right message at the right time. So lets’s start by making it clear what you should be doing what not to reach your audience.
Number 1 rule is to use #Hashtags.
Hashtags do more than add an ironic underscore to your Instagram posts. Instagram users can use certain hashtags to easily find what they are looking for in the platform. Hashtags can also connect you with a wider audience, including customers and contacts in your chosen market. Even if people don’t follow you, they do search for relevant hashtags, which means they’ll see what you post when you include right keywords.
While you decide which tags to include, remember that you need to strike a balance: Use hashtags that are too popular, your posts will get lost in the flood; use hashtags that are too unknown, and nobody will think to search for them. You may need a bit of trial and error to figure out what works and what doesn’t. But don’t overdo it. You don’t want to annoy your consumers to the point of abandonment. A post filled entirely with hashtags looks spammy, and people won’t click on it.
There are no hard and fast rules about how to use hashtags—it really depends on what you’re selling and what your business is about. Still, you can pick up some ideas by looking at other accounts in your field and seeing what words they choose.
To make yourself better at Instagram self-promotion, spend time studying Instagram. Pay attention to which posts engage and interest you and your audience, and which ones leave you cold? How do certain accounts stand out from the crowd?
Try to analyze why these posts were the most well-received ones – what kind of photos and captions did they have? Were they customer stories? Exclusive offers? Were they posted during the daytime, or in the afternoon? Knowing the similarities between most popular posts will give you an idea as to what your customers actually prefer.
This type of critical browsing will help you figure out what works and what doesn’t. Moreover, this can not only help you decide what kinds of images you want to post in the future, but it can also help you do a little market research for your products.
When it comes to social media platforms as a whole, you get out what you put in. That means your pics shouldn’t just be a whole lot of product or service-related photos. Tell a story behind your brand that allows people to make the human connection. What does your brand stand for? Tell the world how it is made, how it creates defining moments for customers, and how it stays relevant.
Capture your company’s important moments in 15-second videos and share them with your followers so they feel included. All work and no play will make your brand a dull company on Instagram. Integrate images that show your human side to create stronger connections with your followers.
Treat Followers to a Visual Experience and showcase Photos of Employees. Showing your employees at work not only gives a behind-the-scenes view of your company, it’s also a way to celebrate staff and show them how much they’re valued. Your stream should deliver value in visual content that followers can’t get anywhere else.
In general, people use Instagram as a way to follow their passions. This, of course, leads to opportunities for everyone from global brands to local mom and Pop-up restaurants to reach and engage with their customers while their audiences dive deeper into their passions. So be that passion!
The essence of doing this is to build an online community that is not just about your business, but is also about your customers as well. Build your Instagram community and connect with customers at a more personal level. Getting your customers involved will work for you. It will provide social proof for others and generate more business!
Remember, the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. People are tired of hype and are hungrier more than ever for story and connection. People want more moments of real and raw. After all #nofilter is one of the most popular hashtags there…
And Don’t forget to Respond to Comments and be consistent. Followers love it when brands respond to their comments, so make a point to check in several times a day and REPLY.
You must at least show it to them that you are not just there to simply promote and sell, but to hear out customer feedback as well. This can be done by reposting customer feedback and photos that feature your product. It is also the perfect opportunity to thank them for the shoutout, so don’t forget to mention their username!
Just like with any social media platform, consistency is key. Have a healthy balance of fun images and business pictures. Post new pictures so you stay in front of your audience and they know when to expect new content from you.
Don’t feel like all your images have to be polished and must be professional product shots. In fact, your audience might prefer behind-the-scenes shots of you preparing for an event or product photo shoot so don’t be afraid to post rough smartphone pictures.
Over to You Now.
These are just a few tips on how you can use Instagram to create a presence for your business. Check them out and see what works best to enhance your brand.
If you need help, we are always here to help. Keep in touch.