Instagram is one of the leading social platforms today, with over 100 million monthly active users, and 8,500 likes per second. If Facebook, the king of all social media paid $1 billion for the social site, then you know it’s worth the attention. Top brands today are gaining thousands of followers and harnessing buzz on the Internet by using the app properly. Yes, there is a right and wrong way to use Instagram. If you want your brand to become popular on Instagram, then you need to apply the right strategies. You don’t need the big bucks to do this, just a game plan that works.
Follow these tips for your small business and watch your brand grow significantly.
Set specific brand goals on Instagram: Small businesses may often struggle on social platforms because they forget about one major factor associated with social media marketing: brand awareness. When you use a social network like Instagram, you need to eliminate the notion of increasing sales and customers. Your purpose is to boost your brand, so think along the lines of a personable approach as opposed to a salesy one. Here are brand goals to keep in mind when using Instagram:
- Increase awareness about your brand’s products, services, upcoming events, contests, or promotions.
- Enhance the personality of your brand.
- Become more accessible.
- Strengthen brand loyalty by providing a behind-the-scenes look to fans.
- Encourage two-way dialogue to learn from existing and prospective customers.
Emulate big brands’ top performing content: When it comes to posting on Instagram, you’ll want to avoid posting just for the sake of posting. Learn from the big brands. The top performing content that major brands post can be replicated. Content that resonates with users on Instagram can be broken down into four types:
Lifestyle affirmation: a post that encourages a certain behavior reflecting the brand’s personality.
Ex: Hollister promotes a care-free, simple beach-life vibe through this picture with the caption, “Beach hair, Don’t care. #Hollister”
Behind-the-scenes: a post that provides insight into a business’s production/work process.
Ex: Gucci posted a picture of a designer working on a new product’s design.
Relevant hashtags: a post with relevant keywords that allows different audiences to find your brand.
Ex: Sony posted an old picture of the musician Pete Seegar, to attract an audience different from a tech-savvy one. Note their use of #tbt (throw back Thursday) which is one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram.
Engaging captions: a post that allows user involvement – posing a question is a popular approach.
Ex: Ben & Jerry’s asked their followers to choose between two flavors which allowed for heavy user comments sharing their opinions .
Enhance your social community with the right practices: Posting the right content is one thing, but how you post is the challenging part. You’ll want to follow these practices to ensure that your brand is popular, not annoying.
- Take cues from current events, upcoming holidays, and trends to keep content timely.
- Include a call-to-action to get followers interacting.
- Try to post at least once a week.
- Leverage influencers to extend brand reach.
- Create videos when the subject requires more context than a picture – mini-teasers, announcements, commercials for campaigns, or an insider view.
- Respond to community feedback – answer questions, share fan photos, monitor brand and topical hashtags to discover user-generated content.
- Don’t overwhelm your followers by posting multiple pictures during a short period of time.
- Don’t use your account to advertise.
- Don’t post a URL; users won’t be able to click on them through the app.
- Remember to relate back to your brand goals.
Measure the success of your Instagram activities: Finally, after all of your hard work posting the right content and knowing when to post, you will want a means of identifying your progress. This is where analytics tools come in. Use your insights to guide your Instagram decisions. A popular tool is Statigram, but you can also use Nitrogram or Simply Measured.
Instagram is a great platform to build your brand, you just need to do it right. Develop an action plan, get familiar, get talking, and be creative. Your next step now is to go out there and be awesome!