From where I stand, Instagram has never been more useful than it is right now for personal and business brand building. Instagram has evolved to have more power, more capabilities, and more adaptive perfection for its users. Getting on Instagram is just the first step.
Modern consumers are more discerning than ever, so don’t expect to slap a low-quality picture on your Instagram page and call it a day. A polished platform is essential and can easily be achieved if you implement these simple suggestions into your social media strategy.
Sure, you may ultimately decide that your target audience isn’t particularly an Instagram crowd. But it would be incredibly shortsighted to not — at the very least — test the platform. I’ll get into detail about the endless opportunities and why you should not neglect this social media platform.
Instagram has added feature after feature since the launch of Stories – including polls, stickers, swipe to link, different story types, ads, and a huge array of editing features. So the people are out there, looking for your business, but as stories are added and monthly users grow, people are missing 70% of posts from people they follow. Part of this is due to a new formula (nearly identical to Facebook’s formula) that shows the user content they “value” the most first (as judged by regular interactions with posts). You can’t change that formula, but what you can change is knowing how to grow your business on Instagram. This means getting users to like, follow, and interact with your content on a regular basis.
So what are the various ways to use Instagram in growing your business?
Align every aspect of your Instagram page with your brand and target audience.
A brand theme is essentially a set of guidelines that determine how your brand is represented on your Instagram page. It includes elements such as acceptable colors, tones, fonts, photo styles and more. Start at the very beginning.
- Make sure your bio picture reflects your business.
- Have an engaging description of your products or services.
- Add a link to your website.
- Use clickable hashtags in your bio.
- Don’t use funny spellings, odd words, unnecessary abbreviations. or other versions of your name. It’s your business and your brand.
- Maintain a consistent color palette.
- Techshawe maintains a consistent color palette of blues and whites paired with bright photos to establish a consistent theme on their Instagram page.
Post great, unique content
Instagram isn’t just about photos, although image-based content, of course, can be incredibly effective. Instagram is also an ideal platform for sharing brief clips of marketing videos. From there, users can be directed to your YouTube page, where they’ll further engage with your brand. People buy products and services from businesses they (and their friends) trust. The way to build a relationship with potential customers is by posting your great content consistently.
Focus your efforts on unique, high-quality photographs that are beautifully curated and edited. Free photo editing apps can bring a professional quality to your pictures that set you apart from the competition. Also, don’t hesitate to take advantage of Instagram Stories. All of the big brands use video on Instagram, and there is a good reason.
Also, find out the best time to post your content on Instagram and stick to that schedule.
Use Calls-to-Action in Your Posts
Instagram users hold notoriously short attention spans. Once they’ve browsed your posts, they’ll move on to another page – unless you lead them on a worthwhile mission. This could be as simple as directing users to Instagram live and Stories, where they can see updates on special events or limited-time sales.
Instagram live and stories bring your pictures to life. While a picture is a brief snapshot, Live and Stories can go more in-depth and present your company much-needed personality. They also offer a chance for interaction with polls and other widgets that offer instant feedback and easier access to links. Stories used to disappear in 24 hours, but Instagram now offers tools to organize them on your bio.
Otherwise, request that users sign up for your email list, visit your YouTube page, or tag a friend in the comments section – anything that will take them from being a passive follower to an active voice for your brand.
Think of hashtags as signposts that direct your potential customers to your page. Hashtags organize and present content so users can easily find (and follow) their interests. Posts with at least one hashtag have more engagement than those without. While Twitter dominates in terms of hashtag trends, certain phrases can suddenly surge in popularity on Instagram – and when they do, you’ll want to be positioned to take advantage of the sudden interest.
Branded hashtags improve your company’s discoverability while also helping consumers connect over shared interests and values.
According to a notable study from Simply Measured (now Sprout Social), posts accompanied by at least one hashtag average 12.6 percent greater engagement than those without hashtags. Of course, the most effective hashtags are catchy and easy to use.
Use your industry’s hashtags judiciously for the best results. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but just because you can use that many doesn’t mean you should. Find and select the top ten in your industry, and add those as needed to each post.
Other hashtag strategies include:
- Adding a clickable hashtag to your Instagram bio.
- Follow hashtags for your industry to stay up-to-date.
- Consider adding hashtags as the first comment in your post to avoid cluttering your image.
- Use both “big-hit” hashtags (lots of followers) and more specific hashtags (fewer but more focused followers who are more likely to be looking for your exact services).
- Add hashtags to your Instagram stories.
- Use your branded hashtag in every post.
- Take some time to find the best digital marketing trends for your industry, and use them consistently.
Automate, Scale and track your analytics.
All of these hashtag strategies and posting to Instagram stories won’t mean much if you aren’t crunching the numbers, too. Use Instagram’s analytics tools to see how each post is doing. Under each post, click “view insights” to see who is checking out your content, how they got there, and who clicked a link in your bio. Effective automation can ensure that new content posts exactly when you want, regardless of your presence online.
Here are a few software solutions you may like to add to your Instagram toolkit:
- Magic social
It takes considerable time and effort to build a strong Instagram presence – time that you’d likely rather spend elsewhere. Thankfully, you can automate much of this process.
Inviting an industry expert to “take over” your Instagram account (or taking over another account for the day) can bring excitement and variety to your Instagram account.
People turn to Instagram influencers for insight into how they should live their lives – and which products they should purchase.
Influencers can be one of your most effective resources on Instagram; statistics published on Social Media Today claim that influencer marketing provides 11 times the return on investment of other forms of digital marketing.
Run a contest or giveaway
Everybody likes free stuff. Even if you offer services (instead of products), teaming up with another account to host a giveaway (or getting creative with your own giveaway) can bring in new friends and followers. Contests are increasingly popular among Instagram users, who love the idea of winning big despite exerting minimal effort. On your end, however, a photo contest can boost brand awareness while also increasing goodwill among existing followers.
Don’t Buy Followers
Sure, you could spend a little cash and pick up a couple of thousand followers, but remember: social media is about building relationships.
Relationships built on dishonesty aren’t destined to last and they certainly won’t actually add revenue. Sure, it takes more time to build up a large following the ethical way, but that foundation is rock solid and likely to last. Fake followers might seem impressive, but in the long run, they aren’t likely to grow your business.
At Techshawe, we are experts at helping businesses of every size and in every Industry with their Instagram marketing needs. If you want to know more about how to grow your business on Instagram, get in touch today!