Wondering how you can make yourself or your brand “insta-famous” or maybe you’re just looking at Instagram as a platform and wondering how you can get a little more return from it to support your business objectives and brand building?
Instagram has become an enormous global platform over the years and now boasts a user base of well over 800 million worldwide, as of the end of 2018 with a predicted 1 billion user figure fast approaching.
With 500 million of those being active every day and more than 80 million photos being posted daily….in the paraphrased words of Ron Burgundy, it’s a pretty big deal.
Now knowing that Instagram is a platform you can potential use to create some awesome things for your business and/ or brand and knowing how to approach it are very different things.
With more than 25 million business profiles existing on Instagram already, whilst it might be a big audience, there’s a lot of competition for share of voice, but getting it right can lead to some really great things.
So if you’re stuck for ideas or just looking for ways to boost your Instagram success here’s 6 top tips to consider:
- Switch to a Business Profile
This might seem like an obvious first step but there’s a lot of brands and smaller business who’ve not yet converted theirs to one. Doing this creates a lot of great features and benefits including some great analytics and reporting tools.
Creating a business profile also makes it a lot easier for followers and folks who engage with your content to connect you or contact you.
- Know Your Audience
This applies to every form of marketing or social media, but it’s such an important element to remember it’s worth calling out specifically. Just because Instagram has got 800 million or so users, that sadly doesn’t mean you’re going to be relevant to all of them!
The more you understand your target market(s), what motivates them, what their needs and requirements are relevant to your product/ service and the ways they communicate, the better you can reach them. Build example personas of your audience and the key figures within it and keep those in mind each and every time you share a new piece of content,
- Always Be Branding
The brand that represents your company, no matter how big or small that might be, is a powerful part of your organisation and its external perception. Everything you do from email style, website design, sales approach, style of writing, event presence, digital marketing, logo design and social media impacts how your brand appears.
Before you post that latest awesome shot of your newest creation or the incredible giveaway promotional image you’ve created, think how it reflects against your brand. Does it “feel” like it represents what your business is about, it’s values, it’s style and its message? Does it feel like it’s appropriate for your audience and their potential expectations and views?
This also goes for your Instagram profile – often the first thing people see when they look to connect with your page – which is an area that can be so often overlooked. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your profile but make sure that it not only stands out, but reflects your business in a clear and professional way.
The more you keep your brand at the heart of what you do, the more you can boost its power and connectivity.
- Play it Cool…
Regardless of whether you’re just getting started with your Instagram marketing or looking to build on what you’ve done so far it’s important to communicate on a basis that’s appropriate.
Don’t overwhelm your audience and followers by posting so frequently that they get annoyed by your content and don’t post to infrequently that they forget about you. I wish there was a magic formula to explain what the right frequency is but unfortunately there isn’t – it’s a case of trial and error and learning as you go.
However, one easy way to explore what sort of frequency might be right is to check out what your competitors or other brands and companies you admire are doing.
Look at how often they’re posting, the styles of content they share, they ways the incorporate hashtags and learn whatever you can.
If you post twice a week for a period, then try posting 5 times a week for a period, track the results and engagement metrics and see what looks to work best. Experiment and find ways to optimise and you’ll be surprised by the results you can build. Whatever you do though, stay consistent! Don’t post loads for a short period of time, then nothing for months and then another mass spell later on. Keep it regular!
- Connect With Your Audience
One of the biggest powers of social media is its ability to get, well, social. Don’t think that just by building a plan for your Instagram content and then sticking to means you can sit back and put your feet up. The more engaging and interactive you are, the more power and connectivity you build with your audience.
Build relationships and dialogue. Connect. Encourage sharing, feedback and comments….and when you get those comments then talk back! If you’re a one person show then spending a ton of time writing comments and answering questions to posts can use up a lot of your day, but if you do it wisely and embrace it to build up loyalty and engagement then you’ll find that time was incredibly well spent.
- Harnass the Hashtag
The hashtag is a key part of the modern social media world and Instagram is absolutely no exception to that, yet using them and using them well are 2 very different things!
If you don’t know what a hashtag is, then in short it’s a combination of words/ numbers/ letters (and now emoji’s as well!) which is preceded by a #. Each hashtag is a way that makes something both searchable and potentially more discoverable or associated to a particular subject.
I’m not going to go into this subject in total detail as it could fill a blog post (and a book) on it’s own, but there’s a few great ways to make the most of your hashtag use.
Learn which hashtags are most appropriate to your post and your organisation. Check out competitors, influential pages, areas you can relate to and more to find out which are showing up the most. You can use the Instagram search/ explore function to research this around any topic you want and you’ll get some great insights.
Always include hashtags that are relevant – including those that are specific to your company or that help drive engagement – but don’t abuse them! Just because you can post up to 30 each time, that doesn’t mean you have to. Get the balance right between helping discoverability and engagement and then not just overwhelming your content and losing the core message. You also want them to be relevant – you’ll do more harm than good by just posting a ton of popular hashtags to help make your post visible if they aren’t relevant to your post.
Lastly use hashtag analytics within your business profile to check out how effective yours are in driving traffic and engagement. Keep an eye on this regularly as part of your strategy and find ways to optimise results.
So these half a dozen tips are by no means the only ones but hopefully they’re a few areas that, when harnessed as part of your Instagram strategy can really boost your success. Instagram is a platform that allows you to be incredibly creative and personable so don’t be afraid to do that in ways that are appropriate for your business.
Learn what your audience and customers find important and how you can add value to them and do it regularly and in relation to your own brand identity.