Instagram – a social media platform with 300 million monthly active users who share more than 70 million photos and videos each day.
If you’ve been living under a rock and aren’t familiar with Instagram, here’s a quick run down. It’s a mobile photo sharing app and social network that was created in 2010. It is completely photo/video-centric where users post images or shorts videos with captions and share them among their followers. The average Instagram user spends 21 minutes per day using the app.
Instagram is a great place to market your brand. It’s all about using visual content for maximum impact. As of now, 65% of the world’s top brands use Instagram with this number continuing to grow. Even if your business doesn’t physically sell tangible products, there are ways to build your brand without directly showcasing photographs of products. Being active on Instagram is a way to show your customers that you’re relevant, which is crucial in keeping a competitive edge.
So now that we’ve established what it is and what it can do, here are some useful techniques to keep you on top of your Instagram game:
First and foremost you need to ensure your Instagram page reflects your brand. Posting funny images or memes may get your post more likes but it’s essential that these pictures are relevant to your brand, or your page may appear disjointed. You can make your page more personable by including posts about your employees. Take photographs of team members around the office to give your followers a sneak-peak into the day-to-day activities within your company. Additionally, use filters to make your posts more visually appealing. There are an abundance of apps with more advanced editing tools where you can enhance your images before sharing them to your Instagram feed.
Users can both search for and click on hashtags they see in posts, so it can be highly effective to use popular and relevant hashtags to get you noticed. Before you post an image, it might be useful to search around for similar content to see which hashtags may lead to potential engagement and the most awareness. It is also important not to go overboard with the number of hashtags you use and to make sure they correspond with your post. Using too many irrelevant hashtags means you’re “fishing for likes” — a frowned upon activity. Avoid this by being strategic and using trending or popular hashtags in your post, for example: #TBT – widely known as “Throwback Thursdays” or #MotivationMondays.
3. Engage with your followers
No matter how many pictures you post or hashtags you use, if you don’t engage with your followers, your efforts to market your business may be ineffective. Get involved with them by asking questions in your captions or replying to any comments on your posts making sure to mention users using the “@” function. To increase interaction, run giveaways and promotions. You can create entirely Instagram-based promotions by advertising your giveaway, sale or contest in an image post. In order to enter the giveaway, the user reposts the image with a custom hashtag you’ve created (which you can later search and pick a winner from). As the user posts your image on their personal accounts this creates more awareness for your brand and can drive more traffic to your page.
Instagram currently doesn’t allow you to click on URL links in captions, however you can click on links that are in the bio section on your profile. So how do you direct users to your destination URL? By creating calls to actions in your captions, for instance, “Click the link in my bio”.
4. Share your Instagram posts on all other social media platforms
Don’t limit your reach by only sharing your images on Instagram — share your posts on Facebook, Twitter, your blog and any other platform your business uses. This means cross-promoting is made simple as you create visual content for your other networks at the same time.
You should be approaching Instagram as free advertising. If you invest time and effort into it, you have the capacity to reach a bigger audience through visual marketing. It is definitely not a social network you should rule out.
Written by Vivian Nguyen — Performance Media Specialist at WME.