With more than 300 million monthly users, Instagram is quickly becoming a standout marketing tool that should be part of your social media strategy. Not only are massive amounts of people using the platform, but 70 percent of users have looked up a brand on IG and 62 percent of users follow a brand just because they like it—according to an Instagram study by Iconosquare.
With the right Instagram strategy, you can “sell” to new and current consumers without coming off salesy or spending much (or any) money. Here’s how:
To create a new Instagram account, simply follow these steps:
If you already have it downloaded, open up your app, go to settings, scroll all the way down and choose “Add Account.”
This should be the full name of your business. If that’s already taken, alter it a little bit. Try adding an underscore or the year your company was founded. Above all, make sure to keep it consistent with your brand.
This should be your company logo or watermark. Don’t use a photo of yourself. Once again, keep it consistent with your brand.
Be concise and give a description of what you actually do. Have fun with it, but don’t be salesy. A good formula to follow is who you are, what you do and a pop of personality.
The goal is to convince your potential followers that they will receive value in the content you’ll be adding to their feeds. Don’t forget to include a link to your company’s website or blog right under your name and description. (This is the only part of your Instagram feed where you can include a clickable link).
Keep in mind that you can edit your description at any time. You might do this if you’re running a special campaign, sale or launch of a new product. Just be sure to always stay consistent with your brand.
The right Instagram strategy can take you very little time, cost you little to no money, and be fun to maintain. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Instagram is the best place to connect with your followers using genuine content. Those behind-the-scenes photos you captured during the last board meeting? Gram one! Bring your dog to work day? Show off the cuteness on your Instagram feed. Instagram is a great way for your followers to not only see your brand, but also catch a glimpse of the nuances of your business’s personality and culture.
Here are a few more tips on posting:
When you first launch your Instagram account, consider adding several images all at once to build up your profile and give people a reason to follow you. After that, a good rule of thumb is to post about six images per week. The goal is to remain present in your followers’ feeds without overwhelming them.
According to SumAll, the best time to post on Instagram is between 5 – 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 8 p.m. on Mondays, with an overall sweet spot at 6 p.m. However, your posting times are also dependent on your type of business, the demographics of your primary audience, and their engagement with your feed. Below you’ll find ways to measure your success on Instagram, and one of those ways includes determining which days and times your followers are engaging with you the most.
When you first launch your Instagram page, announce your presence on your other social media platforms and email listserv so your already loyal fan base can start following you right away.
Beyond that, there are several ways to grow your Instagram following and boost engagement within the app itself:
1. Research and Include Relevant Hashtags
Think of hashtags like keywords that are used to create communities around a certain topic. By using relevant hashtags, your posts become discoverable by people who don’t follow you, but do follow that topic. We recommend using 1-5 hashtags per post. In order to choose the rights ones, start by brainstorming keywords and phrases relevant to your brand, then researching corresponding hashtags that are most popular.
2. Interact With Your Followers
Spend 30 minutes a day scrolling through your IG feed, regramming photos (learn more on that here), sharing user-generated content, liking and commenting on your followers’ posts, and responding to comments on your posts.
3. Find Ambassadors to Share Your Brand
Once you’ve started growing your brand, consider reaching out to stand-out customers or clients or other top brands you follow who might be interested in sharing your brand on their feeds.
When setting up your IG account, you can connect it to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and Flickr. By integrating these social channels, you’re able to share content simultaneously on all of your accounts. This will not only increase your brand awareness and visibility, but it’s also a good way to let your followers know that you’re also on Instagram.
Additionally, consider adding your Instagram feed to the bottom of your website, giving visitors a preview of your recently posted photos. And finally, don’t forget to include an Instagram follow button at the bottom of your email campaigns.
Once you’ve launched your Instagram account, don’t let it fall by the wayside. Instead, take some time each week to analyze your stats, research your audience and repeat what’s working. Using tools like Iconosquare, you can track the following:
1. Reciprocity: This number shows you which of your followers interact with your feed the most (i.e., who’s liking and commenting on your posts and tagging your account). With this info, you can show some love to your top followers, improving those relationships and boosting engagement.
2. Density: This number shows you days and times your followers most commonly engage with your posts. These numbers help you plan and optimize your posting schedule to maximize engagement.
Most importantly, make sure to set realistic goals for growth. The more love you give to your Instagram feed, the more engagement you’ll see. Once you’ve got a good measurement tool in place, repeat what’s working and watch your account grow!
The community you build around your brand is just as important as your products or services, and Instagram gives you a place to grow that community. It allows you to foster the intangible aspects of marketing such as buyer loyalty, brand equity and lifetime user value. Embrace the platform and welcome the opportunities that come from it.