If you haven't already, creating a presence for your brand on Instagram could help boost your digital marketing, and give you a brand new audience to connect with.
Instagram has a growing user base, and offers more organic reach to businesses than many other social networks like Facebook.
If you think Instagram is for teenagers, you're wrong. More and more adults and consumer groups are using the platform to connect and engage with their favorite brands and celebrities.
Savvy businesses are levering the platform to reach a highly engaged and active audience. Don't be left out! Find out how you can get started, or improve your brand's presence.
Strategies for successful marketing on Instagram:
1. Use the power of influencers.
Celebrities are a perfect example of a powerful influencer that can sell a brand. For small businesses who don’t have the backing of a celebrity, how can you can get influencers?
First, identify industry influencers on Instagram (wow that is a mouthful).
If you’re an auto dealership, perhaps you would want to connect with a local race car or derby driver, or car magazines or periodicals. These are people who have built trust in your target audience. Likes or shares from them will go a long way in building your brand.
You can also consider some kind of paid promotion deal involving these influencers.
2. Be active.
Start liking and commenting on posts relating to your industry. Use hashtags to find appropriate post or people and follow or interact. This will go a long way in increasing the visibility of your brand on Instagram, and will also get you more likes and follows in return.
My personal rule for social media is “Be the friend you want to have.” If you want more engagement and follows, be more engaging.
3. Leverage User Generated Content
User generated content (UGC) is more trustworthy and can spread much further than any brand promotions. How can you encourage more content about your brand?
Make sure you have a few hashtags specifically for your brand or products, and encourage or reward people who use that hashtag. For example, in the book industry, authors will often run a promotion where they will pick a winner for a giveaway from anyone who uses their hashtag and posts certain content.
Reward UGC by interacting with anyone who uses your hashtag or tags your business. That will go a long way in encouraging the practice.
Tools like Tack
can help brands systematize the process of legitimately requesting and approving permission to post fan content. The end result is more relatable and trusted content for your brand and its community.
4. Choose a Content Strategy
You want to have engaging content that represents your business. Here are a few different ways to accomplish that:
Product-centric: Focus on your products. This seems to be the most popular way brands use Instagram. It is basically a way to show people the great stuff you sell. As Instagram continues to develop their shoppable product tags, this might be a great way to start making sales directly from the platform, once it becomes available to more businesses.
Culture-centric: You don’t need to focus on making the sale on any social media. Sometimes, building your brand is just as effective. Perhaps your product requires a longer sales funnel, or you have a very unique company culture. Showing your potential customers what you’re all about can go a long way in creating fans out of your follows, and making sales easier because of your increased brand power.
Mixing Both: You can also try a combination of both, of course. Building your brand and exposing followers to products could be a dynamite combination.
5. Post content regularly.
Ah yes, the downfall of many social media marketing efforts is the need to post regularly. Yes, it does take time to curate and post content. It takes time to engage with followers. But trust me, brand recognition is crucial, and there is no better place to reach a broad audience than on social media.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be constantly jumping on Instagram to post content (although if you’re comfortable using the platform and have your mobile device handy at all times, that’s great). You can use programs like Buffer or Hoostsuite to schedule your posts ahead of time, and with your other social accounts, to save time (or if you’re like me, and you’re never quite certain where your mobile device is, but you are practically joined with your laptop).
6. Use Hashtags
Include hashtags in every post. You should have unique business hashtags for your brand, and also use general hashtags for your product or industry. If you are running a special promotion, you may also want to create a unique hashtag for the promotion. If a trending hashtag relates to your business don’t hesitate to use that, as well.
Hashtags is the best way to connect with a larger audience and tell your users what you are all about. Don’t forget to monitor your hashtags to engage with followers.
Need help coming up with things to post on Instagram?
I've created a list of ideas to help get you started, and increase your engagement. Enjoy!