According to statistics, the number of monthly active users on Instagram increased from 500 million in June 2016 up to 600 million in December 2016. Billions of likes appear every hour! Undoubtedly, Instagram has become one of the greatest promotion tools.
But how to use it for the maximum benefit of your business? How to present your brand in the best light? Follow the tips below, and you’ll be able to integrate your advertising campaign into this social platform smoothly and successfully.
#1 SET THE RIGHT ACCOUNT SETTINGS
- First of all, create a business account named the same as your company. Choose something that’s most associated with the brand to convey its core purpose and values.
- Fill the profile: add some information about your company, upload a beautiful branded image (ideally, the logo) and put a link to the official website.
- Integrate your account with Facebook, set up the automatic integration of Instagram photos to Facebook to increase the number of reposts. Companies such as Mercedes-Benz gain much more likes using cross-posting.
- Come up with a unique brand strategy. Share the idea of your organization with people and focus the content around it.
- Use hashtags. The top-10 most popular hashtags in 2017 are:
Although there’s no restriction on the number of characters (unlike Twitter), hashtags that are too long, as well as an overuse of hashtags looks unnatural and can scare visitors. Apply up to 7 hashtags to each photo, not more, including the name of the brand.
Use unique hashtags for different advertising campaigns. For example, if you have decided to hold a photo contest, a special hashtag for that event may look like #[your_brand_name]photocontest.
Include common hashtags. For example, if you own a coffee shop, add tags like #coffee, #latte, etc. However, popular hashtags are a bit tricky: a lot of people use them so that you can’t move to the top until your photos get at least a few thousand likes a day.
Keep track of new and relevant hashtags. Look for users who use your brand name as a hashtag, and try to set the feedback. Keep track of all mentions on Facebook and Twitter. Respond quickly to ensure a good and long-term relationship with customers.
#3 TAKE CARE OF YOUR CUSTOMERS AND INTERACT WITH THEM
- Show your followers how much you appreciate them. Share the best photos of your subscribers. For example, Starbucks, one of the most successful brands on Instagram, every few weeks publishes one of the followers’ works that depicts the company’s products.
- Use @ for references. People love when you treat them personally. Use @ if the image is related to a famous person. If the pic is really interesting, you may get a repost and, as a consequence, additional followers.
- Add some excitement using Photoshop, Diptic or Photoshake. Short videos will diversify your content strategy. For example, you may show users how to use one of your products.
- Create a fascinating brand story. Beautiful photos and videos that convey the basic principles and values of your company will work for you.
- Give some insights. Share the photos of your employees who stand behind the success of your brand. Something from behind the scenes is always highly appreciated. Stay closer to people! For instance, you can publish funny, entertaining videos from corporate events or share photos which can’t be found in other social networks.
- Prepare the audience for a great event. If you’re going to release something to the market, announce it exclusively on Instagram. For example, on the day of the premiere, upload a video on how the staff prepares for the official part, not disclosing what’s at the core of it.
- Do not keep silence. Questions give rise to debates – ask for the readers’ opinion about recent posts or images. For example, if you are the owner of a clothing store, you may ask what kind of shoes would suit the jeans from the new collection of your brand. Create a hashtag by which followers would be able to post pictures on the topic.
- Ask users to come up with a caption for an image. Publish an unusual photo of one of your products and announce a competition for the best caption (and do not forget to reward the winner!).
- Use crowdsourcing. Ask users to publish photos that show the role of the brand in their lives. This will help you to understand the target audience and will be useful for further research aimed at the development of your business.
- Use geotagging to target local users. Place QR codes on Instagram so that users will be able to get discounts.
- Regularly update your profile, regardless of the number of subscribers. Decide on the frequency and time of publications, taking into account analytics. The most “engaged” time on Instagram shifts from day to day: On Monday, for example, it’s from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.; on Friday – 1 a.m. and 8 p.m. are the sweetest hours.
Instagram is one of the most developing business instruments, so each and every aspiring entrepreneur should take it into account as a brand strategy platform.
Whether you like it or not, Instagram is too large for a business to ignore! I wish you all the best in your aspirations!
This post was originally written by Lucy Adams for the Heyo blog.