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Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media channels. It’s not all selfies and pictures of cute cats – businesses actually managed to turn it into a powerful marketing tool! Instagram, with its focus on visual content – photos and videos – and a lack of clickable links, is a great breath of fresh air after Facebook and Twitter, where almost everything can be clicked.
But how to use Instagram effectively? Which strategy to adapt? In this article, I will show you several practices you might want to apply to your Instagram account in order to build a successful brand!
First thing about consistency is to post regularly. As your audience scrolls through their feed every day, they need to be constantly reminded about you. That doesn’t mean you should upload 15 pictures and three videos daily! A single, well-edited image with an engaging subtext should do! Consistency is important, but quality should always come first!
Second thing is the visual consistency. Let’s suppose you have a promising restaurant in a gentrified neighborhood. You curate your Instagram posting daily snapshots of your dishes. They all share a common feature – the pictures are done with the same angle. The setting is usually different as well as the food or drinks, but the angle is always the same. That makes your Instagram page truly yours. When someone goes to your account page and scrolls through your pictures, they immediately know it’s you. In order to create a successful brand on Instagram, be sure to find something characteristic about your content, something only you have, and build your account around it!
Communicate with your audience!
Instagram is much more personal than other platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. There are no clickable links (except the ones in bios) and the only way to connect with your audiences is to actually talk to them! Use comments as well as the post descriptions – your customers will appreciate you reaching out to them, whether via a comment reply, a personal message or a mention in the description. A very personal approach, which is the feature of Instagram, can be utilized to your benefit.
Let’s have a look on the opposite side – the audience. Remember when you posted a comment on your favorite Instagram account and then they tagged you in a comment with a reply? Wow, that sure felt good, didn’t it? It felt as if there were people, like you and me, behind this account – people with their struggles and victories – someone you can actually relate to instead of yet another faceless business.
Don’t be afraid to get personal!
Following up from the previous point – your business is you! You created it, defined its mission, values and vision and are the one who pushes it forward. Your customers, while surely being interested in what you offer, are also interested in who you are. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time? Post a picture of your dog, which you took during a lovely autumn walk. Your customers will appreciate you opening up in front of them – they after all, tend to trust people and not businesses. Luckily, Instagram offers a lot of opportunities to be personal with your customers!
Use Instagram Stories!
Stories are a relatively new addition to Instagram, largely inspired by Snapchat’s stories. On Instagram, they however, have a much better ground to grow! While Snapchat is mostly for friends and funny banter, Instagram page can get you thousands of followers – each of them being able to see your stories! This is yet another chance for you to get more personal with your audience. You can share anything, from your daily commute to the office, workplace fun or a teaser of a new exciting product, which you are about to launch! Stories allow you to combine the fun with the professional, while still leaving you a lot of space for personal customization.
Post valuable content!
Why do people follow your Instagram account? There are as many answers to that question as many businesses are there! Think on how it applies to what you do. Do you get followers, because of your pictures of food? Maybe it’s your witty commentaries on daily routines? Or perhaps, these nicely done Boomerang videos you can’t stop uploading? Whatever this might be, your customers appreciate it and want to see it during their daily scroll through their Instagram feeds.
Hashtags are a great way to get exposure on Instagram. Although hashtags were adopted on Twitter in the first place, it’s Instagram where you can really up your game in this field! However, it’s important to do your hashtags right. Don’t simply stuff your posts with as many hashtags you can think of. Instead, think of what hashtags would people interested in your business field search for. There are also tools for finding out related tags – hashtagify.me is one of them. A well-curated hashtag campaign may not only unite your audience, but also let other people discover you!
Instagram is a great social media platform. While the limitation of photos and videos might seem daunting, it actually opens up a lot of opportunities to show your creative side and get really personal with your customers.
There’s not a lot of science to Instagram – the best advice is to simply be yourself. Audiences in all fields flock to accounts whose owners are not afraid to reveal a tiny part of their personal lives – it can make all the difference between being a business of people and being just a business.