4 Branding Tips on Using Instagram for Your Business
How to Create a Powerful Instagram Social Media Marketing Strategy
One of the most powerful marketing tools marketers have today is social media. From Facebook posts to Twitter tweets, sharing your products or services on social media platforms is a great way to increase brand awareness, engagement, sales, and leads.
However, many people are left scratching their heads when it comes to marketing with Instagram.
Many of us use Instagram as a personal account to post photos of our family, friends, vacations, and food, but how can it relate to business? And should I?
With the speed at which Instagram is growing, don’t underestimate its value in boosting your brand and marketing efforts.
It has become an incredibly valuable marketing platform and while users aged 18-29 are still frequent users, the older age groups are quickly catching up.
Some 2018 Instagram statistics from Sprout Social are revealing:
• 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded
• 80% of users follow a business on Instagram
• 65% of top performing Instagram posts feature products
If you feel the urge to explore Instagram as part of your social media marketing strategy, check out these starter tips to help you get started:
1. Use Hashtags Wisely
You don’t need to include every hashtag you can think of in a post, but you do need at least a few.
A hashtag is the # sign followed by descriptive words about your image, like in this example, I used #marketing and #ctaconf, which was the conference I was attending at the time.
When a user clicks/tap on a hashtag or types a hashtag in the search box, all images using that hashtag appear. The user can even subscribe to continue following that hashtag.
The hope is that the user will see your photo, go to your profile, and at best follow you and engage with more of your posts!
However, when hashtags are extremely popular, the competition to appear in the results is fierce. Just like SEO keywords, the more popular a term is, the harder it is to stay at the top of search results. So my example of using #marketing was really useless if I wanted to get any traction from that post.
You want your hashtags to be relevant to your business and location, but also compelling enough for a user to type into the Instagram search box.
• Let’s say you have a pizzeria in Vancouver. You post a photo of your pepperoni pizza with the hashtags #VancouversBestPizza #NicolosRestaurant #DeliciousDeepDish
• Or you are a wedding planner in Toronto. You post a picture of the bride and groom’s first dance using the hashtags #TorontoWeddingPlanner #LoveWins #WinterWedding
Holidays and special events are a great time to promote your business and gain followers on Instagram. Whether it’s a Black Friday sale, a Thanksgiving-related use for your product, or product recognition on National Dog Day, they’re all ideal opportunities to showcase your company’s brand in a non-commercial way. .
2. Thank your audience for coming
Don’t just post a bunch of photos and hashtags and wait for the likes to roll in.
To gain followers on Instagram, engage with your audience, and increase sales or leads, you need to put in the time.
See an example here from video expert Michele Moreno responding to every single comment left on her video post.
So if someone leaves a comment or question on one of your posts, please take the time to reply and thank them/answer their question.
Take a look at their profile and if you like what you see, follow them.
Businesses often follow commenters first, hoping they can return the favor.
You can also search for people who might be interested in your product, then comment on their photos and/or follow them, but don’t spam them asking them to follow you right away.
3. Engage with the right influencers
Influencers are Instagram users who can influence their target audience due to their popularity and/or following on social media.
Danielle Bernstein is a good example of an influencer who has worked with a brand. You may not recognize her name, but the 1.8 million followers of her WeWoreWhat Instagram account do.
Bernstein and FIJI Water worked together to create BodyWoreWhat, a marketing campaign featuring 8-minute workout videos featuring her and her personal trainer.
That can be an extreme example, and unless you have a lot of money, you probably won’t be able to attract an influencer with nearly two million followers.
But don’t despair. From mom bloggers to local foodies, you can always find someone your target audience follows, likes, or admires. Maybe they would be willing to review your product or take a photo wearing it. Use your imagination!
4. Don’t just sell your products
Instagram is not the place to simply share product photos all the time. Think about the experience people have using what you’re offering, or the benefits it gives people.
Even better, show real examples. Requesting user-generated content from your audience is one way to do this. That means users share your photos using a hashtag you provide.
Online furniture store Wayfair.com does user-generated content very well. They have a user-generated campaign that allows customers to share photos of their stylish Wayfair-filled homes using the hashtag #WayfairAtHome.
Be sure to let people know that their images can be featured on your Page and that you can boost your Instagram content big time – for free!
No matter how you use Instagram for your business, stay authentic and stay true to your brand. That’s what the platform is all about, and it will help you grow your business, gain followers on Instagram, and attract sales or leads.