Instagram has become the favoured social media platform for brand marketing – and with 700,000,000 users, most of whom are under thirty, it’s easy to understand the appeal.
Promoting your business on Instagram isn’t as simple as uploading a great photo and waiting for the comments and likes to roll in, however. Your brand needs to send a consistent message, with stunning images and regular content that’s interesting and useful to followers.
My top five tips to promote your business on Instagram will help kickstart your presence on the platform.
Create a dedicated business account for your brand and carefully plan a schedule of content, rather than posting when the mood takes you (as you would with a personal account.) When promoting your brand, focus on the needs of your target audience, rather than thinking about what you might like to share with friends. Your business account should be packed with personality, but content shouldn’t be personal – keep your private life private and stick to your brand message.
Hashtag for your life
Hashtagging your posts is a great way to highlight your niche and create a vacuum for potential followers, that will funnel them towards your page (in fact, it’s so effective for business use that 7 out of 10 Instagram hashtags are now branded.) Crafting your own branded hashtags will help people find your content (if it’s relevant to them) and can also be used to track engagement with your posts, so you can learn what works and what doesn’t.
Instagram isn’t a place to hard sell. People do buy from brands they follow, but the challenge is to influence and suggest, rather than actively pushing a product. Be subtle in the way you engage with followers and they’re more likely to enjoy your content, rather than feeling hassled.
Often, it’s a good idea to let your images do the talking, keeping copy to a minimum in order to avoid appearing too sales focussed. The most successful brands on Instagram use their posts to drive traffic to specific product pages on their websites, where they can share product details and make a strong calls to action that prompts a visitor to make a purchase.
It wouldn’t feel right to post about Instagram without discussing images – after all, this is a visual platform. Getting snap happy with an average quality camera is fine for a personal account, but your brand deserves better, so consider investing in a professional photographer or a great camera to produce pictures that stand out from the crowd.
Competition for amazing images on Instagram is fierce, so make sure that every image you share is carefully planned and well executed. Be inventive too – coming up with creative ways to capture content – you’ll find tonnes of inspiration simply by browsing the site for a couple of hours.
Most cameras and smart phones now feature the option to shoot in squares, which means you can save time on cropping images before uploading, along with ensuring essential elements in your images aren’t lost. You can also take advantage of Apps like PicStitch and Snapseed to help bring your images to life, and to create great layouts for your page.
Promote your page
Finally, don’t forget to promote your Instagram account via other social media channels, like Twitter and Facebook – and include your feed on your website and blog too. There’s no point having a great Instagram account if nobody knows about it, so use your social media profiles to cross promote.