Thinking of getting your business started on Instagram? Here are seven ways to delight your followers, and diversify your social media presence to surge ahead of your competition!
How can business brands get started on Instagram?
Facebook has always been the golden child of social networking. It’s big, everyone’s there, and it is fun and easy. But Facebook’s been changing the rules, and now it is more challenging for marketers.
So, it’s time to diversify the social portfolio, re-configure the social strategy, and enhance your brand’s social media presence.
Instagram is generally believed to be this “new” social network. But in truth, social media leaders have been snapping photos and curating lovely images since as early as October, 2010. It was when Facebook bought Instagram app that it got more attention.
In 2014, the daily stats should impress:
- 55 million photos are uploaded.
- 86.4 million comments posted.
- 691.2 million users like photos.
Not too shabby! Instagram is developed, yet still has big potential for growth and development.
Instagram is mobile, it’s fun, and it is not yet overly populated with social noise. This allows marketers to develop and nurture social relationships not necessarily possible on other social platforms at this time.
Instagram For Business: The Guide To Getting Started
Before going any further, any business interested in optimizing (and protecting) their online real estate should reserve their brand name on Instagram right now if they have not done so already. This assures that when you are ready – now or in the future – you can engage with your audience with the most optimal situation.
To clarify, if your business name is “Awesome Company,” and someone has already claimed that ID on Instagram, your business would have to choose an alternate, and potentially less optimal of Instagram names. In turn, that could keep your audience guessing, and hinder their finding you on the platform.
A Simple List Of Considerations To Get You Started On Instagram
1. Be There!
This goes for presence on any social network: Reflect your brand message positively. Instagram is all about visual content, so find ways to convey ideas that tie to your brand objectives and your brand values.
Also find out when your audience is most likely to be on Instagram and plan to post at those times so they are most likely to see your images, and like and comment. If you are posting at times when your audience is online, it defeats your purpose of having a presence on Instagram.
2. Be Consistent
Successful brands on Instagram seem to be posting a few times per week to twice a day, on average. As you get started, post at least once per week and work up to a comfortable frequency for you and your audience.
Have a plan for posting and responding that keeps you consistently seen by your audience. If they do not see you for awhile, they will not be motivated to look for you, or engage with your brand when they do see your posts.
Being consistent with image themes is also important. You want to build your content to a point where your audience can almost guess that visual image is yours before they see your brand name attached. Occasional off-theme posts are fine to keep intrigue and energy, but again, tie visuals, colors, and words to your brand goals and objectives.
3. Be Delicious
What images do you respond to? Chances are they are delightful, colorful, and maybe even of food items that make your mouth water. So, regardless of what your business does or whom you serve, find a way to tantalize your audience’s visual taste buds!
Many people seem to respond to:
- Beautiful scenery
All it takes is a little creativity. Try studying popular brands on Instagram to see how they are successful, and emulate what you can.
4. Be Real
Authenticity is key! But what we’re really getting at here: Instagram offers the prime opportunity to infuse your brand into real life.
So, if you sell home improvement items, instead of posting endless photos of the items you sell with prices attached, try helping your audience see how it is of value to them. You can either show the items with people using them. Or, show several small items your audience will need to achieve a coveted result.
Put your brand in real-life situations.
5. Be Artsy
Instagram is all about the visual, so there is so much room to have fun!
For photo images, the filters are tons of fun, and make even the least talented photographer look like a pro. There are also several collage and frame option apps to cluster multiple images. Two that are popular:
Both easily searchable in the App Store.
To offer variety to your audience, try the video option. This is a great way to really let your followers know what your brand is all about and showcase important people or products.
You can re-purpose Instagram videos by embedding them into blog posts or web pages.
6. Use Hashtags
Instagram syndicates very easily to Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr, and other social networks. Hashtags are commonly used on Twitter and Foursquare, and even Facebook is catching up where we see hashtags now used there.
Using hashtags will help you find friends and followers – At present, using them is a great way to attract new followers and build your audience. Some popular Instagram hashtags any brand can use:
Again, use hashtags that are closely tied to your brand goals and objectives.
On Instagram, clicking the little heart near the image is just like clicking “like” on Facebook. Sort of a virtual high-five.
But the real gravity comes from conversation. Comment on others’ image posts to invite them to respond back. Should a back and forth evolve, a mutual follow should come soon enough. So, it is reasonable to say that commenting leads to increasing your Instagram followers.
7 Ways To Ignite Instagram For Your Brand In 2014
It wouldn’t be a post about a visual medium without offering a visual aid to help convey the point! Below is a SlideShare meant to be an introduction to Instagram for business.
Top Brands On Instagram Leading By Example
Now is a great time to establish a presence on Instagram because the competition is not what it is on Facebook. There is time to make strong connections and forge ahead of your competition if they have not already begun here.
Take some cues from popular brands on Instagram:
- The Ellen Show
- National Geographic
- Victoria’s Secret
- Forever 21
- Sneaker News
The above were the most popular brands on Instagram as of Q4, 2013. As more and more brands gain traction on the social network, we could expect those to change slightly over time.
Do an Instagram search to find other favorite brands and others in your niche.
Your Snapshot View Of Instagram
Hopefully you’re more inspired to take your business onto Instagram!
What questions do you have about using Instagram for business?
Are there other business brands not on the list above doing outstanding things on Instagram?
Please share your questions and suggestions in the comments box below… 🙂