As one of the most loved social media platforms today, Instagram does wonders for your brand marketing.
With 100MM+ active monthly users who post an average of 80MM+ photos every day, it's no wonder this social media platform has changed the way many think about marketing and branding today. Although Instagram is seeing great success, some brands are still not taking advantage of its potential. Instagram allows brands to market themselves through visual storytelling. It aids businesses and brands in forming an identity and sharing a specific point of view. Let’s walk through the process.
Once you’ve decided to activate your brand on Instagram you want to begin with some research. It’s a good idea to make a personal account and browse around the platform before launching your business account. You’ll find it helpful to see what other brands and competitors are doing in the space.
Setting up an account is easy to do. Pick a username that’s easily identifiable and the same as your other social media accounts, if possible. You’ll also want to set up a profile photo (110 pixels in diameter) and a short bio -- your bio can feature your website or blog. You also want to make sure you link Facebook to your account, as it makes it easier for you to find friends and your friends to find you. Because your account is for business purposes we recommend turning on the notifications, so you don’t miss a beat!
It’s good practice to follow those who follow you and engage in your community by liking photos and making comments. When it comes to your own posts, make sure the images are high quality and visually appealing. People really appreciate and enjoy accounts that showcase these types of images. You should also monitor trending hashtags and use them when you can. Hashtags are popular on other sites like Twitter as well, and work the same way. You can use a hashtag to link to similar photos and posts. Make sure that you are not over-posting or excessively using hashtags, as this can irritate followers.
When navigating the app, your feed will be the bottom left icon on the Instagram app. The explore feed is the next icon to the right, you can upload your photos in the middle, the activity feed is to the right, and the last icon at the bottom right corner of the app is your profile where your photos are collected and stored.
When you upload an image into Instagram, play with custom filters or use the many popular filters they’ve already set up. Experiment with what filters you like best and even opt for #NoFilter occasionally. You can also tag people and locations in your posts, by hitting “add location”. This not only gives your followers a more indepth view into what you do, but also helps your discoverability. Your followers may also send you direct messages via your inbox, which appears on the top right hand corner of your home feed.
With those basic questions answered it can still be difficult to decide what to post. Spend some time developing a clear and creative strategy. Choose photos that are relevant to your brand. You can also post photos that inspire your audience or share compelling stories that give a view into your story. Remember you’re trying to cultivate a relationship between you and your community through visual imagery, so make it memorable.
Once you’ve built up your community you can play with fun ways to engage. We’ve seen success when brands have hosted photo contests. You can also cross promote, by sharing other users' posts through reposting and tagging. One way to make your followers happy is to reward them with discounts, pre-launch products, gift cards, or other prizes. A great way to engage with your community and give them insight into your brand is to showcase your employees. You can do so by handing control over, for a post or even a day, to your staff. This also gives your audience an authentic and unique view. Another popular engagement tip is to create your own brand relevant hashtags. Lastly, take your posts even further by creating and posting collages or videos. Don’t worry, there are plenty of apps to help out.
Here are some apps to up your Instagram game: Snapseed for editing, VSCO Cam for filters, Overgram or Quick for adding text, Pic Stitch or Layout for making collages and framed photos, Hyperlapse for time lapse videos, and Latergramme for scheduling future posts. If you want to take your marketing to the next level, you can activate Ads through the Facebook Ads manager. Also be sure to check out Instagram’s blog and business page to keep up to date on helpful ideas and practices.