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4 Brand-Building 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 Instagram marketing.
Many of us use Instagram as a personal account to post photos of our family, friends, vacations and food – but how does it tie into business? And should it?
With the speed with which Instagram is growing, don’t underestimate its value to promote your brand and marketing efforts.
It has grown into an incredibly valuable marketing platform and although 18-29 year olds are still widespread users, the older age groups are catching up and catching up fast.
Some 2018 Instagram stats from Sprout Social say:
• 7 out of 10 Instagram hashtags are tagged
• 80% of users follow a business on Instagram
• 65% of top-performing Instagram posts contain products
If you’re feeling stuck exploring Instagram as part of your social media marketing strategy, check out these introductory points to help you get started:
1. Use Hashtags Wisely
You don’t need to cram every hashtag you can think of into one post, but you do need at least a few.
The 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/taps on a hashtag or types a hashtag in the search box, it brings up all the images that use the hashtag. The user can even subscribe to continue following that hashtag.
The hope is that the user sees your photo, goes to your profile and in the best-case scenario, follows you and engages with more of your posts!
However, when hashtags are more popular, the competition to show results is fierce. As with SEO keywords, the more popular the term, the harder it is to stay at the top of search results. Thus, my example of using #marketing is useless if I want to get any traction from that post.
You want to make your hashtags relevant to your business and location, but also catchy enough that a user will type them into the Instagram search box.
• Say you own a pizza joint in Vancouver. You post a pic of your Pepperoni pizza with the hashtags #VancouversBestPizza #NicolosRestaurant #DeliciousDeepDish
• Or you are a Toronto wedding planner. You posted a picture of the bride and groom’s first dance with the hashtags #TorontoWeddingPlanner #LoveWins #WinterWedding
Holidays and special events are a great time to promote your business and gain Instagram followers. Whether it’s a Black Friday sale, a Thanksgiving-related use for your product or a product shout-out on National Dog Day, they’re all ideal opportunities to showcase your business brand in non-sales. that way.
2. Thank Your Audience for Showing Up
You don’t just post a bunch of photos and hashtags and wait for likes to come in.
To get Instagram followers, engage with your audience and grow sales or leads, you need to put in the time.
Check out an example here from video expert Michele Moreno where she responds to each of the comments left on her video post.
So when someone leaves a comment or question on one of your posts, take the time to respond and thank them/answer their question.
Check out their profile, and if you like what you see, follow them.
Businesses often go after commenters first, in the hope that they can return the favor.
You can also find people who might be interested in your product, then comment on their photos and/or follow them, but don’t spam them with a request to follow you right away.
3. Associate with the Right Influences
Influencers are Instagram users who can influence your target audience due to their popularity and/or following on social media.
Danielle Bernstein is a great example of an influencer working with a brand. You might not recognize his name, but the 1.8 million followers of his Instagram account WeWoreWhat do.
Bernstein and FIJI Water collaborated to create BodyWoreWhat, a marketing campaign that offers 8-minute workout videos with him and his personal trainer.
That might be an extreme example, and unless you have deep pockets you probably won’t attract an influencer with nearly two million followers.
But don’t lose hope. From mommy bloggers to local foodies, you’ll always find someone your target audience follows, likes or admires. They might be willing to review your product or take a photo with it – use your imagination!
4. Don’t Just Shill Your Products
Instagram is not a place to share product shots all the time. Think about people’s experience using what you offer, or the benefits it gives people.
Better yet, show real examples. Asking for user-generated content from your audience is one way to do this. That means users are sharing their photos using the hashtag you provided.
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 you can increase your Instagram content for hours – for free!
No matter how you use Instagram for your business, be authentic and true to your brand. It’s all about the platform, and it helps you promote your business, gain Instagram followers and attract sales or leads.
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