How to Make Instagram Work for Your business
August 17, 2017
Sometimes it’s ok to have a bit of fun with your marketing strategies. It doesn’t all have to be ‘sales sales sales.’ You know that saying, ‘if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life?’ (thanks Marc Anthony). We’re all for doing what you love, and social media marketing is a good place to be able to have a bit of fun and show your audience what you love about what you do.
We’ve talked a few times about building a personality for your brand and how it helps your potential customers build a relationship and a loyalty to your business. We want to dig a little deeper into one of the avenues for doing this, we want to have a gander at your Instagram account.
Instagram can be a lot of fun. As a very visual platform, it is important to make your work look great, you may have heard the buzzword ‘Instagrammability’ floating around, the quality expected of Instagram images has branded itself! Take the time to learn the best tips and tricks to getting your Instagram profile looking schmick. You’ll soon learn how to make your work look Instagrammable.
Create your profile
Setting up an account with Instagram is easy and very straightforward, Instagram is owned by Facebook, so you can even create an account with your existing Facebook details.
Once you’ve setup your account you have the option to switch it over to a business profile in your profile settings. All you need to do from that point is follow the steps! Whether you do this or not is totally up to you and may depend on how you want to use your Instagram account. Some businesses prefer not to switch their accounts to a business profile because it broadcasts them as just that. In some cases it is the preference to use your profile to build a community rather than sell a product.
The difference between a personal account and a business profile is that a business profile allows you to add a contact button, gives you free analytics and offers the option to promote your posts as ads.
When you’re looking for tips about building your Instagram profile, you’ll find the word ‘community’ used all over the place. This is what Instagram is all about and is why we keep suggesting that this is the place to promote your brand’s personality more than anything else.
Stick to your branding guidelines (be consistent)
By now, you should have some guidelines in place that inform the way you present yourself on any public platform. If you haven’t set this up yet, you can read some tips in this post.
With Instagram being so visual, this is a place where your branding consistency becomes really obvious. The images that you use on Instagram are assembled on your profile as a grid, so it is important that you think about how each image you post will look as part of a bigger picture.
If your style is black and white, all your images should be black and white, perhaps even minimalistic if that suits your brand. If you have a certain colour scheme, you should incorporate this into your images.
Ideally, someone should be able to look at your Instagram profile and know that it’s you before they even read the name. Your branding should be strong enough and consistent enough to carry your business across any platform.
You know how we talked about community before? A big part of being a community is supporting and encouraging those around you. Community is about communicating and forming strong relationships with those who have a common goal or common interests.
Instagram uses tagging to reach out to a wide range of people with similar interests. Tagging is essentially a search function. Adding a hashtag (#) to your post means that Instagram users all over the world are able to find your content through a simple search. Unlike Google, there’s no tricks or algorithms to create rankings in the search results on Instagram, when you add a tag search results show all tags in the order they were added.
On that same note, it is good to remember that Instagram shows tags in their order because it is a reminder that you need to think of unique hashtags for your brand. The more of one tag there is, the easier it is for your post to get lost amongst the masses. Using tags that are more complex and not so overused means that your content will appear higher in the search results.
Using that search function yourself is a good way to find and attract new followers. Finding people who would easily relate to your brand and engaging with them is a great way to build your Instagram community. In your engagements, make sure you create conversational topics. Your comments should be more than just a ‘that’s great, follow my page!’ they should show interest in the user you are engaging with and presenting yourself as a real human worth engaging with. Instagram users are savvy to how bots work and if they see a comment that looks generic, they will not bother with a response and definitely won’t take the effort to check out your profile. Have real conversations with your followers and the people you want to be your followers, that is how you will build your community.
Use Instagram stories for context
In the last year or so, Instagram released a new feature that allows it’s users to share real time videos, creating a video log of their day that lasts for 24 hours. This feature is called stories and you can use it to the advantage of your business too.
Your Instagram story is a great way to show the real life workings of your business, the behind the scenes stuff that makes you relatable to the everyday Joe. It’s also the most casual form of social media broadcast that you can get away with, compared to the high quality and consistent branding of your Instagram images. As long as you keep in mind that your story is still building your brand and should be a representative of your personality, you have free reign with your smartphone footage.
Boosting your content
If you’ve decided to switch to a business profile, you will have the opportunity to boost your posts and create ads. This is a great tool for reaching an even larger and very specific audience. Instagram, like Facebook, allows you to target your audience. This means you can choose the demographic you want to see your ad and focus your money on the people you know will respond.
Adding boost posts to your social media marketing strategy is always a good idea. The ability to target these ads means that your content is being shown to all the right people in all the right places, without you having to do anything more than click a button!
Instagram can be a lot of fun when you get the hang of it, to the point where you may be at risk of addiction! Following hashtag trails can lead you to corners of the Instagram world you never knew existed. It can also be a great way to find inspiration and check out examples of how other businesses have built brand consistency.
Getting into Instagram is a great way to build a loyal following for your product or service through a visual representation of your brand. It can be a lot of fun to build this community, giving your brand a real human element. Building your style and strategy for posting will take some time but for the sake of consistency and building a strong brand, it is certainly worth the effort or at least worth asking someone to put in the effort for you to get you started.