So, you’ve discovered Instagram and now you want to know how it can help your business. The photo sharing app can be a fundamental addition to a small or large business alike; it is one of the most affective brand building app available. Instagram is becoming increasingly more important not only has it reached more than 400 million active monthly users, but it’s a hub where people judge a business’s online identity. Without a strong presence on Instagram companies could be at risk of being forgotten or ignored, especially among the millennial generation. If Instagram is taken seriously it can open up many opportunities for your brand as Instagram has been described as the “king of social engagement”. So now you know why it’s important here’s our strategy of how to best utilise the app;
Use Instagram first for personal use, get a feel of the app and think about how you want to portray your business and what tone you want to set. Also take a look at other similar businesses to your own and see what sorts of thing they are already posting. What’s getting likes? Which competitors have the most followers? When you are familiar with the app then start on your strategy. Firstly what goals would you like to achieve?
- Increase website traffic
- Increase products sales
- Increase hashtag mentions
- Increase awareness of the brand
With your goals set up strategy should be measurable and achievable so you are able to check on how much worth this social media platform has in your company. During your content strategy planning decide how often you want to send posts, content themes, establish a content calendar and choose which time of day to post. Most brands tend to post one to three pictures daily, when picking which is the best time to post it’s generally down to your target audience and then trial and error. When do your pictures get the most engagement? Hootsuite have recently introduced Instagram integration which means you are able to schedule all of your Instagram posts at the beginning of the week.
Building your brand
Instagram is about images. So it would make sense that you should build a recognisable brand identity, for example if your logo colour is a pastel then use different pastel tones across your Instagram. Or use the same filter on each photo to build up a visual style and personality of the brand and help it become recognisable.
You also need to decide what type of content your photos are going to focus on. For some it will be obvious, if you are a clothing company you will want to showcase your clothing, a restaurant will want to show food etc. However if you are not an ecommerce company do not fret, many brands are able to portray their brand values through lifestyle content. You could also share photos of the inside of your offices, food which you are eating, your pets and your staff. Whatever you can think of to show your businesses character. If you’re finding it difficult then monitor your followers, if they seem to like nice cars and coffee then you should think about posting those types of things, things which will engage the audience and make them want to keep following you.
Finally take a look at your captions, what tone are you using? What type of language are you using? And most importantly which hashtags are you using? Hashtag things which embody your brand, it may also pay to create your own hashtag, for example Hootsuite use the tag #Hootsuitelife.
Posting and engaging
Once your account has been set up you can start sharing and engaging straight away; post high-quality images which meet your brand guidelines. Remember that Instagram is mainly a mobile app, this means that you should consider this when choosing your photos. Instagram doesn’t zoom so don’t post something with tiny details which the user would need to zoom in to properly see on a small screen.
With Instagram there is also the opportunity to cross-post your Instagram photos with other social media outlets for example Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr and Tumblr. Cross-linking may also drive traffic to your other social media outlets as it is good visual content. You are also able to tag photos with locations, for example you’d be able to tag the photos of your office party in the restaurant that you visited.
When looking at engaging with users try your best to reply to comments from followers. Look into what your followers are Instagramming about and monitor hashtags which are relevant to your industry. Always try and follow back those who follow you and those who put work into their Instagram page, you could learn from them! Your overall success will fall on whether you have got your business out there into the community and whether you yourself are engaging with your brand.
Overall as a business owner can you really afford not to be utilising Instagram?