Instagram is one of the largest social media platforms, with more than 77.6 million users in the United States alone. Nearly 59% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 have Instagram accounts. This makes Instagram a potentially lucrative space to grow brand awareness to a broad audience. Instagram can be utilized to tell the story of your products or brand visually and reach people that other forms of marketing might not, often for free or very cost-effectively.
So what components contribute to Instagram success for brands?
Instagram Marketing Success Tip #1 – Start with a Complete Instagram Profile
Name your account
Create a profile with your business’ real name as the name and as the handle or username. This helps people find your company easier when searching on Instagram.
Craft your bio
Write a short brand personality-infused description that lets your customers know how to find you. Instagram bios cap off at 150 characters but often the shorter bios are the most effective.
Pro tip: Add a call to action and/or branded hashtag to your profile.
Lush Cosmetics does a great job with their call to action to ‘follow us on Snapchat’.
Link your account
Add your website URL so anyone who comes across the page has an easy route to get there.
Pro Tip: Running a campaign? Temporarily change the bio to promote the campaign and add the link to the campaign landing page.
Set the profile photo to your logo so users can easily recognize your brand.
Instagram Marketing Success Tip #2 – Create an Instagram Business Profile
An Instagram business account (rolled out in 2016) has advantages over a personal account including a CTA button in the bio, access to analytics and the ability to advertise on Instagram.
Switching from a personal account to a business account is simple. Here’s how: Open the app on your mobile device. Start by clicking settings > switch to business profile. You will be prompted to link your Instagram page to your Facebook page and ta-da…your profile will be switched into business mode.
The business format provides additional options for customization and an area where you can create promotions. Analytics and demographics will be generated based on followers and post activity and can contribute valuable information towards growing your following.
Instagram Marketing Success Tip #3 – Get creative with your Instagram Content
Visually creative content is the backbone of a successful Instagram account. Younger age groups are particularly sensitive to overly promotional content so keep the focus of your feed on lifestyle shots and stories. A good example of this is GoPro’s account. Rather than emphasizing their products they look toward posting dynamic images captured by GoPro users to sell the cameras as a part of the adventure. The goal is to make your feed interesting enough that it draws people in to follow and comment on it.
Stay active on Instagram by posting often. There is no standard frequency for successful posting so this will need to be monitored and adjusted to find the perfect amount for the most activity for your business. A good rule of thumb is to start by posting once a day and alter as needed.
One of Instagram’s more recently added functions is Instagram Stories, a feature that lets you post content (or moments as they refer to it) that disappear 24 hours after posting. With Stories, you don’t need to worry about over-posting. Stories can be created by swiping right from the home page. Instagram Stories are a fun way to keep the account active without monopolizing your follower’s feeds. Anyone who visits your profile can view it by clicking on your icon and followers will see that it has been updated at the top of the home page. Lush Cosmetics artfully crafts stories that are relevant and interesting to watch, whether it’s behind the scenes or introducing new products. Check out their method of story making.
Instagram Marketing Success Tip #4 – The Branded Hashtag
Create a unique or branded hashtag to track user-generated posts. This creates a simple way for users to tag your business in a photo. Every time someone posts a photo with your tag, a new audience is exposed to your brand reaching beyond your followers. The unique hashtag will also generate a collection of images that have been shared by your brand enthusiasts, which your brand can then repost, or regram as Instagram calls it.
Regramming functions to incentivize product users to showcase your brand to their followers in order to gain the chance of being featured on your page — it’s a win win!
With each product that Indigo Rd. posts, they prompt users to share images of their products with the hashtag #indigord to make a collection of photos that people have shared of their products.
Pro tip: Publish the branded hashtag in your bio to encourage usage, like Dove does with #RealBeauty.
Instagram Marketing Success Tip #5 – Be Social. No. More Social!
Interact with your followers and other Instagram users…after all, this is what puts the SOCIAL in social media marketing. Whether it’s replying to a comment on one of your posts or liking photos that have your tag on them, a little interaction with the public goes a long way toward positive branding.
Another way of interacting with your followers is by using Instagram Live to stream live videos. As a newish feature on Instagram, live videos can be viewed only by those who are following you and are currently online. You’ll want to encourage engagement during the live video because like stories, Instagram Live has a short shelf life, disappearing at the end of the live broadcast.
With the basics down, Instagram has significant marketing benefits for almost every brand and service out there. What tips have you found to work for you? Comment below.
Not sure if your Instagram strategy is working? Ask us for an audit or message us now.