If your business is customer-focused, then Instagram must be part of your social media strategy. It can be an explosion for your business – you can connect with your audience, get ideas, get involved with influencers and other creatives that take your brand to the next level (both in sales and exposure).
However, there’s more to Instagram than simply posting pictures of your brand or your products. By using the latest trends, watching the landscape and emulating key players, your Instagram can make your business lots of money and become the heart of your strategy – sometimes even more than your website! So how do you take your brand to the next level? Here are my top tips:
Understanding how other brands use Instagram to their success is the first part of becoming successful. Think of the Instagram accounts you follow – why do you love them and what makes you want more from them? Questions you should think about asking:
You can do this at any stage – whether you’ve been posting for a while or brand new. You need to know what message you are wanting to convey on your Instagram account:
Many brands make the mistake of making each post about the product and not the overall brand. This can make for a bland experience for your audience. The best accounts normally mix product-specific photos with more lifestyle photos. This gives your audience an idea of the world you are trying to portray with your products.
This then works into how your Instagram account – when the posts are minimised onto the grid, does your account look aesthetically pleasing? Is the colour scheme matching? Are the quality of the photos good enough?
While Instagram is very much a visual medium, each post and your account profile will have text that you need to think about. This can equally be as important as the photo:
Every business needs a USP to sell – it’s the same for your Instagram account. It needs a hook – something your audience can only get from your account. For some, it’s funny captions to the photos, others it’s first-class fashion advice. For others, it’s a trademark signature style.
Be a good Instagrammer. Try and be original as possible, minimise re-gramming and totally avoid plagiarising other people’s work without their permission.
Hashtags will help people who are interested in your account to find you. But be aware of the ones you use as your posts will be shown alongside other people’s – sometimes can be political, pornographic or extremist. Research the hashtags that you want to use to ensure that your posts are alongside desirable content.
IFTTT a web app that bridges two different apps through chained conditional statements. To save you time, you can programme IFTTT to post your Instagram picture to all your other social sites, like Facebook and Twitter.
Find out more about IFTTT here.
Instagram is fairly comprehensive with allowing you to tweak your photos to fit your brand’s style. However, there are other apps that allow you to add more unusual visual styles – such as Boomerang for repeating videos, Adobe Photoshop for more tweaking tools, Swipeable to create 360° panoramas Instagram-friendly or Camera+ for more camera settings.
Social media is never an exact science and Instagram is no different. However, you can use data available to you from your competitor’s post, your analytics and general market research to find out what is likely to work. After posting, do an analysis of its performance – what worked and what didn’t? Was it scheduled at the right time? Did your audience like it? The more you do this, you can narrow your content to only the best performers.