Whether you are already using Instagram as a marketing tool or not, there are a number of different ways of using the platform as a business to inspire and generate leads. In this article, we will be sharing some of our top tips for enhancing your Instagram – both in terms of marketing and building a personable and welcoming brand for followers to engage with.
Instagram is just one of a series of social media platforms that businesses of all sizes and across all industries are using to connect and engage with customers and followers. In comparison with the other platforms out there, Instagram is very focussed on visuals and using imagery to portray your products, services, or brand – making it one of the best platforms for delivering shareable and high impact content.
Instagram feeds work by displaying the images as the main body of each post, giving users the option to read the full caption below if they want to. What this means is that the image you present is always the main focus of every post.
So, how can we use this information to improve our Instagram feed?
Step One: Find out how to communicate your brand values in a visual way
Far too often we see brands out there filling the square image box with words. This might sound like a clever hack and a way to get around the need for a spotlight visual, but look at it this way – is a square filled with words really going to make your target audience stop scrolling and read?
We can tell you the answer to that one – no, it won’t.
Instagram presents an opportunity to explore your brand in a visual way, sharing product images, office and team photos, and sometimes even using stock images to add some creativity to your more formal posts. We recommend using your brand colours wherever you can, exploring the value of both photographic and more cartoon-y images, and assessing the different types of images you share to see which garner the most likes and responses.
Step Two: Use your Instagram to build a brand personality
This follows on from the last point but with more of a focus on the people behind your brand. So often, team members are relegated to the “Team” page on your website, with a single photo and a small description of what they do. Instagram is a great place to share behind the scenes images of the creation process for your products, short videos of office antics and team building exercises, and other things which will make consumers view your brand as one that they want to support.
Step Three: Blend formal marketing with fun posts
The best Instagram strategy employs a blended focus on marketing and sharing, including reviews and testimonials, product or service photos and marketing posts, behind the scenes shots and insight, and industry related content that provides the validity and reliability of your brand within your industry.
We recommend sharing 3 or 4 posts a week and building a strategy which shares a selection of different kind of posts regularly. By creating a kind of structure to your posting, you will find that followers come to expect your ‘Fun Friday’ or ‘Wisdom Wednesday’ posts and look out for them.
Step Four: Don’t just focus on your own content
If we could share one tip with every single business out there on Instagram, it would be to widen the net and become as attuned to responding and sharing other content as you are to posting your own content. If you haven’t already seen some of the big brand Twitter wars out there, it’s well worth a Google – showing how the social media teams behind some of the biggest brands on the market create and generate banter with each other, often leading to huge media attention and priceless marketing opportunity.
Responding to industry news, picking up on big news stories and sharing other relevant content is all key to showing your followers and customers that you are immersed in the industry and that you care about the things they care about. This also means responding to comments and direct messages you receive, creating a conversation with your followers rather than just posting and then standing back with no further action.
Step Five: Instagram for Business
If you’re a business and you’re on Instagram, you should be working through a business account. Not only does this give you the option of listing a website and call to action buttons on your profile, but it also gives you the benefit of analytics and insight into who your followers are and how they are engaging with your posts. Instagram business accounts can also be linked to payment details for paid advertising and ad boosts.
Our Top Tips to building a good Instagram profile bio
And finally, to your Instagram bio. This is that small section at the top of your profile page, where you are given limited characters to communicate what you do, who you are, and why followers should trust you.
A good Instagram bio is:
– Funny or witty
– Visually interesting (emojis!)
– Clear and concise, with a strong call to action
We recommend having your brand name as your Instagram handle so that you don’t have to waste any characters on the basic brand. From there, your Instagram bio should share what you do – with a focus on how you can help your customers. Remember that your Instagram will be accessed by customers so every piece of content you share should be geared towards and written directly for them.
Instagram is a valuable tool in any social media marketing strategy, providing businesses and brands with a place to express not only their products or services but also their brand personality and who they are in the eyes of their customers.
Trial and error is crucial in ascertaining the best approach to Instagram for your business, with the above points all important in building a successful profile.
And finally, if in doubt, use a specialist!