With 200 million active users per month, Instagram is a great social media platform for visually enticing customers and creating a strong brand story. With its Business Account feature, businesses of all sizes are able to start up verifiable accounts that link directly to their Twitter or Facebook profiles. In this article we will discuss the best ways to integrate Instagram into your social media marketing and its benefits.
1. Explore & Engage
Like other social media platforms, Instagram uses hashtags to explore current trends and promote brand awareness. Deploying brand specific hashtags make sharing content easy and enable existing customers and fans to find your posts quickly.
In the same way that Twitter uses ‘trending’, users are able to keep up to date with popular hashtags and use them to their advantage. Fun, popular hashtags range from #TBT (Throwback Thursday) where individuals upload images from the past and #ManCrushMonday, a hashtag frequently used by businesses targeted at women such as clothes retailer, Boohoo.com.
Using general hashtags are also a great way of finding new followers. Starbucks, for example, uses #coffee or #cappuccino when uploading images of cappuccino art. People searching for images or videos of a specific topic may find your content and become followers, even potential customers. Remember to keep them relevant though, using hashtags just because they have a high search volume will infuriate users and will count as spam.
Unlike Twitter, there is no character limitation on Instagram posts so you are able to include a couple of hashtags. Try to aim for two or three, any more and it will become distracting for readers.
Remember to include a link to your main website in the caption, if users like the content they may want to check out what else you have to offer.
2. Creative Content
Creating amazing content is the most important part of using Instagram in your social media marketing plan. As a visual platform, it is imperative that you keep your images clear and well put together, none of this grainy nonsense! Use filters, cropping, and collages or even a little bit of Photoshop expertise to make the most out of your images or videos.
The content that you share on Instagram should expand on your brand story and give your followers an idea of the products that you sell or services you provide as well as an insight into the people working in the business. Including photographs or short 15 second videos of an employee doing something exciting and fun (whether work-related or not) will make the business personable to your audience.
Offering exclusive content to Instagram followers is a great way to make your followers feel special and drive up follower numbers. When you decide to share exclusive content make sure to promote this on your other social media sites, this may persuade the followers of the other sites to follow your Instagram account too.
Experiment with exciting ways of promoting your products. Create images that feature your product but don’t look like an advertisement by adding creative photography and interesting locations to your shots. A beauty salon, for example, may upload images of someone playing guitar with newly painted nails. Have fun!
3. Get Your Followers Involved
The best part about social media is the ability to get your fans involved in what excites you, not only can you inform them about new up and coming events, promotions or products but you can also ask them to submit their own images. User-generated content is becoming increasingly popular on sites like Instagram and many huge companies use it as a way to interact with their fans. You could ask them to send in images of them using your product, whilst asking them why they’ve chosen it. When you share it on your own account don’t forget to tag the owner of the image.
4. Post Frequently
It’s really important to post frequently on any social media site but for Instagram it is essential. You need to enhance your customer’s experience so having a presence is really important. Post frequently but try not to saturate your followers’ newsfeeds with your content. Why not embed your shared videos and images in your company blog or website to expand your viewership?
To Wrap Up…
Like any other platform used in your social media marketing strategy it is vital to keep up to date with current trends and provide exciting content that will coincide with it. Getting the balance between engaging your followers and promoting your products or services is the most important thing when marketing your business on Instagram.