400 million MAUs (Monthly Active Users), with 3.5 billion generated likes on Instagram photos everyday. All types of businesses are hopping on this social media bandwagon, but it may not be easy posting photos for your company, especially if you’re not product-based.
From an avid Instagram user’s perspective, here are some tips, based on certain written and unwritten rules of Instagram, that businesses need to keep in mind:
Similar to Twitter, hashtags will show up in searches when typed in. This drives traffic to your Instagram profile. So, make sure you include your website URL and other social media handles in your Profile too. Other people may be using the same hashtag as yours. Search for it to make sure nothing inappropriate shows up.
Search for hashtags you may want to use in future posts, or for people you are looking to follow, and like anything you think would be relevant to your business.
The accompanying picture shows (in the upper half) examples of the types of photos a local bakery (say, for example) should like (ice cream, fancy lattes, cupcakes, et al), while the lower half shows pictures of gourmet burgers, something that would not be relevant to a bakery, therefore almost pointless to like.
BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE
Building your audience (organically) requires patience, especially if you’re just getting started. Yes, your brand may get featured on Oprah giving you instant fame and success! But, for most everyone else it’s going to be the kind of content that you share that’s going to drive your follower-based. Follow relevant companies, influencers and power figures in your industry. You can even look at who follows them, and study what kind of audience your competition seems to attract. One of the best ways to learn how to be successful on Instagram is watch what your competition is posting.
No one likes having a one-way conversation. If someone comments on your photo indicating they admire it, simply reply back and say thank you. Two-way communication is key in businesses, especially if you’re looking to establish long-term relationships with your target audience. Don’t ignore people who reach out to you, as they may turn into your most loyal customer.
The Instagram App offers a ton of filters. Experiment with them. Using appropriate filters and edits will help you unleash your creativity and create quirky, in-the-moment, yet eye-catching images that garner the most likes and comments! Don’t get hung up on posting a lot of photos. Rather, focus on using your creativity to publish original works of art.
TOO MUCH SELF TALK? GO EASY FELLAS!
Although there’s an “I” in Instagram, it isn’t a first-person platform. It’s not about selling. It’s about creating and sharing moments, memories and experiences. If all you’re posting are pictures of your brand you will most likely lose followers. It doesn’t help to be self-serving on a platform that’s meant for sharing family moments, foods we like, places we visit, etc. Branding is all about establishing an emotional connection with your target audience, and there is certainly not going to be any love between you and your customers if all you share are pictures of your product or a brand. Tell a story instead.
Lastly, hosting a contest or giveaway on Instagram will help increase awareness. Encourage users to post pictures using a certain hashtag or tagging your Instagram handle. When you search this hashtag, a whole bunch of pictures will show up that include that hashtag and you will be able to view all of the people who are engaged with your company and brand. Contests are a great way to get consumer feedback and in-turn generate likes.