With over 200 million users worldwide, Instagram has grown rapidly ever since it first filled our screens with black and white pictures of our friends’ lunches, back in 2010. The sheer number of users and the diversity within that number makes Instagram an incredible tool for marketing and promoting your company, as well as gaining a better understanding your customers.
There are 3 key things to remember when you want to give your customers a great experience:
1. Listen. Rather than simply using your Instagram to bombard followers with sales pitches, take some time to see what your customers and potential customers are talking about.
2. Engage. You need to interact with your followers frequently and keep them interested.
3. Image. Make sure you post a variety of pictures and videos, try not to get stale.
Now, the main points to help you turn your Instagram account into a marketing powerhouse. Or close enough, anyway.
1. It’s all connected
Make sure that people know who you are, and where else they can find you. If that bio section isn’t filled out, get on that right away! It’s the first thing people will notice when they visit the page, and a friendly but informative bio will always make a good first impression and encourage your visitors to put their digital feet up and stick around.
Definitely ensure that you’re linking your social media as much as you can, whether it’s your company’s own blog, or Facebook’s built in integration of Instagram. Use Instagram to embed photos and videos in your other channels. Remember that with just one click, people can be transported between your digital worlds, so put the bridges between them to good use! Lots of companies provide social media management services, so if you’re not too sure about the ins-and-outs, give them a call!
2. The community that cares
Perhaps the single most important tool at your disposal in Instagram is your community. If you can get an active community who are interested in your company or your product, they’ll do a lot of your work for you, building hype and awareness, and making sure that the buzz is always there. This also links into the point above about linking (see what I did there?) to other social platforms, as you can use them to draw attention to your Instagram account, and a great way to do this is with the help of your community. For example, here is Mercedes Benz showing off their five favourite Instagram posts:
It’s a great way to not only make your fans aware of your presence on Instagram, but also encourage your community to get involved and interact with your brand. Another good way to do this is to involve your community and make them feel special. For example, Starbucks (one of the 3 top brands on Instagram) do this often, by showing off cool pictures that their followers have created. The pictures of course, include their product.
Just make sure to ask for your followers’ permission to use their work!
If community is the most important tool, the 2nd most important is definitely #Hashtags. If you aren’t one hundred percent sure about what hashtags are or how they work, let me explain. When you hashtag a picture on Instagram, you’re effectively dropping it into a pool with every other picture that has the same hashtag, like a huge filing cabinet that anyone can access. Obviously, the benefits to this sort of system are huge, as you’re putting your images and videos into a space where potentially millions of people will see them! It’s especially useful as you can piggyback on trending topics, or make sure that your brand is associated with hashtags that relate to your industry or business. Obviously, Instagram isn’t the only social platform with hashtags, but they are especially prevalent on it, so if you’re using them on another one, make sure to carry them over. Keep that awareness going!
4. Smile, you’re on camera!
It’s becoming even more important in the age of social media for a company or business to have a friendly face, especially if they are dealing directly with customers. Instagram is an excellent place to remind your target audience, as well as anybody else who may be looking, that your company is staffed by normal people, just like them. Because of Instagram’s pic-snapping nature, it’s a great way to show your company and its employees in a really positive light. Use photos that will help your target audience relate to you and show that you understand them. Show your employees on a day off, or during a fun event at the office. It will help give your company a friendlier face which will bring more people to your brand, and keep them around too. Remember to use those videos too!
5. Post haste
One more thing that should always be considered is the frequency with which you post. The last thing you want to do is bombard your followers with posts, or just as bad, have as much activity as a ghost town where all the ghosts are on strike. The key is to find a good balance in the quantity of your posts, and the ideal posting frequency would allow you to see how your audience is responding to your posts, decipher what works and what may not work so well, and adapt from there. A small thing to think about on top of that is the time of day that you post. Obviously lots of people work during the day, so the best times to post (if you don’t mind staying late) are in the evenings and weekends, when the most possible people will be able to see your posts.
So, do you think that Instagram would be a good platform for your company? Firstly, ask yourself if your target audience are already there, and whether or not your competitors seem to be enjoying success on there too. If either of those things are true, then you know Instagram is the place for you. Just remember:
1. Stay connected
2. Use your community
3. Don’t forget #Hashtags
4. Make sure you appear friendly and human
5. Plan those posts
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to social media mastery.