17 March 2016
The rise of Instagram for business
Is Instagram finally starting to accept businesses using it as a marketing tool?
The latest Instagram update saw the launch of a new function which lets you run multiple accounts and switch through them with ease. Is this Instagram taking the initial step forward in accepting marketers and businesses?
Instagram has always kept a firm stance that the social site is ‘a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures’, however, more and more businesses and marketers have now started to use Instagram to grow brands.
Instagram does not give the option for any analytics or scheduling, nor does it accept the use of 3rd party sites to schedule posts. This can, and has, resulted in brands having their accounts deleted.
Instagram currently has more than 400 million monthly active users, of which 75 million use the app on a daily basis. But how can you use Instagram to grow your brand successfully and find the right audience for your brand?
You need to look and see what competitors and other brands in your industry are doing. This will help to give you a competitive edge, inspiration and also a creative outlook on how to engage with your audience.
Your Instagram goals are one of the most important aspects of growing your brand. These goals MUST be measurable. This will help you track your progress on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Your strategy should:
- Grow brand awareness
- Grow a primary hashtag
- Direct more traffic to the website
- Grow an audience
The visuals used on an Instagram account are often one of the most important things about an account. Visuals are what your audience pays attention to and engages with. Some brands choose a border, watermark or filter. Whichever you choose, always make sure the way you visually represent yourself is on brand. This can really make a brand stand out and separate you from a competitor.
You should also bear in mind the 3 key factors below:
- When will you post?
- What time will you post?
- How many posts per day?
These are all important factors. You do not want to spam your community with posts and in turn have a negative impact on your brand’s growth and identity. The usual amount of posts for a brand is 1 – 5 posts per day but this will depend on what you have to offer and how often you will be posting. The time and the amount of posts will come down to testing and finding out when your community is most engaging. But do consider where the majority of your audience is based and the time zones they are in.
There are times to post and times not to post. Morning commute, lunch, evening commute and early evenings are prime times to post as these are the times when people have the most access to their phones. People are also less likely to view a video while in a work environment as it takes up more time and concentration. Pictures are easily viewed and engaged with.
If your brand has a physical location people can visit, it is important to Geo Tag your posts and encourage others to do so.
The growth of your brand will ultimately come down to how you interact with your community. Engaging with your audience is, and will always be, one of the most important tools at your disposal. Get into conversations with people who are mentioning your brand online or commenting on your posts. This shows the community that if they engage, you will respond.
Importantly, do not ignore negative feedback. It is good to show the audience that you are willing to discuss negative issues and make it right where you can. This leads onto identifying feedback and knowing how to respond. But that’s for another blog post.
Make sure to always be listening and monitoring. Search related hashtags to your brand and see what people are talking about. Are they conversations that you can join in on?
A company always needs a primary hashtag, one that followers of the brand can use in user generated content. It is important to make this short, sweet and easily readable. Always use capital letters at the start of each word as this makes the hashtag more user friendly - #ForExample not #forexample.
The hastags that accompany your primary hashtag can really help grow a brand but, it is very important to not instantly relate the brand to a hashtag with millions of posts. If not, you may find once your post is pulled into that hashtag feed, after a quick refresh your post will be lost in the Instagram hashtag abyss. Through hashtag searching you will soon be able to identify which ones will be the strongest to help people find your brand and turn them into fans. The golden rule is to not over hashtag and keep each post to five hashtags at the very most. Any more than this can make your brand seem desperate and have a negative impact.
Be creative, engage with your audience and most importantly have fun with it. If the audience feels a sense of authenticity, excitement and fun from the profile, they are more likely to engage with the brand and the faster you can grow an audience.
Want help taking your brand to the next level with a fantastic social media campaign? Why not have a chat with our team?