Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has taken the world by storm.
With just over 800 million users, Instagram has become the fastest growing social media platform. Instagram makes it easy for businesses to target a more specific audience without having to spend large amounts of money on advertising. The popularity and high levels of engagement of the platform make it the perfect place to advance your business.
Let’s cut to the chase. How exactly can you use Instagram to generate an engaged audience and promote your brand? We’ve put together some of the best tips to master Instagram for your business.
Choosing the right name
Although your Instagram name may seem like a minor or insignificant detail, it’s easy to get wrong. Your Instagram username is how people recognize your business on the platform. Your Instagram name is different. It is the title that appears at the top of your account homepage, directly under your picture icon. Although they are different, they should usually always be the same. It’s best to keep variations to a minimum in order to be consistent and avoid confusion. Many brands over think their username. The last thing you want to do is confuse your followers. Don’t make it complicated and avoid unnecessarily letters or numbers as this could contribute to confusion. When users type a keyword or handle, Instagram generates results related to the search content. Thus, it is important to be straight forward, simple and recognizable.
Reach follows more authentically with stories
While each post on Instagram is polished and require time and editing, stories allow for a more authentic behind-the-scenes look at your business’s profile. Stories are a great indicator of follower engagement. Instagram reports the number of views on each story you post. Since they lack permanence and only last for 24 hours, stories provide a sense of active follower engagement within a limited window of time.
Most followers have an innate curiosity to see what goes on behind the scenes that makes your business come alive. Stories allow you to provide just that, whether it be snapshots of a half-finished product, videos of hard working employees or even just a picture of the office! Stories help bring to life the entire processes behind your product or service, from sourcing to production to distribution to employee life. Use stories to enable a sense of transparency of your brand, allowing your consumers to truly feel confident in your business and the message the story it tells.
Extend your following with hashtags
Hashtags are one of the most effective ways you can expand your following base. They allow for followers to easily identify and associate keywords with your business. Create a hashtag for your company with your business name and post it frequently with each new post. Hashtags make it easier for your content to become more visible and for new followers to find you. Many businesses also create hashtags to announce new product lines, company events, promote deals, advertise seasonal exclusives and the list goes on. It is important to do research on the hashtags you choose in order to effectively maximize your business’s following potential. Choosing the right hashtag may seem overwhelming, but Instagram’s explore tab makes it easy. Search hashtags or explore popular posts to get a sense of what hashtags work best with what brands. This enables you the ability to tailor specific hashtags to your business.
Work with other accounts
Mentioning followers, sharing others’ stories and collaborating with other accounts can all help to improve your follower base, increase customer loyalty and foster a true relationship between your business and its customers. If others can see that your company has loyal followers who can advocate for your brand, many of us are more likely to be interested. You could even create a hashtag to encourage people to engage in user generated content.
One example of this is Aerie, who encouraged people to post an unedited picture of themselves in Aerie clothing with #AerieReal in the caption. Aerie then would post these user generated photos on their company feed for others to see. This is just one of the many examples that brands use to get their customers more engaged, making them the star of the post! Lastly, collaborating with other accounts by giving each other shout outs can help you to expand your popularity, especially if the account has a larger follower base. This can be a great way to get your name out there to active users.
Consistency is crucial in establishing and maintaining followers. It is easy for followers to get bored or even forget who you are if you are not aware of the content you publish. Posts that are consistent with your branding, your business’ story and your visual appeal are the most effective. Random, unrelated content are common causes of dips in followers and user engagement. Pay attention to your company’s visual aesthetic. Do your pictures relate to each other? Does your feed visually communicate your brand’s message effectively? Is your feed aesthetically pleasing? These are important guiding questions to ask yourself as you continue to curate new posts that could make or break your follower base.
Instagram is a social network exploding with creativity, expression and opportunity. Instagram is a no-brainer for expanding your business. Kickstart your business by creating an account or use these tips to improve an existing one.