If your business already has Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, you may wonder why you should also invest your time in promoting your business via Instagram. The obvious answer is to reach a wider audience. Instagram is a great platform for grabbing the attention of users who are drawn to visual messaging and sharing. It has more of a personal touch than Twitter and Facebook, but it has similar features such as likes, shares and hashtags for putting your content in the same category as others. The main difference lies in that your content is contained within one square image.
What’s so special about sharing images? For one thing, users are more likely to be drawn to visuals than to text. In addition, people are 40% more likely to have a better response to visual content as opposed to plain text. The bottom line here is that people love pictures (just look at the success of Pinterest). So if you’re looking to enhance your lead generation through business promotions via Instagram, here are the expert Instagram marketing tips that can get you started:
1. Formulate your creative strategy. It’s important to remember that this isn’t a personal account, this is a business Instagram account, so you need to be strategic with what you post. Ask yourself what your business has to offer people who are on Instagram. Why should they follow you on Instagram, when they are already following you on Facebook and Twitter? The trick here is to give them exclusive access to things that have more to do with your business location and your community than the actual promotions itself. When you’re using Instagram, think of personal engagement and the genuine interest of your audience as opposed to making your posts all about sales and promotions. You’re marketing your business as a unique personality rather than a collection of products and/or services – also remember that you want to make it appealing to not only the people who already know your brand, but also new followers.
- Create posts centred on your hardworking employees, their passion for the work they do and the things they do to provide excellent service. If your employees use Instagram, don’t be afraid to tag them in photos (if they don’t mind!). If their personal account extends your brand, they may be happy for the mutual exposure.
- Forego product shots for shots of the actual product as they’re presented to the customer. For example, you may use a picture of a customer enjoying a slice of pizza from your restaurant.
- Location shots get great responses from users as well. If your business has a lot of different locations, showcasing them can garner interest from users who live nearby.
- Relevant events can also make for great Instagram content as it shows your business interacting with others.
2. Use relevant hashtags. Hashtags tend to get mixed reviews from people, primarily because a lot of users haven’t mastered the art of effectively using them. The beauty of hashtags from a business perspective is that it allows your posts to be visible to people who search for certain hashtags rather than just people who are already following you. The rule of thumb is to stick to about 4 to 7 hashtags, and make sure you make use of popular trending hashtags where relevant.
- One of the most popular hashtags on Instagram is #tbt or throwback Thursday wherein you can post old photos on your brand’s Instagram account every Thursday. Pictures of the old office or vintage shots of old products can be used. Use popular hashtags like #love, #instafood, #photooftheday, #quoteoftheday or #happy to be featured when users search for these tags.
- Come up with your own hashtags based on your brand or the promotions you’re running. For example, Victoria’s Secret used #AngelGetaways for shots from their summer photo shoots. Converse, on the other hand, went with their general marketing campaign by using #WearSneakers. Having your own hashtag makes it easier for your followers to follow the conversation and recommend it to their friends.
- Run with the current trends. Lots of brands used #Earthday on relevant content to go with the celebration of Earth Day.
3. Share often, but don’t over-saturate your followers’ feeds. The best way to go about this is to create a posting schedule when you think your followers are most active. This can be after work hours or during weekends or well into the night. In addition, it’s best to share content that you know your followers will like. How can you tell? Check out which content gets the most likes and comments and start sharing similar content. However, don’t exclusively post that content. It’s still best to add some variety to what you post, even if you know it won’t get the same number of likes. If you’re using marketing automation or another platform to retarget users, be sure to take this into account as well.
4. Make use of user-generated content. You can involve your followers into your campaign by asking them for images that are related to your brand. It saves you from having to come up with your own content, but it’s great for people who genuinely want you to notice that they love your brand. You can ask them to submit photos of themselves using your product with a list of relevant hashtags they can use (which will not only help your marketing but also make their part a little easier). Not only does this give you great content to work with, but their followers will also be able to see their post. In addition, you can even search for content related to your brand that users have shared in the past. Just remember to ask for their permission before you use their images.
- You can ask followers from a certain city to post pictures of themselves in popular landmarks while enjoying one of your beverages.
- Invite them to post their #ootd or outfit of the day featuring clothes from your latest line.
- Followers can post selfies with an employee from your company that gave them excellent service.
5. Experiment with creating images featuring your products. Products in new or interesting locations can also pique the interest of your followers. Think of it as adding creative photography to your product shots. Does your audience aspire to travel? Are they busy and looking for ways to treat themselves? Try and pair your marketing and branding to their dreams and goals. There are tons of ways you can do this with regular products!
- Spas and salons can post images of interesting nail art with the hands doing a variety of poses. Try asking them to hold objects with the same colour scheme as the nail art or ask them to pose with a guitar to showcase their hands.
- Store shots can also be interesting. If your product is in a shelf at a grocery store, you can take a picture of how the different variants of your products look in bulk.
- Stitch together images of different women wearing the same shade of lipstick to show how this shade can complement a variety of skin tones.
- Coffee shops can also create unique foam art for Instagram marketing.